Choice Hotels International is gearing up to launch a new nationwide advertising campaign in the coming weeks. The company said that while the new campaign will reinforce its long-standing commitment to the leisure traveler, it is seeking to capture a greater share of the corporate-travel market, which Choice believes it is now well-positioned to attract.
"We're proud of our history as the hotel company families turn to for vacations and road-trip stays -- and that won't change," said Pat Pacious, Choice Hotels president and CEO. "The company is ready to build on our success by demonstrating to business travelers that we've invested in everything they want and need, especially in our flagship Comfort brand and upscale Cambria brand. Our upcoming ad campaign will be the capstone to these investments, and signal that we're open for business, whether that 'business' is meeting with clients or attending a family reunion."
With a portfolio that now numbers close to 7,000 properties in more than 40 countries, Choice Hotels has made major investments across its Cambria, Comfort, Sleep Inn and WoodSpring Suites brands to take advantage of the corporate-travel market, which is expected to total $1.7 trillion by 2022. The company has committed approximately $725 million in capital expenditure to its upscale Cambria Hotels brand, which was launched in 2005 and designed specifically for the time-starved, modern business traveler. Today, the brand's portfolio has grown to more than 100 Cambria properties in key markets that include Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., as well as second-tier cities such as Burlington, Vt.
In addition, the company has made a more than $2.5 billion joint investment with franchisees in its Comfort brand, its most competitive midscale brand in the corporate market, which includes Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites. By the end of 2018, 450 Comfort hotels had completed the renovations needed to align with Choice's strategy for the brand's transformation, which was announced earlier in the year. WoodSpring Suites, an extended-stay collection and one of Choice's fastest-growing brands, will grow its portfolio to more than 300 by year-end 2020.
Choice also noted that it has invested heavily in technology infrastructure in the last few years to help franchisees capture more government and corporate business. In September 2018, the company launched Virtual Pay, an online payment option that allows corporate-travel managers to book stays for their travelers without the need for a corporate credit card. Its Group Management Platform, which was launched in January this year, allows guests to make reservations for groups booking 10 or more rooms.
"When we received feedback from guests about group planning and booking, we listened and innovated with proprietary technology to meet their travel needs," said Chad Fletcher, Choice Hotel's vice president of global sales. "The new Group Management Platform provides a seamless and centralized solution for group travel planners, giving them the ability to reserve, manage and plan group reservations with ease."