Choice Hotels is giving its brands a facelift, starting with Comfort.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary in Europe this year, the American franchisor Choice Hotels has embarked on an ambitious program. In addition to refreshing all its brands in the Europe-Middle East-Africa region (EMEA), the company has launched a new lifestyle brand, Sleep.
The refresh began with the unveiling of plans for the mid-range, limited-service Comfort brand and will continue in April with plans for the high-end Clarion brand. The three-star Quality brand will unveil its new look in the summer, before the Ascend Collection of upscale boutique hotels does the same early next year.
With more than 7,100 hotels worldwide, most of them in North America, the hotel group has nearly 350 properties in the Europe-Middle East-Africa region, including about 50 in France and 20 in the United Kingdom and Germany, its three key markets. The region is considered strategic by the future of the Choice Group, which has set up a new team in Europe. ” With a business plan that should ensure solid growth for, I hope, the next fifty years
,” says Jonathan Mills, CEO of Choice Hotels in the EMEA region.
This team was responsible for defining and implementing the evolution of the group’s brands. ” During the pandemic, I spoke with franchisees and we also organized workshops with our customers. Consultants were also brought in to study the market, our brands and those of our competitors
,” explains Jonathan Mills. Based on all this feedback, the company started by rethinking the Comfort brand offer, presented in early spring and which will run for a year and a half.
By the end of 2023, the hundred or so hotels will be moving towards this new approach, starting by offering a redesigned customer experience based on two pillars: local influence for the restaurants or the design of the establishments and the implementation of the Comfort Crew. With their tablet or iPad, hotel teams will no longer be stuck behind the reception desk, but will come to meet guests to check in and offer their services.
” Our customers expect warmth, to be taken care of,” notes Jonathan Mills, who also explains that this evolution corresponds to the expectations of franchisees who ” like to have a general framework, but also real flexibility so they can develop a sense of hospitality that is unique to them.
” After this initial phase, the third pillar of the brand refresh, the Comfort Hub, will gradually appear in hotels. This redesigned lobby concept
consists of a multi-purpose space where travelers can check-in/check-out, relax and socialize in a lounge area, but also work in a quiet, coworking
Choice Hotels’ strategy in Europe also includes the launch of a new brand, Sleep, which has already appeared in the United States but whose positioning has been adapted to the expectations of European customers. This new mid-range brand has all the elements of the new lifestyle wave, with limited services, but a strong emphasis on the hotels’ entertainment, F&B and quality rooms. While the contours of this brand are still being worked out, the group should officially unveil it in the third quarter.
The Sleep brand will participate like the others in the future development of Choice Hotels in France, a point considered ” extremely important ” by Jonathan Mills: ” We already have good partners in this market and other opportunities are opening up, whether through acquisitions, our appeal to independent hotels or the arrival of franchisees from other brands who are interested in the evolution of our brands. ”
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!