Choice Hotels started out in 1939 in Maryland under the name Quality Courts United, a group of 7 motel owners. The name was changed in 1969 to Quality Motels and again in 1972 to Quality Inns.
From 1946 to 1964, the company had a marketing agreement in place with Best Western because they operated on different halves of the US.
The company began franchising in 1972 and soon was over 300 locations (less than 40 company-owned). In 1982, the company pioneered segmentation in the lodging industry and the company grew quickly in the 80s and 90s.
In 1992, Choice Hotels became the largest franchise hotel chain in the world.
In December 2017, the company announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire the brand and franchise business of WoodSpring Suites from WoodSpring Hotels Holdings for approximately $231 million.
The company has been plagued with complaints about bed bugs, including a young boy who stayed with his mother at a Bozeman, Montana, Quality Inn.
There are currently over 6000 locations operating under 10 different brand names, including Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Rodeway Inn, Quality Inn, and Econolodge. The Choice Hotels corporate office is currently located in Silver Spring, Maryland but will be moving about 20 miles to Rockville in 2013.