TORONTO — Vantage Hospitality Group Inc. is mapping out cautious, steady growth during the next two to three years in the Canadian market for its Canadas Best Value Inn and Lexington Hotel banners.
To that end, the franchisor announced in early February that the former Howard Johnson Sudbury will become Canada’s next Lexington Hotel. The 75-room property with restaurant, lounge and six meeting rooms accommodating up to 750 people is undergoing renovations to all guestrooms and public areas to meet brand standards, and is expected to open March 1.
In addition, the former Cardinal Inn Sudbury will become the newest Canadas Best Value Inn (CBVI) and 34th Canadian property in that banner, with a target opening date of March 1. The 45-room property is completing a renovation program that will enhance the exterior, upgrade guestrooms and also result in a new lobby and breakfast area. In addition, the property features two restaurants, Taphouse and Fired Up Pizza.
Going forward, plans call for CBVI to target six to eight locations, each, for the Western and Eastern Canadian regions, during the next several years, Bill Hanley, group president for Vantage Hospitality’s international division, told CLN.
Typically, the best fit for CBVI is secondary and tertiary markets and suburban areas in large cities, said Hanley. Vantage will consider new-builds, but prefers converting branded or independent properties featuring 40 to 70 guestrooms.
Particularly desirable for CBVI, said Hanley, are conversion properties attached to food and beverage outlets that make those hotels attractive to travellers. Typically, that brand is a roadside destination, he added.
“We want to bring in (to the CBVI banner) hotels that meet the expectations of travellers in that segment — limited- or select-service properties,” said Hanley.
The launch of the Lexington Hotel in Sudbury will bring that banner to two Canadian locations (the other property, opened in 2014, operates in Windsor, Ont.). Plans call for Vantage to target four sites this year, five next year and six in 2018 in that banner, total, for Canada, he added.
For the Lexington Hotel brand, Vantage likes conversions of branded or independent properties that feature 60 or more guestrooms (ideal is around 80, said Hanley) and also have a food and beverage outlet attached.
Vantage, however, will also consider new-builds featuring 60 to 200 guestrooms and, typically, two meeting rooms.
In Canada, the franchisor will consider, for the Lexington Hotel brand, cities big, small and in between; locations adjacent to airports; and resort locations. The focus, however, is on major cities and the suburbs surrounding them, said Hanley.
Typically, Lexington properties are full-service; aren’t roadside destinations; target corporate (as opposed to independent) business travellers, the meetings market and larger families; and feature higher guestroom standards (and larger rooms) than CBVI (and therefore, command a higher price point, $80 to $125 per room versus about $80).
A companion banner, Lexington Inn, differentiates itself from Lexington Hotels by offering select-service food and beverage (breakfast only) as opposed to its sister banner’s full-service f&b.
Hanley said Vantage would consider Lexington Inn for Canada if it were the right fit for a given market.
Also on the radar for Canada are two other brands, Jameson Inn & Suites and Country Hearth, which Vantage bought in February 2015. “We feel these fit in very well in Canada and that expansion is possible,” said Hanley.