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The Soft Sell

The Soft Sell

With soft branding, independents can act like a chain when it makes good business sense.

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Red Lion’s Ron Burgett Discusses Franchise Growth

Red Lion’s Ron Burgett Discusses Franchise Growth

For 20 years, Ron Burgett has been a hotel franchising and development guy. Now, at Red Lion Hotels, he’s on a mission to grow the company’s franchising program. The timing is good since Red Lion recently restructured its debt and invested $20 million back into the company. Burgett says the move has made it easier for Red Lion to look forward and not back. LODGING: How did you get into the hotel business? Burgett: When I was 26 and working for Cracker Barrel, I opened a store in Marion, Ill., across the street from Best Inn of America’s headquarters. At the time, it was a family-owned business with about 40 hotels and a lot of the guys used to have lunch at the restaurant every day, so I got to know them well. They eventually convinced me to come work for them, managing four Comfort Inns in Chicago. That’s how I got my start. LODGING: What did you learn from working in restaurants that you still use today? Burgett: I learned that you only have a few short moments to make a good impression with your guests. You may have more opportunities at a hotel than a restaurant, but you ...

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Leo Hotel Collection To Sign The Riverside Hotel in Boise, Idaho

Leo Hotel Collection To Sign The Riverside Hotel in Boise, Idaho

SPOKANE, Wash.—Red Lion Hotels Corporation is planning to execute a new franchise agreement for the Leo Hotel Collection with the owners of The Riverside Hotel in Boise. The hotel will add 300 rooms to the Leo Hotel Collection when it converts in mid-summer. “Celebrities and former presidents have stayed at this sprawling riverside getaway,” said Ron Burgett, executive vice president of lodging and brand development for Red Lion Hotels Corporation. “This is exactly the type of property we envisioned for the Leo Hotel Collection.” The Riverside Hotel is a resort-style property spanning 14 acres, situated on the banks of the Boise River. The hotel features 300 rooms and suites, and over 21,000 square feet of convention and event space. Newly renovated resort amenities include a large outdoor pool and sundeck, hot tub, “splash pad” for kids, la arge-scale outdoor chess board, and petanque courts. The current owners purchased the hotel in 2011 and have spent the last two years renovating the hotel, with an emphasis on using local vendors and goods as much as possible.

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Red Lion Hotels Expands into Arizona

Red Lion Hotels Expands into Arizona

SPOKANE, Wash.—Red Lion Hotels Corporation announced today that it is continuing its expansion with the tallying of another hotel, now into Tempe, Ariz., located in the greater Phoenix area. “We were looking for the right opportunity for a franchise in Arizona and this former Hampton Inn is a fantastic fit for our system,” said Ron Burgett, executive vice president of lodging and brand development for Red Lion Hotels Corporation. “This property has seen continued improvements in recent years, and will be a great addition to the brand portfolio. We know our sports and leisure guests will appreciate its proximity to Arizona State University.” The Red Lion Inn & Suites Phoenix/Tempe-ASU is a 162-room limited service hotel. The property has two outdoor swimming pools, a 15-person whirlpool with a rock waterfall, plus a tennis court and a putting green. Guests will receive free internet access and a free hot breakfast served daily. VRE Holdings owns the hotel.

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Red Lion Hotels Sells and Franchises Pendleton Property

Red Lion Hotels Sells and Franchises Pendleton Property

SPOKANE, Wash.—Red Lion Hotels Corporation announced the company has sold for $2.25 million the Red Lion Hotel Pendleton in Oregon. The full service hotel has 170 rooms, a restaurant, 10,500 square feet of meeting and banquet space, and an outdoor pool with a view of the Blue Mountains. “The sale of this property allows us to further invest in our owned hotels while we continue to leverage the Red Lion name in this market,” said Jon E. Eliassen, president and chief executive officer of Red Lion Hotels Corporation. “We are pleased that each of our property sales in the past 22 months has resulted in a new franchise agreement.” “Red Lion has a long history in the Pendleton community,” added Ron Burgett, executive vice president of lodging and brand development for Red Lion Hotels Corporation. “The new owners of this property will continue to build on that legacy.” The company purchased the Red Lion Hotel Pendleton as part of the November 2011 purchase of 10 previously-leased properties from iStar Financial.

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