Are Comfort & Quality The Same Hotel?

Old Jan 18, 18, 9:10 pm
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Are Comfort & Quality The Same Hotel?

I was just asking, are Comfort Inn/Inn & Suites/Suites the same as Quality Inn/Inn & Suites/Suites? I have experience (from my childhood, mind you) with both Comfort and Quality, and I cannot tell the difference. If they have differences, what are they?
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Old Jan 19, 18, 5:56 am
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Comfort Inns are supposed to be higher up the hierarchy than Quality Inns. Since Choice Hotels are not consistent within brands, like Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn, Comfort Inns and Quality Inns seem very similar. I have stayed at Comfort Inns that should be classified as Econo Lodge, and Quality Inns that rival Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn. This my observation in the US, so it could be different in other countries.
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Old Jan 19, 18, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Will Stonehocker View Post
I was just asking, are Comfort Inn/Inn & Suites/Suites the same as Quality Inn/Inn & Suites/Suites? I have experience (from my childhood, mind you) with both Comfort and Quality, and I cannot tell the difference. If they have differences, what are they?
Assuming you're talking within the USA, there is a difference in the standard breakfast, especially for those hate powdered eggs.

Comfort Inn standardly has hard-boiled eggs in the mini-fridge. Quality Inn doesn't.

OTOH, Quality Inn usually (but I have found at least one exception) has skim (nonfat) milk for the cereal (I bring my own cereal when staying at Quality). Comfort Inn never does.

I depend on these differences enough that for breakfast variety when traveling by road, I alternate between Comfort for the hard-boiled eggs one morning and Quality for my cereal with their skim milk the next morning. (I routinely "hotel hop" at Choice because the Choice promos are usually "stay 2 times, earn 8000 points", and you max that out if each of your stays is only 1-night long.)

Of course, all hotel breakfasts have changed significantly since your childhood.

I don't find a consistent difference (that matters to me) other than these breakfast standards. The tend to use similar toiletries, and hotel layout is more dependent on the individual hotel than the brand.
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Old Jan 20, 18, 5:05 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
Assuming you're talking within the USA, there is a difference in the standard breakfast, especially for those hate powdered eggs.

Comfort Inn standardly has hard-boiled eggs in the mini-fridge. Quality Inn doesn't.

OTOH, Quality Inn usually (but I have found at least one exception) has skim (nonfat) milk for the cereal (I bring my own cereal when staying at Quality). Comfort Inn never does.

I depend on these differences enough that for breakfast variety when traveling by road, I alternate between Comfort for the hard-boiled eggs one morning and Quality for my cereal with their skim milk the next morning. (I routinely "hotel hop" at Choice because the Choice promos are usually "stay 2 times, earn 8000 points", and you max that out if each of your stays is only 1-night long.)

Of course, all hotel breakfasts have changed significantly since your childhood.

I don't find a consistent difference (that matters to me) other than these breakfast standards. The tend to use similar toiletries, and hotel layout is more dependent on the individual hotel than the brand.
Interesting. I guess Comfort Inn tends to be a bit better. Some Quality Inns are nice and some are not.
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Old Jan 21, 18, 12:10 am
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Originally Posted by Will Stonehocker View Post
Interesting. I guess Comfort Inn tends to be a bit better. Some Quality Inns are nice and some are not.
Often times when a property can no longer uphold the Comfort Inn standards, it will downgrade to the Quality Inn flag. For instance, the many exterior corridor Comfort Inns that have disappeared in the past 7 years, many are now branded Quality Inn.

It used to be, 20 years ago, in the US at least, Clarion was the top Choice offering, Quality was the 2nd quality Choice offering and many properties were full service 3 star type properties, and Comfort was the 3rd quality Choice offering with more limited service properties and exterior corridors.

