Extended Stay America announced the addition of 25 new or repurposed all-suites properties and branded them as a new “Premier” offering. The new brand, which was announced in March,
is designed to provide longer-stay business travelers more comforts and added value.
The company will also be rebranding its name from Extended Stay America to Extended Stay America Suites to better communicate the current product offering, although the “premier” extended stay suites will currently be limited to the initial 25 new or renovated properties, only one part of the companies over 650 current locations.
“We actually have survived the pandemic quite well. We did not close one property,” Bruce Haase, Extended Stay America Suites President and CEO told Business Traveler.
Haase compares the upgraded locations, all of which are currently online and fully bookable, to a premium economy service on an airline like Delta. The value is in added room amenities like a superior mattress and other features like free WiFi and a healthy breakfast that make the investment worth the price.
The Premier Suites feature newly built or renovated guest rooms with upgraded design elements, signature bedding for more comfort, a free health-centered breakfast bar and bigger flat screen TVs. The Premier suites are in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
One reason for Extended Stay’s survival during the pandemic is the fact that their business traveler customers are people who need to be on site for what they do. “We get a combination of blue collar and white-collar employees,” says Haase. “We call them ‘grey’ collar workers – often in construction or government. They have to be where the work is, and Zoom is not a solution.”
Haase says that in addition to the business travel component of their base customer, an added leisure element also arose. “Families traveling together on road trips who wanted to stay safe and self-isolated were one,” he says. “Another was the business traveler who saw the added amenities of a five-star property being stripped away due to COVID. That traveler would find a safe, self-sufficient suite at a fraction of the cost. It remains to be seen if we’ll keep attracting that element.”
In March Extended Stay America was acquired in a private equity deal. The agreement with Blackstone Real Estate Partners and Starwood Capital Group is valued at about $6 billion, and includes the Extended Stay America brand and its owned hotel portfolio, which at the end of 2020 totaled 563 properties, as well as paired-share real estate investment trust, ESH Hospitality.
Blackstone previously bought the hotel company in 2004, then sold it in 2007.