With the launch of its new Openings Portal, Choice Hotels International is simplifying and improving the process of opening a hotel for its franchisees. The advanced project management platform was designed to let Choice owners track every step of the opening process, from franchise agreement to the first check-in. The ideas is to help owners welcome guests faster and capitalize on their investment sooner.
The hope is that the platform’s intuitive design and functionality will help remove friction and create a more seamless process. According to a company spokesperson, Choice’s dedicated Opening Services team will continue to be franchisees’ primary resource during the opening process, and the Openings Portal will supplement the hands-on, personal services, with the following features:
- Three tracks: critical milestones, brand requirements, and training and activation, where owners can monitor their progress as they complete each step in the hotel’s opening process.
- Fully mobile functionality so franchisees can update their progress anywhere, at any time.
- A powerful search feature that quickly guides owners to important documents and valuable educational content, which helps franchisees learn about the opening process and how to help improve profitability.
The Openings Portal is housed on Choice University, a premier property-level training resource, which last year was ranked No. 6 in ELearning! Magazine’s Top 100 Companies for Corporate Training. Choice University offers hotel owners a wide range of engaging, relevant content designed to deliver a positive impact across all areas of the business, including a curriculum tailored to each user based on job function and brand.
The new resource builds on several innovations that Choice Hotels recently created, including Virtual Pay capabilities and the Group Management Platform. Virtual Pay allows travel managers to quickly and effortlessly book stays for their guests without needing a personal credit card, and Group Management Platform is an online reservation solution that makes planning and booking group travel easier.
The new tool should help Choice Hotel maintain its industry-leading voluntary franchisee retention rate. The company currently has approximately 2,000 franchisee. It’s not the first time the publicly traded company, which has more than 7,000 hotels in total representing nearly 570,000 rooms as of the end of last year, has demonstrated its technology prowess.
In January, for example, the company launched its Group Management Platform, an online reservation platform to make planning and booking group travel at its hotels faster and more efficient. The tool is available to members of the Choice Privileges loyalty program who are looking to book 10 rooms or more. Using the tool, guests can make reservations for groups, review details at a glance, select various payment options, confirm reservations, send customized emails inviting guests to book and make room modifications at any time.
For the past five years, the company has made its hotel property management system available under its SkyTouch Technology subsidiary to any hotelier in the world, including its direct competitors. So far, more than 750 non-Choice hoteliers have become customers.
Choice Hotels’ technology leadership position has clearly helped it strengthen its midscale presence while growing its upscale and extended-stay portfolio. Last year, the company expanded its domestic development pipeline to its largest ever and increased its international room count by nearly 6 percent.