We continue to gather and share as much relevant information as we can with members to help navigate through these troubled days, and position best for whatever may lie ahead.
AHLA Membership Opt-Out Instructions – Choice Hotels recently announced that all franchisees will be auto-enrolled as members of AHLA, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, for 2021, with annual billing placed at $3 / room for Econo Lodge hotels. This bill will be found on February invoices.
Times are very difficult today, so while ELFA supports the work of AHLA and its efforts to help hotel owner / operators through its legislative efforts, we understand that not everyone can take on this extra financial burden at this time.
Choice Hotels has set a January 15th, 2021 deadline to “Opt Out” of this new relationship and fee, otherwise properties will be billed and their enrollment will stand. Please follow this link to complete a form on ChoiceNow that will enable your property to Opt Out. We are not aware at this time whether this step will be necessary on an annual basis or whether this is just a one-time Opt Out process. Completing this form will create a “Case” with Choice. A confirmation that the case has been “closed” serves as an acknowledgement that you have successfully opted out of AHLA membership. Please stay tuned to ELFA for more information as that becomes available.
2021 ELFA Membership Billing – The ELFA Board of Directors has voted to postpone our annual billing from our normal time in January to April 2021. Your continued support is crucial in our efforts to work with our franchisor Choice Hotels towards creating the best operating environment possible for our membership. Please stay tuned for additional information on 2021 ELFA membership billing. As always, ELFA allows for opting out of membership at any time, even following billing, with no penalties or interest. The greater our participation rate, the stronger our voice.
Breakfast / Coffee Requirement – Choice Hotels has updated their brand standards for Econo Lodge. Beginning October 1st, Econo Lodge properties must have complementary coffee available for all guests in its lobby during breakfast hours. Coffee must be provided in either liquid concentrate or air pod form. Large open carafes will no longer be acceptable.
Breakfast items in addition to coffee is not a requirement at this time, and there is no timetable or set plan in place to resume this for the brand. Corporate has stated that they will monitor activity of brand performance compared with our competition, and may revisit this requirement down the road if our position falters.
Commitment to Clean Program / Certification Update –
If your property has not started or not yet completed the Commitment to Clean Captain certification program, please do so as quickly as possible. We are 60 days past this certification deadline and will be entering into territory that could bring about penalties and/or fines to your property.
Individual Hand Sanitizer Bottle Requirement Update –
While Choice Hotels is still requiring the purchase and distribution of this new product upon request by a guest, Choice is also allowing for, and preparing professional signage to accompany, the sales of these bottles to guests for $1 each.
The ELFA Board has voiced strong opposition to any new unfunded mandates for our franchisees, so we are very pleased that Choice has allowed for Econo Lodges to promote these items for sale in our lobbies, turning a loss into potential ongoing revenue. We are aware of other properties in the system who have been selling these items already, and guests have been very thankful for the opportunity to purchase as it may save them a stop in a crowded convenience store or pharmacy while traveling. Be on the lookout for more communications on this item from Choice Hotels.
Choice’s Global Sales team has been very active on behalf of Choice’s economy brands, with significant business continuing to flow to our Econo Lodge brand.
Please take time to visit the Global Sales Home page on Choice Central, where you will find links to many of their services, tutorials, and forms that can be critical elements to taking advantage of all potential opportunities that the market has to offer.
If you have any questions about your standing with Global Sales, or seek additional corporate opportunities, including CLC and/or government / emergency lodging opportunities, please connect with your Area Manager or a member of the Global Sales team.
Choice RFP Program / 2021 Courtesy Rate Extension / Black-Out Dates –
Choice Hotels has extended its 2020 corporate negotiated rates into 2021 due to the unfolding pandemic crisis. Please reach out to Choice Global sales team or your new Econo Lodge Area Manager if you would like to opt out of this or other programs.
Please also review your property’s potential 2021 black-out dates. If this has not been updated, please take the opportunity to do so.
3 Steps to Help Your Property with Group Visibility –
While group and conference travel has been heavily curtailed in 2020, there remain opportunities still, and we do not know what 2021 may have to offer here. Please take the following steps to help ensure your property is sharing the best information possible with potential decision-makers.
- Update your property’s CVent Profile
- Respond to ALL queries and requests from Choice Sales – often the first to respond gets the business – don’t delay.
- Ensure your property has active SGRP1 and SGRP2 rate plans.
Front Desk / Night Window – If your property has a night window, we suggest that this be utilized for all guest interactions and transactions and that lobbies remain closed. You should be protected from chargebacks with the use of EMV machines even without a signature by utilizing the Signature On File (SOF) feature (guest signature should be on folio).
Attached is a notice for guests to acknowledge that has been circulating from hotels that can be put to use at your property to better assist in communicating local government mandates and cutbacks in services and amenities. It is in Word form so you can edit your property info as needed.
Room Cleaning / Amenities by Request – With stayover guests, please offer housekeeping services only by request. Amenities for stayovers can be provided via night window or drop offs to room exteriors.
Ecolab has provided an excellent video for back of house preparation and cleaning regimens, including an extensive Q&A at the end. It is a longer video coming in just under one hour, but it does offer excellent tips and insight.