2014

Ascend Hotel Collection Adds 100th Property - Hotel Elan, Calgary Independent hotel collection opens 30 hotels in 2013

LOS ANGELES, May, 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ascend Hotel Collection® from Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), one of the world's largest hotel companies, today announced the opening of its 100th hotel, a milestone for the portfolio of independent hotels launched in late 2008.   

The announcement was made at the company's annual convention in Los Angeles on the heels of a string of additions that marked the Collection's expansion into such top destinations as Las Vegas, Napa Valley, Sedona and Baltimore. Since the beginning of the year, Ascend Hotel Collection has opened 30 hotels, catapulting the portfolio to its landmark 100th hotel in less than five years.

Since its debut in 2008, Ascend Hotel Collection has quintupled in size, adding hotels on three continents and five countries and establishing its position as a leader in the growing trend toward affiliation for independent hotels.

"Ascend Hotel Collection plays a key role in our corporate strategy to expand in the upscale segment," said Steve Joyce, president and CEO, Choice Hotels. "In many ways, the addition of our many Ascend properties is reshaping who we are at Choice.

"Our hotels have always been great stops along the way," Joyce continued. "Ascend is forging new ground for us with exciting properties that are, themselves, the destination. Travelers have always looked to Choice for exceptional value. Ascend extends this tradition, delivering great value and amenities at high-end hotels and resorts in some of the world's most sought-after vacation spots."

The continuing momentum of the Ascend Hotel Collection is paving the way for robust growth in key markets during the next two years. Newly signed agreements call for additional expansion in such markets as New York City, the Caribbean and international destinations.

"Ascend's success indicates we're giving our members exactly what they want – the ability to operate independently but with the backing of one of the world's largest hospitality franchisors," said Michael Murphy, senior vice president of upscale brands at Choice Hotels International. "It's a powerful affiliation that's generating demand from leading developers and owners of independent hotels worldwide. Growth has been particularly strong in North America, and there is enormous potential for additional expansion in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean."

Among the Collection's significant benefits, Murphy points to its proven track record for driving reservations. Additionally, member hotels maintain their unique identity, while gaining the firepower of the Choice Hotels global distribution, sales, marketing and technology platforms as well as a rewards program with more than 17 million members worldwide. "That's incredible visibility for an independent hotel," Murphy pointed out.

Hundredth Hotel

Ascend Hotel Collection's 100th property, Hotel Elan, is the portfolio's first in Calgary. It joins seven other Canadian locations coast-to-coast, including Quebec City, Ottawa and Halifax. The hotel will celebrate its status as the landmark 100th hotel by rewarding 100 guests with Elite Gold Status in the Choice Privileges® rewards program.

Like its 99 sister properties, Hotel Elan makes it easy for guests to immerse themselves in the local culture. The contemporary boutique hotel occupies a prime spot in the bustling Beltline District, steps from "Uptown 17th Avenue", Calgary's shopping, dining and nightlife hub. Guests are within easy walking distance to scores of pubs and ethnic restaurants featuring cuisines from around the globe. Nearby landmarks include the Scotiabank Saddledome, home to world-class concerts and Calgary Flames hockey; Calgary Tower for spectacular views; University of Calgary and the Calgary Zoo. Hotel Elan is also minutes away from Calgary's downtown business district, making for an easy commute from hotel to office.

The property has 62 units including guest rooms, one-bedroom suites and two-bedroom suites.  All units are richly appointed with sleek Italian furnishings, a mini-bar stocked with healthy snacks, 42- and 47-inch flat-screen televisions and double-thick walls with special soundproofing for a peaceful night's sleep. Beds are plush with pillow-top mattresses and headboards with multiple USB ports and internet jacks.  Among the tech comforts, guests can play content from their smartphones and computers on television monitors. All suites come with conference tables for in-room meetings and balconies with striking city views.  In two-bedroom suites, guests luxuriate in deep chromatherapy soaker tubs. The sprawling 974 sq. ft. Executive Two-Bedroom Suites also feature a private exercise room with stationary bike, yoga mat and television.

