Choice Hotels EMEA has revealed a refresh of its Ascend Hotel Collection brand, giving franchisees freedom to shape their own story and positioning
Toolkit launched to help Ascend Hotels define their own distinctive Icon, Rewarding Rituals, and ‘United in Kind’ initiatives
Ascend Hotel Collection refresh completes Choice Hotels EMEA brand re-energisation strategy, with Comfort, Clarion, and Quality hotels already adopting the new brand direction and the Sleep Inn brand having been recently introduced to the EMEA region
Building on its 15-year history of collection hotels globally, Choice Hotels EMEA has commenced a refresh of its Ascend Hotel Collection portfolio across the region which currently comprises a network of more than 70 unique, independent boutique hotels.
In 2008, Choice Hotels International became the first hotel group to launch a hotel collection in the US. The Ascend Hotel Collection quickly gained momentum thanks to four iconic hotels that joined the same year setting the foundation for its long-term growth and expansion in the US and Europe.
The refreshed EMEA Ascend Hotel Collection proposition will see hotels offer a ‘Haven of Hygge’ in some of the region’s most captivating destinations with a design direction that balances striking character with convivial warmth, and contemporary freshness with authentic neighbourhood touches.
The hotels’ unique story is at the heart of the refreshed Ascend brand, with each property free to develop its own hallmarks within the Ascend positioning framework.
Commenting on the Ascend Hotel Collection brand refresh, Choice Hotels EMEA CEO, Jonathan Mills, said: “Today marks the last milestone in our journey to re-energise our entire EMEA brand portfolio as our Ascend Hotel Collection now joins hundreds of Comfort, Clarion, and Quality hotels across the region that are already working to transition to the refreshed brands.
“Our refreshed Ascend Hotel Collection brand is carefully crafted to offer both clarity and definition, always keeping the customer experience at the forefront while driving revenue and optimising operational efficiencies.
“As part of Choice Hotels, every Ascend Hotel in the collection benefits from our global scale and distribution, while retaining the distinctive character and creative autonomy of a family-run independent. Whether it’s a centuries-old country estate or a contemporary urban design hotel, Ascend Hotels offer guests one-of-a-kind experiences and environments with the assurance of a warm and welcoming community.
“Guests staying at any of our wonderfully original Ascend Hotel Collection properties will find a modern, charismatic brand that welcomes every guest as family.”
The Ascend Collection refresh responds to independent consumer research conducted in the UK, France and Germany, which revealed upscale travellers in the EMEA region seek unique, character-rich environments that don’t follow a standard formula – along with a warm, homely atmosphere that inspires a sense of belonging.
Ascend Hotel Collection franchisees will begin shaping their unique identity and developing their brand stories over the next two years, with support from Choice Hotels EMEA.
Hotels will also benefit from Choice Hotels easy-to-use toolkit, designed to help franchisees capture their own narrative and transform it into authentic guest experiences.
Building on their stories, Ascend Hotels will be given the freedom to identify their own unique experience touchpoints or ‘hallmarks’ with each working to develop on three types of hallmarks that together will highlight their individuality and elevate their most distinctive qualities:
Each hotel will define its Icon: a unique element of a guest’s stay that expresses the hotel’s unique character and establishes a strong link to the surrounding community. Whether this is a physical space, object, or experience, it will be the purest expression of the hotel story – an opportunity for guests to discover something new and return home with a lasting impression.
The hotel’s own Rewarding Rituals will inspire moments of serendipity and create a stronger sense of belonging. These small touches are designed to build anticipation and leave a lasting impression, while connecting guests more closely to the hotel’s character or story. Whether it’s a memorable arrival experience, daily afternoon tea with a twist, or surprising in-room amenities, these signature rituals will indulge guests’ curiosity and leave them delightfully surprised.
The United in Kind hallmark encapsulates the hotel’s deep connection to its community. Whether it is a volunteering programme, a local partnership or direct support for worthy causes in the area, this is an opportunity for hotels to make a lasting positive impact and ensure guests can play a part in their efforts to improve the community.
Choice Hotels EMEA portfolio now encompasses Clarion, Quality, Comfort, Sleep Inn, and the Ascend Hotel Collection. In Europe, the Ascend Collection currently comprises more than 70 hotels in the Nordic region, in Spain, in Ireland, in Italy, and in Turkey.