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If you hotel geeks have never watched CBS's Undercover Boss before then you best get yourself to CBS.com and try to watch a snippet of last night's season premiere episode featuring the CEO of Choice Hotels, Steve Joyce.
Joyce went undercover for a week as "Jack Parker" a prospective employee at several different Choice Brands from Econolodge to Comfort Suites to Choice's newest brand, Cambria Suites. Joyce/Parker tried his hand at several different jobs from maintenance man to housekeeper, sales guy and front desk agent. Aside from trying out for a variety of jobs at Choice, and learning what they entail, Joyce actually stayed at different Choice Hotels, checking out things from a guest perspective.
The episode was filled with mishaps from broken door locks to broken elevators to coffee that needed to be purchased at the front desk before being consumed in the room. Oh and Joyce also cleaned a toiletry tray with a dirty toilet rag. (Don't worry, they removed the tray.) While their jobs are grueling, the employees that Joyce encountered in the episode also have their own hardships outside of work, like the front desk agent who was kicked out by her family when she was pregnant at 16.
We recently saw this new Ascend Collection Hotel pop up in our hotel listing for New York and immediately we had two questions: One, what is it? and two, is Solita some sort of new NYC neighborhood?
As far as we can tell the Solita Soho Hotel is a cute little budget option downtown and that Solita is not a new nabe term in Manhattan. The hotel is sandwiched between Little Italy and Chinatown with Soho close by so it could be a Solita of sorts. Otherwise, you can just call the area by it's better-known name--Chinatown.
When staying at a hotel with the name Sleep Inn and Suites, you would expect to get some decent sleep there right? Well, parent company Choice Hotels is making absolutely certain that their budget brand is snooze-worthy by announcing a full design of Sleep Inn hotels.
The design highlights include:
· New lobby designs with warm, natural finishes, unique lighting features, and graphic accent walls.
· Guestrooms redesigned with accent walls, new media boards with flat screen TVs, sleek new furniture lines, leaning mirrors, striking zebra-patterned wood finishes, innovative bedding coverlets plus bedscarfs, and eye-catching collages of black and white photography.
· Spa-like baths feature chic freestanding vanities, modern wall sconces, accent walls, frameless glass showers, and bamboo-like tiles.
· Redesigned exterior with natural stone finishes, feature lighting, an enhanced tower feature, low roof profile and broad overhangs.
Choice Hotels unveiled a new website yesterday and it's become very apparent that Choice is ready to compete with the big boys. The new website has a more corporate look and feel to it yet underneath it all, it's far easier to navigate than most other chain websites.
For starters, we're digging the listing of all brands prominently at the top of the page from Comfort Inn to the upscale Ascend Collection. We also like the new search capabilities and the results pages that show not only price and location but the exact type of amenities listed at the hotel. It's actually very Hotwire-ish which is smart since so many guests doing their bookings from sites like Hotwire.
We got to poke around at the hotel last week as the finishing touches were being made, and we have to say: we were pleasantly surprised. The rooms look larger in person—and have a simple, comfortable style that should please visitors to New York. (Given its location near Port Authority and Times Square, we don’t expect this to become a magnet for New Yorkers, unless they put their relatives and out-of-town friends up at the hotel.)
Yesterday afternoon, Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere, was devastated by an enormous earthquake that's been estimated to be about a 7.0 on the Richter Scale. Thousands are feared dead, buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings and houses.
As the country continues the rescue effort, reports are trickling in about significant damages and losses. One of those reports include the popular tourist hotel, Hotel Montana, located in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Reports say that at the time of the earthquake 300 people were inside but yet only 100 made it out alive after the building collapsed.
The hotel's website describes its location as "far from the turbulence of the city, in the hills of Port-au-Prince, Hotel Montana is just ten minutes from all the shops, art galleries and restaurants of Pétion-Ville."
