A public-space concept for Clarion Pointe, Choice Hotels International's new midscale brand.

THE MIDSCALE HOTEL club has a new member. Choice Hotels International on Sept. 20 announced the launch of Clarion Pointe, a select-service brand extension of Clarion, an upper-midscale, full-service franchise.

The Rockville, Maryland-based franchiser said Clarion Pointe is a conversion brand aimed at meeting “hotel owners’ strong demand for a new select-service opportunity that is a differentiator in the popular midscale segment.”

Patrick Pacious, president and chief executive officer, Choice Hotels, said the company also had value-seeking travelers in mind when creating the brand. “Clarion Pointe demonstrates our commitment to innovating in the midscale segment and builds on our decades of expertise,” he said in a statement.

In launching Clarion Pointe, Choice Hotels has expanded its presence in the midscale race. In January 2016, Tru by Hilton joined with more than 100 committed franchisees. Last fall, InterContinental Hotels Group rolled out avid hotels, with an equal level of interest from owners.

Choice Hotels said it has more than 50 Clarion Pointe franchise agreements in the development pipeline, including hotels in Medford, Oregon; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; and Florence, Mississippi, which will be the first hotel to open later this year.

Choice Hotels has two other brands that fit in the midscale category – Sleep Inn and Quality Inn. In the second quarter of this year, the company reported 387 Sleep Inns and nearly 1,600 Quality Inns in its domestic franchise portfolio. Choice Hotels has said Quality Inn is its fastest-growing brand.

Apparently, Choice Hotels believes there is room for more. “When developers expressed a need for a premium midscale conversion brand to maximize RevPAR, we listened,” said Tom Nee, vice president, franchise development, Choice Hotels. “Clarion Pointe fits perfectly into our well-segmented family of brands and is ideal for owners who want to reposition their limited service property into a select service opportunity from a company that’s proven itself in this space.”

“We’ve leveraged Choice’s insights into experiential travel within the midscale segment and developed a brand experience that is ‘on pointe’ with guests’ expectations for amenities and price point,” said Anne Smith, vice president, brand management and design, Choice Hotels. “As expectations for more affordable premiums continue to grow, the Clarion Pointe brand is ready to deliver for travelers seeking the essentials, elevated to a new level.”

Brand features include:

  • Contemporary design touches, including signature murals in guest rooms and the lobby that reflect local points of interest.
  • Curated food and beverage, such as free premium coffee and tea from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, as well as free breakfast with fresh and nutritious items. Craft beer and select wines, juices and smoothies, and small bites are available for purchase in the hotel’s marketplace.
  • On-demand connectivity that lets guests stream content from their mobile devices onto 49-inch TVs with casting capabilities and free streaming-strength Wi-Fi.
  • Modern fitness space featuring cardio equipment, a strength-training station, plus casting-capable TVs that enable guests to stream workouts on demand.

Choice Hotels reported in the second quarter of 2018 it has 166 Clarion Hotels franchised in the U.S. The brand targets corporate travelers and groups.