Hotel Online  Special Report

Choice Hotels Names Stacy Ragland Vice President, Franchise Performance
and Hires Shaun Smithson to Focus on Franchisee Retention, Product Quality
Silver Spring, Md. (April 26, 2006) — Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE:CHH) recently announced the promotion of Stacy Ragland to the position of vice president, franchise performance. In her new role, Ragland, who has been at Choice for over a decade, will focus on improving property-level performance and maximizing franchisee retention. In addition, the franchise services division will now report up through Ragland.

Ragland's promotion follows Choice’s recent move to combine its franchise sales and franchise services divisions to benefit its franchisees. Ragland will report to David Pepper, senior vice president, franchise growth and performance.

"Stacy's extensive field-based experience, which ranges from franchise services and franchise sales to marketing and brands, makes her a strong addition to the franchise growth and performance division," Pepper said. "This new position will enable Stacy to utilize her unique, broad-based experience to assist our franchisees."

Ragland has more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry in a variety of fields including hotel operations, sales and marketing, franchise sales and franchise services. At Choice, she has served in many roles, including director of new property services, franchise service director, senior director of new hotel sales support, brand manager and, most recently, director of franchise sales. 

Also Choice Hotels has hired Shaun Smithson as senior director, brand management. Smithson joins the brand strategy team where he will look at ways to improve key brand management processes for the midscale brands, which include Clarion, Quality, Comfort Suites, Comfort Inn and Sleep Inn. Smithson will focus on processes that affect franchisee retention, product quality and enforcement and property/brand fit. He reports to Aaron Katz, vice president, brand management and strategy.

"Shaun is going to focus his energies on three areas that are essential to any franchisor's success: retaining franchisees, ensuring hotels are meeting brand standards and evaluating whether the physical property fits with the flag that the hotel is flying," said Katz. "Focusing on those key areas will help strengthen the Choice system, which is a plus for both the franchisor, Choice Hotels, and the franchisees. Shaun's experience prior to Choice made him a natural fit to fill this important role."

Smithson comes to Choice Hotels with a diverse hospitality background, most recently as Senior Director, Hotel Performance Support with Hilton Hotels Inc, within the Hilton Garden Inn brand. Prior to his five years with Hilton Hotels, Smithson was with LRA Worldwide where he worked as a consultant within the quality assurance programs for brands such as Sheraton, Hilton and Radisson. Additionally, Smithson brings significant experience managing properties for Holiday Inn Worldwide and Homestead Village, as well as ownership and executive management in restaurants in Atlanta and Orlando. Smithson began his hospitality career with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, in the chef apprenticeship program where he earned his Certified Cook certificate. 

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from State University of New York – Empire State College, and his CHA certification from the American Hotel and Lodging Association.  He has been a member of the AH&LA’s Council of Inns and Suites since 2004.

Choice Hotels International is one of the world's largest lodging franchisors, marketing more than 5,000 hotels open or under development in more than 40 countries under the Cambria Suites, Clarion, Quality, Comfort Suites, Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brand names. For more information on Choice, visit the company's web site at


Robin Ferrier
Tel:  (301) 592-6719

Also See: Choice Hotels Reports First Quarter Net Income Grew 47% to $17.7 million Compared to the Same Period Last Year; Domestic Hotel Franchise Contracts Up 17% / Brand Operating Data / April 2006
Aaron Katz, Choice Hotels VP, Brand Strategy and Corporate Development, to Oversee New Team; Managing the Major Lifecycle Events for Properties in the System / January 2006

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