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Choice Hotels realized years ago that Comfort Inn's look was outdated. The company has to hope that spending billions on renovations and new marketing materials will make the brand successful again.

Choice Hotels’ latest advertising campaign signals the culmination of elongated efforts by the company to rebrand itself as a modern destination for all business and leisure travelers.

But it’s the hotelier’s flagship Comfort Inn brand that stands to gain the most from the marketing push, following three consecutive quarters of revenue per available room (RevPAR) declines, including a 1.6 percent drop in the first quarter of 2019, the company reported last month.

The new campaign, created in partnership with Durham, N.C.-based agency McKinney, features the tagline “Our Business is You” that plays up Comfort Inn as a preferred destination for customers enjoying a family vacation and corporate travelers alike.

Choice Hotels has tried for years to close the gap between revenue generated by its upscale Cambria and Ascend brands and its famed midscale chain. The solution has been to update the look and feel of Comfort Inn’s 1,048 properties and its 566 Comfort Suites by pumping $2.5 billion into completing much-needed makeovers of lobbies and guest rooms.

“We do expect that additional marketing spend to help us in the second half of the year as we expect Comfort to turn from the sort of headwinds they’re in right now with renovations toward more of a tailwind,” said CEO Patrick Pacious on Choice Hotels’ first quarter earnings call last month. Nearly half of Comfort Inn’s locations have completed renovations, the company said.

More Ads To Come

While Choice Hotels did not disclose total funds allocated for its television and digital marketing efforts, the company noted that creative materials over the next several years would promote each of its 13 brands. A new logo for the Comfort brand, for example, is touted in the hotel group’s ad rollout released Monday.

“This summer our marketing will reinforce the message that consumers always receive the lowest price guaranteed when they book at and reintroduce corporate and leisure travelers to the new Comfort, which has never looked better,” said Robert McDowell, Choice Hotel’s chief commercial officer, in a statement.

Choice Hotels announced earlier this month that it is finally positioned to take a bigger slice of the U.S. corporate travel market following a $725 million investment in its higher-end Cambria brand and aforementioned renovations to its midscale Comfort Inn offering. The Global Business Travel Association projects the corporate travel industry will to grow to $1.7 trillion by 2022.

This article was updated to reflect Cambria and Ascend as upscale brands and correct corporate travel industry market projections in the last paragraph. 

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Tags: brand marketing, choice hotels, corporate travel, digital advertising, luxury

Photo credit: Choice Hotels' latest "Our Customer is You" marketing campaign aims to win back business travelers and vacationers alike. Choice Hotels

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