What's in a name?
More than you might think, when it comes to deciding what to call a new hotel chain.

In the old days, hoteliers like Conrad Hilton and Howard Johnson put their monikers on the marquee. Later, it was fashionable to spell out what hotels offered: Guest Quarters, Homewood Suites. And along came chains like Ritz-Carlton (promising classy digs) and W (telegraphing breezy hipness).

Wednesday, Westin announced the name of its first extended-stay brand, a line of "upper upscale" studios and one-bedroom suites fitted out with Heavenly Beds, contemporary furnishings and kitchens with stainless-steel appliances.

It's called ELEMENT.

But the months-long naming process was far from elementary. These days, branding a hotel chain is serious business. Hotel executives agonize over what combination of letters will instantly convey its personality, capture desired guests and make it stand out from the competition.

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