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Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels Corp. announced on Thursday it's sold its Red Lion Missoula Inn for $1.95 million. As part of the sale agreement, the new owners signed a franchise agreement with the company.
It's been renamed the Red Lion Inn & Suites Missoula. It's a limited service property with 76 exterior entry rooms, situated near Providence Health & Services St. Patrick Hospital in downtown Missoula.
“This property is in a great location,” said Sam Hossain of RASM Properties, LLC, the new owners of the hotel.
Red Lion had announed in November 2011 that the property was for sale.
Jon Eliassen, the current CEO of Red Lion Hotel Corp., sent us this afternoon his impressions of H. Norman Schwarzkopf's contributions on the Washington Water Power board, from 1993 to 1997.
To counter any who might have thought an Army general was just window dressing on the board, Eliassen, who a company VP of finance at the time, recalls a man fully focused on the utility's business.
Eliassen's offered comment is:
“The General was a thoughtful, articulate and engaged board member, and he was always well prepared and always willing to offer comments and questions—Great military leaders translate well into very capable leaders in many business situations, and Norm was no exception. It was a pleasure to work with him for those four years he sat on our boards of WWP and of Pentzer.”
Spokane’s Red Lion Hotels Corp. announced Wednesday it’s added a franchise location in Cathedral City, Calif.
This fall the 97-room Quality Inn & Suites Date Palm will convert to Red Lion Hotel Cathedral City. Cathedral City is approximately seven miles southeast of Palm Springs.
Red Lion has made a clear strategic decision to expand through franchising new locations.
Company CEO Jon Eliassen said the property is a good addition that will appeal to travelers to the Palm Springs and Southern California region.
Having a location in the Palm Springs area makes sense by offering more options to winter-time business or recreation travelers, Eliassen added. The Red Lion press release noted the Palm Springs area features more than 100 golf courses.
Red Lion Hotels, the Spokane hospitality company working its way through some investor discontent, held its recent annual meeting at its downtown headquarters. The May 23 meeting included the re-election of board directors.
We went back one year to Red Lion's 2011 annual meeting, at a time when there was less investor revolt. We checked to see what changed in the election numbers.
In 2012 these same three Red Lion directors were all approved, but with significantly more “withheld” votes than in 2011.
Richard Barbieri in 2011 got 8.4 million “for” votes, 5.2 million votes withheld.
In 2012 Barbieri got 9.4 million “for” votes, and 5.7 million votes withheld.
Jon Eliassen in 2011 got 13.2 million “for” votes and 403,804 withheld votes.
In 2012 Eliassen got 9.5 million “for” votes and 5.6 milliion votes withheld.
Melvin Keating in 2011 got 13.1 million “for” votes and 537,700 withheld.
This year Keating got 9.5 million “for” votes and 5.6 million withheld votes.
You can go back and see that in the past several months two large groups, including the largest single shareholder (Columbia Pacific) have indicated they want major changes in company operations and strategy. Red Lion execs have agreed and hired Bank of America consultants to provide advice and options.
The huge increase in withheld votes, even without an organized campaign mounted against the officers, suggests that Red Lion shareholders are still sending a message. When shareholders withhold votes, that's not the same as simply choosing to not send back a card or voting instruction. In a withheld vote, the card or instruction email is sent to the company without a vote “for” the nominee.
The votes for Director Richard Barbieri are the odd result. Barbieri managed to get more “for” votes this year and he received more withheld votes, as well.
The RLH stock chart here shows some buoying of share price, since the company announced plans to look at options, including selling off part or all of the company.
Spokane’s Red Lion Hotels is revamping its website in hopes of getting more people to book visits there instead of through online travel sites.
Company Executive Vice President Harry Sladich said the makeover will affect the main Redlion.com site plus 44 microsites for the chain’s individual hotels.
The goal is to save money by gaining more online reservations at its own sites instead of through online companies such as Expedia or Hotels.com.
“When (guests) make reservations through online travel agents, we take a substantial discount on the money they’re spending,” Sladich said.
The discount varies depending on how big the booking site is. Big sites like Expedia or Travelocity get close to 35 percent; smaller sites are taking cuts in the 20 percent range, Sladich said.
All bookings made at Red Lion’s site stay with the company.
To read the full story, go to Spokesman.com starting after 9 p.m. on Friday, May 4.
Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels on Tuesday announced it lost $6.6 million in the first quarter of 2012, a net loss of 34 cents per share, compared to a net loss from continuing operations of $4.5 million or 24 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2011.
In the first quarter of 2012, comparable EBITDA from continuing operations (before special items) improved to $1.2 million, compared to a loss of $.5 million in the first quarter of 2011.
Since hotels are a unique industry, earnings include an occupancy and REVPAR (revenue per available room) formula to track numbers.
For this past quarter, the occupancy for its owned and leased hotels was 52 percent; average daily rate was $72.29 and REVPAR for the quarter was $40.21.
That's up, except for ADR, from the first quarter of 2011, when the three key numbers were 48.4 percent, $77.47 and $37.47.
RevPAR growth outpaced the midscale hotel segment and resulted in an increase in total revenue and EBITDA, said President and Chief Executive Officer Jon E. Eliassen.
“We successfully implemented targeted sales and marketing programs that allowed us to improve occupancy in what is typically our slowest period, without sacrificing rate,” he said.
The key question we had: how many people work for Red Lion in Spokane. Answer: 350.
If there was a sale to another hotel company, what happens then? The best scenario: some job losses but not likely a lot.
The upside would be that many of the 350 jobs would remain because the bulk of those are inside the company's two big hotels in this city.
Another group of Red Lion staff manage the Tickets West / Broadway series operation. That business is one small part of the Red Lion company, and produces roughly 7 percent of total company revenue, which in 2011 was $156 million.
Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels Corp. announced they're preparing to sell two of its hotels in Medford and Missoula.
Both hotels were part of a group previously leased from iStar Financial Inc. of New York.
Last week Red Lion purchased the hotels to end the leases. The company said at last week's announcement it would sell some of the hotels and keep others. Keep in touch to see which other hotels in the group will also go on the for-sale block.
Jon E. Eliassen, president and CEO, said, “We will continue to look for ways to strategically position Red Lion with hotels that fit the brand going forward. Selling these two properties also furthers our effort to restructure our balance sheet, which will give the company more financial flexibility and increase shareholder value.”
OK, so we went a little long in a Sunday story on Jon Eliassen, CEO of Red Lion Hotels Corp.
He's probably, as one blog commenter noted, Spokane's “most interesting” exec. Or close, anway.
Here's a little snapshot photo of Eliassen from some unknown date. This has to have been an Avista mugshot that sat in the SR archives for close to 20 years.
If anyone can come up with the year this photo was taken, we'll send you a free e-book on how to use and manage Microsoft Outlook 2010.
People who know Jon Eliassen say he's the busiest retired person they know.
In Sunday's Business section of The Spokesman-Review, we take a look at how Eliassen, who retired in 2002 after 33 years at WWP and Avista, has become a very busy executive around the area.
Eliassen has plenty to say about retirement and what he expected to do once he left Avista.
He continues serving, for the time being, as CEO and president of Red Lion Hotels Corp.