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Ascend Collection Creates Dedicated Membership Development Team

Poised for Record Growth in 2012 with Industry Veterans Bill Balletto,
Joe Dreiske, Dennis Wynn and Jose Salvador Icaza

SILVER SPRING, Md., April 11, 2012 -- The Ascend Collection membership program from Choice Hotels International is poised for record growth in 2012 with the creation of a dedicated membership development team, comprised of hospitality industry veterans Bill Balletto, Joe Dreiske, Dennis Wynn and Jose Salvador Icaza.

"Expanding the Ascend Collection footprint is a top priority for Choice Hotels," says David Pepper, senior vice president of global development. "We exceeded our goals last year. To maintain – and build on – that momentum, the company is backing growth in Ascend Collection with one of the most experienced and successful membership sales teams in the industry. We look forward to unprecedented growth in 2012."

The portfolio of upscale, independent hotels has been a success story for Choice Hotels. Launched in late 2008, Ascend Collection ended 2011 with 69 properties, located throughout the United States, Canada, Costa Rica and the Caribbean. During the past 12 months, Ragland says the portfolio increased by 21 hotels or 50 percent.

"Interest in joining our Ascend Collection is predicated on Choice's ability to deliver high-value reservations to member hotels through our central reservation system, Choice Privileges loyalty program, and group demand through our Global Sales organization," says Stacy Ragland, the program's vice president of operations. "Member properties that joined the system after June 30, 2010 saw on average more than 58 percent of their business delivered via Choice Hotels channels, the highest contribution rate of any brand in the company's domestic system*.

"Ascend Collection has enabled Choice to offer guests booking on and our other reservations channels a portfolio of properties in high demand locations, such as city centers and resort markets, that we historically have had limited distribution," Ragland continues. "Hoteliers in turn gain access to one of the most robust lodging distribution platforms while maintaining their unique local identity. Based on the strength of this unique business model and our new dedicated membership development team, we are confident 2012 will set new records for growth."

* Source: See Ascend Collection Franchise Disclosure Document dated April 1, 2012. For the 29 hotels that were included in the sample, 11 hotels or 37.9% met or exceeded total Choice contribution. Actual results may vary.

Introducing the new Ascend Collection membership development team:

Bill Balletto, Director, Membership Development–Ascend Collection, Northeast and Midwestern U.S.
A 40-year hospitality veteran, Balletto brings to Ascend Collection a depth of experience, having worked in a variety of roles including hotel and restaurant operations, multi-unit hotel management, real estate acquisitions and franchise development. Over the past 22 years, he has consistently been among the top franchise sales associates for Choice, having sold franchises for all of the company's brands. Balletto is a recipient of the Victor G. Trapani Award for Sales Excellence, the company's highest honor in sales achievement.

Joe Dreiske, Director, Membership Development–Ascend Collection, Western U.S.
Dreiske grew up in the hospitality industry, part of a family that owned and operated hotels throughout the U.S. His career spans more than 25 years and encompasses all aspects of the industry, including hotel management, operations, finance, acquisitions, design, development, ownership and franchising. In addition to working in the family businesses, Dreiske has served as a regional operations manager for a third-party management company, chief financial officer for a privately held hotel group and member of the Board of Directors of the California Lodging Industry Association.

Dennis Wynn, Director, Membership Development–Ascend Collection, Southeastern U.S.
Since joining Choice Hotels in 2006, Wynn has worked director of franchise development for the company's brands. In recognition of his record of achievement, he has been named four times to Choice Hotels Presidents Club for excellence in franchise sales.

Jose Salvador Icaza, Director, Membership Development, Caribbean
Icaza is responsible for the development and growth of Ascend Collection throughout the Caribbean. Previously at Choice Hotels, he held director of franchise sales and development positions for the Cambria Suites and Sleep Inn brands. Before joining Choice Hotels, Icaza was vice president of operations for the Columbia, Maryland-based management company Star Hotels. Earlier at Hilton Hotels, he served as a director of franchise development as well as general manager for hotels across that company's brands.

About Ascend Collection

The Ascend Collection membership program made its debut in late 2008 and now has hotels open and under development throughout the United States, Canada, Costa Rica and the Caribbean. The network appeals to the growing number of travelers who like to discover upscale and unique hotels with local flair when traveling for business or leisure. Member hotels include The GEM Hotels with three boutique hotels in New York City; Inn of Chicago, one-half block from The Magnificent Mile; Greenlinks Resort, situated on two championship golf courses in Naples, Fla.; Zona Hotel and Suites Scottsdale in Ariz; and Hotel Royal William in the chic New St. Rock district of downtown Quebec City. For more information on this collection of Historic, Boutique and Unique and hotels, visit or call 1.800.547.0007.

