Choice expands in Europe

Choice Hotels says it will continue its push into Europe, after adding new properties in 2005 across all four of its brands to bring its current European total count to 346 hotels. Choice has only been operating in the European hotel franchise market since 1997, and development strategy now is to fill the gaps so that all major conurbations are covered.

It has set aside 41 million euros to renovate some of its existing properties.

Choice’s current European portfolio is made up of 189 Comfort hotels (the premium budget brand), 7 Sleep Inns (all new-builds, premium limited service) 129 Quality (mid market) and 24 Clarions (business-lifestyle in key locations).

In France, Choice is planning to open 20 new hotels during 2006, while in Germany, a Comfort Hotel opens in Munich this month, and the 701-room Clarion in Berlin is being refurbished (270 executive rooms are being renovated and a new lobby bar and restaurant added).

The UK is proving a particularly successful location for Choice’s Sleep Inn brand, and eight more are undergoing planning approval - but the group plans to have 60 Sleep Inns operating in the UK within the next five years.