Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Choice Hotels Claims Wyndham Merger Would Have ‘Clear Path to Completion’

7 months ago

Choice Hotels on Wednesday called on Wyndham Hotels & Resorts to return to merger talks while publicly responding to concerns Wyndham executives had raised about “execution risk” — including questions about regulatory scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Wyndham issued a statement saying its board of directors remains confident that its “standalone growth prospects offer superior, risk-adjusted returns. It once again rejected the hostile merger, which would value Wyndham at $7.8 billion (plus debt),

One issue in dispute is whether U.S. antitrust watchdogs would balk at consolidation. Choice Hotels has a 16% share of the branded U.S. economy hotel market, while Wyndham has 36%, the FT reported.

Executives at Choice said they had received advice that a merger would receive regulatory approval. (Choice is paying for legal advice from Willkie Farr & Gallagher.)

“Independent hotels comprise nearly two-thirds of the economy segment and close to 40% of the midscale segment,” said Choice Hotels.

On Wednesday, data from CoStar’s STR came up with a somewhat different figure, saying that “half of U.S. economy-class hotel rooms are unbranded.”

Choice Hotels executives also noted that major hotel groups such as Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott have this year announced new brands to compete in the premium economy and midscale segments. This fresh rivalry would add to the competitive landscape already featuring Best Western, Extended Stay America, G6 (Motel 6), Oyo, Red Roof Inn, and Sonesta.

Choice Hotels’ comments came on the same afternoon that Wyndham executives issued a release reiterating their disinterest in talks. It also came a day ahead of Wyndham’s earnings call.

Hotels

Choice Hotels Opens Properties at Faster Pace and Reaffirms Profit Outlook

11 months ago

Choice Hotels, a U.S.-based franchisor, said on Tuesday it had opened an average of more than four hotels a week in the first half of 2023 — a 39% jump year-over-year. The steady onboarding of properties was one reason it reaffirmed its profit forecast for the year despite some industry concerns about leisure demand patterns in the U.S. going into reverse.

Choice Hotels opened 107 hotels in the first half of the year, with an increase in conversion hotel openings of 45% and a rise in new construction hotel openings of 24%. The gains were impressive in a hotel sector where interest rate uncertainty had raised concerns about the willingness of banks to endorse hotel development.

The first-half openings growth was across all segments. Openings in the upscale segment were by 83%, the midscale segment by 42%, the extended stay segment by 50%, and the economy segment by 11%.

“The company remains optimistic about extended stay franchise business growth and expects the number of its extended stay units to increase at an average annual growth rate of more than 15% over the next five years,” it said in a statement.

The positive news helped the company re-commit to its previously provided financial guidance for full-year 2023, where it forecasts net income — a measure of profit — of between $255 and $265 million.

The news is positive at a time when analysts have become more cautious about the hotel sector. For more context, see “Analysts Pare Back Enthusiasm for Hotel Companies.”

Investors closely watch trends in another metric, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). The news on that front was also positive relative to its peers.

“In 2024, Choice Hotels expects to generate more than 10% adjusted EBITDA growth at the midpoint, year-over-year, driven by approximately $20 million in incremental contribution from [the merger with] Radisson Hotels Americas as well as organic growth in more revenue intense segments and markets, strong effective royalty rate growth, and other factors.”

For more, see “Choice Hotels’ Brands, Explained.”

What is Choice Hotels?
Choice Hotels International, Inc. is a hotel operator based in Rockville, Maryland. The company operates nearly 7,500 hotels spanning 22 brands, including its flagship upper-midscale brand Comfort and roadside midscale brand Quality Inn. The company’s strategy consists of expanding its portfolio with hotels that generate higher royalties per unit, meaning higher-end properties. In addition to this, Choice Hotels also has a loyalty program known as Choice Privileges.

These are the most relevant articles I found:

Morgan Stanley Flags Headwinds for Hotel Companies – 06/30/2023

Choice Hotels Explores Buying Wyndham: Report – 05/23/2023

The Wyndham-Choice Merger Skeptics – 05/25/2023

Hotels

Choice Hotels Tech Chief Sketches Path to Tapping Generative AI

12 months ago

Choice Hotels sees a potential in generative AI (artificial intelligence) to reshape the hotel sector, according to an interview chief information officer Brian Kirkland did on Bloomberg TV right before the U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend.

“To be commercially viable, and to be something that really transforms how we do business, … we need to make sure that we can securely use it. So how do we get private data sets in there? How do we curate the answers to make sure that … the right answer is coming back that’s curated and accurate, and not based on old data? That’s something we’re talking about with some of our partners. When [that’s available], it will be transformative.”

—Brian Kirkland of Choice Hotels

Kirkland speculated that generative AI could help guests find answers faster about properties and help Choice Hotels franchisees to figure out the right type of business strategy or even the policies around how they run their business.

Full interview here:

UPDATE: The original post misspelled Brian Kirkland’s name. Apologies.