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Choice Hotels International ( ) is a hospitality holding corporation which owns several hotel brands and is based in Silver Spring, Marylandmarker. In 2008, Choice Hotels’ total revenue was $642 million, of which, $637 million from Franchise, and $4.94 million from Corporate Items.

History

The company was started in 1939 in Maryland as Quality Courts United, a referral chain consisting of about seven motel owners. Later, the motel chain operated simply under the name Quality Motels (1969-71) and Quality Inns (since 1972). Quality Courts United accepted franchise hotels without strict norms or guidelines from the company. This is different from Holiday Inn which from their early beginnings implemented numerous mandatory standards and guidelines (e.g. room size and amenities) at every one of their locations. Also, Quality Inn accepted franchisees with existing hotels.

During its early years, Quality Courts' operations were entirely in areas of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River and portions of Canada. From 1946 to 1964, Quality had a marketing partnership with Best Western, whose properties were located mostly west of the Mississippi River, and thus not in direct competition with Quality. While this partnership made sense geographically, it did not go over well in the long run, and was abandoned in 1964 as Best Western expanded into the Eastern U.S. with its Best Eastern operation (which was replaced by a nationwide Best Western operation in 1967). Quality Courts began its efforts toward national coverage in 1966 when it opened a motel in St. Louis, Missourimarker and two in Texas at Houstonmarker and Arlingtonmarker.

The company became Quality International as the company switched to franchising in 1972. A few years later, the franchising well on its way, about 300 hotels were independently owned and only about 38 were still company-owned.

In 1982, Quality Inns pioneered segmentation in the lodging industry by introducing Comfort Inns and Quality Royale. Comfort Inn competes with such chains such as AmericInn Hotels, Baymont Inn & Suites, and Fairfield Inn by Marriott; Quality Royale was meant to compete with upper mid-priced chains like Red Lion and Four Points by Sheraton. Comfort Inn experienced impressive growth in the 1980s and 1990s.

Quality Royale was converted to Clarion Hotels in 1987. It represented a line of full-service hotels that offer travelers a variety of hotel styles and locations, from city centers, airport, and resorts. Clarion provides a full spectrum of services - including full service restaurants, lounges, room service, and banquet and conference centers.Clarion's boutique line, Clarion Collection (now Ascend Collection), is an extension of the brand. Ascend Collection is designed for high-end, boutique and historic hotels that have an established local identity.Clarions compete with hotel chains like Red Lion, Radisson, and Four Points by Sheraton. Internationally, over 300 Clarion Hotels are open with several more under development.

Two all-suite divisions, Comfort Suites and Quality Suites, were introduced as the first mid-market all-suite chains. The original Quality Inn brand competes with Holiday Inn, Best Western, and Ramada.

In 1989, the company introduced Sleep Inn, a revolutionary economy brand utilizing a consistent interior corridor design prototype and all-new construction, designed by Rob Spurr. Sleep Inn and Sleep Inn and Suites are lower mid-priced and can be compared to Marriott's Fairfield Inn, Hyatt/Blackstone's Microtel, Hilton's Hampton Inn, or IHG's Holiday Inn Express.The first location opened in the United Kingdommarker in 1989. Since then, over 320 locations are open. All offer a "Morning Medley" deluxe continental breakfast, swimming pools at most locations, free local calls, and a consistent exterior/interior design.

The company bought the three economy-oriented chains known as Friendship Inns, Rodeway Inn, and Econo Lodge in the early 1990s, while changing the corporate name to Choice Hotels International. Friendship Inns would later be absorbed into the Rodeway and Econo Lodge chains; no Friendship Inns exist today.

In 1997 the company would introduce the extended-stay Mainstay Suites brand and the Choice Privileges frequent guest loyalty program. Mainstay Suites was branded as mid-priced extended stay hotels, franchised by Choice Hotels International. Mainstay Suites hotels provide comfortable and affordable accommodations to extended stay travelers as well as provide many amenities to its guests. A mix of one bedroom and studio units have been added to the prototype, creating a traditional residential image. Public space now includes a community room, guest laundry room, exercise room, and sundries shop all in the same general area. Suites include a fully equipped kitchen, a large walk-in closet, sofa bed, and work space for business travelers. A free continental breakfast is served daily. Guests also enjoy a managers reception at least one time per week. As of 2008, there were 37 Mainstay Suites hotels open in the United States and dozens more under development.

In 1992, Choice Hotels became the largest franchise hotel chain in the world.

A new extension to the Clarion brand is the Ascend Collection (formerly Clarion Collection), which consists of historic and boutique-style hotels that are service-oriented and designed to be luxurious and affordable at the same time.

In January 2005, Choice Hotels introduced a new upscale, all-suite hotel designed in contemporary style called Cambria Suites. The first Cambria Suites opened in Boise, Idahomarker on April 17, 2007. Approximately 20 Cambria Suites hotels are planned, with locations such as Bloomington, Minnesotamarker and Savannah, Georgiamarker scheduled to open in 2007.

In September 2005, Choice Hotels acquired the Suburban Extended-Stay Hotel chain, which consists of 67 rural extended-stay hotels.

Competitors



Corporate Innovation

Choice Hotels has led the industry with many innovations, being the first to:

  • Offer total wall-to-wall carpeting in all hotels (1952)
  • Offer in room telephones and 24 hour desk service (1954)
  • Guarantee Reservations (1963)
  • Offer 24 hour, toll-free reservations (1970)
  • Offer non-smoking rooms in every hotel (1984)
  • Offer internet reservation services (1995)


Hotel brands

  • Comfort Inn
  • Comfort Suites
  • Quality Inn
  • Sleep Inn
  • Clarion Hotels|Clarion
  • Cambria Suites
  • Mainstay Suites
  • Suburban Extended Stay Hotel
  • Ascend Collection
  • Econo Lodge
  • Rodeway Inn


External links



Footnotes

  1. Choice Hotels Revenue Sources, Wikinvest. Retrieved July 15, 2009.



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