5 minutes with Jonathan Mills, CEO of Choice Hotels EMEA

5 minutes with Jonathan Mills, CEO of Choice Hotels EMEA

We sat with Jonathan Mills, CEO of Choice Hotels EMEA, to get the lowdown on Choice Hotels and his role in overseeing the company’s investments across the EMEA region. 

Choice Hotels is one of the largest and most successful lodging franchisors in the world. What makes it unique?
To give context, Choice Hotels International has a history dating back to 1939, and this year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of our first hotel opening in Europe. We are considered to be one of the largest lodging franchisors in the world, with nearly 7,500 hotels, representing nearly 630,000 rooms in 46 countries and territories. In EMEA, we are represented under the Ascend Hotel Collection™, Clarion™, Quality™ and Comfort™ brands in France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and Turkey.
What sets us apart from other hotel chains is that we are the only international hotel group focused exclusively on franchisees and their success. We have not managed or owned properties in the EMEA; we are exclusively franchisee focused, and this drives our every decision. We empower our owners and offer a franchisee model – a flexible proposition within an agreed-upon framework. This remains important to us as we move toward offering relevant brands that are designed for the evolving needs of the quality, value-seeking guest while delivering hallmarks that are created to drive additional revenues.

What can you tell us about Choice Hotels EMEA master license agreement with Seera Group and the company’s ambitions to expand its footprint in the MEA region?
We are the only global hotel company to enter the Middle East market through Saudi Arabia. Thanks to our master license agreement with Seera Hospitality, 10 hotels are slated to open within the next five years.
By partnering with a strong hospitality group, we strive to increase Choice Hotels’ footprint in the region. We continue to look to develop similar partnerships in other countries in the Middle East and in Africa as part of our ambitious growth strategy.

Aside from the Saudi market partnership, which countries are you interested in expanding into and what type of partnerships are you seeking?
Expanding Choice Hotels EMEA’s presence in Saudi Arabia is a strategic part of our wider Middle East growth plan, and we are committed to our long-term collaboration with Seera Hospitality as we look to expand our footprint in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East. We are focused on being a preferred option for hoteliers across the Middle East who may be looking for business support, with proven success rates, especially if they wish to continue to boost their business following large events or activities in their region.


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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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