Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE:CHH) today announced plans to transition its Minot, North Dakota contact center to a home-based operation as part of its strategy to ensure its service and reservations centers are performing at optimum levels in support of the company’s franchisees and hotel guests.
The transition is expected to happen gradually to enable the company to maintain its historically high service levels and consequently maximize performance and minimize disruption, as well as provide the company’s associates time to plan for the change.
The company has ceased hiring in Minot and will be focusing its efforts on placing associates in home-based positions over the next several months. Although the exact number of home-based associates has not yet been finalized, Choice expects to significantly increase its number of home-based positions from the current 50 in Minot prior to closure of its physical facility in Minot sometime in 2011.
“While the decision to close the physical center in Minot by 2011 was not an easy decision to make, we feel strongly that it provides the best balance of business continuity and operational flexibility, enabling us to preserve the strengths of our Minot operation while positioning us effectively for the future,” said Mary Beth Knight, senior vice president, eCommerce and global distribution. “The home-based solution offers us the ability to meet our objectives while maintaining opportunities for our Minot associates. As part of our global contact center strategy, we are confident that this approach in Minot will improve our overall ability to attract and retain talent in support of our worldwide operations, drive strong long-term results and better leverage Choice’s resources.”
As a part of its transition strategy, Choice is offering a variety of professional development courses to provide needed tools and resources to its Minot associates to successfully transition to a home-based model or prepare for other opportunities both within and outside the company. The changes to the Minot operation will be seamless for franchisees and guests, who can still expect to receive the same high levels of reservations support and service delivery they currently enjoy.
“We are very proud of the performance of our associates in Minot and their contributions to our organization’s success,” said Mark Weiner, vice president, customer care and reservations. “Choice already has in place a number of home-based reservations agents established in other markets as well as Minot, which is consistent with standard practice in the travel industry. We look forward to expanding this model and continuing to offer this option to our associates in the Minot community.”