Choice Hotels wants a greater share of the corporate travel market. The company wouldn’t say what percentage of its guests are corporate travelers, nor what its marketshare goals are, only that the company currently captures about $980 million from corporate travelers and that it wants an increasing piece of the business travel pie, which is anticipated to reach $1.7 trillion by 2022.
One way Choice aims to reach more business travelers is through an advertising campaign aimed set to launch on Monday. It will kick off with a TV spot and will include digital, social, radio, print and out-of-home advertisements. “The company is ready to build on our success by demonstrating to business travelers that we’ve invested in everything they want and need, especially in our flagship Comfort brand and upscale Cambria brand,” Choice president and CEO Pat Pacious said.
Choice has been on an investment roll in recent years, spending $725 million on its Cambria brand, which is geared toward business travelers, and, in a joint venture with its franchisees, a combined $2.5 billion to upgrade the midscale Comfort brand. Those Comfort hotels that have completed renovations have seen their business travel revenue growth more than double within a quarter of completing renovations.
The company also has invested in Virtual Pay. Choice piloted the function with 24 customers from August 2018 until its launch in April. According to Choice, feedback was that the feature makes it easier for those who do not have corporate cards, eliminates the administrative burden and security risks associated with faxing virtual card authorization forms, provides weekly reporting for reconciliation, eliminates the need for third-party virtual card number generators, and allows flexibility around cancellations and modifications.
In addition, Choice aims to grow its meetings business. In November 2018, it launched its group management platform, which simplifies bookings for group travel. The platform allows planners to make group reservations, review details of bookings, select payment options, confirm reservations, send customized emails to invite guests to book, and make room modifications at any time.
When asked how the company will work with corporate travel managers to increase its market share, a spokesperson said the sales teams, which include between 100 and 120 associates directly managing corporate transient and group/meeting accounts, create personalized solutions for each company. The spokesperson also said the Choice Privileges program offers enhanced perks for midweek travel through its Your Extras program.