Vancouver REIT rebrands 46 of its American hotels

Company eliminates Oak Tree Inn brand and goes with Travelodge, Super 8

This Oak Tree Inn in Yermo, California is one of the hotels that will be rebranded | submitted

A Vancouver-based owner of 115 American hotels has reached a partnership with Wyndham Hotel Group to rebrand 46 of its Oak Tree Inn hotels as either Wyndham’s Baymont Inn & Suites, Travelodge or Super 8 as part of its strategy to get more walk-in traffic.

American Hotel Income Properties REIT LP (AHIP) (TSX:HOT.UN) has two main lines of business. It owns 67 premium hotels that carry brands such as Marriott, Hilton or InterContinental. It also owns 46 hotels that it considers “rail hotels” because the bulk of their business is providing guaranteed rooms to major railway operators across the U.S. Its remaining two hotels are not branded and are up for sale, president Ian McAuley told Business in Vancouver.

“The railway business has changed in the last number of years,” he said.

“Rail carload volumes have fallen so we ended up with more capacity in those hotels than what the railway companies would normally have taken previously. So in order to continue to satisfy the contractual relationships with the railways but still have opportunities to grow the business, we’ve now contracted with Wyndham to help sell those excess rooms to transient travellers.”

He believes that these transient travellers will be lured to Wyndham’s brands because they are much larger, are better known and have 52 million people who are part of the company’s loyalty programs.

“Our hotels will be marketed with one of the world’s largest reservation systems,” he said.

AHIP will rebrand at least 28 of its railway hotels as Travelodge, 14 as Baymont Inn & Suites and two as Super 8. Two properties were recently acquired, and McAuley said his team has yet to determine what brands those hotels will carry.

AHIP was able to negotiate lower fees to carry Wyndham’s brands because the partnership is for a relatively large collection of 46 hotels, McAuley said. •