ROCKVILLE, Md., July 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), one of the world's largest hotel companies, announced robust system growth with the addition of 113 domestic and international newly opened franchised properties during the second quarter of 2013. Additionally, the company has executed a total of 187 new domestic franchise agreements during the first six months of 2013, a 10-percent increase over the same period last year.
The second quarter of 2013 saw the opening of hotels under the new generation Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites new construction prototypes. These design concepts for the company's largest and iconic brand were created in collaboration with Gensler, a leading design and strategy firm with world-renowned brand and hospitality practices. The overall aesthetic of the prototypes is contemporary while still maintaining the Comfort brand's warm and inviting signature look and feel.
In May 2013, the upscale Ascend Collection reached a milestone 100 properties. In total, the second quarter of 2013 welcomed the opening of 29 new Ascend Collection member hotels, including the newly constructed Hotel Florence in South Carolina, the first Ascend member hotel in Australia and the addition of 20 Bluegreen Vacations properties located in highly desirable destinations including Orlando, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Ascend Collection is made up of unique independent hotels and resort properties.
Choice Hotels International's emerging, all new-construction upscale brand, Cambria Suites, continues to make great strides. During May 2013, Choice Hotels reached an agreement in principle to create a joint venture with private investment firm Fillmore Capital Partners, LLC and its affiliates to develop multiple Cambria Suites hotels. This marks the brand's first institutional investor, underscoring the confidence developers have already expressed for the emerging brand's potential. During the second quarter of 2013, the brand also celebrated groundbreaking events in Plano, Texas and Fargo, North Dakota, propelling the portfolio to 30 hotels open or under development in 2013.
During the second quarter of 2013, openings included hotels in 38 U.S. states and 9 countries, including the first Choice Hotels branded property in Panama. This development activity adds more than 8,000 guestrooms to the company's existing rooms, which now stand at more than half a million. The Choice Hotels International portfolio of franchised hotels offers leisure and business travelers a full spectrum of options from economy to upscale hotels and resorts.
"It has been a very exciting quarter, especially with the landmark growth of Ascend Collection and its continued expansion into key travel destinations. We are also extremely pleased with the positive response we are experiencing with our Comfort refresh strategy for the company's largest brand," said David Pepper, senior vice president of global development for Choice Hotels International. "Choice Hotels is fully committed to refreshing the Comfort brand through its investment of $40 million of incentive funds in the existing system of Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites hotels, as well as moving forward with a contemporary new look for new properties."
Select properties that opened during this year's second quarter include:
Comfort Suites & Conference Center Worthington, Minn. – This 75-suite, new construction hotel is among the first new generation prototype Comfort-branded hotels to showcase the brand's new, more contemporary look and feel. The Comfort Suites & Conference Center is attached to the new Worthington Conference Center, offering event space to groups and parties of up to 560 guests. This property offers guests free services and amenities, which include hot breakfast, a daily newspaper and wireless high speed internet access. The Comfort Suites & Conference center also features a heated indoor pool, state of the art fitness center, a 24/7 business center with access to printing, faxing and copying services. All guest rooms include a microwave, refrigerator and pull-out sofa. Guest laundry service is available as well as plenty of parking.
Hotel Florence, An Ascend Hotel Collection Member, Florence, S.C. – A multi-million dollar renovation preceded the grand re-opening of this historic hotel and restaurant/bar in May 2013. Located in the heart of the historic downtown, the new property serves as a hub for the city's revitalization efforts. Hotel Florence's contemporary new design pays homage to the hotel's historic roots with exposed brick walls, original hardwood floors and two 19th century writing tables in the lobby that serve as the front desk. Many rooms feature large windows with splendid city views. For on-property dining, Victor's Bistro is a full-service, upscale restaurant and bar consistently voted by local press as among the city's finest. The hotel is within easy walking distance of lively shops, galleries, restaurants, museums, businesses, Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center and the Florence City-County Complex.
Carnegie Inn and Spa, An Ascend Hotel Collection Member, State College, Pa. – Overlooking the 17th green of the Toftrees Golf Course, Carnegie Inn and Spa is Central Pennsylvania's first AAA Four-Diamond hotel. The 21-room lodging is home to the full-service Carnegie Inn Restaurant, Carnegie Library Lounge and the ESSpa Kozmetika Spa, which specializes in organic facials, massages, body wraps and more. With its award-winning 1,600- bottle wine cellar, Carnegie Inn Restaurant is consistently named as the area's best fine dining experience, as ranked by State CollegeMagazine. Mornings at the inn begin with a complimentary made-to-order hot breakfast. Carnegie Inn and Spa is minutes from University Park Airport, Penn State University, Beaver Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center arena for concerts and sporting events.
Sleep Inn & Suites, Moundsville, W.V. – Conveniently located to shopping centers and area attractions such as the Strand Theatre, Fostoria Glass Museum and the Historic Cocayne House this 69-room, new construction hotel showcases the brand's simply stylish Designed to Dream design concept, which was also developed in collaboration with leading design and strategy firm with world-renowned brand and hospitality practices, Gensler. Designed to Dream offers guests a welcoming and restful environment with warm colors, fresh graphics and soothing nature-oriented art. In Moundsville, W.V. travelers can expect a relaxing stay as well as the following free services and amenities: hot breakfast, wireless high-speed Internet access, daily newspaper and fitness center. Meeting space can accommodate groups of up to 50 people.
Clarion Collection Makeney Hall Hotel, Belper, United Kingdom
This magnificent 46-room Victorian country mansion is situated in the heart of Derbyshire and set in six acres of landscaped gardens with views across the Amber Valley. With the Derby train station and East Midlands airport nearby, it is ideally situated for local business destinations and the nearby Peak District, making it an attractive base for both business and leisure travelers. All public areas showcase a contemporary style but still reflect the historical character of the property while offering the standard of a four-star hotel. This includes the oak-paneled Conservatory Restaurant and Bar which is open to both guests and non-residents and is ideal for a romantic dinner, business meal, family get-together or large gathering.
Choice Hotels also introduced the following hotels during the second quarter of 2013:
Ascend Resort Collection and Ascend Hotel Collection
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 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.
About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises more than 6,200 hotels, representing more than 500,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories. As of June 30, 2013, 365 hotels, representing more than 29,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States. Additionally, 83 hotels, representing approximately 7,200 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 15 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.
Additional corporate information can be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. web site, which may be accessed at www.choicehotels.com.
Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, 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.