With an eye on increasing its distribution in secondary and tertiary markets, Cambria Hotels recently introduced a new prototype option designed to offer developers added flexibility and a reduced per-key cost.
With a current portfolio of some 60 hotels and nearly 20 more properties in the development pipeline, Choice Hotels International is touting the growth potential of Cambria with the hopes that the new prototype will open up some 300-plus secondary markets to the upscale brand.
“Guests want more accessibility to Cambria. They want more hotels and places they can travel to and owners are wanting to develop as well in certain markets,” according to Janis Cannon, SVP, upscale brands, Choice Hotels.
Cannon further detailed the evolution of the brand noting that after being launched initially with a strong focus on business travelers, Cambria has since penetrated many leisure destinations—such as Sonoma and Napa, CA; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; and Ocean City, MD—and performed well, particularly during the pandemic.
“That’s allowed us to think about how do we evolve? We’re not changing the core of Cambria Hotels at all. It’s still very much about sense of space and sense of place and our core brand hallmarks remain intact. But we’re looking at different markets and to be successful in those markets we’re also looking at how do we right-size Cambria hotels for those right markets,” she said.
“A big overarching priority for Choice is lowering the cost of ownership of our brands for franchisees,” said Mark Shalala, SVP, development, upscale brands, Choice Hotels, who added that a development shift away from urban markets with lots of competition had already started to take place prior to the pandemic.
The new cost-effective prototype will enable developers to reduce square footage in the right places by 20%, while staying true to brand characteristics, according to the company. It also emphasizes operational efficiencies as the result of an optimized staffing structure with a reduction in FTEs from current brand requirements due to a reduction in rooms, public areas and the Housekeeping upon Request model to drive performance.
In addition, a streamlined F&B concept results in a right-sized bar and enhanced marketplace with a 35 percent smaller kitchen featuring programmable vector cooking technology and a reduced culinary staffing model.
The new prototype also includes a streamlined structural design at entry canopy, lobby and throughout the journey to the room, according to the company. There is also a focus on customization that allows for locally inspired art and lobby packages with ease of 50 percent computer-aided design drawings and standard FF&E that the company claims will considerably lower the expense of design and architecture services to complete the build.
With hotels in 36 of the top 50 RevPAR markets in the U.S., Shalala noted the brand has already “strategically” established its presence in the upscale segment.
“Over the last seven years or so Choice has committed financially and invested heavily in getting this brand in the top 50, 75 RevPAR markets across the country. As an up and coming brand you need to have visibility and viability in these markets,” he said.
Shalala, however, further reinforced the importance of the next phase of growth for Cambria.
“I think the new prototype is going to be looked back on as just a natural progression or evolution of our growth story. It speaks to the adaptability of the brand and Choice being nimble enough to adapt to what’s happening quickly. To put out a product that’s going to serve both our guests’ and developers’ needs going forward through the cycle,” he concluded.