About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises more than 6,100 hotels, representing more than 495,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories. As of December 31, 2011, more than 400 hotels were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States, representing more than 30,000 rooms, and approximately 80 hotels, representing approximately 7,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in 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 serve guests worldwide. In addition, via its Ascend Collection membership program, travelers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean have upscale lodging options at historic, boutique and unique hotels.

Additional corporate information may be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. Web site, which may be accessed at

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Choice Privileges, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Collection are proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.


Sharlet Brennan
MMGY Global Public Relations

Karlee Kunkle
MMGY Global Public Relations


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Also See: Cadillac Jack's Gaming Resort in Deadwood, South Dakota Joins the Ascend Collection from Choice; The 103-room Property is Operated by ISIS Hospitality / March 2012

Ascend Collection from Choice Debuts in Central America while Continuing North American Expansion with Two New Canadian Properties; The Gran Hotel in Costa Rica, the St-Christophe Hotel & Spa in Quebec and the Hidden Valley Resort in Ontario Join the Portfolio / February 2012

Choice Hotels Opens 5,000th Domestic Franchised Property with the Opening of the Comfort Suites in Katy, Texas / February 2012

Choice Hotels International Appoints Barbara T. Alexander to its Board of Directors / February 2012

Choice Hotels Names Simone Wu as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary / February 2012

Choice Hotels Promotes Sarah Searls to Vice President of Business and Analytic Services / February 2012

Choice Hotels Launches Plan to Redefine and Redesign its Comfort Brand Family / January 2012

Choices Hotels Appoints John Tague to its Board of Directors / January 2012

Membership with Ascend Collection from Choice Up by Nearly 35% over 2010 / December 2011

Ascend Collection from Choice Adds The Wesport Inn in Connecticut and the GreenLinks Golf Villas at Lely Resort in Naples, Florida / November 2011

Ascend Collection from Choice Adds Three New Properties in October 2011 in California, Michigan and Pennsylvania / October 2011

The 431-room Xona Resort Suites in North Scottsdale, Arizona Becomes Zona Hotel & Suites Scottsdale as Part of Multi-Million Dollar Renovation and Reflagging; With Membership in Choice Hotel's Ascend Collection, the Property is Owned by Sunstone US Hotel and Operated by O'Neill Hotels & Resorts / October 2011

Ascend Collection from Choice Hotels Debuts in Washington, D.C. Market with the 261-suite Virginian Suites Arlington Owned by Virginian Associates, LLC and Operated by Modus Hotels, LLC / September 2011

Choice Hotels International and Foulger-Pratt Companies Break Ground for New Choice Hotels Corporate Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland / August 2011

Choice Hotels International Opens 28 New Hotels in July 2011 / August 2011

Ascend Collection from Choice Hotels Debuts in Arizona with the 431-room Xona Resort Suites in North Scottsdale Owned by Sunstone US Hotel and Operated by O'Neill Hotels & Resorts / July 2011

Choice Hotels Executes Lease for New Corporate Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland / July 2011

Choice Hotels International Opens 27 New Hotels in June 2011 / July 2011

Ascend Collection from Choice Hotels Debuts in New Hampshire with the 40-room Lane Hotel in Keene Operated by Colwen Management / June 2011

99-key Ben Lomond Suites Historic Hotel in Ogden, Utah, Joins Ascend Collection from Choice Hotels / March 2011

New Owner of XONA Resort Suites in Scottsdale, Arizona, Sunstone Realty Advisors, Chooses Tower Rock Hotels and Resorts to Manage Property / February 2011

Ascend Collection by Choice Hotels Continues Growth with Addition of Eleven Properties in Final Months of 2010 Bringing Total to 70 Open or Under Development / February 2011

Three Canadian Properties Join Choice Hotels Ascend Collection; The Château Moncton and Château Saint John, New Brunswick, and Hotel Royal William, Québec / January 2011

Choice Hotels International Opens 33 Hotels in November in 14 States and Seven Countries Adding More than 2,500 rooms / December 2010

Choice Hotels International Opens 24 New Hotels in October Adding More than 1,600 rooms / November 2010

Choice Hotels Offers Significant Incentives for Hotel Owners Interested in Converting an Existing Hotel to the Quality, Clarion or Econo Lodge Brand; Incentives Include Discounted Application Fees, No Royalty Fees and Cash Back Upon Opening / August 2010

To Stimulate Brand Growth Econo Lodge Offering Up to $25,000 in Incentives for Conversion Properties / Aug 2003

Choice Offers Development Incentive for Conversions to Quality Brand; Up to $85,000 in Savings for Conversion Properties / Aug 2002

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