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Choice Hotels expands Ascend portfolio

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Ascend HotelsLeading international hotel franchise group Choice Hotels Asia-Pac continues to bolster its Ascend Hotel portfolio, welcoming two new properties to its boutique upscale brand that is known for its collection of hotels that are stylish, memorable and unique. The Beachcomber, located in the heart of the Central Coast in New South Wales and The Benson, located in sunny Cairns, Queensland, add their signature styles and personalities to the group.

The Ascend brand now has 15 properties across the region adding four hotels in the first half of the year (including these two hotels). The two new properties are welcomed into the Choice Hotels Asia- Pac family as the hotel group announces growth and strong performance results across the Ascend Hotel Collection portfolio.

The Ascend Hotel Collection Portfolio finished 2020 with a RevPAR (Revenue per available room) approximately 20% ahead of the market, 16% ahead of the market for ADR (average daily rate), and with 18% higher occupancy compared to the market (market comparisons based on data supplied by STR). These results along with Ascend’s soft brand proposition highlighting why the brand is seeing strong growth.

The Beachcomber Ascend Hotel Collection, situated in Toukley on the Central Coast of New South Wales, is a boutique, Hamptons-inspired property with resort features, appealing to guests looking to blend the best of a resort style-break, and exploration of the region has to offer. The hotel comprises of chic apartments, with extensive food and beverage offerings including a fine dining restaurant, sports bar and poolside cocktail lounge amenities.

The Beachcomber, just an hour and a half’s drive from Sydney, is conveniently located next to beautiful beaches and retail, making it very attractive to leisure and corporate guests alike.

The Beachcomber, owned by the renowned hospitality group, Oscars, is the third property in the group to sign on with Choice Hotels Asia-Pac. The Beachcomber joins Quality Hotel Pioneer Sands and Comfort Inn Towradgi Beach as part of the Choice Hotels Asia-Pac portfolio.

The Benson is currently undergoing an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation and is set to welcome advance guest bookings from early June. Located centrally in Cairns, on the corner of Grafton and Spence streets, The Benson will showcase boutique style accommodation. Featuring a glamorous Gatsby inspired style, designed to highlight its history as an original property in Cairns. Upon completion of this renovation, The Benson will take on the Ascend Hotel Collection branding.

Conveniently located in close proximity to the Cairns Convention Centre, Cruise Terminals, as well as local shopping and dining, The Benson appeals to both leisure travellers looking for a boutique stay in tropical North Queensland, as well as corporates. The brand-new pool and restaurant facilities will appeal to both guests and locals alike.

Trent Fraser, CEO of Choice Hotels Asia-Pac reiterated the strong growth and position of the Ascend portfolio, “Our Ascend brand has received increased levels of interest in the wake of the pandemic from owners of independent properties, looking to leverage reach through our extensive distribution network, while still maintaining their property’s individual identity.

I’m delighted to welcome these two new hotels to our network, especially during a time when we’re firmly focused on and investing in our franchisee’s recovery.

The hotels are welcomed as a recent, independent research commissioned by Choice Hotels, demonstrated that 91% of people across Australia and New Zealand are planning on taking a long weekend holiday in 2021, driven by the importance of mental wellbeing and change of scenery.

“Our franchisees should feel confident that long weekends and short breaks are back on the agenda for 2021, which should propel health and consistent bookings as we continue to tackle the COVID-19 recovery,” added Mr Fraser.

Globally the Ascend Hotel Collection brand continues to perform, despite challenging conditions. Choice Hotels International reported in its quarter one 2021 earnings results that the Ascend Hotel Collection’s domestic systemwide RevPAR change surpassed the upscale segment by nearly 20 percentage points in first quarter 2021, compared to the same period of 2019. The brand has also seen a 26% increase in room count across the domestic portfolio in the USA. This trend being mirrored in Asia-Pac with the two recent property signings, which come in addition to two Ascend branded properties launching with the Haus Group in Hahndorf, South Australia; The Manna by Haus and The Studios by Haus earlier this year.

“We are investing heavily in the development of our Ascend portfolio to assist with our accelerated growth plans for Australia and New Zealand,” added Mr Fraser.

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