Washington, D.C. - Nov. 4, 2002 - Marriott ExecuStay, the corporate housing division of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR), today announced the signing of its first franchise agreement, with Columbus Preferred Apartments of Ohio. Marriott ExecuStay’s franchise model represents a paradigm shift for the temporary housing industry and combines ExecuStay’s managed corporate apartment portfolio in Columbus with that of Columbus Preferred. The agreement also makes Marriott’s initial franchisee the largest corporate housing provider, with more than 250 units, in the Columbus metropolitan area.
The Columbus Preferred Apartments agreement is strategically in line with ExecuStay’s new franchise program, announced in July of this year, through which ExecuStay plans to strengthen its share in markets where it already has a presence and gain broader distribution by entering new markets.
Joe Lavin, executive vice president and managing director of Marriott ExecuStay, said, “Columbus Preferred absolutely fits the bill in terms of what we are seeking in a franchise partner: a philosophically-aligned quality operator of 100-plus units with the desire and ability to deliver a top-notch corporate housing customer experience.”
Lavin, who took the Marriott ExecuStay reins in December 2001, has deep expertise in the franchise arena. From 1997 through 2001, he served as senior vice president, franchising, for Marriott’s five limited-service brands. During his tenure, Marriott’s franchising business achieved substantial growth.
Founded by owners Gary and Vicky Smith in 1985, Columbus Preferred Apartments has a successful track record in Central Ohio for serving business travelers on long-term assignment, relocating employees, homebuyers between homes, people on extended training assignments and other individuals and families who need temporary housing.
Gary Smith, president of Columbus Preferred, said, “After 18 years of shaping our company into a consistently strong local and regional corporate housing provider, the time and the opportunity were ripe to become aligned with Marriott, a company whose reputation, reach and marketing benefits symbolize ‘best’ in the hospitality industry.”
Smith, a highly respected and visible leader in the corporate housing industry, is the current president of the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA).
Marriott ExecuStay (www.execustay.com; 1-888-840-7829) offers travelers who require stays of 30 days or more the spaciousness and privacy of apartment living in approximately 200 U.S. cities. All Marriott ExecuStay apartments are fully furnished and accessorized, with monthly rates that include basic utilities, phone service, cable television, 24/7 customer service, and the convenience of all payments on one monthly invoice.
Marriott ExecuStay, with approximately 6,000 apartments in the U.S., is part of Marriott International’s extended-stay lodging portfolio, which also includes Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Marriott Executive Apartments.