Choice Hotels is the second largest hotel group in the world by properties with 6,423 hotels in 32 countries, only behind their budget competitor Wyndham Hotels. Choice is very focused on budget hotels in the US and is represented in fewer countries than any of the other big chains. I looked into it as part of my Battle of the Budget Hotels. Find out more about the brands, regions and price categories and how Choice compares to the other chains!
Regions: Choice is more focused on the Americas than any other hotel chain I have researched, with 89% of all their properties in the region. A total of 82% are in the US and 94% in their top 5 countries (US, Canada, Australia, France, Norway). And 15 of the total 32 countries have 5 or less properties. That gives Choice the smallest international footprint of all chains – and that is not going to change anytime soon. With 720 new properties under development, the Americas are growing at a 50% faster clip than the other regions!
Brands: Similar to other hotel groups of this size, Choice has a large number of brands with a total of 10! The brands with the highest brand awareness (around 90%) are the biggest by properties: Comfort Inn/Suites, Quality Inn (mid-scale) and Econolodge (budget) make up over 75% of all the hotels. These are also the brands you are most likely to find abroad. Comfort Inn/Suites has a high percentage of new-built hotels, making them more reliable (and more interesting to me as traveler). Quality Inn and Econolodge rely mostly on the conversion of existing hotels, resulting often in less consistency across different properties. The same is true for the most upscale brand, Ascend Collection. The two extended stay brands, MainStay Suites and Sleep Inn, are all new-built hotels, allowing for a more consistent experience.
Price: Choice Hotels is focused on the budget and midscale segments of the market, with less than 3% of hotels categorized as upscale and no luxury hotels. Almost one quarter of the hotels are in the budget category and three quarters in the midscale segment, although many of them are at the very bottom of that price range. So, while Quality Inn is positioned as midscale, you’ll find a lot of motels with exterior corridors in 2nd or 3rd tier cities and towns that will feel very much like a budget hotel.
With the majority of properties in the budget and low midscale segments, including many older motels, Choice does not get a lot of attention from US business travelers and bloggers. With few upscale properties and the smallest international footprint of all the big chains, there are few aspirational properties to spend a dream vacation at. While this might not be my go-to hotel group, for travel in rural America it is a good option and worth paying attention to. And with 25 million members, the Choice Privileges rewards program has plenty of fans.