Details on Choice’s new loan program

Choice Hotels International, in partnership with Access Point Financial, has a new program that provides financing to qualified franchisees. The initial focus of the aid is on the implementation of the Sleep Inn brand’s Designed to Dream renovation program. The deadline for franchisees to apply for the program is November 1, 2011.

The overall goal of this program is to help Choice Hotels franchisees continue their mission of innovation and guest satisfaction at their properties across the globe.

The lender, Access Point Financial, determines the credit-worthiness of franchisees based on a variety of factors, according to Mike Varner, Choice’s senior director of brand planning. Otherwise, he says, all owners of open and operating domestic Sleep Inn and Sleep Inn & Suites franchisees in good standing are eligible for the program.

The lender may decide to offer different forms of loans as the lending markets begin to return to some level of normalcy, Varner adds. Presently, however, the standard program is a five-year term, fully amortizing, with favorable competitive interest rate financing to cover up to a maximum of 100% of the cost of a PIP, subject to a minimum borrowing of $200,000 loan.

“Owners have told us over the past year that acquiring reasonable financing is the biggest barrier to moving forward with the new design direction at Sleep Inn,” Varner said. “This program is funded to provide financing to all Sleep Inn hotels that qualify for the program.”

Started in 2010, the Sleep Inn Designed to Dream program competitively positions the brand in the mid-scale hotel market with nature-oriented simply stylish decor. Highlights of the Designed to Dream program include guestrooms with black-and-white nature photography and contemporary bedding with bed scarves, and a newly designed lobby with modern lighting, natural finishes, and a large accent wall.  

The Designed to Dream program is one aspect of a PIP. It is focused on a very specific set of design elements within public spaces and guestrooms, according to Varner. “PIPs include a wide variety of design and condition-based items,” Varner said. “The total cost is a factor of the room count, age of the property, ongoing upkeep, recent updates, etc. The minimum amount required to borrow through this new lending program is $200,000.”