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Another day, and yet another new hotel brand.
Choice Hotels International, the Rockville, Maryland-based company behind such brands as Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, and Clarion, announced on Thursday the debut of its 12th brand: Clarion Pointe.
This new brand is being marketed as an extension of the existing upper midscale Clarion hotel brand, which has approximately 300 locations worldwide. Unlike Clarion, however, Clarion Pointe will be priced slightly lower and will offer a more limited number of available services.
“As customer expectations continue to evolve, we know that guests desire high-quality and affordable lodging options when they travel,” said Patrick Pacious, Choice Hotels president and CEO said in a statement. “Clarion Pointe demonstrates our commitment to innovating in the midscale segment and builds on our decades of expertise.”
The inspiration to launch Clarion Pointe was driven primarily by Choice Hotels’ franchise hotel owners and developers who were looking for a new brand to apply to existing properties of theirs.
“When developers expressed a need for a premium midscale conversion brand to maximize RevPAR [revenue per available room], we listened,” Tom Nee, Choice Hotels vice president of franchise development said in a statement. “Clarion Pointe fits perfectly into our well-segmented family of brands and is ideal for owners who want to reposition their limited-service property into a select-service opportunity from a company that’s proven itself in this space.”
More Midscale Brands
Clarion Pointe is just the latest in a long number of new midscale select-service hotel brands being launched within the last few years. Other brands include InterContinental Hotels Group’s Avid Hotels brand, the Tru by Hilton brand, Trump Hotels’ American Idea, and others, to name a few.
The intense demand for these brands among hotel owners and developers — primarily because midscale brands generally have higher margins, fewer operational complications, and simpler staffing models —is also motivating the hotel industry to try to come up with more differentiated, design-driven models that upend traditional notions of conformity in the space.
With the new Clarion Pointe brand, it’s clear that Choice Hotels is attempting to capitalize on demand for brands in this sector. However, early renderings of Clarion Pointe echo some of the designs we’ve seen from other similarly priced midscale brands that have launched in recent years.
Choice is also using Clarion Pointe to serve as something the hotel industry often refers to as a “conversion brand,” allowing owners to refresh existing hotels of theirs with a new brand without extensive investment. Choice says it already has more than 50 signed franchise agreements specifically for Clarion Pointe, and the first hotel is set to open in Florence, Mississippi, later this year.
In describing the brand, Choice Hotels uses phrases such as “contemporary design touches” and “signature murals,” and the company notes that Clarion Pointe hotels will also feature coffee and tea from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, as well as craft beers and complimentary breakfast. Rooms will feature TVs with casting capabilities and free Wi-Fi that can withstand the rigors of streaming. The hotels will also have fitness centers that likewise have TVs that can stream on-demand workouts.