Authenticity, flexible terms key to Hotel RL
22 OCTOBER 2014 8:17 AM
Red Lion Hotels Corporation announced a lifestyle brand, Hotel RL, which was created for guests and owners, executives said during a launch party.
PHOENIX—The transformation of Red Lion Hotels Corporation continued Tuesday with the announcement of a new lifestyle brand, Hotel RL.
The Spokane, Washington-based company’s 3-star, full-service brand is inspired by the spirit of the Pacific Northwest and designed for consumers with a millennial mindset, according to executives during a brand launch party held in conjunction with the 20th annual Lodging Conference at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.
“This brand is based on being authentic. We’re not about being cool. We’re about being authentic. We’re going to bring that ethos from the Pacific Northwest to these hotels,” said Greg Mount, RLHC’s president and CEO.
The premise harkens back to the age-old idea of a hotel as a town square, where visitors and locals meet to mingle, share ideas and collaborate, he added. That type of interaction will be fostered in Hotel RL’s pavilion-style lobby with what executives have dubbed “the steps”—large, wooden steps that serve as makeshift seating and meeting space.
Other brand hallmarks include complimentary Wi-Fi, high-end coffee—a must in any Pacific Northwest experience, Mount said—and signature cocktails in the evening.
The design aesthetic, created with help from design firm Gettys, straddles the line between rustic and chic, evoking an outdoorsy spirit of adventure with visual cues that roots each hotel into its surrounding neighborhood.
“We’re going to work real hard to be hospitable and to say hello,” Mount said.
RLHC also owns and operates the Red Lion Hotels and the Red Lion Inn & Suites brands.
In addition to striving for an on-property experience that resonates with guests, RLHC executives also have structured Hotel RL with the aim of enticing would-be developers and owners.
“We will take the time and make the effort to get the deal right for you. Having been someone who’s worked in the industry for a lot of years as an owner, acquirer and (operator), I think we understand better than most what it takes to succeed out there and what’s needed,” Mount said.
In a break from traditional brand franchising contracts, Hotel RL will offer a flat fee structure instead of royalty fees.
Terms will be more flexible, too. Termination clauses, for instance, will put the power back in the hands of owners, Mount explained, freeing them of binding agreements that encumbers the asset for 20 or 30 years.
“We’ve created here I think a turn-key conversion for hotel owners,” Mount said.
Conversion activity will drive the majority of growth, he said. Initial targets include the top 80 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States—something of a departure for the previously West Coast-focused RLHC.
RLHC anticipates announcing the first addition to Hotel RL before the end of the year and plans to open or convert more in 2015, according to news release. During the next 18 months, RLHC expects along with hotel owners to invest between $50 million and $100 million in the conversion of properties to the Hotel RL brand. On a selective basis, RLHC will pursue joint-venture and equity ownership opportunities.