ROCKVILLE, Md.—Choice Hotels International opened 478 domestic and international properties in 2014. Choice’s outlook for future growth is also robust, based on the 566 new domestic franchise agreements signed by the company last year. Of those signed contracts, 159 were for new construction hotels, a more than 70-percent increase over the same period in 2013.
“It has been a landmark year on the development front for Choice Hotels, most notably with new construction agreements and the expansion of our development clientele as driving forces,” said David Pepper, senior vice president of global development for Choice Hotels International. “Developers recognize the smart growth and brand strategies we have in place, plus they know that now is an excellent time to invest and expand with us. We look forward to maintaining this strong growth trajectory through 2015.”
Among the most notable gains in 2014 were 10 new construction development agreements signed with Love’s Hospitality, the hotel development and management division of travel center conglomerate Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. These multiple agreements include projects with the Comfort brand, Sleep Inn, and Choice’s MainStay Suites & Sleep Inn dual-brand concept.
Upscale business traveler brand Cambria Hotels & Suites continues to surge, opening five new hotels with developers in key corporate travel destinations such as Washington, D.C.; White Plains, N.Y.; and Plano, Texas. These hotels have been developed and are being operated by hospitality partners Meyer Jabara Hotels, Concord Hospitality, and O’Reilly Hospitality Management, respectively. This year, two more Cambria properties are scheduled to open in Manhattan in addition to the brand’s flagship property in Rockville, Md., across from Choice Hotels International headquarters. On the development front, Choice executed several new Cambria franchise agreements, including four with institutional capital advisory firm, Fillmore Capital. Notable 2014 deal signings include leading travel destinations such as Miami, New Orleans, Nashville, and Houston.
Heightened developer interest in the refreshed Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites brands is evident in the brands’ new construction activity. In 2014, Choice Hotels signed 70 new construction franchise agreements for the Comfort family of brands across all market types including major U.S. cities such as New York City, Austin, Philadelphia, Denver, Houston, and Pittsburgh. Choice Hotels and existing Comfort franchisees have already invested more than one-quarter billion dollars in the system-wide revitalization, including the company’s $40 million property improvement incentive. Hotels that participated in the incentive program have now completed renovations.
The Sleep Inn brand’s Designed to Dream next generation look and feel continues to attract interest from developers. The company successfully executed 38 new agreements for the new construction brand in 2014, up more than 50-percent from the year prior. The Designed to Dream new construction prototype and mandatory system-wide redesign program is fueling the brand’s double digit RevPAR growth, which is outpacing the midscale segment.
The upscale Ascend Hotel Collection continues to expand. In 2014, Choice Hotels Global Development executed 11 new construction agreements for the Ascend Hotel Collection, most of which are located in New York City, as well as continuing to expand the system in major markets which include Los Angeles, Dallas, and Minneapolis.