In the 1990s Trusthouse Forte was one of the world’s leading hotel andcatering companies.
In 1991 it served over 300 million customers at 8000 locations in 41 countries. But the business had become diffuse and fragmented with four separate areas of activity: hotels, restaurants, contract catering and in-flight catering. Wolff Olins’ brief was to redefine what Forte stood for, and to clarify the nature, scale and scope of its activities.
Wolff Olins helped to develop an overall strategy for the group. We began by establishing the group as a significant international player in hotels and catering with a primary emphasis on Europe. Our research also showed that the name Trusthouse Forte would handicap international expansion. It was difficult to pronounce in many countries, had strong British overtones and was associated with banking in the US. We recommended that the name be shortened to Forte, which has positive associations of strength, is simple to pronounce, sounds European and represents continuity.
Through the 90s Forte became the best-known brand in British hotels. By defining its vision we helped express the personality behind its
extraordinary range of hotels and restaurants. In 1996 Granada fully bought Forte for £3.9 billion. In 2003, following the de-merger of Compass plc from Granada's media interests, the use of the Forte trademark was returned to Sir Rocco Forte who now owns the Rocco Forte Hotels group.