Global Hotel Data, along with most other industry commentators of the 1990's, predicted the end of the road for independent hotel operators as they suffered at the hands of the growth hungry hotel groups. Whilst the nature of the hotel industries globally cannot be considered as a homogenous mass, with different regions and countries being at differing stages of industry maturity and therefore having distinctly different industry structures. The general consensus was that the more mature markets of North America and the UK would lead the route to domination by the hotel groups at the expense of the independents. Over the decades the groups have changed in character and structure as well as in name. There are less ‘diversified conglomerates' in the rankings. As the global economies have changed considerably and the industry has matured, resulting in the changing appeal of the industry to investors. The industry has without doubt become more specialised and professional, with ‘Hotel Divisions' within larger corporate entities being separated and often ‘floated' as standalone entities ( E.g. the separation of Rezidor from its airline parent SAS). As the ‘independent' hoteliers have been put under increasing pressure to adapt or die, many have sought the benefits of becoming franchisees of established brands to facilitate them achieving ‘group' related benefits (brand perception, advertising etc) via the relatively low cost of franchise fees. This demand for ‘membership' from hoards of independent hoteliers has resulted in the increasing domination of Franchisors in terms of numbers and their influence on hotel supply activities. These Franchisors, whilst seeking global penetration have encouraged and essentially created the emergence of ‘true' master franchisors. In parallel, it is primariIy these same franchisors that have been fundamental in increasing the number of standardised ‘budget' offerings through franchise activity. These have been the main reason for the lowering of the average hotel size over the last two decades. They have appealed to both consumers and investors as a ‘value' segment of the industry, which has experienced amazing growth through its standardised, low cost development model facilitating it to expand rapidly in tertiary locations, which historically had been the domain of the ‘independents'. Get the full story at eHotelier Part 1, and Part 2