RLHC spotlights growth, new partnerships at annual conference

SPOKANE, WA—RLHC (Red Lion Hotels Corporation) is in the midst of implementing its growth plan of 100 hotels in 100 weeks, and those attending the company’s 2015 Annual Conference held here at the Red Lion at the Park hotel were clued in on the initiatives it has executed to achieve that goal.

Bill Linehan, EVP and chief marketing officer, revealed that RLHC is riding a RevPAR growth streak, and discussed the addition of the GuestHouse International and Settle Inn brands to the company’s portfolio. 

“RLHC has experienced double-digit RevPAR growth system-wide in the first quarter of this year and [for]eight consecutive quarters. With the acquisition of GuestHouse International and Settle Inn, we have 130 hotels in 30 states.  That’s tremendous growth, but it isn’t over yet. We are still working toward 100 hotels in 100 weeks, which means we will add 20 to 30 Red Lion Hotels and Red Lion Inn & Suites each year in 2015 and 2016,” he said. “Since we met a year ago, we have launched a new leadership team of well-respected hospitality veterans, launched an aggressive national growth strategy, created significant financial flexibility and generated strong operating results with eight consecutive quarters of year-over-year RevPAR growth and eight consecutive quarters of positive adjusted EBITDA. That’s saying something. It’s all of your hard work that has generated results.” 

Both of the new RLHC brands have undergone a makeover, as new logos were unveiled during the conference.

The introduction of model rooms for the Hotel RL, Red Lion Hotels and Red Lion Inn & Suites flags was another highlight from the three-day event. All of them are available for viewing at the new RLHC Design Center in Denver.

“These guestrooms are designed around the way our guests travel now. They don’t necessarily need a closet but do need a place to hang their gear,” said Linehan. “They need lots and lots of plugs and comfortable seating where they can put their laptops on their laps. What a concept. And, we have even added plugs into the actual structure of the seating.

“We know hotel companies are talking about Millennials and planning now for how they travel,” he continued. “We are talking about the Millennial mindset. That’s all of us who are on our devices 24/7. These rooms and our lobbies are designed for that mindset.” 

国语两人做人爱费视频One of the notable changes to the guestroom design was the elimination of the in-room coffee stations. “In this next year, we are going to own the coffee experience,” said Greg Mount, RLHC president & CEO. “We are removing coffee and room service from the rooms and moving them into our lobbies for a much better quality experience. Our guests will be able to get authentic coffees and lattes for free in our lobbies. We have partnered with Victrola Coffee Roasters and Whidbey Coffee out of Seattle to provide a true coffeehouse experience so well honed in the Pacific Northwest.” 

RLHC also introduced new partnerships with KIND Snacks and Villy Customs that are geared toward enhancing the guest experience at its properties.

国语两人做人爱费视频Members of the Hello Rewards guest recognition program staying at Red Lion Hotels and Red Lion Inn & Suites properties will be given a complimentary KIND Healthy Grain Bar at check-in. The initiative was launched earlier this month.

“We think the KIND Snacks are a fantastic way to recognize our Hello Rewards members every time they check in and that our guests will appreciate the kind gesture,” said Linehan. “We chose to align with this particular company in part because of its social mission to spread kindness through it KIND movement.  It’s a mission with which we can identify and want to support as a hospitality company. 

“The alliance provides a mutual benefit for RLHC and KIND, and our guests are the big winners,” he added. “It’ll be fun for our front-desk agents to have a chance to make a guest’s day with a great healthy snack.” 

Brigette Pence, director of relationship marketing & Hello Rewards, noted, “Because the sports market has been such a tremendous asset to our properties, we are introducing the PlayKIND Youth Sport Program this summer in conjunction with KIND Snacks. We are providing kids with a drawstring backpack, KIND bar, bottled water, temporary tattoo and accordion postcard.  This is just an opportunity to recognize the individual guests who make up an important piece of business in our markets” 

The hospitality company and Villy Customs have joined forces to provide guests of Hotel RL with bicycles for use during their stay. Fans of the ABC television show Shark Tank may remember that Villy Customs struck a deal in September 2011 with “sharks” Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran to manufacture and market its custom bicycles. The Hotel RL beach cruisers, which will feature prominent use of the brand’s logo, will be complimentary for up to two hours per day, and available by reservation at the front desk.

“What we have found is that everyone loves a great story.  That’s what we have with these bikes,” said Harry Sladich, RLHC’s EVP of hotel operations and national sales. “The owner of Villy Customs is an incredible guy who has taken his love of beach cruisers and made them cool and ripe for branding. Literally, I was watching Shark Tank one Friday night at home and the owner of Villy Customs starts telling his story.  I said to my daughter, ‘We have to have these bikes for our hotels.’  Two minutes later, I get a text from our president & CEO who says, ‘We’ve gotta have beach cruisers for our hotels’ and to check out Villy Customs.  I asked him if he was watching Shark Tank.  Now, we have our own custom bikes that will be available at the opening of our first Hotel RL [in]Baltimore Inner Harbor on the first of August.

“We modeled this bike program after successfully providing bicycles for guest use at Red Lion Hotels and Red Lion Inn & Suites, where they were first introduced last summer,” Sladich added.

As part of the conference, Brian Quinn, SVP and chief franchise offer, was among the presenters handing out year-end awards. Among the winners of notable awards were Red Lion Hotel Vancouver Quay in Vancouver, WA (Hotel of the Year); Paul Thornton of the Red Lion Hotel Salt Lake Downtown in Salt Lake City (General Manager of the Year); and Red Lion Inn and Suites Tempe, AZ (Best Customer Satisfaction). HB

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