|PARSIPPANY, N.J. (April 26, 2006) - In a move to fulfill a strategic
priority by strengthening its position in the midscale lodging segment,
Cendant Hotel Group today said it intends to merge its AmeriHost Inn(r)
franchise system into the recently acquired Baymont Inn & Suites(r)
The merger aims to promote brand awareness and distribution in the
marketplace by nearly doubling the Baymont brand's system size and increasing
its marketing resources, according to Steven A. Rudnitsky, Cendant Hotel
Group chairman and chief executive officer.
"This move will create critical mass for the Baymont brand, accelerating
our efforts to drive more business to both our AmeriHost Inn and Baymont
franchisees," he said. "By combining these two high-quality brands
under the Baymont name, we will create a much stronger competitor in the
Inn is a relative newcomer to the hotel industry, having first opened its
doors in Athens, OH in 1989. Recently the brand celebrated its 100th hotel
opening in Redding, CA. Every hotel features AmeriHost Inn's signature
indoor pool with whirlpool area, complimentary expanded continental breakfast,
exercise room, whirlpool suites and much more. And with the brand's Commitment
Plus® satisfaction program, each guest will feel special every time
Anthony L. Berger, Cendant Hotel Group chief operating officer, said
the decision to merge the Baymont and AmeriHost Inn brands was based, in
part, on their "strikingly similar characteristics" including market positioning,
guest demographics, pricing, quality and guest satisfaction measures and
the preponderance of new-construction properties.
"These brands are a great fit," he said. "Together, they offer
a consistent, compelling product, both from the viewpoint of the owner-operator
as well as the guest."
Berger said the merger also enhances development opportunities.
"Our substantial footprint of existing properties in the Midwest and south-central
United States positions us to expand the Baymont system both eastward and
westward," he said. "Moreover, while the AmeriHost Inn trademark
was compelling only in the United States, the Baymont name is licensed
worldwide, creating broader opportunities to expand the brand."
AmeriHost Inn properties must meet new design and service standards
and other criteria before they can be rebranded, Berger said. "While
many AmeriHost Inn properties are expected to qualify, the majority of
those that do not will be given an opportunity to make necessary upgrades
during the next several months." To expedite the rebranding, Cendant
Hotel Group will offer qualifying AmeriHost Inn franchisees a free lease
for new exterior property signage.
Cendant Hotel Group completed its acquisition of the Baymont Inn &
Suites brand on April 7 from affiliates of The Blackstone Group, a private
investment firm based in New York. The transaction included
worldwide rights to the Baymont Inn & Suites brand but no real estate.
Cendant Hotel Group, which will become part of a Cendant spin-off hospitality
company called Wyndham Worldwide later this year, is one of the world's
largest integrated lodging franchise and management companies with more
than 6,400 hotels on six continents franchised under the Wyndham(r), Ramada(r),
Days Inn(r), Super 8(r), Wingate Inn(r), Howard Johnson(r), Travelodge(r),
Knights Inn(r), Baymont Inn & Suites(r) and AmeriHost Inn(r) brands.
All hotels are owned individually and operated independently or by a Cendant
subsidiary. Cendant Hotel Group's TripRewards(r) loyalty program is the
largest in the industry, based on the number of participating hotels.