Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels has introduced a new brand with the intent of establishing a franchise network for independent hotels.
Called the Leo Hotel Collection, the concept has boutique, smaller or historic hotels retaining their names but using Red Lion’s distribution and marketing channels, said Harry Sladich, Red Lion’s vice president of sales and marketing.
Red Lion operates or franchises 48 hotels across the Western United States and Canada. In recent years it has focused on franchises rather than corporate-owned properties, which reduces its operating costs while building its network.
Sladich said he hopes to announce the first Leo-branded partner within 30 days.
“The ones we include will all be three-star or above hotels,” Sladich said. What Red Lion will offer is back office support for marketing, online reservations and call center support.
Many smaller, independent hotels have a strong reputation in their markets and prefer not to lose their name and identity, Sladich said. At the same time the partnership will provide support services that many boutique hotel owners have limited funds for, he said.
Sladich said many travelers opt for the standardized and predictable level of services found in chains or national companies. But others have a hankering for staying in hotels that are smaller and offer unique amenities, he said.
Red Lion will take a percentage of all fees paid through the services provided by the hotels in the Leo group.
Travelers who are members of the Red Lion’s loyalty program will be able to redeem or earn rewards at the Leo hotels, Sladich added.
Sladich said the goal is for the Leo Hotel Collection to be nationwide, not limited to the Northwest or West Coast.