Even though Concord Hospitality’s franchising relationship with Choice Hotels is still in the early stages, Nick Kellock, chief operating officer of Concord, is confident the Cambria Hotels & Suites brand is well on its way to joining the ranks of the company’s other franchises. In opening two Cambria properties in Washington, D.C., and the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, the nearly 40-year hospitality veteran is excited to open a third Cambria near Times Square this fall.
How has the response been to the two Cambria properties Concord Hospitality has opened? They are both urban, custom hotels, but they’re both respective to their markets. They’re outstanding products and beautiful hotels. They both opened very successfully. Both of these hotels get great customer reviews. The importance of online media and being reviewed positively on the media channels cannot be overstated, and they’re both scoring extremely well on those media channels.
What has it been like to work with Choice? It’s been an excellent experience—highly collaborative. They work with us very much as part of one team with one goal to make sure these hotels are successful and well executed. We have a lot of relationships that go back a long time [Kellock previously worked with Choice employees at Marriott]—they’ve got good people and good resources.
What advice would you give to a new franchisee? Make sure you know the resources that are available to you on the sales side and the operational side. Invest time in building relationships with the franchisor, because there’s more to it than signing a franchise agreement, building the hotel, and putting a flag on it. To get the best out of a franchise—and this applies to all franchisors—invest time in understanding who the people are who are there to support you, and the resources they bring to the table.