CHOICE Hotels: STOP Unfair Business Practices and Revise COVID-19 Outbreak Response

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While our federal government seeks ways to alleviate the shared pains of their citizens during this crisis, we are appreciative of the $50 billion aid package implemented by our President, as well as the Small Business Administration (SBA) efforts to provide relief to small business owners.

Shockingly, Choice Hotels International (CHOICE) has continued to fail its franchisees, property management teams, and employees, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus continues to wreck havoc globally, with the hospitality industry right in the cross hairs. Our hotels are rapidly losing revenue by the minute and as a byproduct, the daily lives of our hourly employees are being up-ended in a drastic fashion with necessary staffing level reductions.

The majority of franchisees have personal guarantees on their commercial mortgages and the livelihoods of millions are at stake. Franchise fees, marketing fees, brand standard penalties, etc. have continued to precipitously increase year over year. This has not only affected the lives of hoteliers themselves, but of their team members, who are subsequently faced with less than competitive wages because of the ever-increasing cost of operating hotels.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Choice franchisees and team members were expecting more relief than what has been offered to date. While Hilton and Marriott offered immediate materially impacting concessions such as PIP suspensions for one year and QA audit suspensions for three to six months, Choice leadership decided to suspend PIPs and QAs for thirty days only.

What does this say about Choice as a franchisor? This highlights the tone-deaf nature of the executive team and those in the C-suite. Sitting in their plush corporate offices, they do not understand the realities we are facing on the ground as struggling hoteliers attempting to stay afloat amidst an unprecedented global crisis.

We demand the following from Choice’s leadership team:

1.)    Reduce or suspend franchise fees/royalties as we navigate through this crisis.

2.)    Suspend liquidated damages for Choice franchisees who choose to leave the system, due to an existential threat to their business.

3.)    Suspend vendor mandates during this crisis period and allow franchisees to purchase products in the most cost effective methods with the greatest value-add available to them.

4.)    Suspend QA audits for a period of no less than one year.

5.)    Suspend PIPs for a period of no less than two-years to allow franchisees an adequate recovery period.

Please sign this petition to protect our investments and the livelihoods of millions of our employees, managers, and colleagues.

We, the undersigned individuals, will boycott future franchise affiliation with Choice due to ongoing unfair business practices unless there are immediate remedies.