SAN DIEGO -- A founder of the original all-suite hotel concept
has ambitious growth plans for two brands that he said represent a
second-generation of all-suite properties.
Samuel Hardage, who was the first franchisee of the Residence
Inn brand in 1984, said his upscale Woodfin Suites and mid-scale
Chase Suites brands were designed with total consumer input.
"We looked at what was available -- Residence Inns, Embassy,
Guest Quarters --and found that customer needs were not being met,"
"We spent two years doing very intensive market research,
getting inside the head of the customer."
What developed from the research was a home-away-from-home and
office-away-from-office product, Hardage said.
The suites are designed to be both user-friendly and reasonably
They offer work areas for computer users, full kitchens, living
and bedroom areas separated by large double doors, 24-hour access
to a business center, free hot breakfast and free grocery shopping
Customers tend to be business travelers, with 80% of the
business at the Woodfin and Chase properties coming from Fortune
500 companies, Hardage said. The average length of stay is five
There are currently six Woodfin properties in operation in
California, Maryland and Ohio, and the first Chase property opened
last June in Fullerton, Calif.
Hardage also operates nine Residence Inn properties.
Hardage said he hopes to build six additional Woodfin Suite
properties this year, and 10 next year.
He also is looking at franchising both brands.
With operating profits that he said are among the highest in the
industry, Hardage claimed his brands have attracted the interest of
investors, and he has "talked to several large companies that have
voiced an interest in certain strategic alliances."
Such deals will add to the growth of the brands, he added.