Competition is heating up in both the upscale
all-suites and the economy extended-stay segments. Among recent
Choice Hotels International, based in Silver Springs, Md.,
recently announced the launch of Cambria Suites, an upscale
all-suite brand. Hotels will offer 100 to 150 guest units, fitness
facilities, wireless Internet access and at least 1,000 square feet
of meeting space. Room rates will hover in the $100 range.
Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott International, which for years has
dominated the extended-stay market, is plowing millions into its
Residence Inn brand in a determined effort to maintain market
prominence. In June, the company unveiled the G7 suite, to be
rolled out in all Residence Inn properties. New services include
HOMEtouch, a complimentary breakfast that lets guests place a
customized breakfast order, rather than being limited to a
Marriott will add an additional 30 Residence Inns by year-end,
plus another 25 to 30 each year through 2008.
Choice Hotels also is eyeing the extended-stay market. In May,
the company rolled out a new brand prototype, dubbed Hotel Concept
2006. The yet-to-be-named brand will go head-to-head with
InterContinental’s Staybridge Suites, U.S. Franchise Systems’
Hawthorn Suites and Accor North America’s Studio 6.
All-suite hotels hold particular appeal for meeting planners on
tight budgets, noted Robert Mandelbaum, director of research
information services for Atlanta-based PKF Hospitality Research.
With free breakfasts and cocktail hours, planners can eliminate
entire line items from their budgets.
All-suite brands enjoyed a 6.3 percent increase in revenue and
double-digit profit growth in 2004 over 2003.