- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Hotel franchiser rebrands collection
Question of the Day
Choice Hotels International Inc. is boosting its boutique hotel business by rebranding its Clarion Collection as the “Ascend Collection” with a more upscale logo and more independence for the hotel owners, the company announced at its annual gathering of franchisees this month.
The Silver Spring hotel company is changing the Clarion Collection from a “brand” to an “affiliation program.” The move essentially gives hotel owners more freedom to control the details of their properties, but keeps them connected to Choice’s international reservation system.
Typically, branded hotels are required to maintain their brand’s standards or rules on items such as bedding or decor. An affiliated hotel can have the freedom to choose its own elements while keeping Choice’s seal of approval.
The 39 properties in the U.S., Canadian and Caribbean Clarion Collection will get the Ascend logo in the second half of this year, according to spokeswoman Heather Soule. The Clarion Collection in Europe will not be changed.
The change is designed to give the Ascend properties more freedom and a more upscale feel. It’s also intended to provide better clarity between the Clarion brand hotels and the Clarion Collection, which is the boutique chain, Ms. Soule said.
“It’s a great way to maintain the historic or boutique hotel and their own identity, but be part of a company,” she said.
Many of the major hotel chains are hoping to expand their boutique hotels — those in historic buildings or unique spaces that typically have decor that reflects the local culture or city.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide has the W hotels brand, with 18 U.S. locations. Marriott International recently announced it is working with designer Ian Schrager to create 100 boutique hotels under the name “Edition.”
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC founded its boutique hotel group, Hotel Indigo, in October 2004. The hotels are intended to have unique or quirky features such as local art in the lobby and guestroom decor and slipcovers that change with the seasons.
When individual hotel owners have a corporation take care of office work, they have more time to focus on the details customers see.
“There’s a lot more opportunities for innovation,” Stevan Porter, president of the Americas division of InterContinental, added while in Washington last month. “I think we’re going to see a lot more of this trend.”
U.S. dollar sale
The number of foreign visitors to the United States reached a record in February, according to the latest figures released last week from the Department of Commerce. About 3.3 million international visitors traveled to the United States that month, representing a 15 percent increase over last February. Overseas arrivals — which excludes Canada and Mexico — rose 11 percent over last year.
Despite the increase, the travel industry is pushing for legislation that would authorize a U.S. tourism campaign funded by the industry. The Travel Industry Association trade group said last week that it has gathered the support of 200 House members and 42 senators.
• Retail & Hospitality appears Mondays. Send news to Jen Haberkorn at 202/636-4836 or jhaberkorn @washingtontimes.com.
About the Author
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world