LAST YEAR, RED Lion Hotels Corp. set records for the number of franchise agreements it signed. The company’s recent acquisition of Knights Inn accounted for a substantial number of those new agreements.
RLH Corp. 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.
The company now has more than 85,500 rooms, a 24 percent increase from 2017. Upscale brands now comprise 8 percent of RLH Corp. hotels. The agreements include four Hotel RLs, including one on Miami Beach, Florida, and its first resort hotel, The Island in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The company also opened Signature San Francisco, the first from this refreshed brand.
“2018 was an outstanding and transformational year for the company,” said RLH Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Mount. “We intensified our focus and invested incremental expert resources on our franchise business, especially on the human capital front. We also began seeing meaningful improvement to the velocity and volume of our franchise agreement signings. These important shifts in focus, leadership and strategy will serve us well, as we continue to progress to a fully asset light franchise company. We are particularly encouraged by the interest in our mid and upscale brands. ”
RLH Corp. sold nine owned hotels for more than $116 million last year. It also transitioned four of its remaining owned hotels to third-party managers in anticipation of future sales. This year, RLH Corp. is projecting 160 to 200 executed agreements with a focus on mid and upscale brands, according to its most recent investor presentation.
The company introduced a new Knights Inn logo at its annual conference in Las Vegas in December. The new logo retains the castle turret of the old design but in a cleaner, simpler style with a K inset.