From national ad campaigns to proprietary technology platforms and ESG, Choice Hotels International, Inc. detailed a handful of its most recent and impactful corporate investments for franchisees at its 66th annual conference last week in Las Vegas.
According to Robert McDowell, chief commercial officer, Choice Hotels, the company has accelerated its investment in ChoiceMAX, its revenue management solution. McDowell credited the fact that the company’s performance generally outpaced the industry throughout the pandemic in large part to the platform.
“ChoiceMAX was a huge part of that success, the other important factor was your [franchisee] engagement with ChoiceMAX accepting 93% of all pricing and recommendations through the platform. We wouldn’t have achieved our success without everyone actually using this system. ChoiceMAX makes managing your rates easier than ever, it gives you the right rate at the right time,” he said.
McDowell added that the company subsequently enhanced the program to provide increased pricing recommendations “up to 100,000 times more often” than it did previously.
“That means no matter how fast consumer demand changes you’ve got the technology to know exactly how to price your product,” he explained to the company’s franchise partners.
McDowell also touted the company’s newly launched Choice Direct Pay program designed to simplify corporate invoicing and help attract additional group business. The program sends clients one invoice for their stays across multiple Choice properties and guarantees prompt payment. There is also online phone support and a portal to track payment status.
“Choice is one of the first hotel companies to offer this solution making this a great way to steal business away from the competition,” said McDowell.
Meanwhile, the company continues to emphasize the impact of its advertising campaigns, particularly during the pandemic. McDowell noted that some 87 percent of all hotel ads that people saw in the summer of 2020 were for Choice Hotels and he detailed the shift in focus to franchisees.
“We pivoted to reflect the new traveler mindset allowing us to capitalize on the pandemic’s biggest travel trend, the return of the road trip. Our message not only resonated with our target audience, but it also reflected the roles your hotels play being the ultimate assist to people’s travel. We were the only company with the confidence to advertise during this time,” he said.
McDowell further noted this year’s campaign will focus on the company’s hotels serving “as the base for great experiences in your destinations.”
The company also noted that its upscale Cambria brand will make its television debut with a seven-week campaign beginning this summer. The campaign will be airing on channels such as the Food Network, ESPN, HGTV and appearing on programs such as The Today Show and Good Morning America.
Choice President/CEO Patrick Pacious also pointed out that the company was increasing its investment in ESG having named long-time Choice executive Megan Brumagim to the newly created role of vice president of environmental, social and governance (ESG).
“Today ESG is a critical business function and it’s a part of our strategic commitment to our long-term success. When you do it the right way, ESG leads to more long-term growth, reduces costs, helps attract and retain staff and maintains compliance with new regulations. Most importantly, it builds your brands with customers,” said Pacious.
“I’m thrilled to now have the opportunity to take Choice’s ESG efforts to the next level…Our ESG centers around three things: people, planet and purpose,” said Brumagim.