Roberts Hotels Group, the largest African American-owned and -managed hotel group in the U.S., is now Choice Hotels International’s largest African American franchisee.
Founded by brothers Michael V. and Steven C. Roberts, the Roberts Hotels Group (No. 54 on the B.E. 100s Industrial/Service list with $80 million in assets) now has almost 1,000 hotel rooms in 12 hotels across the U.S. Choice branded hotels will comprise more than 40% of the Roberts Hotels Group’s portfolio.
“The Roberts Hotels Group enjoys a wonderful working relationship with Choice Hotels,” said Michael Roberts. “They are professional, market flexible, and reasonable to work with. We will purchase more properties in the future with Choice as our franchisor.
Roberts Hotels Group’s properties include the Comfort Inn and Conference Center hotel of Tampa, Florida, and the Clarion Hotel of Shreveport, Louisiana. In addition, the company has three properties slated to open in 2009—the Comfort Inn & Suites hotel of Fort Myers, Florida, the Roberts Benchmark Clarion Hotel of Memphis, Tennessee, and the Roberts Walthall Clarion Hotel of Jackson, Mississippi.
“Mike and Steve Roberts are two of the nation’s most successful entrepreneurs therefore we make this announcement with great pride and respect,” said Brian Parker, a vice president with Choice Hotels International. “Their continued investment into the Choice Hotels system is a testament to the strength of our corporate culture, value of our brands, and commitment to diverse franchise ownership.”
The Roberts Cos., parent company of Roberts Group Hotels, is a multifaceted enterprise that includes hotels and conference centers, shopping centers, residential development, as well as television stations, a radio station, a cellular broadcast tower company, and an aviation company. Choice Hotels International franchises more than 5,700 hotels, representing more than 465,000 rooms in the United States, and more than 35 countries and territories.
The business partners and brothers were named Emerging Entrepreneurs of the Year by Ernst & Young in 2007 for expanding St. Louis, Missouri-based Roberts Hotels Group from a single hotel — the historic Mayfair hotel in downtown St. Louis — in 2003 to nearly a dozen properties in the Midwest and South in less than five years.
In 2006, the brothers netted more than $100 million on the sale of their shares in Alamosa Holdings Inc., the nation’s largest Sprint PCS affiliate.