Sonesta celebrates unity at inaugural conference

The company marked total integration of Red Lion brands with updated website, rewards program

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Sonesta Hotels & Resorts
John Murray, executive vice president for The RMR Group that owns Sonesta International Hotels, kicks off the company’s inaugural conference in Las Vegas. During the conference, the company essentially completed its integration with Red Lion Hotels Corp. with the announcement of a unified loyalty program, Sonesta Travel Pass, and combined website.

UNITY WAS THE theme at Sonesta International Hotels’ inaugural conference in Las Vegas. Sonesta essentially completed its integration with Red Lion Hotels Corp. with the announcement of a unified loyalty program, Sonesta Travel Pass, and combined website.

Approximately 1,300 attendees, including franchisees, general managers of Sonesta’s corporate owned properties and employees, came to the conference and trade show at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas. Along with keynote speakers and entertainment, the conference provided updates on the company’s status.

“My team and I have been looking forward to this moment for months to finally be with you, to talk with you, to listen to you and your guests and to show off a little to you,” said John Murray, executive vice president for The RMR Group that owns Sonesta. “Because we really do have a lot to show off. We also have a lot to celebrate. Today we’re here to celebrate the transformation of Sonesta and Red Lion’s histories into our future as one Sonesta.”

Getting a pass

Sonesta’s new unified website provides service for the 1,100 properties  in most of the company’s brands, such as Royal Sonesta, Sonesta Hotels & Resorts and Sonesta ES Suites, together with the Red Lion brands, including Red Lion Hotel, Americas Best Value Inn and Signature Inn. It also features a centralized booking site.

Knight’s Inn, Sonesta’s economy brand acquired with Red Lion, is not included on the new site, Murray said.

“For Knights Inn, we’ve set up a separate website,” he said. “It’s still one of our brands that Sonesta owns, but the owners of Knights Inn, in many cases don’t want the Travel Pass program because their guests really aren’t staying at Knights Inn for that reason, to build loyalty points.”

Sonesta Travel Pass now gives members, including former Red Lion Hello Rewards members, access to unified benefits and a single currency across the network of hotels. Travel Pass points accumulate rapidly and hold a higher per-dollar value, the company said, reducing the number of points needed for a single night’s stay.

“Sonesta Travel Pass members now have endless opportunities to make memories at nearly 1,100 hotel destinations,” says Chris Trick, Sonesta’s chief marketing officer. “By creating a unified booking platform and loyalty program, we are not only expanding opportunities for rewards and benefits but also forging stronger connections across our family of brands. For example, frequent guests of Red Lion Hotel, Inn & Suites by Sonesta can now explore a Sonesta MOD hotel with their points, while Signature Inn by Sonesta guests might also become Sonesta Simply Suites loyalists.”

Sonesta also is hosting an Ultimate Sweepstakes, offering guests the chance to win points redeemable at any Sonesta property. One winner will win one million points, 10 winners will receive 100,000 points and 100 winners will receive Platinum Status for life.

The company also announced a new consumer campaign in May, Rewards Season, featuring promotional materials starring actress Judy Greer. Inspired by awards season, the Rewards Season campaign seeks to make “everyone can feel like a winner.” Throughout the spot, Greer’s status quickly elevates from Bronze to Platinum, showcasing the way loyalty members move through the STP tiers faster than with other loyalty programs.

Previously, Sonesta announced that it had executed approximately 15 franchise agreements, adding more than 1,900 keys in the first quarter of 2024.