Choice Hotels’ Janis Cannon on the Summer of Cambria

Cambria Hotel Milwaukee Downtown

Senior vice president of upscale brands for Choice Hotels International Janis Cannon believes the “new normal” for the company’s upscale Cambria brand is lots and lots of openings. And she has evidence to back that up—from July 26 to September 18, seven Cambrias will open their doors. According to Cannon, this growth will continue throughout the brands future; she shared that insight and more in a recent interview with LODGING.

Cambria is opening seven hotels in two months. Which hotels have already opened? How do they stand out in the Cambria portfolio?

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Three hotels have already opened this summer. The Cambria Hotel Bettendorf – Quad Cities in Iowa opened on July 29, the Cambria Hotel Houston Downtown Convention Center opened on August 1, and the Cambria Hotel Milwaukee Downtown opened on August 22. Houston in particular is an interesting Cambria. It’s an adaptive reuse of the original Petroleum Club that was built in 1927 and was also home of the Texaco headquarters. It’s the sister building to our downtown Dallas hotel, which was also an adaptive reuse. These two hotels have so much history that we delivered on in a modern and fresh way, especially in regards to the finishes and materials that we used. These properties are also unique for Cambria in that they are adaptive reuse. Cambria hotels are primarily new build, but we’ve learned now that adaptive reuse also works well for the brand. Our guests love it because it’s the marriage of the architectural legacy and the history with all the modern conveniences that today’s travelers need.

This seems to be a confluence of all the groundwork you have been laying around the Cambria brand over the past couple of years. Seven openings in two months is a lot.

It is. We have three or four more Cambrias that will come on line before the end of the year as well. We’ve also been successful in moving our pipeline into actual ground breakings. We’ve been anticipating that this is going to be the new normal, versus just a cycle or a peak. Based on how quickly projects are moving through ground break to the opening, this is our new norm.

How does it feel to see the brand succeeding like this?

Building a brand takes a lot of people and tenacity to make it successful. It feels great. A lot of people have done the heavy lifting for a long time, not just here at Choice, but also owners and developers who were able to see our vision. We’re moving towards this watershed moment, which is a pivotal moment in terms of getting to 50 hotels and being in the top 38 markets across the United States. It takes all the different stakeholders working together. Not to sound cliché, but our time is now because we are opening these incredible assets in these major markets where customers want to be, whether it’s for business or leisure. We have hotels that tell wonderful stories and embrace the destination where they’re located with a sense of space and a sense of place.

Is there anything else you want to get out there about the summer of Cambria?

Anaheim is going to be our biggest hotel. It has a waterpark and an outdoor movie theater wall that’s part of the hotel. Our other locations opening this summer include Richardson and Boston. Cambria is delivering on the location, and our guests want our hotels to deliver on that experience.