Choice Hotels' Comfort Brand Transformation Hits Its Stride
Positive Gains From Brand Improvement Strategy Helps Boost Developer Interest
PHOENIX - Oct. 7, 2015 // PRNewswire // - With more than 30 years of experience serving loyal travelers, the Comfort brand still refuses to rest on its laurels. As each month passes, the Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites brands, which are franchised by Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), one of the world's leading hotel companies, are sustaining peak levels of overall guest satisfaction scores and heightened developer interest. This energized momentum is largely being fueled by the now steady stream of freshly built new prototype hotels opening their doors in the past year, more existing properties unveiling modern renovations, the introduction of appealing new brand programs, and the departure from the system of hundreds of hotels that don't fit the direction of the portfolio.
"The franchisees who were early believers and early adopters of our sweeping and aggressive changes for the Comfort brand are helping to drive the favorable results we are seeing already," said Anne Smith, vice president of brand strategy for Choice Hotels. "Their actions and positive word of mouth coupled with improvements in the economy really propelled this positive change for the Comfort brand way ahead of schedule."
Reaping The Rewards
Approximately 300 hotels that took advantage of Choice Hotels' landmark $40 million dollar Comfort brand property improvement incentive offered in May 2013, and invested close to $250MM in total, are now enjoying the fruits of their efforts. In aggregate, those hotels are experiencing incremental RevPAR gains that are, on average, 5% higher than non-participating hotels. Many of the hotels that renovated earliest have been able to capitalize on the strong lodging cycle and are experiencing even higher lifts.
Driving Development And Opening Doors
With regard to franchise development, year to date the Comfort brand is experiencing an accelerated pace of new agreements, up 92-percent at the end of the second quarter of 2015 versus the year prior. New construction prototype hotels and high-quality conversion projects are planned in markets which include: Salt Lake City, Utah; New York City; Dallas, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; and Columbus, Ohio. These hotels will join recently opened new prototype Comfort brand hotels in Rochester, Minnesota; Woodland, California; Omaha, Nebraska; Youngstown, Ohio; and Kanab, Utah. These new properties, along with dozens of others under construction, are strengthening the Comfort brand portfolio and showcasing its enhanced product offering.
"An abundance of research is conducted before decisions are made to steer the Comfort brand one way or another. This includes, of course, feedback from guests, as well as deep engagement with franchisees," added Smith. "The success of the Comfort brand is based 100-percent on teamwork, with the franchisees on the frontlines. So their operational expertise and guest insights are invaluable in developing truly impactful yet cost effective brand initiatives."
As a result of this collaboration, overall guest satisfaction scores for the Comfort brand continue to surge to all-time highs. This corresponds with the deliberate steps designed to enhance the on-property experience and to communicate to guests that their care and contentment is always top of mind. The Comfort brand's recently rolled-out new tagline -- Rested. Set. Go. -- is an appropriate example. These words were carefully selected to indicate that the brand endeavors to enable travelers to feel rested and ready to take on the day throughout their stay – beginning when they make their reservations, to the moment they enter the hotel, all the way through their departure.
Other recently announced enhancements to the guest experience include: smoke-free hotels across the entire Comfort portfolio beginning in July 2016, which will make Comfort the largest hotel brand in the industry to eliminate smoking rooms; additional healthy food items offered in the brand's signature free hot breakfast (such as Greek yogurt with a selection of toppings such as dried fruit, nuts and granola); and welcome stations in the lobby with lemon-infused water. Guests will also soon be able to enjoy the new RAIO™ line of bath and hair products, developed specifically for Comfort hotels and featuring a citrus-mint fragrance to delight the senses. Larger, plusher towels and new shower curtains are also components of the upgraded bath experience to meet the expectations of the upper midscale guest.
Comfort Inn®: Rested. Set. Go.™
When you travel, what do you need to be ready for the day ahead? At Comfort Inn® hotels we think we've got a pretty good idea. Like friendly staff, comfortable rooms, and amenities you can count on, for a start. Can't decide if you want a soft or firm pillow? Don't worry - your bed has both. Our premium bedding will leave you rested and refreshed in the morning, just in time to enjoy our signature free hot breakfast. Now, if you can't decide which waffle to try first, we suggest flipping a coin - because both the original and flavored are delicious.
With all the amenities you need, and hotels everywhere you want to be, Comfort Inn will get you rested and ready for anything. After all, behind every great day is a great night.
Comfort Suites®: Rested. Set. Go.™
Bigger really is better. And at Comfort Suites hotels, you'll find more of the space you need to spread out, relax or work - 25% more space than a traditional room, to be exact. Stretch out on the sofa, be productive at the desk or kick back in our premium bedding. Comfort Suites hotels have the essentials you need to stay on your game and to be your best.
As all-suites, 100% smoke free hotels, every Comfort Suites hotel has the extra space you need with the extras you want - like a refrigerator and a microwave in the convenience of your own suite, and a fitness center and pool in just about every hotel to help you stay active while you're on the go. Don't forget to start your day off right with a free hot breakfast - and our signature waffles that are always a favorite - and get the fuel you need to be ready for the day ahead. Because behind every great day is a great night.
About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc.® (NYSE: CHH) is one of the world's largest lodging companies. With more than 6,300 hotels franchised in more than 35 countries and territories, we represent more than 500,000 rooms around the globe. As of June 30, 2015, 613 hotels were in our development pipeline. Our company's Ascend Hotel Collection®, Cambria® hotels & suites, Comfort Inn®, Comfort Suites®, Sleep Inn®, Quality®, Clarion®, MainStay Suites®, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel®, Econo Lodge® and Rodeway Inn® brands provide a spectrum of lodging choices to meet guests' needs. With more than 24 million members and counting, check out our Choice Privileges® rewards program to see how you can reap the benefits of being a member of the Choice Hotels® family. All hotels are independently owned and operated. Visit us at www.choicehotels.com for more information.
© 2015. Choice Hotels International, Inc. All rights reserved.
Comfort Inn & Suites Rochester, MN - Guestroom
SOURCE Choice Hotels International, Inc.