A History of Innovation
Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH), one of the largest and most successful lodging companies in the world, franchises more than 6,400 hotels, representing more than 500,000 rooms in more than 40 countries and territories.
Choice's business began as a marketing cooperative formed by a group of seven Florida motor court owners in 1939. Operating under the name Quality Courts United — the nation's first hotel chain — the owners sought to refer business to each other's hotels and establish service standards for their properties in order to better meet the needs and expectations of their guests. Over the years, more hotels joined the Quality Courts system, which had become an influential force in the lodging industry and had established a reputation for providing value-driven, affordable lodging in convenient and popular locations. The company established a rich history of innovation, as it was the first in the industry to guarantee reservations; offer 24-hour desk service, in-room telephones and 24-hour-a-day, toll-free reservations; segment brands; develop a global marketing and reservations system; offer non-smoking rooms in every hotel; develop the first global hotel application for use with the iPhone; and the first massively-distributed, Internet-based property management system.
Click on a decade below to learn more about Choice's pioneering history.
1930s - 1950s
Seven Southern motel owners create Quality Courts, an informal group of motels that set quality standards with respect to physical facilities and operating practices.
Quality Courts published the names of properties complying with the standards and referred business to each other, thereby increasing profits for all.
The average hotel industry room rate is $3.21.
Members formally found Quality Courts United, Inc., an association that would be comprised of independent owners, and set the criteria of membership, creating the country’s first hotel chain.
The average hotel industry room rate is $5.91.
Quality Courts membership doubles to 126 members.
Quality Courts becomes the first to offer to the industry such innovations as wall-to-wall carpeting, daily change of linen, 24-hour desk service, and in-room telephones.
1960s - 1970s
The average hotel industry room rate is $10.81.
Quality Courts goes from a non-profit organization to a for-profit corporation and changes its name to Quality Courts Motels, Inc. Stock is sold for the first time to members and employees.
Quality Courts' headquarters are relocated from Daytona Beach, Fla., to Silver Spring, Md.
Quality Courts' membership increases to more than 24,000 rooms, making it the largest association of independent motel operators in the world.
The average hotel industry room rate is $19.83 Quality Courts establishes a European Division Headquarters in Brussels and establishes Quality Motels of Canada. Quality Courts begins offering 24-hour, toll-free central reservations.
Quality Courts Motels changes its name to Quality Inns International to reflect its growing global presence. The company's first European hotel, the Quality Motel in Ratigen, West Germany, opens.
The average hotel industry room rate is $45.44. Quality Inn International merges with Manor Care, Inc., a healthcare company.
Quality Inn becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manor Care.
Quality Inn develops the successful and innovative strategy of market segmentation and divides its lodging system into three distinctive chains: Quality Royale, a luxury brand; Quality Inn, for the moderately-priced, three-star market; and Comfort Inn, a new budget franchise aimed at the luxury budget two-star market.’ The first Comfort Inn hotel opens later that year in Atlanta.
The 1000th Comfort Inn hotel opens in Albany, Georgia. Choice enters into a 50/50 joint venture in Canada to form Choice Hotels Canada, which is now Canada's largest franchisor, with over 250 hotels open.
Choice Hotels Scandinavia enters into an agreement with Choice and opens 8 hotels. Choice enters the Central American markets of El Salvador, Honduras,
The average hotel industry room rate is $85.89.
Choice Hotels launches its successful "Thanks for Traveling" campaign that thanks Americans for traveling in support of the president's message to get back to 'business as usual."
Choice first deploys ChoiceADVANTAGE, its proprietary Web-based property management system.
Choice Hotels acquires a controlling interest in Flag Choice Hotels, a leading hotel franchisor in Australia and New Zealand. The company changes its name in 2004 to Choice Hotels Australasia and begins franchising Choice brands in Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and Papau New Guinea. Choice launches its partnership with Choice Hotels Japan as the master partner for that country.
Choice Hotels Mexico, a subsidiary of Choice Hotels International, is formed.
Choice launches a new select service, upscale brand, Cambria Suites. Choice opens its 5000th hotel, a Comfort Suites in Lake Geneva, Wis. Choice acquires Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, an economy extended-stay brand. Choice becomes largest franchisor in the economy extended-stay market.
Choice Privileges rewards program surpasses the 5,000,000 member mark. Choice reacquires the franchising operations for continental Europe from its master franchisor.
Choice Hotels Launches the industry's first global iPhone application
Choice introduces a completely re-designed ChoiceHotels.com website.
President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Joyce is named national chairman of the U.S. Travel Association, the 1,500 member national organization representing every segment of the travel community.
The Choice Privileges rewards program reaches the 10-million-member milestone. The company finishes 2010 with 12 million Choice Privileges members.
Choice receives a Visionary Award from Hospitality Technology magazine for its "outstanding vision in achievement in delivering technological excellence" for its proprietary choiceADVANTAGE property management system, in place at over 4,000 hotels worldwide.
The company’s Choice Privileges® rewards program celebrates 15 million members.
Choice Hotels introduces the Choice Hotels Locator iPad application.
The company moves to its new global headquarters at One Choice Hotels Circle in Rockville, Maryland.
Choice Hotels celebrates its 75th anniversary and teams up with Rebuilding Together for Choice’s 75th Rebuilding project, impacting more than 86,000 people. We also launched new mobile capabilities with Connected Car, the first hands-free hotel reservations app for Ford vehicles.
Choice Hotels expands its international footprint into China and Turkey, now franchising in more than 35 countries and territories.
“Connect the world through the power of hospitality.”
Choice develops a new single brand identity to make a more emotional connection with its consumers and franchisees, drive greater preference for its portfolio of brands and better position the company to stretch into new markets to capitalize on opportunities for growth. For Choice it's all about making people feel welcome, wanted and respected.
With the launch of Vacation Rentals by Choice HotelsTM, the company expanded its product offering outside of hotels to ensure that there are lodging options in the Choice portfolio to fit any travel occasion.