News for the Hospitality Executive
Choice's Ascend Hotel Collection Adds 21-Bluegreen Resorts
SILVER SPRING, Md., Jan. 23, 2013 -- Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), one of the world's largest lodging franchisors, announced today that it will add 21 Bluegreen Vacation Club® Resorts to its upscale Ascend Hotel Collection as part of a multi-faceted strategic marketing alliance with Bluegreen Vacations and Bluegreen Resorts Management, Inc., subsidiaries of Bluegreen Corporation (NYSE: BXG), a leader in the vacation ownership industry. The new alliance with Bluegreen marks the first time Choice Hotels has entered into such a relationship with a timeshare company.
The agreement makes Bluegreen Vacations the official vacation ownership provider for Choice Hotels. In addition, Choice Hotels adds 21 new Ascend Hotel Collection resorts in top vacation destinations, such as Aruba, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, Cape Cod, Phoenix, Savannah, Ga. and Myrtle Beach, S.C. In turn, Bluegreen Vacations' TravelerPlus™ participants will be eligible to enroll as members of Choice Privileges® and will be upgraded to Elite Gold status and receive special benefits. This will provide TravelerPlus™ members with access to all of the Choice hotels worldwide including the more than 75 hotels in the Ascend Hotel Collection. Additionally, all Bluegreen Vacations' owners will be eligible to access discounted rates at all 6,200 Choice hotels, subject to availability.
"This strategic marketing alliance leverages the unique core strengths of each of our companies – the unsurpassed power of Choice Hotels' international distribution platform and globally recognized brands and Bluegreen Vacations' exceptional vacation spots and loyal owner base," said Steve Joyce, president and chief executive officer for Choice Hotels International. "It allows Choice Hotels to pursue alternative business and marketing opportunities in a new leisure segment and advances one of our key corporate priorities to further expand in the upscale market through the addition of these premier resort destinations to our portfolio. It also gives us the opportunity to tap into Bluegreen Vacations' 170,000 vacation club owners and extend the marketing reach of our brands and award-winning Choice Privileges® program to them."
This alliance will bring the total number of properties open for the Ascend Hotel Collection to approximately 100 worldwide by the end of the first quarter of 2013, with signed membership agreements for an additional 24 member properties. Ascend Hotel Collection offers guests an authentic, local experience in premier destinations. The portfolio of independent hotels has grown from approximately 17 properties in the United States four years ago to 95 worldwide today, including seven in Canada and others in Latin America and Scandinavia. Recent additions to the portfolio include boutique hotels in major cities, including: New York, Boston, Miami, New Orleans, Ottawa and Calgary as well as signed membership agreements for new properties in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, British Anguilla and the Dominican Republic. Other premier destinations coming down the line include: Carmel, Calif., Napa, Calif., Sedona, Ariz., and recent signings in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Guests at the newly added Ascend Hotel Collection resorts will choose from beach, golf, city, family, gaming, culinary, historical and eco experiences. The properties house vacation villas, many with multiple bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens and private balconies with striking city or water views. These resorts offer the full gamut of amenities, from private beaches, championship golf courses, state-of-the-art fitness centers and spa services to on-site restaurants, lounges, shops, children's activity centers and more.
"We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Choice Hotels," Bluegreen President and CEO John M. Maloney, Jr. said. "While we certainly believe that we will benefit from the marketing opportunities, we are also excited by the other aspects of our alliance with Choice Hotels. We expect that this arrangement will add value for our current owners and will be very attractive to prospective owners based on the credibility of the Choice Hotel brands and the appeal of our expanded product offerings."
The growth of Ascend Hotel Collection has been significant since it launched in late 2008. Each Ascend Hotel Collection member has a unique personality reflecting the local flavor. In 2012 the portfolio saw an additional eight join the membership and signed 21 deals in leading markets.
"From New York City to Stockholm, Sweden, and San Jose, Costa Rica, Ascend Hotel Collection continues to create an extraordinary collection of hotels in some of the most sought-after cities and vacation spots around the world," said Mike Murphy, senior vice president, Cambria Suites and Ascend Hotel Collection for Choice International Hotels. "We are attracting new customers and entering exciting new markets and are on track to reach 100-plus hotels by mid-year."
Ascend Hotel Collection appeals to both owners of existing hotels and developers of new ones. Choice Hotels recently announced an exceptional addition to the collection, the Postcard Inn hotel that sits at the ocean's edge on St. Pete Beach, a six-mile-long island off Florida's West Coast. This destination ranked No. 1 on the 2012 TripAdvisor list of Top 10 Beach Destinations in the United States. Postcard Inn attracts all types of travelers – singles, couples and families – with its singular surfing-inspired style. Many of the 196 guestrooms feature authentic surfboards anchored to the wall and standing upright in the corner. While no two rooms are alike, all are outfitted with retro light fixtures, flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi and down-filled duvets with crisp white covers.
About Ascend Hotel Collection
The Ascend Hotel Collection membership program made its debut in late 2008 and now has more than 75 hotels open and under development throughout the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Scandinavia and the Caribbean. This eclectic portfolio of upscale, independent hotels appeals to the growing number of people who like to immerse themselves in the destination and live like the locals when they travel. Member hotels include The GEM Hotels with three boutique hotels in New York City; Zona Hotel and Suites Scottsdale in Arizona; Grand Hotel Costa Rica, San Jose; Hotel Royal William in the chic New St. Rock district of downtown Quebec City; Nordic Light Hotel, Stockholm. For more information, visit www.ascendcollection.com.
About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises approximately 6,200 hotels, representing more than 495,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories. As of September 30, 2012, 360 hotels, representing 29,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States. Additionally, 75 hotels, representing approximately 7,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 20 other countries and territories. The company's Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands, as well as its Ascend Hotel Collection membership program, serve guests worldwide.
Additional corporate information may be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. website, which may be accessed at www.choicehotels.com.
About Bluegreen Corporation
Founded in 1966 and headquartered in Boca Raton, F.L., Bluegreen Corporation (NYSE:BXG) is a leading timeshare sales, marketing and resort management company. Bluegreen manages, markets and sells the Bluegreen Vacation Club®, a flexible, points-based, deeded vacation ownership plan with 170,000 owners, over 60 owned or managed resorts, and access to more than 4,000 resorts worldwide. Bluegreen also offers a portfolio of comprehensive, turnkey, fee-based service resort management, financial services, and sales and marketing performed on behalf of third parties. For more information, visit www.bluegreencorp.com.
Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Hotel Collection are proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.
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