Choice keys in on in-house tech innovations
Choice keys in on in-house tech innovations
18 FEBRUARY 2019 8:40 AM

Choice Hotels International created in-house technology resources for owners to use in the fourth quarter of 2018, executives said on the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 earnings call.

ROCKVILLE, Maryland—Choice Hotels International executives reported strong results among its brands and highlighted in-house technology innovations on the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 earnings call with analysts.

Pat Pacious, president and CEO of Choice, said his company “introduced several more innovative resources that were created at our technology center specifically to meet the needs of our owners and support their profitability” during the fourth quarter.

The company launched virtual pay capabilities on its website to make it easier for traveler managers to book stays for travelers without the guest having to show a personal credit card at check in, he said. Choice also introduced a group management platform, which is “an online reservation solution that makes planning and booking group travel easier,” Pacious said.

“Groups and small meetings are growing significantly, and this tool will enable our hotels to capture more of this business,” he said.

Along with in-house tech innovations, Choice has also formed partnerships with companies such as Google. Choice announced its Book on Google partnership last year and will also be the first hotel to partner with the company on voice-enabled booking, Pacious said.

Brand highlights
Choice will be celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, and Quality, the brand which Choice was founded on, opened its 1,600 property in 2018 and grew 6% during the year, Pacious said.

February marks the one-year anniversary of Choice’s acquisition of WoodSpring Suites. On the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 earnings call, executives said Choice’s acquisition of WoodSpring Suites would create opportunity for the company in the extended-stay segment. The extended-stay brand saw a 7.6% year-over-year increase in revenue per available room, and 12 hotels opened under the brand in 2018, according to Pacious. There are currently 250 WoodSpring properties open and 20 are expected to open in 2019.

Pacious said the $2.5 billion transformation of the Comfort brand is progressing on schedule. There were 120 franchise agreements awarded for the brand last year and at least one property per week is expected to open this year, he said on the call.

Q4, full-year results
During the fourth quarter, domestic systemwide RevPAR increased 0.7%, according to the company’s earnings release. Occupancy rose 0.4% and average daily rate increased 20 basis points.

For the full year, RevPAR rose 1.2%, occupancy increased 10 basis points and ADR increased 1.5%. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the year was $346.6 million, a 14% increase when compared to full-year 2017.

As of press time, Choice’s stock was trading at $80.25 per share, up 12.8% year to date. The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index was up 10% at the same time.

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