| Choice Hotels International Inc. |
10750 Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, Md. 20901
Year founded: 1968
Revenue: $386.10 Million
Net Income/Loss: $71.86 Million
Earnings per share: $1.96
Stockholder equity: ($118,187,000.00)
Auditor: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Assets: $267.27 Million
Market capitalization: $1.51 Billion
52-week high: 46.24 3/5/2004
52-week low: 21.72 5/27/2003
Chairman: Stewart Bainum Jr.
President and CEO: Charles A. Ledsinger Jr.
Local employees: 327
Description: Choice says it is one of the largest hotel franchisers in the world. It started in the 1980s with Comfort Inn and now has 4,810 mostly budget hotels in 42 countries, including the United States. Its brand names also include Clarion, Quality Inn, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Sleep Inn. Choice was spun off from the Toledo, Ohio-based nursing-home company Manor Care Inc., whose founder, Stewart Bainum Sr., and his family own about 40 percent of the company.
Developments: Choice Hotels did better than most other hotel companies last year because it does not operate its hotels; instead it collects franchise and royalty fees from its franchisees. Choice simply markets the hotels and runs a centralized reservation systems at its headquarters in Silver Spring and an office in Phoenix. The company said it signed a record 470 new franchise contracts that included 41,000 hotel rooms last year. In another slack year for hotels, profit rose 18 percent to $72 million. Revenue rose almost 6 percent to $386 million. More than two-thirds of Choice's customers are tourists or other leisure visitors who usually drive to their hotels along highways in more suburban and rural markets rather than fly in like many business travelers. And those people are using hotels more often than business travelers. Choice helped matters along by promoting travel with ads and two-for-one deals. Also last year the company started a boutique brand of hotels that franchisees can develop. Franchisees of the Clarion Collection opened four hotels, including ones in San Antonio and Miami Beach.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company