Oklahoma City continues to be a launchpad for new midscale hotel brands. Six months after Hilton launched its Tru brand in the city, IHG broke ground on its debut Avid property, fewer than three months after the midscale brand was first announced, and well ahead of initial plans.
The Avid Hotel Oklahoma City–Quail Springs is being developed by Champion Hotels, which will also operate the hotel. Champion Hotels is also the owner and operator of the Tru By Hilton Oklahoma City Airport. It owns numerous properties in Oklahoma City under myriad brands and the company calls itself the "largest privately held hotel operator in the United States, with over 150 franchised locations."
Since launching the brand, IHG said developer interest has piqued with more than 100 franchise applications received, including 34 which have already been converted to signed deals for Avid hotels across the U.S. The brand is now also franchise ready for Canada.
"Momentum is continuing and building," said Elie Maalouf, CEO for the Americas at IHG
The four-story, new-build property is slated to open during the third quarter of next year with 87 guestrooms.
IHG's partnership with Champion is vast with more than 20 hotels either open or under development. Champion Hotels' CEO Champ Patel also serve on IHG's Avid Owner Advisory Board, helping them shape the brand. “There are a lot of reasons why we are here today, and we believe it's the right development group to launch our first hotel,” Maalouf said at the hotel's groundbreaking ceremony.
The midscale market, which Maalouf describes as “underserved,” is worth an estimated $20 billion, IHG said. “Customers can't find what they want at the right value, so they're underserved,” Maalouf noted. Avid hotels, which will be limited to new-build construction rather than conversions or adaptive-reuse, are expected to have a rate approximately $10-$15 less per night than IHG’s Holiday Inn Express brand, and cost 10 percent to 15 percent less per key for owners to build, with smaller rooms and lower construction costs than Holiday Inn Express properties. “We have a huge opportunity, very good value and ROI for owners that brings together the elements of attraction,” Maalouf said.
Avid's room design features smaller rooms at about 220 square feet or less for a king.
Beyond Oklahoma City, Maalouf expects Avid to fit into most mass markets. “It's not either primary or secondary or tertiary,” he said of the ideal locations for the hotel. “It's a mass-market brand. Avid Hotels will be found wherever there are mainstream brands, wherever there are business travelers, wherever there are midscale hotels. So 50 states initially in the U.S., and then, of course, Canada is franchise-ready. It's a broad mass-market expansion.”
The new hotel will launch under IHG's new guest reservation system, which will officially go live in 2018 and features a cloud-based booking platform that promises a better, more personalized guest experience. Avid Hotels will be the first IHG brand to launch with the new GRS in every hotel, Maalouf said.
The brand will also incorporate IHG Connect, IHG's high-speed WiFi service. One of the key components of the IHG Connect platform is the ability to automatically recognize IHG loyalty members, where members of the program only need to sign in once to access hotel Wi-Fi at all IHG Connect-enabled properties. IHG Connect also offers unlimited device connectivity, dedicated Wi-Fi access, the ability to manage bandwidth spikes for surge periods and 24/7 cloud-based monitoring and technical support.
The Avid Hotels brand launched for franchising in September 2017, the brand was developed in collaboration with IHG’s Avid Hotels Owner Advisory Board. The royalty fee for the brand will be 5 percent, with the first 100 signed license agreements will be eligible for a two-percent fee discount in year one and one-percent fee discount in year two (2/1 royalty fee reduction).