I feel like the only brand with any real standards at this point is Comfort. Clarion has gotten to be horrible, way too many old 70's Holiday Inns. Quality is also horrible, way too many old 70's exterior corridor motels. Comfort tends to be pretty good with many purpose built but also we see some recycled properties getting that flag too. Sleep I have limited experience with but they seem to be more purpose built.
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Old Jan 21, 18, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by storewanderer View Post
For instance, the many exterior corridor Comfort Inns that have disappeared in the past 7 years, many are now branded Quality Inn.
In the Irvine Spectrum (Southern California) area there is a completely exterior corridor Comfort Inn that looks pretty old (but has the standard Comfort breakfast), while half a mile away is a Quality Inn that's also looks oldish but has mostly interior corridors (but the corridor goes through a covered exterior section between what looks like were once two totally separate buildings (but has the standards Quality breakfast).

I'd say in that particular case the Quality is a bit nicer in overall appearance than the Comfort.

And I don't see how they could re-brand the Comfort to end up with two Quality properties blocks from each other. I suspect they've done such re-branding only when there we no other Quality properties that close by.

Meanwhile, another Comfort Inn & Suites in the OC with exterior corridors, near SNA (on Hotel Terrace), got rebranded to a Clarion a bit over a year ago. At the time, there was a Quality across the street, which at first un-branded, then with room remodeling turned into a Country Inn & Suites (Club Carlson program).

Last edited by sdsearch; Jan 21, 18 at 11:54 am
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Old Jan 23, 18, 12:43 pm
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All good points above.

If you can see through the marketing-speak, you can kind of make sense of how each brand is positioned here: Choice Hotels - Brand Information

Here's how I think Choice would classify each brand's image, in top-down order and based on the standard "STR Chain Scale" list:

Ascend - full-service boutique upscale
Cambria - full-service upscale
Clarion - full-service upper-midscale
Comfort Suites - limited-service upper-midscale
Comfort Inn - limited-service upper-midscale
Sleep Inn - limited service midscale
Quality Inn - limited service midscale
MainStay Suites - limited-service midscale extended-stay
Econo Lodge - limited-service economy
Rodeway Inn - limited-service economy
Suburban Extended Stay - limited-service economy extended-stay

Here's how I would actually rate them and describe their brand identity:

Cambria - upper-midscale, full-service, new construction, large rooms, modern decor and identity, very clean
Ascend - upper-midscale, full-service, boutique city-center and often historic conversions, can range from meh to surprisingly nice
Comfort Suites - midscale, limited-service, often new-construction or extensively renovated, good/tight brand standards and spacious rooms
Sleep Inn - midscale, limited-service, all-new construction and very tight brand standards, very consistent experience; only downside is rooms tend to be small and bathrooms are an odd layout
Comfort Inn - midscale, limited-service, loose brand standards, can range from downright filthy to quite nice (upper-end newly renovated ones typically have a similar decor and feel to a Comfort Suites)
Quality Inn - midscale, limited-service, loose brand standards, similar to Comfort Inn and mostly used to allow nearby franchisees to compete with each other without duplicating branding; target is slightly downmarket of Comfort Inn, but it really comes down to reading reviews and looking at pictures to choose
MainStay Suites - midscale extended-stay, limited-service; I think I've only ever stayed in one, and it was perfectly roomy and fine, but all extended-stay brands (even the more upscale extended-stay chains, like IHG's Candlewood or Staybridge brands, tend to attract a slightly seedy clientele)
Econo Lodge - economy, limited-service, extremely loose brand standards, can range from perfectly fine and serviceable to unclean and unsafe even with the door locked and latched
Rodeway Inn - economy, limited-service, extremely loose brand standards, similar to Econo Lodge and (like Quality) mostly used to prevent brand confusion between nearby properties. A friend and I stayed at an amazingly nice Rodeway just west of IAH and we still laugh about it being the world's nicest Rodeway!
Suburban Extended Stay - economy, limited service, loose brand standards, usually actually nicer than most Econo Lodges and Rodeway Inns, but the extended-stay element adds a seediness that tends to make them less appealing

