Villager Franchise Systems Announces The Signing Of Several Deals To Build And Franchise 18 Hearthsi

Villager Franchise Systems Inc. today announced the signing of several agreements, including a 10-property deal, to build and franchise 18 of the extended-stay brand`s all-new-construction Hearthside by Villager hotels, representing nearly 2,200 rooms that will significantly enhance the chain`s presence in the Midwest and South.

Cecil Weatherspoon of Sandusky, Ohio, will develop 10 of the 146-room, three-story hotels in Ohio. The other eight hotels will be developed in North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi and Florida. Each will be one of the brand`s three new prototypes: a 146-room, three-story configuration; an 84-room, three-story configuration; or a smaller 67-room, two-story configuration. Groundbreaking for the first hotels in each area is expected by mid-summer.

“The signing of these deals demonstrates the Villager brand`s continuing popularity in the economy extended-stay segment and confirms the viability of our recently created, all-new-construction Hearthside by Villager tier, which will be more than doubled in size,” said Ken Rodgers, Villager president & chief executive officer.

“I am truly excited to welcome Mr. Weatherspoon and the other outstanding developers to the growing Villager family,” he said. “All of these hoteliers have previously built transient, new-construction properties. By developing the new Hearthside by Villager hotels, they demonstrate considerable confidence in the Villager brand`s continued success as well as extended-stay`s continuing popularity. We will continue to pursue new opportunities to further grow the chain.”

Weatherspoon said he is “delighted to join an organization that is a leader in the economy extended-stay segment,” adding, “I believe the Villager brand`s national marketing presence, brand recognition and resources will help ensure the success of the new hotels.”


In addition to the nine deals, the Villager brand received—in its first 40 days of selling the new Hearthside by Villager tier - 21 franchise applications representing more than 2,500 rooms.

The Villager brand expanded rapidly during the first quarter of this year, with 33 new contracts signed versus 15 during the first quarter of 2000, a 120 percent increase. The number of rooms associated with those deals totals 3,658, up from 1,240 rooms contracted during the same period in 2000, an increase of nearly 200 percent.

Sixteen new Villager hotels opened during the first quarter of this year versus four in 2000, a 300 percent increase. The number of rooms associated with those hotels totals 2,137, up from 380 rooms opened during the same period in 2000, an increase of 462 percent.

The average size of new Villager hotels is larger than its predecessors. The average number of rooms per property is up 33 percent this year for new deals and 29 percent for newly opened hotels compared with the first quarter of 2000.

Hearthside by Villager features four room types including efficiencies, executive suites and one- or two-bedroom corporate apartments, all specifically designed to appeal to the growing demand for extended-stay lodging.

Villager Franchise Systems Inc., an extended-stay chain of 175 properties open or under development representing more than 14,000 guest rooms in the Unites States, Canada and Mexico, is a subsidiary of Cendant Corporation (NYSE: CD). For reservations or further information, call the Villager toll-free reservations number, (800) 328-7829, or visit the chain`s Web site at For franchising opportunities for Hearthside Extended Stay Studios by Villager and other Villager products, call (800) 758-8999.