CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL’S relatively new upscale Cambria brand has gained some following among Asian American hotel developers. Janis Cannon, Choice’s senior vice president for upscale brands, sat for a video interview with Asian Hospitality Editor Ed Brock to talk about the driving forces behind that movement.

Cannon was attending the January grand opening of Cambria’s 50th location, the 12-story, 352-room Cambria Hotel & Suites Anaheim Resort Area in Anaheim, California, near Disneyland. The hotel is the largest in the brand and includes a small waterpark in the pool area.

“Guests, because they get the experience they’re looking for, they’re willing to pay for that, and so you’re getting the rate and the RevPAR that you need which creates stronger margins for you as well and therefore greater return on your project,” Cannon said.

There are many markets where Cambria, launched in 2005, does not have representation, Cannon said.

“So, if you’re a developer and you’ve been wanting to get into Austin, Texas, for example, there’s an opportunity to get in there with a Cambria whereas there may not be other opportunities,” she said.

Dheeraj Reddy’s Reddy Hotels and Green Stay Hospitality LLC in Orlando, Florida, and Jai Motwani’s Hotel Motel Inc. in south Florida are building Cambria’s in their areas.

Cannon also discussed Choice’s Ascend Collection, a soft brand with about 300 independent resort, historic or boutique properties. Global Vision Hotels, of which Gautam Sharma is co-founder and president, has opened several EnVision Hotels as part of the collection.

“Those owners, what they’re looking for is a platform that includes things like loyalty, customer acquisition, sales and marketing, all those things that are really going to help them drive their profitability,” Cannon said.

Cambria is a standardized brand that allows developers to add local elements. “The owner/developer also gets to put a little bit of their mark on the property, too.”

Cannon has noticed a movement toward the upscale brands among Choice franchisees.

“More and more we’re seeing people who may have started with Rodeway Inn and then moved up to Comfort and now they’re really moving up to upscale,” Cannon said.