Additionally, Hotel Elan houses a fitness center, business kiosk in the lobby and two meeting rooms for gatherings of up to 15 people with state-of-the-art audio and video conferencing equipment. Just off the lobby, the Orchid Room transforms from a breakfast spot to gathering area, where guests can work, socialize and relax. Hotel Elan's special touches and free amenities add significant value.  Each room has a 15-megabyte private/dedicated wired and wireless internet connection. Complimentary items include a daily fresh, healthy breakfast, heated walkways to the hotel, an underground heated parking garage and telephone calls throughout North America and 73 countries worldwide.  

New Resorts

Among Ascend Hotel Collection's other notable recent additions, 21 Bluegreen Vacation resorts came online this spring in some of the country's most desirable vacation destinations like Miami, Cape Cod, Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas and Orlando. These properties feature luxurious vacation villas with multiple bedrooms and fully equipped kitchens as well as the full gamut of resort amenities, including private beaches, spas, restaurants, children's programs, shops and more.

High Guest Satisfaction

The Collection's hotels garner consistently high guest satisfaction scores as well as high rankings on TripAdvisor lists in their respective markets.  Several hotels also boast TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence. During the past two years, the group's hotels have captured spots on such high-profile lists as Top 10 Hotels by the Sea in Coastal Living magazine and Top 10 New York City Hotels by ReviewPro, a company that calculates rankings using data from the Web.

"Travelers are looking for unique hotels and authentic local experience," Murphy said, "and that's exactly Ascend Hotel Collection offers. The group's remarkable growth, high guest satisfactions scores and strong performance mean we're speaking the language of franchisees and their guests. The portfolio is an all-around win, with strong appeal to travelers, developers and independent hoteliers."

About Ascend Hotel Collection
The Ascend Hotel Collection membership program made its debut in late 2008 and now has 100 hotels open throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean. This eclectic portfolio of upscale, independent hotels appeals to the growing number of people who like to immerse themselves in the destination and live like the locals when they travel. Member hotels include The GEM Hotels with three boutique hotels in New York City; Postcard Inn, on the white sands of St. Pete Beach, Fla. on the Gulf of Mexico; Grand Hotel Costa Rica, in downtown San Jose's Cultural Square; Hotel Royal William in the chic New St. Rock district of downtown Quebec City; Nordic Light Hotel, Stockholm. For more information, visit www.ascendcollection.com.

About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises over 6,200 hotels, representing more than 500,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories.  As of March 31, 2013, 395 hotels, representing more than 30,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States.  Additionally, 81 hotels, representing approximately 7,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 20 other countries and territories.  The company's Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands, as well as its Ascend Hotel Collection membership program, serve guests worldwide.

Choice Hotels International offers the Choice Privileges® rewards program. With nearly 17 million members worldwide, is one of the fastest growing hotel loyalty programs in the travel industry.

Additional corporate information can be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. web site, which may be accessed at www.choicehotels.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain matters discussed in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Generally, our use of words such as "expect," "estimate," "believe," "anticipate," "will," "forecast," "plan", " project," "assume" or similar words of futurity identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on management's current beliefs, assumptions and expectations regarding future events, which in turn are based on information currently available to management. Such statements may relate to projections of the company's revenue, earnings and other financial and operational measures, company debt levels, ability to repay outstanding indebtedness, payment of dividends, and future operations, among other matters. We caution you not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements do not guarantee future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors.

Several factors could cause actual results, performance or achievements of both the Ascend Hotel Collection and the company to differ materially from those expressed in or contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Such risks include, but are not limited to, changes to general, domestic and foreign economic conditions; operating risks common in the lodging and franchising industries; changes to the desirability of our brands as viewed by hotel operators and customers; changes to the terms or termination of our contracts with franchisees; our ability to keep pace with improvements in technology utilized for reservations systems and other operating systems; fluctuations in the supply and demand for hotels rooms; and our ability to manage effectively our indebtedness. These and other risk factors are discussed in detail in the Risk Factors section of the company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 28, 2013 and our quarterly reports filed on Form 10-Q. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Choice Privileges®, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, Ascend Hotel Collection and SkyTouch Technology are proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.

(c) 2013 Choice Hotels International, Inc.  All rights reserved.

SOURCE Choice Hotels International, Inc.



RELATED LINKS
http://www.choicehotels.com
http://www.ascendcollection.com

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