Choice updating Comfort brand family

Choice Hotels International, Silver Spring, Maryland announced on Tuesday that it is revamping its flagship midscale brands Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites at its 2,000 U.S. hotels.

The “Comfort: Redefined and Redesigned” plan is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015 and has three main thrusts — removing underperforming properties, renovating existing hotels and adding new construction prototypical hotels.

“We’re one of the most recognized hotel brands in the nation. However, with growth can come challenges, and we felt this was the ideal time to drive this large, successful brand family to a greater level of consistency and competitiveness,” said Christina Williamson, senior director of brand strategy for the Comfort brand family.

Choice is rolling out the “Truly Yours” property improvement plan, which it plans that nearly 70% of the Comfort system will complete by 2015.

“The ‘Truly Yours’ prototype was developed with an outside, world-renowned design firm, Gensler. In addition, the Comfort brand team conducted comprehensive research with more than 1,500 guests, including guests who already stay with us and those that stay with our competitors. This research was conducted via focus groups and quantitative studies,” said Williamson. “We found that the new look would not only increase intent to stay at the Comfort brands, but it also drove a higher rate.”

Exactly how the property improvement plans will be funded remains unclear.

“We’re evaluating potential Choice-funded incentives as well as identifying financing options for our Comfort brand hotels. The property-level investment will vary by property, depending on the property improvement plan. We’re working hard to ensure that we give our franchisees ample notice about upcoming brand deadlines so that they can prepare adequately,” said Williamson.

New way to welcome guests

Choice said it may eliminate up to 10% of the Comfort Inn system, about 140 hotels, if those hotels do not rise above the new guest satisfaction thresholds. In the meantime Choice will be implementing the “Your First Impression” brand program aimed at delivering a consistent and contemporary welcome experience for guests. This comes after implemented the “Your Morning” breakfast program and flat panel TVs in 2011 at Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites in 2011.

An artistic rendering of the new lobby look for the Comfort brand family.
An artistic rendering of the new lobby look for the Comfort brand family.