InTown Suites, the leader in budget extended-stay hotels, today announced plans to increase its portfolio by more than 30 percent in 2001, bringing the total to 53 properties owned by year-end. All InTown Suites are company owned.
“Demand for budget extended-stay hotels continues to expand rapidly for companies that provide a quality product,” said David Vickers, managing member, chief executive officer and president of InTown Suites. “Since we began in 1990, we have grown at an annual compound rate of 40 percent, and we still see significant expansion opportunities.”
Vickers pointed out that the company’s hotels, which have an average weekly rate of $175, attract a broad-cross section of guests, including people relocating, those on extended business assignments and individuals experiencing domestic transitions. “Our stabilized properties, those open for at least six months, maintain an average occupancy of more than 90 percent, compared to an average occupancy rate of 70 percent for the extended-stay segment. We also enjoy one of the segment’s highest margins,” he said.
He noted that guests book rooms in one-week increments and typically stay an average of 10 weeks, considerably longer than the average guest in the extended-stay segment.
Year-to-date, InTown Suites has opened properties in San Antonio, Texas (three), Indianapolis, Ind., Phoenix, Ariz., Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Fla., and Tampa, Fla. This summer, properties are scheduled to open in Tucson, Ariz., Dallas, Texas, and Oklahoma City, Okla. An additional four hotels are expected to open this fall: Salt Lake City, Utah, a second property in Phoenix, Ariz., Richmond, Va., and a second hotel in Indianapolis, Ind.
Funding already is in place to complete these projects, and the company currently has significant capital available for further expansion. “This year, we added nine new major markets to our system, and next year, we plan to expand to another 10 markets. Over the next three years, we are targeting more than 30 additional markets that we believe have significant growth potential,” he noted. “Our goal is to add at least 20 properties in 2002, bringing our total portfolio to 73 hotels, and to be at 100 properties within three years.”
Vickers pointed out that InTown Suites builds and manages all of its properties. “We have developed sophisticated in-house construction capabilities that allow us to complete a project within approximately 10 months. All-in construction costs, including land and soft costs, total approximately $35,000 a room,” he said. “We have created a superior, attractively priced, product that encourages longer guest stays, which allows us to maintain high occupancies and achieve superior returns.”
A typical exterior corridor InTown Suites property features 121 studio suites and is located in major urban and suburban areas on major thoroughfares with high visibility, usually near high concentrations of retail facilities. Each suite measures 288 square feet of space with full-size refrigerator, two-burner cook-top stove, microwave oven and dining area. Furnishings include a full-size bed, foldout sofa, television set and chest of drawers.
New Interior Corridor Prototype:
Vickers said that the company has just opened its first interior corridor prototype in May in suburban Indianapolis, Ind. The 121-room property features slightly larger, 308-square-foot suites, as well as all of the amenities of the exterior corridor prototype. “What separates us from other extended-stay properties is our value,” said Vickers. “We provide safe, clean hotels with quality furnishings in highly desirable locations. Our guest satisfaction scores are well in excess of 96 percent. Our occupancy levels and average length of stay reaffirm how well our guests like our properties and amenities and the value they represent.”
InTown Suites currently is testing at 20 properties the concept of providing free high- speed Internet access for its guests. “Our guests are amazed that we can offer such an amenity for free,” he said. “No-cost, high-speed Internet access typifies our approach to our guests, providing them with more than they expect.”
InTown Suites is a privately held corporation based in Atlanta, Ga., that develops, owns, manages or has under construction 53 hotels with more than 6,800 rooms in 13 states and 19 major cities. The brand currently has seven properties under construction and 20 hotels in the development pipeline.
A significant investor in InTown Suites is Lazard Freres Real Estate Investors, LLC (LFREI), the real estate investment affiliate of Lazard Freres & Co., LLP, a leading global investment bank. LFREI manages several real estate investment funds, including a strategic investment program capitalized with approximately $2.4 billion in equity. Since its inception, LFREI has acquired sizable investment stakes in a select group of leading real-estate operating companies, including American Apartment Communities; ARV Assisted Living, Inc.; Atlantic American Properties (formerly Bell Atlantic Properties); Atria Communities, Inc.; Center Trust, Clivedon plc; Commonwealth Atlantic Properties (formerly RF&P Corporation); Dermody Properties; The Fortress Group; Kapson Senior Quarters; Konover Property Trust, Inc.; and The Rubenstein Company, LP.