Choice Hotels Launches New Midscale Brand

Focused on conversions, the new Clarion Pointe extension is intended to meet the need for premium yet affordable select-service hotels.

Choice Hotels International plans to launch “a midscale select-service brand extension” of the company’s Clarion flag, called Clarion Pointe. The new hotel brand reportedly is intended to combine affordability with “the premium elements guests desire” while also meeting “hotel owners’ strong demand for a new select-service opportunity … in the popular midscale segment.”

Amenities planned for Clarion Pointe include guestroom and lobby art that reflects local points of interest, on-demand connectivity that will let guests stream content from their mobile devices onto 49-inch TVs and free streaming-strength Wi-Fi. Breakfast will be complimentary, as will premium coffee and tea, and craft beer and select wines, juices and smoothies, and small bites will be available for purchase at each location’s marketplace.

Patrick Pacious, president and CEO of Choice Hotels
Patrick Pacious, president & CEO of Choice Hotels

As customer expectations continue to evolve, we know that guests desire high-quality and affordable lodging options when they travel,” Patrick Pacious, president & CEO of Choice Hotels, said in a prepared statement. “Clarion Pointe demonstrates our commitment to innovating in the midscale segment….”

One of the new brand’s drivers was developers’ “need for a premium midscale conversion brand to maximize RevPAR,” added Tom Nee, vice president, franchise development. “Clarion Pointe … is ideal for owners who want to reposition their limited service property into a select service opportunity….”

Choice reports that it already has more than 50 Clarion Pointe franchise agreements in the development pipeline, including locations in Medford, Ore., Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Florence, Miss., which will be the first hotel to open, later this year.

Target markets include key suburbs of metropolitan markets where there is strong corporate and transient demand,” a Choice Hotels spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive.

Not without risk

It’s a smart move for Choice to create a new brand in the Midscale chain scale that will be geared towards conversions and implement relatively strict select-service brand requirements,” Hans Detlefsen, president of Hotel Appraisers & Advisors LLC, Chicago, told Commercial Property Executive.

As a large inventory of midscale and upper midscale lose their flags, he continued, “owners will be looking for the next best branding opportunity.

One concern, Detlefsen said, is the new brand’s clear tie to the existing Clarion brand, an upper-midscale brand. As a midscale brand, Clarion Pointe presumably will target a lower ADR than the Clarion brand. “If this holds true,” he said, “it could be difficult to uphold the quality and range of brand standards currently envisioned for the brand.”

Choice, meanwhile, continues to expand. In May it opened the Clarion Inn & Suites Downtown Atlanta, a 104-key, five-story property in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood that was converted from another brand.

Images courtesy of Choice Hotels