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Choice Sees Caribbean Business Uptick

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The global economy is improving and the Caribbean should see a re-surging travel demand and new development and franchise affiliations, according to global lodging company, Choice Hotels International.
“While 2011 was a difficult year for the industry, it was one of the busiest for Choice Hotels in the Caribbean in terms of inquiries received and the number of potential franchise contracts currently in the pipeline,” asserted Jose Salvador Icaza, Director of Caribbean Franchise Development of Choice Hotels International.
Speaking on the eve of this weekend’s 30th anniversary of Caribbean Marketplace slated for the Bahamas from January 22 to 24, Icaza recalled the expectations of his chief executive officer. “As our president Stephen Joyce has said, we are bullish about the Caribbean and are especially keen to work with the large number of independent hotels who understand the power of the Choice Hotels brand.”
Icaza noted that the robust central reservations system of Choice Hotels was “particularly alluring to Caribbean hotel owners as well as the marketing support affiliated hotels enjoy.”
Without disclosing details, he noted new franchise contracts in St. Maarten, Bahamas and Haiti were being carefully reviewed, while hotel openings in Anguilla and Dominica were expected this year.
“We continue to get strong inquiries into our Ascend Collection membership program,” he continued, explaining the network of Historic, Boutique or Unique hotels offers an authentic local experience and a commitment to service excellence.
Among the advantages of Ascend Collection, Icaza underscored hotels in the program remain independent while benefiting from the power of the Choice Hotels central reservations system, multi-million dollar marketing campaign, revenue management tools and brand performance consultants.
Bill Clegg, regional vice president for Brand Performance and Programs, said the value proposition of Choice Hotels remains strong across the Caribbean properties.
“In today’s market, being able to offer superior value for guests, high quality accommodations at affordable rates at hotel brands that guests already know is critical for the Caribbean,” contended Clegg who will be at Caribbean Marketplace this weekend.
The Choice Hotels portfolio of hotels includes Comfort Suites, Comfort Inn, Clarion, Quality and Ascend Collection hotels in five popular destination islands: the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Puerto Rico, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Caribbean Marketplace, produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), is the region’s premier travel and tourism event.

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