HB ON THE SCENE: RLH Corp. Unveils Knights Inn’s New Look, Housekeeping Robot

LAS VEGAS—RLH Corp. didn’t waste any time at its annual conference—which registered nearly 1,000 individuals this year—revealing the company’s take on where the overall industry is heading, key initiatives for 2019 and Knights Inn’s new look.

“We’re going to talk about a lot of things today, and I think the overall message is you can’t wait for the future,” said Greg Mount, CEO at RLH Corp. “You really need to create it.”

The Denver-based hospitality company’s top executive made note of how digital technology—including artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and mobile payment—have changed the way hoteliers do business; he encouraged franchisees to align themselves with a brand and system capable of adapting to these technologies, for they’ll be the ones interacting with consumers.

“We’ve spoken over the years about technology and innovation,” Mount said. “It still remains the forefront of what we do, but we must work together to prepare for the future, and I mean that more than I ever have before. ”

Some key takeaways from the conference include the following:

  • RLH Corp.’s portfolio is approaching 1,500 hotels in 48 states across the country.
  • Knights Inn got a makeover. (Side note: RLH Corp. COO Gary Sims called the brand’s new logo “drop-dead sexy.”)
  • In early December, the hospitality company executed a franchise license agreement for a Hotel RL in Miami Beach, FL. The 143-room property will have an outdoor pool and two on-site restaurants.
  • RLH Corp.’s initiatives for 2019 include expanding outreach, meeting consumer demands, creating efficiencies and lowering cost of sale.
  • The Denver-based business believes its advantages in the industry are leadership experience; brand power; market opportunity; service and support innovations; and higher margins.
  • In 2019, RLH Corp.’s marketing initiatives include enhancing Hello Rewards, central pay, the company’s website, 1-800-REDLION and email marketing.
  • RLH Corp. now has a new hotel designation for sports teams.
  • The hotel group’s qualified media buying includes monthly brand promotions, real-time search engine marketing, Google search and more.

RLH Corp. ended its general session with the announcement of a recently formed partnership, Peanut Robotics, which is expected to enable the hospitality company to revolutionize the way its housekeeping performs tasks within guestrooms at properties. The robots are being designed to assist housekeepers, not replace them. RLH Corp. is planning to pilot the robots at two properties next year before rolling them out in 2020.

“The world is changing by day, by hour, by minute,” Mount said. “You have to look to the future.”

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