Anything on my list from Sleep Inn or above, I am usually perfectly fine booking it sight-unseen, since the brand standards are tight and the risk of a bad experience is low. All else being equal (rates, location, and a cursory glance at the reviews on Choice's site), I'll probably book in the order listed (Cambria first, then Ascend, then Comfort Suites, etc.). Anything from Comfort Inn and below is one I have to actually read through the reviews and check photos both on Choice's site and Expedia and TripAdvisor before deciding where to book. All else being equal (similar reviews, similar location, same price, etc.), I'll generally favor Comfort over Quality, but it doesn't take much to change that (i.e. I'd much rather take a 3.5-rated Quality over a 3.0-rated Comfort). I haven't yet figured out whether Econo Lodge or Rodeway is positioned higher; they're both so variable in quality that I think it just comes down to the individual hotel. I usually avoid the extended-stay brands unless they get better reviews and have better prices than the standard brands.

I will say that despite having stayed in probably hundreds of Comforts and Qualities, I've never noticed a substantial difference in their breakfast offerings, but thinking back now after having read sdsearch's post, I can kind of see it. Still, give me a bowl of cereal with whole or lowfat (NOT nonfat!!) milk and I'm perfectly happy for the morning.
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Old Jan 27, 18, 7:18 am
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
All good points above.

If you can see through the marketing-speak, you can kind of make sense of how each brand is positioned here: Choice Hotels - Brand Information

Here's how I think Choice would classify each brand's image, in top-down order and based on the standard "STR Chain Scale" list:

Ascend - full-service boutique upscale
Cambria - full-service upscale
Clarion - full-service upper-midscale
Comfort Suites - limited-service upper-midscale
Comfort Inn - limited-service upper-midscale
Sleep Inn - limited service midscale
Quality Inn - limited service midscale
MainStay Suites - limited-service midscale extended-stay
Econo Lodge - limited-service economy
Rodeway Inn - limited-service economy
Suburban Extended Stay - limited-service economy extended-stay

Here's how I would actually rate them and describe their brand identity:

Cambria - upper-midscale, full-service, new construction, large rooms, modern decor and identity, very clean
Ascend - upper-midscale, full-service, boutique city-center and often historic conversions, can range from meh to surprisingly nice
Comfort Suites - midscale, limited-service, often new-construction or extensively renovated, good/tight brand standards and spacious rooms
Sleep Inn - midscale, limited-service, all-new construction and very tight brand standards, very consistent experience; only downside is rooms tend to be small and bathrooms are an odd layout
Comfort Inn - midscale, limited-service, loose brand standards, can range from downright filthy to quite nice (upper-end newly renovated ones typically have a similar decor and feel to a Comfort Suites)
Quality Inn - midscale, limited-service, loose brand standards, similar to Comfort Inn and mostly used to allow nearby franchisees to compete with each other without duplicating branding; target is slightly downmarket of Comfort Inn, but it really comes down to reading reviews and looking at pictures to choose
MainStay Suites - midscale extended-stay, limited-service; I think I've only ever stayed in one, and it was perfectly roomy and fine, but all extended-stay brands (even the more upscale extended-stay chains, like IHG's Candlewood or Staybridge brands, tend to attract a slightly seedy clientele)
Econo Lodge - economy, limited-service, extremely loose brand standards, can range from perfectly fine and serviceable to unclean and unsafe even with the door locked and latched
Rodeway Inn - economy, limited-service, extremely loose brand standards, similar to Econo Lodge and (like Quality) mostly used to prevent brand confusion between nearby properties. A friend and I stayed at an amazingly nice Rodeway just west of IAH and we still laugh about it being the world's nicest Rodeway!
Suburban Extended Stay - economy, limited service, loose brand standards, usually actually nicer than most Econo Lodges and Rodeway Inns, but the extended-stay element adds a seediness that tends to make them less appealing