On Monday, we asked to hear from our readers about their experiences ”Adventuring Into Aloft”. Based on some of the responses we got, we thought that it might be equally productive to ask if any of you have tried out a Cambria Suites lately. Speaking of which, has anyone even heard of Cambria Suites?
We'd like to think that Choice Hotels International was inspired by Britney Spears's song "3" with lyrics such as "Three is a charm, Two is not the same" and "Merrier the more, triple fun that way" for its new Triple Rewards promotion but we'll just chalk it up to the need to fill their hotel rooms.
The company—whose properties include Comfort Inn, Clarion and Econo Lodge—is trying to lure guests with triple loyalty points or triple airline rewards and a trip to Hawaii. The offer is good for stays at any Choice hotel through February 18 booked online or at 800-4-CHOICE.
The fine print says that it's good for "qualifying stays," so be sure to check if your hotel accommodations meet the requirements. The bonus will be awarded on your second stay.
Aww. It always cheers us up to see hotel brands using their power for good. This month Choice Hotels supported Make a Difference Day, a national day of neighborly help. Choice Hotels employees joined Rebuilding Together volunteers to work with low-income homeowners, with roughly 700 reps from Choice Hotels doing their part to contribute some 5,000 volunteer hours.
But here’s how that relates to you: For every volunteer who joins the Choice Privileges rewards program by Dec. 31, Choice Hotels will donate $1 to Rebuilding Together, up to $50,000. Just for signing up, new loyalty program members get 500 bonus points, plus 500 more points if you stay before the end of 2009. Choice Hotels also offers similar charity programs with the American Red Cross and Armed Forces Relief Fund.
The best part? You’ll be able to sleep sound knowing you’ve made a tiny dent of good in the world—and as a new Choice Hotels loyalty program member, you can enjoy the extra sleep with late check-outs.
iPhone Apps / Hotel Technology / Hotel News / Four Seasons Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Omni Hotels / Choice Hotels / Travelodge Hotels / → All Tags
We've been variously hot and cold about hotel chain iPhone apps. As a rule we embrace anything that can help us travel easier while already on the road, and we certainly embrace it if it lives in the App Store. But hotel apps fall into that dicey category where we're not sure that the bother that goes into them is worth whatever comes out.
Hotel iPhone applications generally help you find a nearby chain hotel and check in through your rewards account. Sometimes they may automatically dial customer service. All of which is great except people rarely book within just one chain. Price is usually the most important factor, which means using a search engine, and rarely is someone in so much of a pinch that exact GPS-pinpointed location matters.
As for checking in, well, we're not talking about flights. The hotel will still be there waiting when you arrive, and you'll still have to wait in line to get it. Checking in doesn't have to happen from the road.
Nonetheless, hotels aren't going to stop producing apps. It's just what companies do these days. So here's our roundup of the industry's current offerings. Feel free to sound off in the comments: would you make space on your beloved iPhone for something like this?
If you're a devoted viewer of the "Today Show" on NBC, then you may have been keeping up with the shows's "Where Are We Today?" segment where viewers have to guess the correct location before it's revealed the next day. But maybe you didn't know that the segment was being sponsored by Choice Hotels and as part of this sponsorship, the hotel collection is offering a lucky viewer to win a $25,000 cash prize. And no hotel stays needed!
Of course, Choice would like you to spend your nights at their hotels (which include Comfort Inns, Cambria Suites and Quality Inns) and indeed you must be a member of their Choice Privileges program to enter.
From the tales of stuff-we-already-knew (but hotels didn't): potential guests who use iPhones are worth chasing. Of course they/we are! Chains like Choice Hotels and Wyndham Hotels are getting serious about mobile sites and iPhone apps so that future guests can get all the info they need while on the run, and it's all a whole lot more successful than they thought.
A Wyndham spokesperson said that potential customers accessing their mobile site "are converting at much higher rates than assumed" and the Choice people claim to have been the first brand with an iPhone app, and they're keen to keep doing more in this direction.