Choice announces dual-brand prototype, F&B program

An artistic rendering of a Sleep Inn/MainStay Suites dual-branded property.
An artistic rendering of a Sleep Inn/MainStay Suites dual-branded property.

Choice unveiled a new dual-brand combination hotel prototype for its Sleep Inn and MainStay Suites brands at the company’s annual convention in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

The company also announced a new marketing message for its Ascend Collection, a new F&B program for its Cambria Suites brand and the opening of the first Comfort Suites with the brand’s new design package.

Choice Hotels International, Silver Spring, Maryland, said Sleep Inn/MainStay Suites dual-branded properties will give franchisees greater efficiencies by having both brands in one building, including operating only one front desk as well as reduced back-of-the-house and service staffing and that operating margins and return on investment for owners can be driven through these reduced operating expenses and higher occupancy rates enjoyed by the MainStay Suites brand.

“By combining two highly sought-after brands in the same building on one site, we’re able to provide an opportunity to meet the needs of almost any guest’s travel occasion, representing a competitive advantage for owners,” said Mike Varner, senior director of brand strategy for the Sleep Inn, MainStay Suites and Suburban Extended Stay Hotel brands at Choice Hotels. “Offering a product on one footprint that fits the needs of two unique guest segments can be a smart move for hoteliers in today’s competitive hotel development environment.”

Eating local

The new F&B program for Cambria Suites features a strong focus on American favorites, such as gourmet burgers, shareable appetizers and entrees inspired by the location of the property. The brand has incorporated local favorites into the menu, such as the Carolina BBQ Glazed Pork Ribs for the Raleigh, N.C. property and the Lake Erie Yellow Perch Fish and Chips in Traverse City, Mich. Shareable desserts, called Cambria Sweets, make dessert exciting again with New York Cheesecake Lollipops with Strawberry Sauce and Chocolate Brownie Lollipops with Caramel Sauce, all served on sticks.

The program is a result of a year of research into restaurant and consumer trends and aims to provide made-to-order foods travelers demand. A strong focus of the new menu is cross-utilization, so that properties will have less waste and better use ingredients across the menu. One example is the signature menu item, the Blueberry Muffin French Toast, which is made from the same blueberry muffins available in the Grab ‘N Go section.

In addition to the new menu, Cambria Suites is launching a new china, silverware and uniform program.

Ascend goes native

The Ascend Collection, Choice’s membership program for boutique hotels has a new marketing message: “Ascend Collection is all about going native when you travel.”

Choice said the message would emphasize how connected the Ascend Collection hotels are to their destination.

“The new creative emphasizes our mission: Ascend Collection hotels are a direct connection to the local culture,” said Michael Murphy, the company’s senior vice president of upscale brands. “We’ve learned a lot about our guests in the four years since we launched Ascend Collection. We know they are savvy travelers who prefer to avoid the tourist traps and cookie-cutter hotels. They want to become part of the essential fabric of their destination.”