Since the acquisition of the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel brand in late 2005, Choice Hotels International has focused on building a dedicated infrastructure to bolster its aggressive expansion and service commitment to the extended stay lodging market. Choice began its commitment to the segment by establishing a corporate extended stay brand team to help increase franchisee profitability and customer satisfaction at its extended stay brands.
The team is led by Kevin Lewis, vice president extended stay brands, who is also the chair of the Extended Stay Lodging Council of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Lewis’ team is focused on the on-going integration of the Suburban brand as well as a variety of new initiatives focused on the needs of extended stay franchisees.
Choice also created franchise development, franchise services and sales support teams dedicated to the extended stay segment.
“Our dedicated franchise support team is committed to providing our extended stay franchisees with the right tools to maximize rate and occupancy in the segment,” Lewis said.
“The operational expertise of our team combined with the power of Choice’s global marketing and central reservations system provides our franchisees the right tools for success in the segment.
“Suburban brand franchisees were live on the Choice reservations system fewer than 100 days after the acquisition,” he added. “Our largest franchisee reported receiving more reservations in the first week after the cut-over than in the entire month of January 2005.”
The franchise development team is led by Dan Couture, regional vice president, extended stay development.
“Our team of extended stay franchise sales directors is focused on the growing both the MainStay Suites and Suburban brands,” said Couture. “We have set ambitious goals for ourselves this year, and we expect to meet those goals.”
The extended stay-focused services team provides revenue advice, operational advice and quality assurance for our extended stay properties. The extended stay-focused local sales support team will help drive extended stay business to the individual properties.
“One of the main customer bases for Choice Hotels is franchisees,” said Lewis. “We’re always looking to deliver a high ROI to our franchisees, and one way we’re trying to help do so in the case of our extended stay properties is to provide a strong local sales effort. We believe this local effort is essential to the profitability of the hotels.”
In addition, Choice is now providing extended stay-focused training, and has modified its technology, including the company’s profit management system and reservations management system, to meet the needs and support the operations of its extended stay hotels.
MainStay Suites, the company’s mid-scale extended stay brand, recently celebrated the opening of its 27th hotel in St. Roberts, Missouri. The hotel is built with the brand’s newly introduced market flexible room types allowing the appropriate local mix of studio and one-bedroom suites.
Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, the company’s economy extended stay brand, recently opened its 66th hotel in Dayton, Ohio. The hotel is built using the newest, cost efficient Suburban prototype.
Choice Hotels also has created an extended stay specific marketing plan for 2006 to drive long-term extended stay business to its extended stay hotels. The plan consists of a combination of advertisements, advertorials, direct mail/email, direct sales and attendance at relevant trade shows.