Choice marks 15 years since launching soft-brand segment

This year marks the 15th year since Choice Hotels International Inc. launched the industry’s soft-brand segment with the introduction of the Ascend Hotel Collection.

Among the first properties in the Ascend Hotel Collection, made up of one-of-a-kind, independent, historic, boutique and resort hotels, were the Golden Hotel in Golden, CO; Kress Inn in De Pere, WI; and Hotel Bothwell in Sedalia, MO—all of which are still part of the collection. Today, the soft brand has more than 330 properties globally and continues to appeal to franchise owners with many hotels having been in families for multiple generations, according to the company.

“In 2008, amid a recession, Ascend Hotel Collection’s launch shifted the entire hotel landscape for owners, developers and guests​​,” said Janis Cannon, SVP, upscale brands, Choice Hotels. “Fifteen years later, Choice is one of the most innovative and flexible lodging companies franchisees can work with as we continue expanding our upscale offering. As independent operators may again face economic headwinds, the evolution of the Ascend Hotel Collection is a prime example of how Choice is driving more growth potential by allowing owners to maintain their unique identities.”

By joining Ascend, independent owners have access to Choice’s proprietary systems and distribution platform, including the choiceADVANTAGE property management system; the choiceEDGE guest reservation platform; and ChoiceMAX, a mobile-friendly revenue management tool.

The evolution of Ascend Hotel Collection over the last 15 years includes:

  • 2008: Choice Hotels launches Ascend Collection program, offering unique, boutique and historic hotels the opportunity to leverage the company’s distribution network.
  • 2013: 100th domestic Ascend opens in Chicago
  • 2016: Ascend forms a strategic alliance with Bluegreen Vacations, which continues to evolve and grow both the brand and Choice guest experience as it gives access to resort destinations.
  • 2021: Ascend Hotel Collection outperforms the industry’s upscale chain scale in RevPAR by 26 percentage points in the second quarter of 2021, compared to 2019.
  • 2023: 15th anniversary of Ascend Hotel Collection, with more than 330 hotels globally