Anything on my list from Sleep Inn or above, I am usually perfectly fine booking it sight-unseen, since the brand standards are tight and the risk of a bad experience is low. All else being equal (rates, location, and a cursory glance at the reviews on Choice's site), I'll probably book in the order listed (Cambria first, then Ascend, then Comfort Suites, etc.). Anything from Comfort Inn and below is one I have to actually read through the reviews and check photos both on Choice's site and Expedia and TripAdvisor before deciding where to book. All else being equal (similar reviews, similar location, same price, etc.), I'll generally favor Comfort over Quality, but it doesn't take much to change that (i.e. I'd much rather take a 3.5-rated Quality over a 3.0-rated Comfort). I haven't yet figured out whether Econo Lodge or Rodeway is positioned higher; they're both so variable in quality that I think it just comes down to the individual hotel. I usually avoid the extended-stay brands unless they get better reviews and have better prices than the standard brands.

I will say that despite having stayed in probably hundreds of Comforts and Qualities, I've never noticed a substantial difference in their breakfast offerings, but thinking back now after having read sdsearch's post, I can kind of see it. Still, give me a bowl of cereal with whole or lowfat (NOT nonfat!!) milk and I'm perfectly happy for the morning.
I didn't realize how Comfort Inn and below tended to have loose standards.
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Old Jan 28, 18, 9:59 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
In the Irvine Spectrum (Southern California) area there is a completely exterior corridor Comfort Inn that looks pretty old (but has the standard Comfort breakfast), while half a mile away is a Quality Inn that's also looks oldish but has mostly interior corridors (but the corridor goes through a covered exterior section between what looks like were once two totally separate buildings (but has the standards Quality breakfast).

I'd say in that particular case the Quality is a bit nicer in overall appearance than the Comfort.

And I don't see how they could re-brand the Comfort to end up with two Quality properties blocks from each other. I suspect they've done such re-branding only when there we no other Quality properties that close by.

Meanwhile, another Comfort Inn & Suites in the OC with exterior corridors, near SNA (on Hotel Terrace), got rebranded to a Clarion a bit over a year ago. At the time, there was a Quality across the street, which at first un-branded, then with room remodeling turned into a Country Inn & Suites (Club Carlson program).
Update:

Well, it turns out that in the last couple months (since the last stay-based promo ended), the Comfort Inn Irvine Spectrum got deflagged.

But meanwhile, surprise of surprises: There was an old two-story, outside corridors Comfort Inn in Costa Mesa CA that got deflagged a few years ago, and became a BLVD Hotel (a tiny brand with only a few properties in the SoCal area). Imagine my surprise when I did a search on Choice the other day and found that this hotel is back to Choice as "BLVD Hotel, an Ascend Collection member".

Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Ascend - full-service boutique upscale
Huh? Like I said, a two-story motel with external corridors. It got refurbished, but it's not at all full-service, in fact, some people in the reviews complain that the free breakfast is minimal. (I"ll be staying there for one night in a couple weeks so should have a better idea.) So whether 's "boutique", I don't know, but I don't see how it's "full-service" or "upscale". The rates (other than when the nearby Orange County Fair is in session in the summer) are just a low as when it was a Comfort Inn (way lower rates than at the Best Western Plus a couple blocks away).

Last edited by sdsearch; Jan 28, 18 at 10:08 pm
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Old Jan 29, 18, 10:37 am
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
Huh? Like I said, a two-story motel with external corridors. It got refurbished, but it's not at all full-service, in fact, some people in the reviews complain that the free breakfast is minimal. (I"ll be staying there for one night in a couple weeks so should have a better idea.) So whether 's "boutique", I don't know, but I don't see how it's "full-service" or "upscale". The rates (other than when the nearby Orange County Fair is in session in the summer) are just a low as when it was a Comfort Inn (way lower rates than at the Best Western Plus a couple blocks away).
Wow. OK, so maybe Ascend is the brand they shove everything that they can't figure out where elase it fits. :P

Well, that's Choice for you. Even when the brand is positioned in one space, the actual way they implement it is the definition of inconsistent.

