The editors of Entrepreneur Magazine have named Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH), worldwide franchisor of Comfort, Quality, Econo Lodge, Clarion, Sleep, Rodeway and MainStay Suites brand hotels, the #1 lodging franchise company for 1998.
In evaluating franchise companies from all industries for the publication`s 19th annual Franchise 500, Entrepreneur`s editors considered financial strength and stability, growth rate, system size, years in business, start-up costs, litigation history, and percentage of terminations. Choice ranked #16 in the overall listing of franchise companies, sharing a “Top 20” designation with such franchisors as McDonald`s, Burger King, 7-Eleven and Taco Bell. Choice was the only lodging company listed in the Top 20.
“We`re honored to be singled out for excellence in this prestigious ranking - but we`re not surprised,” said Choice President and Chief Executive Officer William R. Floyd. “It`s been an outstanding year—our first full year as a publicly traded company. A number of initiatives launched in 1997 earned us this ranking and will continue to shape our franchising strategy in the years to come.”
All told, 421 new properties joined the Choice system in 1997. A full 60 percent of those were new construction properties, solidifying the company`s position as the industry`s new construction leader. Sleep Inn and Comfort Suites, both established frontrunners in the new construction market, were responsible for the majority of Choice`s new build growth last year. MainStay Suites, launched in 1996 as Choice`s entry into the extended stay market, also came on strong in 1997, with three properties open and 28 under development by year`s end.
These additions bring Choice`s total system size to 4,328 hotels, inns, all-suites and resorts open and under development in 33 nations.