Choice Hotels Comfort Suites Brand to go Smoke Free on May 1
Silver Spring, Md. (March 12, 2007) - Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH) announced today that its Comfort Suites brand will become 100 percent smoke free May 1, 2007. All 433 domestic Comfort Suites including public areas will be non-smoking. This move extends Choice Hotels legacy as an industry pioneer in non-smoking accommodations, as in 1984, Choice became the first hotel company to include non-smoking rooms in every one of its properties worldwide.
The Comfort Suites brand provides a safe, comfortable and enjoyable environment for its guests and this policy is a direct outgrowth of consumers' preferences for a smoke-free hotel experience. Both Comfort Suites guests and Comfort Suites hotel owners expressed support for the move to a smoke-free brand.
"The extensive survey research we conducted with Comfort Suites guests and our franchisees strongly indicated that going smoke-free was the right decision for our brand," said Janna Morrison, division president of Choice Hotels. "More and more information is becoming available on the hazards of second-hand smoke -- that information is undoubtedly influencing where our guests stay."
Ten percent of Comfort Suites hotels are already smoke-free. The owners of those Comfort Suites hotels report being positively affected by the smoke-free switch.
"Since going smoke free, I've been pleasantly surprised, not only have my regular smoking guests remained loyal, but for every potential smoking customer that chooses another hotel, we gain two non-smoking customers," said Adam Gough, general manager of the Comfort Suites Davis in Davis, Calif.
Additionally, moving to a smoke-free brand will enable hotel owners to reduce costs associated with smoking-related cleaning, maintenance and potentially insurance liability. The elimination of separate smoking and non-smoking rooms will also simplify managing bookings and registrations at the hotel level.
Choice is working directly with its hotel owners to ensure readiness for this new policy. Every Comfort Suites property has recently received a conversion kit in preparation for the new policy. It includes step-by-step cleaning instructions, outdoor area requirements, inventory changing instructions, guest smoke-free communications, frequently asked questions and a certification checklist.
* In recognition of this smoke-free milestone, Choice Hotels is donating $10,000 to the American Cancer Society.
About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International franchises more than 5,300 hotels, representing more than 435,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 40 countries and territories. As of December 31, 2006, 860 hotels are under development in the United States, representing 66,238 rooms, and an additional 70 hotels, representing 6,317 rooms, are under development in more than 15 countries and territories. The company's Cambria Suites, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Clarion, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, MainStay Suites and Suburban Extended Stay Hotel brands serve guests worldwide.
Additional corporate information may be found on Choice Hotels' Internet site, which may be accessed at choicehotels.com.
Choice Hotels International
Sr. Director, Corporate Communications
Tel: (301) 592-6361
Fax: (301) 592-6177