Choice Hotels Company History Timeline


In 1957, Stewart W. Bainum Sr., who ran a Washington, D.C., plumbing business, opened his first hotel in Silver Spring, Maryland.


He later franchised his first Quality Courts motel in 1963.


Hazard and Petitt met in 1967 at International Business Machines Corporation, where they worked in the data processing division.


In 1968, Bainum merged his business, Park Consolidated Motels, Inc., with Quality Courts Motels, assumed the role of president and CEO, and moved the company's headquarters from Daytona Beach to Silver Spring, Maryland.


Lodging Magazine wrote that, by 1969, Quality Courts Motels was the world's "largest association of independent motel operators".


With plans to expand throughout Europe, Quality changed its name in 1972 to Quality Inns International.


When Hazard and Petitt were hired by Best Western in 1974, their first step was to implement what was then the most advanced reservation system in the country.


By 1976 Best Western had become the world's largest hotel chain, beating out Holiday Inn, whose hotel in Beirut had been destroyed by terrorists in that year.


By 1977 Quality counted itself as the tenth-largest motel chain in the United States.


The departure of Quality Inns president Joseph W. McCarthy in June 1980 left Quality without a president for nearly six months.

In 1980 Stewart Bainum merged the two companies, with Manor Care purchasing Quality for $37 million.

Relations with hotel operators were not as cordial, however, and, in 1980, Hazard and Petitt left Best Western to join Quality, which by then controlled 339 hotels.


The Comfort brand, which would later become Choice Hotels' flagship brand, was established in 1981.


A long-running advertising campaign, begun in 1983 and featuring celebrities jumping out of suitcases, proved successful in drawing customers to Quality hotels.


In 1985 Quality purchased a majority share in England's Prince of Wales Hotels, PLC, although it would sell its stake again two years later.


Bainum Sr. led Choice Hotels International until 1987, when his son, Stewart W. Bainum Jr., took over the role of chairman and chief executive.


In 1989, the company introduced McSleep, an economy brand utilizing a consistent, interior-corridor design prototype designed by Rob Spurr that was all new construction.


Purchases in 1990 included the 148-motel Rodeway Inns International chain for $15 million, as well as the 615-motel Econo Lodges of America and 85-unit Friendship Inn chains for $60 million, completing the company's seven-brand marketing strategy.

Bainum's other business, Manor Care, Inc., which owned and managed nursing homes, bought Choice Hotels in 1990.


By 1992 Choice's five economy brands had captured 25 percent of the United States economy hotel market, and the company had grown to include 2,800 franchises and 12 company-owned hotels.


In 1993 Choice bought the failing Inovest, a large French chain of economy hotels, increasing its holdings with 144 French motels and 19 motels in six other European countries.


Choice is also the fastest-growing hotel chain, adding nearly one hotel each day in 1994.


In early 1995 Hazard and Petitt were promoted to Manor Care's board of directors, and Don Landry was appointed as CEO and president of Choice.

Also in 1995, Choice initiated its own World Wide Web home page, becoming the first major hotel chain to offer real-time room rates and reservations through the Internet.


The company changes its name in 2004 to Choice Hotels Australasia and begins franchising Choice brands in Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and Papau New Guinea.


In 2008, Choice Hotels was the first industry chain to establish a "soft brand", Ascend Hotel Collection.


In October 2010, officials in Maryland and Montgomery County announced that Choice Hotels International would move its headquarters from Silver Spring, to a new 197,866 square feet (18,382.4 m) facility in Rockville Town Center in Rockville.

The company finishes 2010 with 12 million Choice Privileges members.


Choice Hotels began a transformation of its Comfort properties in 2012, with the company removing its franchising from 600 properties that did not meet Choice Hotels' new standards.


The company's technological developments also led it to create a division called SkyTouch Technology in 2013, which markets Choice Hotels' property management system to other hotel companies.


In 2014, Choice Hotels invested millions of dollars to begin a multi-year process to develop the industry's first new global reservations system and distribution platform in 27 years.


As of 2018, Bainum Jr. remains chairman of Choice Hotels.

Choice Hotels rebranded Comfort in 2018, which brought its Comfort Inn, Comfort Inn & Suites, and Comfort Suites brands under one umbrella.

A cloud-based system, choiceEDGE, launched in 2018.

In 2018, Choice Hotels expanded the number of hotel brands it franchised by acquiring WoodSpring Suites, an extended-stay economy hotel brand.

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Choice Hotels is 82 years old.

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Choice Hotels may also be known as or be related to CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL INC DE, Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Choice Hotels International Inc and Choice Hotels International, Inc.