TravelPulse Q&A: One-on-One With Extended Stay America

ShareTweetPin0shares

Exterior shot of an Extended Stay America

Extended Stay America (ESA) is in the midst of an evolution. The stand-alone brand in the all-suites hotel category has nearly 630 hotels and more than 69,000 hotel rooms spread across 44 states.

ESA is investing for growth and in the process of transforming to “ESA 2.0” over the next few years, which includes renovating their hotels with a range of formats and also building new hotels. The company completed renovations on its Charlotte, North Carolina hotels in July 2019, including a signature, transformational property at its Pineville-Matthews Road location. ESA completed more transformational renovations in Seattle and San Francisco and will complete another in San Jose in December.

MORE Hotel & Resort

Mai Tai.

Playa Resorts Celebrates National Rum Day All Month

Person using laptop computer

Choice Hotels Data Breach Could Impact 700,000 Guests

Hotel Indigo Williamsburg Brooklyn

Hotel Indigo Williamsburg Brooklyn Opens Doors

Eight new properties were under construction for new “ESA 2.0” hotels at the end of first quarter 2019, including the Gibsonton, Fla. and Chandler, Arizona hotels that are slated for fourth-quarter 2019 grand openings. Here, Vice President of Business Development Andrea Delligatti and Vice President of Marketing Jon Alcorn, provide travel professionals with a more detailed perspective of ESA’s offerings for both travelers and travel retailers.

TravelPulse (TP): How does Extended Stay America differ from other extended-stay brands?

Jon Alcorn (JA): Extended Stay America is uniquely focused on our guests as the industry leader as a single brand, and serves the extended-stay segment with twice the number of rooms as the nearest competitor.

Our extendedperk$™ program features daily and weekly deals from national and regional brand name partners plus flash sales after a customer joins the program. We offer an instant 20 percent off discount for a 1- to 6-night stay when a customer joins, and periodic flash sales for stays of one to 60 nights.

ESA has a robust multi-channel sales strategy, including a large sales team focused on the travel buyer and meeting the unique needs of corporate partners. We achieve this through our B2B program called WORKS and create relationships with companies that encompass the needs of the company’s travel program and the individual employees. We think of their business as much more than just a transaction and more like bringing them into the ESA Family—with a full kitchen and laundry rooms, our hotels are designed for longer stays in convenient locations at a great value.

Guest room at Extended Stay America

According to Tom Buoy, executive vice president of revenue at ESA: “You’re putting people that you care for greatly into a hotel for an extended period of time and, in some cases, the purchasing of that product can’t be done entirely electronically, so it requires either a dedicated salesperson or a call to a property to confirm whether you have certain amenities, whether you allow pets, whether you have kitchens in the rooms, etc.; this may require multiple calls to a hotel,” Buoy explained.

“A lot of that travel spend is probably large groups/projects where, traditionally, you want to talk to either a travel agency perhaps, but also book direct at the hotel through a salesperson because a salesperson is going to help the buyer buy the way they choose to buy.”

TP: Should travel agents consider ESA for any particular types of clients? Why?

Andrea Delligatti (AD): There is a range of both corporate and personal clients that benefit from ESA that can help travel agents secure attractive group business with longer lengths of stay.

On the business side, we cater to groups on longer-term project assignments—construction teams, government project teams, consultants, military, nurses and other healthcare workers plus traveling staff who need accommodations while working in a remote location.

On the personal side, school groups, athletic teams and groups, families visiting relatives including reunion groups and more enjoy the value and convenience of the ESA hotels.

Extended Stay America lobby

TP: How does ESA work with travel agents?

AD: We participate in industry tradeshows that allow us to engage with buyers who work with these specialized travel needs, and our team networks throughout the travel industry at GBTA and a variety of TMC partner engagements. We have consortia relationships with all the major agency and some smaller agencies who specialize in long term traveler needs.

We pay a 10 percent commission on the first seven nights to all TMC/agents represented by an IATA number. Travel agents can book our hotels via GDS (Global Distribution System) code EA.

Our ESA WORKS dedicated sales team works directly with corporate travel buyers in a high touch model to create a B2B partnership customized to the buyer and traveler needs. ESA provides our WORKS partners with insights on booking trends, market data and length of stay analytics.

Some of the key benefits of ESA’s WORKS program include customized client landing pages for one-stop, specialized booking that helps companies book reservations, manage travel spend and reduce processing costs. We offer preferred partner pricing and dedicated account managers to assist companies with bookings, billing and reporting.

ESA completes the total client care process by dedicating customer service specialists for support when our clients travel, including adjusting a guest’s length of stay due to unexpected travel changes, providing a personalized toll-free number and centralized direct billing. Our approach provides assurance to our travel agent partners that ESA will take great care of their clients who book with ESA.