Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites, franchised by Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH today announced the first of its new construction agreements under a recently launched and unprecedented development incentive for the Comfort brands.
The news was shared at the 60th Annual Choice Hotels International Convention in Las Vegas. Aimed to accelerate system growth and a sweeping multi-faceted refresh of nearly 1,900 domestic Comfort branded hotels, the incentive has markedly heightened developer interest since its rollout in early April.
"Right now, we are experiencing a unique window of opportunity for developers to become part of the next chapter in the Comfort story," said David Pepper, senior vice president of global development for Choice Hotels International. "The new construction incentive has already generated interest and great conversations with seasoned developers across the country. We're strengthening the new construction pipeline, focusing on strategic markets and elevating the overall Comfort portfolio."
Announced just a few weeks ago, the development incentive is designed to encourage growth in the Comfort portfolio by reducing fees totaling three years of royalty value on approved Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites new build projects.
Two new Comfort Inn and Suites branded hotel properties recently executed franchise agreements in the Oklahoma City and Houston metropolitan areas. The projects are perfectly timed for these flourishing business markets. They are scheduled to break ground later this year.
Through the Comfort brand overall refresh, hotels have already upgraded amenities to enhance the stay experience. These include a recently augmented free hot breakfast, as well as flat-panel televisions, new bedding and pillows in all guest rooms now available at hotels throughout the domestic Comfort system.
Right now, the Comfort brand has 23 new hotels actively under construction across the country. In addition to robust new development, more than 300 existing Comfort branded hotels (approximately 20 percent of the system) are undergoing major transformation. By the end of this year, Comfort franchisees will have invested more than one quarter-billion dollars on property improvements since 2011. Further, in May 2013 Choice Hotels announced it would commit up to $40 million in financial incentives to support these efforts. This was the largest such investment Choice Hotels has ever made in a single brand improvement alongside Comfort franchisees.
As brand expectations have increased, approximately 20 percent of hotels have transitioned out of the Comfort Inn brand over the last three years. As a result, Comfort now offers a better, more consistent travel experience leading to its highest measured guest satisfaction level ever.
"We're raising expectations of who can fly the Comfort flag and maintaining a laser focus on making this iconic brand the preferred brand in the upper mid-scale travel segment," said Anne Smith, vice president for domestic brand strategy at Choice Hotels International. "We're incredibly energized by how the "New Comfort" has been received by current franchisees, new development partners and most importantly, our guests."
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises more than 6,300 hotels, representing more than 500,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 35 other countries and territories. As of March 31, 2014, 398 hotels, representing more than 30,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States. Additionally, 95 hotels, representing approximately 8,900 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 15 other countries and territories.
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.