Choice Hotels makes multi-million dollar IT investment to accelerate growth in Europe

Choice Hotels International Inc, the global company behind the Comfort™, Quality™, Sleep Inn™ and Clarion® brands and one of the largest and most successful lodging franchisors in the world, today announced that it is rolling out a multi-million dollar technology infrastructure investment plan in Europe and other markets outside the US.

The investment is designed to strengthen Choice’s technology platform, automate back and front office processes at franchised hotel properties and drive increased central reservation system (CRS) delivery to Choice-branded hotels which will position the brands for future growth. Mark Pearce, SVP, International Division, commented: “The groundwork for this investment is currently underway in Europe and other markets and the next two years will see significant initiatives launched to meet the needs of our growing international business and accelerate our global growth.”

Choice Hotels International currently franchises more than 6,000 hotels globally and as of March 31, 2010, had more than 600 hotels under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States, representing more than 52,000 rooms.  In markets outside the US more than 100 hotels, representing approximately 8,200 rooms, are under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development, including forty in Europe.

Here in the UK four Choice-branded hotels have recently opened including Quality Hotel Maitrise, Maida Vale, Quality Hotel Crewe Arms, Quality Hotel Reading and Quality Hotel Birmingham / NEC.  Seven UK hotel properties also underwent or are undergoing significant refurbishment projects.

The multi-million dollar IT investment will include the international roll-out of choiceADVANTAGE, the company’s web-based Property Management System (PMS) which automates front and back office hotel processes such as check-in, invoicing and inventory management, starting with testing in the UK market later this year.  Already implemented at many hotels in the US and Canada, it alleviates the manual work required by hoteliers to process reservations from multiple systems and makes inventory centrally available. An interface will also be available to other industry-recognised PMSs.

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The company also plans to migrate its international websites onto choicehotels.com architecture and infrastructure, while maintaining functionality and localisation features that are required by each market.

Pearce added “Our investment in technology infrastructure will not only benefit hoteliers but the many business and leisure travellers who book and stay at Choice-branded properties in Europe.”