Choice Hotels has officially entered the vacation rental industry, announcing the launch of Vacation Rentals by Choice Hotels Monday.
In doing so, Choice Hotels becomes the first major hotel brand to partner with independent vacation rental management companies to offer longer stays at larger accommodations.
In a statement, Choice Hotels CEO Stephen Joyce cited the growing demand within the multi-billion dollar industry as motivation to get involved.
"We've seen strong demand from vacation rental managers for distribution, branding and technology solutions, and at the same time, we've had increasing demand from consumers who desire longer-term stays and larger accommodations with the amenities of home," said Joyce.
"With these trends in mind, we've created Vacation Rentals by Choice Hotels."
While vacation rentals are typically booked through peer-to-peer platforms these days, Choice has constructed a different model, one designed to instill confidence in the consumer. By teaming up with experienced and reputable management companies and offering guests live round-the-clock assistance, Choice aims to attract travelers who may be wary of the unknown.
"What the consumer typically sees when shopping online is not always what they get, especially when reviews are not verified," said Choice Hotels CEO Stephen Joyce in a statement. "It's often difficult to know who is behind the transaction. Is it managed professionally? That can make a world of difference in the vacation experience of the guest."
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In addition to partnering with quality vacation rental management companies, Choice said it will provide customers with key information to assist them in booking, including reviews, detailed property descriptions and images.
While it remains to be seen how Choice Hotels will fare in its newest venture, there's clearly a strong demand for brand name hotels. After all, a recent survey conducted for foreign exchange specialist Travelex found that nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of Americans plan to book a brand name hotel for their next vacation in 2016.
Plus, by extending its Choice Privileges rewards program to include vacation rentals, Choice is providing its loyalty program members with added incentive to book their longer stays through the new offering.
Vacation Rentals by Choice Hotels will launch in Orlando, Florida; Aspen, Colorado; Destin, Florida; Panama City Beach, Florida; Williamsburg, Virginia; Shenandoah, Virginia; Phoenix, Arizona and Big Bear Lake, California.
Current members of Choice Hotels' vacation rental offering include Magical Memories, Sterling Resorts, and Bluegreen Resorts. However both of those lists are expected to grow in 2016 and beyond.