RLHC relaunches the Signature Inn brand to appeal to younger hoteliers.
Q&A with ANNA BOGLER
Anna Bogler joined RLHC in April 2017 as director of Interior Design. Her specialty is placemaking: investing in intentional programming, spatial planning, and design elements that evoke emotion and a unique human experience specific to the user to foster connection in a space. Today’s Hotelier recently talked with Bogler about the relaunch and rebranding of the Signature Inn.
RLHC recently announced the relaunch of Signature Inn. Can you share with us a little bit about the brand’s history and why it was time for a relaunch?
Originally owned by America’s Best Franchising Inc., Vantage Hospitality Group acquired ABF in January 2015 and revived Signature Inn as an affordable boutique brand. RLHC acquired Vantage Hospitality last fall, and it announced in May that RLHC would be rebranding the Signature Inn as a concept brand.
Tell us a little bit about RLHC’s strategy behind the relaunch and why it made sense to revive a brand (vs. coming up with a new one, which we know is very popular these days).
It made sense to revise the brand because there was a lot of interest from prospective developers. The brand also targets and appeals to younger hoteliers who are looking to grow their ventures and wanting to make a mark for themselves.
Signature Inn is labeled as an upper economy brand. Tell us about this segment and why it could be a wise choice in the current market.
Boutique hotels are associated with upper-upscale segments. We believe that good design and experience can be affordable and still offer some rate elasticity. There is currently not a midscale brand the captures lifestyle branding outside of a handful of independent entities – Signature Inn is our response to this gap.
Share with us about the background, R&D, imagination and what has gone into developing the new Signature Inn. Where did your ideas and inspiration come from, and who has been the brand’s/project’s champion?
The Signature Inn brand is influenced by the 1950s. Celebrating minimalist mid-century modern style, it incorporates pop culture influences. Precedent has been heavily weighted in forms and icon design elements of the time, as well as influential artists – abstract expressionism/pop art references, and cultural and political influences. These ideas are interwoven to create a current narrative to define the branding elements and amenities for our modern-day rambler and their stay at Signature Inn.
I love the retro feel of the brand and its homage to the Golden Age of Travel and mid-century aesthetics. Can you share why RLHC ultimately went this route in terms of a brand story?
It evokes a simpler yet provocative time. We are creating a platform for a new generation of hotel guests to experience a modern interpretation of a defining era and a rebirth of the romance of the road side motel.
What type of properties would make for a good conversion for this new Signature Inn brand? What types of communities would best suit a Signature Inn?
Designed for conversions of existing assets and new build, an ideal property is a two-story exterior corridor motel located in trendy metro, up-and-coming neighborhood – the brand is intended for vibrant communities. Location plays an important factor in the success concept; we want to be an extension of the hotelier relationship to the place.
If a hotelier has a property they’ve been thinking about a new flag or conversion, why would Signature Inn be a good consideration for them?
Signature Inn offers a straightforward and simple fee structure, technology to meet the needs of today’s travelers, and the ongoing support to help franchisers grow their business. It also provides breathing room to run their hotels without strict structure from the franchisers.
What type of traveler does the new Signature Inn captivate? What promise does it make to its guests?
Signature Inn appeals to modern day ramblers; those who appreciate and enjoy the nostalgia of classic Americana. Signature Inn promises to offer a unique experience influenced by the old-school hipness of mid-century modern aesthetic merged with modern conveniences of great bed, Wi-Fi, HDTV, etc.
What amenities and technologies will Signature Inn provide to its guests, staff and owners?
We are still in the development stage of defining specific touch points, Signature Moments, that will be the physical manifestation of the Signature Inn experience. But Signature Inn will focus on what matters to our target guest – friendly service combined with modern conveniences. ■