- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 1, 2004

Marriott ExecuStay, the corporate housing division of Marriott International, has signed three agreements that more than double the company’s franchised markets.

ExecuStay has signed an 11-market franchise agreement with Suite Options Inc. to operate ExecuStay housing in markets such as Little Rock, Ark., Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Okla., Kansas City, Mo., Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

ExecuStay also has signed franchise agreements with the Bernstein Cos. of Washington to operate ExecuStay housing in Baltimore and Annapolis and CSM Lodging to operate ExecuStay in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area. The Bernstein Cos. and CSM Lodging already have relationships with Marriott as hotel franchisees.

Marriott ExecuStay gives travelers who require stays of 30 days or more private, fully furnished apartments with monthly rates that include basic utilities as well as phone and cable service.

Operators such as Execu-Stay provide corporate housing through leases with existing apartment complexes. The $2 billion corporate housing industry has about 600 operators in the United States. The industry inventory averages about 70,000 units, depending on the season. Most operators run fewer than 100 units.

“We’re finding the top operators in each market and trying to affiliate them with us,” said Joseph Lavin, executive vice president and managing director of Marriott Execu-Stay.

ExecuStay, which was acquired by Marriott International in March 1999, has about 6,000 units and is in 37 markets — 24 of them are franchised markets, instead of managed by the corporation itself. The Suite Options agreement added about 800 units to ExecuStay’s inventory.

Mr. Lavin says the company probably will have 30 franchised markets by the end of the year, including Canada.

Online travel soars

More than 42 million people — or two-thirds of online travel planners — booked their trips using the Internet last year, according to a study by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). That is up 8 percent from 2002.

In total, 64 million travelers — 30 percent of the U.S. population — used the Internet in 2003 to get information on destinations or check prices and schedules.

Consumers most frequently bought airline tickets online, the study showed.

Retail rummage

• Coup de Foudre Lingerie, an upscale European lingerie boutique, is opening a 900-square-foot store at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Coup de Foudre, which means “love at first sight” in French, is expected to open in March. Madison Retail Group represented the tenant, and Transwestern represented Hines, the landlord.

• Pier 1 Imports is opening its newest store in Greenbelt Friday. The 10,400-square-foot home-furnishings store will have 15 full- and part-time employees. Pier 1 has 21 locations in Maryland.

• Rosa Mexicano opened its first D.C. location in December at 575 Seventh St. NW. The three-level, 9,000-square-foot Mexican restaurant has 14-foot-high wraparound windows, a floor-to-ceiling water wall made of blue glass tile, a tequila bar and a private dining room accommodating up to 80 people. The D.C. restaurant is the company’s first location outside New York.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality runs every other Monday.

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