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Choice Hotels is better known for brands like Comfort Inn and EconoLodge rather than luxury brands. But, the hotel group is working on improving its image both at lower- and higher-end brands. For example, Choice recently booted hundreds of Comfort Inn properties for not meeting new standards.
Meanwhile, Choice has been focusing more on its upscale hotel brands of Cambria Hotels and the Ascend Collection. This is part of an intentional strategy by management. As Choice’s CFO Dominic Dragisich recently put it, “We believe our strategic focus on upscale will continue to evolve our portfolio and drive top line growth because of the revenue-intense nature of the brands.”
One of the small ways that Choice is improving the traveler’s experience at Cambria Hotels is by “redefining the nightcap.” With this new welcome amenity program at select Cambria Hotel locations, guests will have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, as well as non-drink related options.
The hotel brand recently surveyed 2,000 business travelers between 30 and 49 years old to figure out what they wanted more of when traveling for work. And the answer most gave wasn’t “more alcohol.”
60% surveyed would rather end their day with a hot shower or bath rather than an alcohol beverage. Half said that they drink less alcohol when traveling than they used to. Many travelers agree that the nightcap can be defined as “anything that serves as a relaxing way to end the day.”
Of course, there are still plenty that would like a traditionally-defined nightcap. At check-in, Choice Privileges members will get to choose one of the following:
- Face mask
- Shower burst spa product
- Cambria custom blend chamomile lavender tea
- $5 beverage voucher for the hotel bar or grab-and-go market
- 250 Choice Privileges points
For now, you’ll only find these welcome amenities at five locations: New Orleans, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Dallas and New York-Chelsea. Hopefully the program will be rolled out to more locations soon.
This choice of welcome amenities is a rather creative way to give travelers a different kind of treat when they check in. That said, these options aren’t especially generous or costly for the hotel.
As part of this roll out, I got a chance to try the face mask and shower burst. Both are a nice touch and something that isn’t available as a welcome amenity elsewhere. However, each probably only costs the hotel a dollar or two. TPG values the Choice points option at just $1.50. That leaves the $5 food and beverage voucher as the highest face-value option.
As a Choice elite, I’d much rather get a more meaningful welcome amenity like free breakfast or a higher-value food and beverage credit that could be used toward dinner, drinks or breakfast.
All that said, it’s nice to see a hotel brand listening to its customers and creating a unique welcome amenity, and I applaud Choice for providing a variety of options.
Before your next stay at a Choice hotel, make sure that you’re also enrolled in Your Extras, an opt-in program for travelers staying at Choice properties Sunday-Thursday nights. When you enroll, you can choose between earning Choice Privileges points, airline miles with participating carriers, Fuel Rewards savings, Amazon.com credits, a Starbucks coffee card or Uber trip discounts.
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Featured image by Sofie Delauw via Getty Images
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