We certainly understand and recognize the impact that COVID-19 is having on the hospitality industry as a whole and specifically the livelihood of our franchisees, the majority of whom are small business hotel owners. We have taken decided action to support them, not only with tools and resources to assist with daily operations, but also in implementing policy and fee changes that immediately help their bottom line. Some of the tangible steps Choice has taken to support our franchisees and provide immediate relief include:
- Providing immediate financial relief by suspending a variety of fees, including those on past due balances since March 1, 2020, reputation management fees, and guest relations handling fees, and implementing a 50 percent reduction for all Choice Revenue Management (ChoiceRM) service levels for April and May.
- Pausing Quality Assurance (QA) Review inspections through June 30, 2020.
- Pausing Property Improvement Plan (PIP) inspections through December 31, 2020.
- Providing guidance and education on Small Business Administration (SBA) loan opportunities and collaborating with the White House, the Treasury Department and Congress to maximize the benefit of SBA loan programs for Choice properties — including 7(a) loans, disaster loans, and PPP loans — to increase loan limits, guarantee percentages, and waive loan fees.
- We’ve engaged with over 90% of our franchisees directly and are working with them individually to address concerns and needs.
- Utilizing our Global Sales team to assist franchisees to drive occupancy while supporting local, state and federal agencies as well as other organizations on the front lines with their essential travel needs, and helping franchisees in managing guest reservations and cancellations.
- Suspending certain brand standards, creating more flexible options, and moving deadlines to reflect the evolving travel environment.
- Leading advocacy efforts in conjunction with other industry leaders to drive forward federal, state and regulatory relief and stimulus measures that will have the greatest impact in providing financial relief to franchisees, including directly expressing needed regulatory changes and measures to President Trump, Vice President Pence, Commerce Secretary Ross, House and Senate leaders and other Administration officials.
- Providing guidance and best practices on crisis preparedness.
We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation and may provide additional updates on our policies to franchisees in the future. Our relationship with our franchisees remains at the very heart of everything we do, and we will continue to work with them to navigate these uncharted waters and mitigate the impact of this crisis.