Choice Hotels adds metro venue; volunteer program recognised

International hotel franchise group Choice Hotels Asia-Pac has bolstered its metro portfolio with the addition of a Melbourne CBD venue.  The new property – Comfort Hotel Melbourne Central – has 54 hotel rooms, with one- and two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens and laundry facilities.

Comfort Hotel Melbourne Central’s general manager, Samir Chandnani, brings global experience to the Choice Hotels network. Chandnani is a third-generation hotelier with family properties stretching from India to New Zealand. 

Chandnani said.”Covid has shown us the importance of being part of a strong network that can reach an audience beyond the local market. Now that Australia is open, it is a  wonderful time to capitalise on this opportunity and get overseas travellers excited about  what Melbourne has to offer.”

Trent Fraser, CEO of Choice Hotels Asia-Pac, said “I’m thrilled to grow our metropolitan  portfolio and welcome Mr Chandnani and his family to our network. There is no doubt that  Melbourne’s CBD was hit hard during the pandemic, but with holidays at the forefront of the agenda now, particularly for international visitors, we’re looking forward to delivering on  strong growth for our CBD hotels.”

The Choice Hotels portfolio includes the Ascend Hotel Collection, Clarion, Quality, Comfort and Econo Lodge. Choice Hotels Asia-Pac is a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Choice Hotels International. The publicly listed US company has more than
7,100 hotels and 600,000 rooms in more than 40 countries and territories.

Choice Hotels workplace

Just recently Choice Hotels Asia Pac appeared for the second time on a list ranking Australia’s top workplaces.

Fraser said “We are honoured to rank #8 on the Retail Hospitality and Entertainment category list, from  over 750 nominated organisations across Australia and New Zealand.”

He said the hotel was recognised for its Volunteer Leave program.

“This program allows staff to take two additional leave days per year to volunteer in their  community. This program has evolved over the last few years and began as a companywide community volunteering program,” says Mr Fraser. 

“These volunteer days allow each individual staff members to decide how they can best  contribute to their community. A lot of them are helping in their children’s classrooms – acting as a teacher aide or going in regularly to do story time, or volunteering at school sporting events. Some of our people help in their local community centres and churches. 

“It’s about giving back and allowing our staff to be active and involved in their local  communities. There is a mental health component to it as well, and we’ve learnt in the past two  years that building and maintaining connections in your local community is really important for  mental health.” 

About 80 per cent of staff took advantage of the community volunteer days over the past 12 months.