Choice Looks At Emerging Brands

SILVER SPRING, MD? Choice Hotels International has named Thomas Hall to the newly created position of vp/emerging brands. Hall was previously the senior vp/operations at La Quinta Inns. Details of Hall?s new position were still being worked out as of presstime by Choice executives. However, Steven Schultz, executive vp/franchise operations, to whom Hall will be reporting, did tell HOTEL BUSINESS? that Choice was exploring “the possibility of creating new brands that fit the mid-market, limited-service tier. If there?s an unserved need in this market segment, we will investigate it.” Choice currently operates Clarion Inns, Hotels, Suites and Resorts; Comfort Inns & Comfort Suites; Econo Lodge; MainStay Suites; Quality Inns, Hotels and Suites, Rodeway Inns; and Sleep Inn brands. In his new position, Hall will be the senior executive in charge of the Sleep Inn and MainStay Suites brands. He will also be involved in brand strategy and positioning for all Choice brands and in ongoing exploration of brand expansions and additions. “This [position]is a new direction in brand management,” Schultz said. “We combined the management of the Sleep Inn and MainStay Suites brands into one job that would require a broad range of strategic experience and we needed someone at a senior level that could handle it. We interviewed candidates that were both internal and external to the company and chose [Hall] because we know him from working with him in the past.” Hall is a 24-year veteran of the hospitality industry, having worked with the Promus Companies in the Hampton Inn and Embassy Suites divisions, Harrah?s Entertainment, Holiday Inn and La Quinta Inns. “I was not actively looking to leave La Quinta but I was faced with a great opportunity,” Hall said. “The Sleep Inn and MainStay Suites brands are both great products that deserve more recognition and need to drive growth. There?s not too much talk about emerging brands just yet though,” he added. Hall said he did not work with Choice President/CEO Charles Ledsinger, who is also a former Promus executive, but has worked with Steve Schultz. “I believe them both to be strong leaders,” said Hall. “Knowing them will make the transition to Choice much easier on many levels.” In 1973 Hall joined Holiday Inn as an f&b director and was with the corporation for 14 years. In 1988 he joined the new Hampton Inn division of Promus and was on the team that developed the 100% satisfaction guarantee. Subsequently he held executive positions with Embassy Suites, Harrah?s Entertainment and La Quinta Inns.