ROCKVILLE, Md. — Tim Oldfield has moved to Choice Hotels International (CHI) as vice-president global sales from his former position as managing director for Choice Hotels Canada (CHC). In his new position, he will report to Robert McDowell, senior vice-president of global distribution.
“The Choice Hotels Canada franchise is in good hands with the right team,” Oldfield told CLN from his new office in Rockville, Md. “They are just as excited about looking forward as looking back.”
But, he added, “There are still a few details to be ironed out but we want to make sure sales in Canada gets the full functionality of the global sales team. So many of our systems are powered by Choice in the U.S.”
As someone who has spent 10 years leading the Choice Hotels Canada team in conjunction with managing director Brian Leon, Oldfield could be the ideal person to do that job. “That's the bet I've made and that's the bet the company has made,” Oldfield said.
His appointment came after someone at CHI asked him if one of these days he would come down to work in the U.S., and Oldfield said that's where he saw his career going.
Things moved more quickly than he expected, and he was asked to run global sales. “It's an exciting opportunity — a big size, big scope and big scale opportunity.
“We have new product in the marketplace that's going to make us a really big player in the midweek travel market — the new Cambria product, Comfort Suites, the Sleep Inn/MainStay combination and the explosion of Ascend. The product is squarely competitive with everything from Hilton Garden Inn to Marriott Courtyard and Holiday Inn Express.”
Oldfield added that his 10 years with Choice Hotels Canada went by quickly, and on reflection two achievements stand out.
The first was building strong relationships with franchisees — some of whom ran a business and others who were fulfilling their dreams. “We offered tailored services to make sure they succeed int their marketplace,” he said, adding that although hotels might look the same, they are in different markets, with different styles of owners and different business objectives. “We were franchise focused — with that franchisees first mantra, which is extremely important in rallying support for franchisees and driving business.”
But the crowning achievement was the repositioning of the company's portfolio over the last 10 years, working with Brian Leon and the development team and the management team at Choice Hotels Canada. “The company looked dramatically different from when I came and when I left. We had an 'improve or remove' strategy. We made sure our hotels were competitive in the marketplace, giving some an option to get out. We did it in a friendly way, including saying good-bye to some of our franchisees.”
Oldfield intends to stay linked with Choice Hotels Canada — in fact, he's angling for an invitation to attend the company's Fall Conference in Montreal.