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Choice Hotels International And Buuteeq Ink Qualified Vendor Agreement, Paving Way For Property-Level Websites With Direct Booking Capability

Stocks in this article: CHH

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), one of the world's largest lodging franchisors, announced today that it has entered into a relationship with buuteeq, a leading cloud-based digital marketing provider for lodging operators.

The new qualified vendor agreement gives 5,000 Choice Hotels franchisees in the United States access to buuteeq's products and services that provide the capability to create and manage their own property-level websites with direct booking capabilities. Now, franchisees can gain a competitive edge with industry-leading tools designed to maximize their online marketing efforts and streamline the booking experience for their guests.

The new platform, called the Digital Direct Program, features a direct integration between the Choice Hotels central reservation system and the buuteeq Cloud Digital Marketing System (CloudDMS). Franchisees who take advantage of the program will be able to deploy and manage their own SEO-optimized websites seamlessly across Web, mobile, and social channels. The direct booking capability function is expected to be made available this summer. Once implemented, guests will be able to book directly and book smart from a franchisee's property-level website using up-to-the-minute information on room availability and rates. Additionally, the Digital Direct integration will arm franchisees with robust digital marketing insights delivered through buuteeq's 360 Analytics dashboard.

"With the ever-changing landscape of online marketing, booking and property management, it's crucial for Choice Hotels to stay ahead of the game and deliver experiences that meet the needs of our franchisees and their guests," said Robert McDowell, senior vice president, global distribution and loyalty for Choice Hotels.

"Our relationship with buuteeq provides our franchisees access to leading-edge tools that can enable them to strengthen their online presence and facilitate the booking experience for guests," McDowell added.

More than 25 Choice franchisees have already launched property-level websites through a pilot version of the program. The formal Digital Direct Program that buuteeq custom-designed for Choice Hotels will be available to all the 5,000 Choice brand hotels in the United States beginning May 14 and will become available for international properties later this year.

"Working with the new platform could not have been easier," said Sam Patel, owner of the Comfort Inn North Knoxville, and one of the franchisees who participated in the pilot program. "We were able to launch our new website in less than a week, from start to finish. Having a great-looking new website and full control over my online marketing, I believe, will put my hotel way ahead of the local competition."

Choice Hotels and buuteeq crafted Digital Direct subscription tiers to serve a wide breadth of marketing needs of Choice Hotels franchisees, ranging from jumpstarting the online presence of entrepreneurial properties to supporting savvy marketers looking to boost an already robust digital footprint.

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