Choice extended-stay brands perform above average in COVID-19 downturn

Occupancy for the company’s MainStay, WoodSpring and new Everhome brands at 67 percent in May

Choice Hotels International’s extended-stay brands, WoodSpring Suites and Suburban Extended Stay in the economy segment and MainStay Suites and recently launched Everhome Suites in midscale, have seen occupancy above average for the industry for the last three months under the COVID-19 pandemic, said Pat Pacious, Choice’s CEO.

CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL’S extended-stay brands are seeing higher occupancy than the rest of the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows a trend for other brands in the extended-stay segment.

Choice’s extended-stay brands include WoodSpring Suites and Suburban Extended Stay in the economy segment, as well as MainStay Suites and recently launched Everhome Suites in midscale. The brands’ performance was noted by Pat Pacious, Choice’s CEO, in the company’s “The Road Forward” video conference held in lieu of its annual convention.

Extended-stay occupancy was significantly higher than industry, Pacious said, but particularly for WoodSpring.

“The brand’s occupancy was above 70 percent for the month of May, making one of if not the best-performing brands in the industry,” Pacious said.

Other highlights for the brands include:

  • Choice’s extended stay brands saw average occupancy of more than 68 percent in March compared to the U.S. industry average of approximately 40 percent. The brands’ occupancy stood at 60 percent in April, more than double the industry average of 25 percent. May’s average occupancy for the brands was 67 percent.
  • The extended-stay brands also outperformed on RevPAR from March and April. Industry-wide RevPAR declined 52 percent in March and 80 percent in April, but RevPAR for the company’s extended stay brands declined less than 14 percent and 29 percent respectively.
  • Most of Choice’s extended stay portfolio remained open during the month of April, a month that saw significant hotel closings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This growing market presents tremendous potential and opportunity for developers and lenders, as the extended stay segment currently accounts for 20 percent of demand in the industry, but existing supply only makes up 9 percent of the domestic hotel landscape,” said Ron Burgett, Choice’s senior vice president for franchise development, extended stay.

Choice had 410 extended-stay hotels in the U.S. in the first quarter, a nearly 10 percent year-over-year increase, after opening 17 so far this year. It has 300 of the hotels in the pipeline. The openings include 11 new WoodSpring hotels and 6 new hotels across the MainStay Suites and Suburban Extended Stay properties.

“Our extended stay brands have shown their appeal time and time again for guests in search of a welcoming environment, convenient accommodations and affordable long-term rates – a demand that remains regardless of the broader travel environment,” said Anna Scozzafava, vice president, brand strategy and operations, extended stay, Choice Hotels. “Essential workers, for example, have long utilized extended stay hotels as a home base while traveling for work, and our brands were able to support that growing need during the COVID-19 pandemic. As consumer travel begins to recover, we are confident our extended stay brands will continue to attract and retain guests.”

And the company is recovering, Pacious said in the video.

“The worst systemwide occupancy week for Choice was April 5 at 28 percent,” Pacious said. “While no one can predict the future, it appears that this was rock bottom. We’re now in our 10th week of recovery and our systemwide occupancy as of May 31 was just shy of 45 percent.”

Extended-stay brands across the scale, but particularly economy or select-service, have performed better than average throughout the pandemic, according to the latest report from hotel investment advisors The Highland Group.