RED LION HOTELS Corp. is cooking something up in the lab. More precisely, the company has opened a new subsidiary, RLabs, Inc., focused on creating travel technology and products like RLH Corp.’s RevPak revenue management software.
RLabs will eventually develop more elaborate technology for hotels, including robotics and artificial intelligence. For now, its first product is Canvas Integrated Systems, a cloud-based hospitality management suite with various tools designed to increase and manage revenue, automate channel management and reduce cost and friction for independent hotel owners.
Canvas Integrated Systems can also provide personalized loyalty programs and keyless entry systems, and it can be used by third party management companies for multiple clients.
“We see the industry moving towards being transaction-based in the future and believe Canvas Integrated Systems can provide a savings of up to 50 percent over what typical independent hotels are currently paying, and potentially even more for hotels that are part of a soft brand,” said RLH Corp. President and CEO Greg Mount. “We believe there is a real opportunity to use our technology platform in a more vertical way by building a subscription-style offering of technology on a transaction-based billing format.”
The system is customizable so hotel owners can choose components they need and avoid paying for unnecessary items. It uses a transaction-based model that charges independent hotel owners for actualized transactions for service comparable to what a large-brand hotel might receive. Each client gets a support team as well.
Seven hotels have entered agreements to use Canvas Integrated Systems, and Monterey Tides resort in Monterey, California, began using the system in December.
“Canvas Integrated Systems has given us the ability to quickly manage our channels without the day-to-day grind generally associated with the back-end of running a hotel,” said Ted Darnall, CEO of Lodging and Technical Services Companies at HEI Hotels & Resorts, Monterey Tides’ management company. “The fully automated system has saved us both time and money, and we have felt the impact of the benefits of being with a large brand, without having to sell out our independence.”
Darnall also is a member of RLH Corp.’s board of directors.
In February, RLH Corp. announced that it had set a record last year for the number of franchise contracts signed. The company executed 167 hotel franchise agreements in 2018, including 37 mid and upscale hotels and 130 select service hotels. The company picked up 350 select service franchise agreements when it acquired Knights Inn last May.