FWIW, I've stayed in three Ascends and all have been moderately upscale (one was historic but old and tired and two were historic and very well kept up). All three sort of reminded me of what Kimpton would be if the rates were 1/3 of what Kimpton charges...

(And yes, they were all full-service hotels with on-site restaurants and other amenities, though the amenities were executed about as well as you'd expect for a Choice property. But I couldn't complain because they were cheap point redemptions.)
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Old Jan 29, 18, 12:43 pm
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I'm pretty sure that Ascend properties are only that because they want to keep their independent image but have some sort of loyalty program to draw in customers who wouldn't trust a fully independent hotel. I don't think there's any sort of overarching brand standard to them as to what style or type of hotel to expect.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 1:46 pm
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Originally Posted by jebr View Post
I'm pretty sure that Ascend properties are only that because they want to keep their independent image but have some sort of loyalty program to draw in customers who wouldn't trust a fully independent hotel. I don't think there's any sort of overarching brand standard to them as to what style or type of hotel to expect.
You're probably correct in practice, but clearly it's not what Choice is intending for the brand:

  • The Ascend Hotel Collection® from Choice Hotels is the first and largest global collection of unique, boutique and historic independent hotels and resorts.
(from the link I gave earlier)

I suppose an ancient, run-down, outside-corridor motel counts as "unique" and "historic," though.

But you're right--regardless of where they are aiming the brand, if they don't have solid brand standards that are properly enforced, the segment they're targeting is meaningless.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
You're probably correct in practice, but clearly it's not what Choice is intending for the brand:
  • The Ascend Hotel Collection® from Choice Hotels is the first and largest global collection of unique, boutique and historic independent hotels and resorts.
First, nothing in that description says "upscale" or "full-service". Obviously, it can include some upscale and/or full-service hotels, but as a brand that isn't how Choice is classifying it.

Second, any given hotel presumably has to be at least one, but not necessarily all three (of unique, boutique and historic).

LIke I said, I haven't been in that hotel since it got remodeled, but I've driven by it and seen pictures of it and so I know it's still a two-story hotel with outside corridors. I also don't know when it opened so I don't know if it's "historic".I also haven't checked whether the other couple BLVD hotel locations are in Choice as Ascends also or not.

But the Choice website for this hotel talks about the "surf theme" and calls it "boutique".

Btw, Choice reassigned it the same "CA401" code that it had back when it was a Comfort Inn! (You can see the code for each property at the end of the URL for the Choice property website.)
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Old Jan 29, 18, 9:05 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
First, nothing in that description says "upscale" or "full-service". Obviously, it can include some upscale and/or full-service hotels, but as a brand that isn't how Choice is classifying it.
https://choicehotelsdevelopment.com/ascendcollection/

Ascend Hotel Collection® is a membership of upscale, independent hotels designed for travelers pursuing distinct experiences in unforgettable surroundings. Whether their hotel is a conversion, adaptive-reuse, or new construction, Ascend® is ideal for owners seeking operational and design freedom, but wanting the ability to plug into the booking engines, loyalty program, and training support of one of the world’s largest hotel companies, Choice Hotels®.
https://choicehotelsdevelopment.com/brand-portfolio/

Notice which brands are included in the "Upscale" box:

UPSCALE



Your target market is stylish and dialed into smartphone-toting Millennials and connected business travelers. Cambria® Hotels is an ideal brand with market flexibility designed just for these guests. Or if you already have a chic, one-of-a-kind independent hotel, you can take advantage of the benefits that come as a member of the Ascend Hotel Collection®program.
That second link is the page I recall seeing before. Glad to have found it again--it does help with the original topic of this thread.

Last edited by jackal; Jan 29, 18 at 9:10 pm
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Old Jan 30, 18, 9:23 am
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"upscale" as used in the US hotel industry is defined by the Average Daily Rate and does not require the hotel being full-service or luxurious...
Ascend has an ADR of $130, less than Courtyard or Hilton Garden Inn... but it is significantly higher than Comfort Inn or Quality Inn...
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