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Choice Hotels International and Akkeron Hotels Group Limited Announce UK Agreement

Nine Choice Hotels Branded Properties Added to the UK Portfolio

SILVER SPRING, Md., Jan. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), announced today a strategic relationship with Akkeron Hotels Group Limited, a well-known regional hotel operator in the United Kingdom, that is expected to initially result in nine Akkeron hotels operating under Choice Hotels franchise agreements in the UK, representing an almost 25% increase in the Choice Hotels UK hotel portfolio and an additional 611 rooms.

This agreement forms a critical part of Choice Hotels' growth strategy to offer financial support to boost development in key international markets, such as Europe, by using the company's capital as a targeted incentive to hotel developers and operators to enter into franchise agreements located in strategic locations and markets.

Under the agreement, five Akkeron hotels in Bristol, Bury St. Edmunds, Colchester, Peterborough and Kings Lynn will be rebranded under the Quality brand and another four hotels located in Winchester, Darlington, Ringwood and Stevenage will operate under the Clarion Collection brand. The newly branded Choice hotels, Quality Hotel Bury St. Edmunds, Quality Hotel Peterborough and Clarion Collection Cromwell Stevenage, are anticipated to come online within the Choice Hotels Europe system by the end of February. The remaining Quality and Clarion Collection brand hotels are expected to come online throughout 2013. 

"We are delighted to have entered into this relationship with Akkeron Hotels Group Limited. Akkeron is a strong hotel operator and an ideal company for Choice Hotels Europe to work with and grow its presence in the UK. The agreement initially will focus on rebranding nine hotels with the opportunity to discuss rebranding further Akkeron hotels in the future," commented Duncan Berry, UK CEO, Choice Hotels Europe.

"Our relationship with Choice Hotels is about developing a long term strategy of increasing UK marketshare for both companies. It is clear that Choice Hotels is prepared to invest in the UK market in terms of brand and distribution. Alongside the change in brand comes a significant investment into the nine hotels to reposition those businesses along with the conversion to the Clarion Collection and Quality brands," added Matthew Welbourn, MD of Akkeron Hotels Group Limited.

"This agreement underscores the fact that Europe is a key focus of growth for Choice Hotels, and in order to substantially increase the size of the portfolio we have made significant investments in technology in the European marketplace, " said Mark Pearce, senior vice president, International Division, Choice Hotels International. "This includes introducing choiceADVANTAGE, our cloud-based hotel property management system  in the UK and Europe which provides our franchisees with a fully integrated solution to manage guest interaction from the moment a reservation is made through check-out and even after the stay."

The Choice Hotels European portfolio of franchised hotels offers business and leisure travelers a full spectrum of premium economy to luxury hotels. Choice Hotels Europe franchises nearly 500 hotels across Europe alone.  Brands franchised by Choice Hotels Europe include Clarion, which is described as four to five star rated; Quality, which is three star rated and provides a mid-scale full service offering and Comfort, which is two to three star rated and is Choice Hotel's largest brand worldwide, known for value, customer service and reliability. 

Benefits of operating under a Comfort, Quality or Clarion brand include increased reservations delivered through Choice Hotels International's central online booking system and third-party travel websites, the choiceADVANTAGE property management system, Choice's marketing support and powerful seasonal and national advertising campaigns, as well as the company's large and experienced sales force which is able to negotiate with major travel agents. Choice Hotels International also operates an award-winning global loyalty rewards program with more than 16.5 million Choice Privileges members.

About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises approximately 6,200 hotels, representing more than 495,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories.  As of September 30, 2012, 360 hotels, representing 29,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States.  Additionally, 75 hotels, representing approximately 7,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 20 other countries and territories.  The company's Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands, as well as its Ascend Hotel Collection membership program, serve guests worldwide. Additional corporate information may be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. website, which may be accessed at www.choicehotels.com.

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Hotel Collection are proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.

© 2013 Choice Hotels International, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Akkeron Hotels Group Limited
Akkeron Hotels Group Limited is a growing UK focused mid-market and regional hotel business comprising 3* and 4* hotels. The Company intends to build a portfolio of up to 150 regional hotels and it is expected that Akkeron's interests in these will comprise a blend of freehold ownerships, leases and management contracts. Akkeron Hotels' portfolio consists of 34 hotels, employing 1,630 people, with a combined turnover of c£62m making it one of the largest regional hotel operators in the UK. Akkeron Group was formed in 2008 by James Brent, previously Global Head of Real Estate & Lodging Investment Banking at Citigroup, with a focus on real estate-based operational businesses.

Akkeron's key areas of activity include:

  • Management-intensive real estate portfolios e.g. hotels 
  • Urban regeneration focused on the South and South West of the UK 
  • Large-scale agriculture in emerging markets

Akkeron pursues a partnership approach to its investment programme, leveraging its skills across real estate, development, financing and corporate finance.

SOURCE Choice Hotels International, Inc.

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