Spokane, WA - WestCoast Hospitality Corporation (NYSE: WEH) today announced that its Red Lion brand was ranked first by respondents in the 2005 Business Travel News' Top U.S. Hotel Chains Survey with the best corporate rate programs. "We're pleased that the marketplace has acknowledged some of the innovative corporate rate initiatives we've introduced over the past year," said Bill Heaney, Vice President, Sales. "For large and medium sized companies, our negotiated rate programs are flexible and provide last room availability, attributes our customers have told us are important to them," added Heaney.
In the Business Travel News survey, 6,000 corporate travel managers and business travel agents were asked to rank the hotels with which they do business across multiple price point segments. In the "mid-price with food and beverage" segment, Red Lion ranked in the top-five overall based on survey responders' rankings of eleven criteria deemed critical in the hotel purchase decision and ranked first in corporate rate programs. "We're pleased that the corporate market has responded so favorably to the initiatives we've launched over the past eighteen months," said John Taffin, Executive Vice President, Hotel Operations. "Our free Net4Guests high speed Internet access, 'Stay Comfortable' plush pillow top mattresses, and 'We Promise or We Pay' rate parity program are resonating in the marketplace," added Taffin.
In 2004, Red Lion also introduced two new corporate rate programs aimed at both large and small businesses. Its "Pride Rate" program allows companies and individuals who would not normally qualify for volume discounts to obtain favorable pricing based on their preferred usage of Red Lion hotels. In addition, and as an example of a business-to-business partnership, members of Alaska Airlines' and Horizon Air's "EasyBiz" online corporate booking tool are automatically provided with preferential EasyBiz corporate rates at all Red Lion hotels. "We're proud to partner with Red Lion as our single EasyBiz hotel partner and know that our EasyBiz members appreciate the additional hotel savings our relationship provides," said Bob Dersé, Manager - Corporate Internet Sales for Alaska Airlines.
In late 2004, WestCoast Hospitality Corporation announced it will invest $40 million to revitalize all of the Red Lion Hotels it owns -- one of the most significant facility improvement programs in company history. The investment will enhance 31 hotels, accelerating the company's ongoing program to improve hotel quality by increasing customer comfort, freshening decor and modernizing with technology. It also builds on the $11 million the company invested during 2004 on such hotel improvements.
WestCoast Hospitality Corporation is a hospitality and leisure company primarily engaged in the ownership, management, development and franchising of mid-scale, full service hotels under its Red Lion® and WestCoast® brands. In addition, through its entertainment division, which includes its TicketsWest.com, Inc. subsidiary, it engages in event ticket distribution and promotes and presents a variety of entertainment productions. G&B Real Estate Services, its real estate division, engages in traditional real estate-related services, including developing, managing and brokering sales and leases of commercial and multi-unit residential properties.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities law, including statements concerning plans, objectives, goals, strategies, projections of future events or performance and underlying assumptions (many of which are based, in turn upon further assumptions). The forward-looking statements in this press release are inherently subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, matters discussed in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K for the 2003 fiscal year and in other documents filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Date: February 10, 2005
Contact: John Taffin
Title: Executive Vice President, Hotel Operations