Thanks to RevPAR performance that Choice Hotels International is describing as "strong" coupled with the expansion of programs and services designed to increase franchisee ROI, the company is seeing an increase in new construction activity.
Choice's upscale brands, Cambria Hotels & Suites and the Ascend Hotel Collection, are driving Choice Hotels' expansion in urban markets. Furthermore, the recent Comfort brand transformation and the Sleep Inn brand's new construction prototype have helped expand their pipelines across the country.
Cambria has had groundbreakings and grand openings in Philadelphia, two projects in Chicago, Nashville, Tenn. and New York's Times Square. Notable cities added to the Cambria portfolio in 2016 include four locations in California (two in Los Angeles; Anaheim and San Jose), Seattle, Boston, Dallas, Indianapolis and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Choice's Ascend Hotel Collection added more than 30 new member hotels in the U.S. alone, including San Francisco, Atlanta and Virginia Beach. Internationally, the Collection added hotels in the Bahamas, Ecuador, Great Britain, France, Turkey, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand.
At the 2013 Choice Hotels International annual convention, President and CEO Steve Joyce announced a $40-million Comfort property improvement incentive. Hundreds of Comfort brand hotels took advantage of the incentive over the following 18 months and invested close to $250 million in total.
The effort paid off, with participating hotels seeing incremental gains across key performance metrics. With a new prototype to entice developers, Comfort saw a 33-percent increase in new construction franchise agreements in 2015 alone.
The brand is seeing sustained all-time high guest satisfaction scores and continues to gain RevPAR Index against its competitors. Enhancements included helping hotel developers determine the best places to build new prototype Comfort properties, opening up optimal markets for these projects by removing hotels that don't fit the Comfort brand's trajectory and elevating Likelihood to Recommend (LTR) thresholds.
The efforts have resulted in an increase of openings, two-thirds of which are new-construction projects. Comfort hotels will be opening in Miami, Jacksonville, Fla., Dallas-Fort Worth, Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh, N.C., St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Tenn. and Birmingham, Ala.