RLH Corporation (NYSE:RLH) recently announced it has achieved a record 167 executed hotel franchise agreements in 2018. Specifically, the Company signed 37 mid and upscale hotels and 130 select service hotels in addition to acquiring over 350 select service franchise agreements with the acquisition of Knights Inn. RLH Corporation now encompasses over 85,500 rooms; an increase of 24% from 2017 and upscale brands now comprise 8% of the Company's hotels.
"2018 was an outstanding and transformational year for the Company," said RLH Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Mount. "We intensified our focus and invested incremental expert resources on our franchise business, especially on the human capital front. We also began seeing meaningful improvement to the velocity and volume of our franchise agreement signings. These important shifts in focus, leadership and strategy will serve us well, as we continue to progress to a fully asset light franchise company. We are particularly encouraged by the interest in our mid and upscale brands."
During 2018 the Company signed agreements for four Hotel RLs, including one on Miami Beach, Florida. It opened its first resort hotel with The Island in Fort Walton Beach, FL and opened Signature San Francisco, the first from this refreshed brand.
In addition during 2018, RLH Corporation sold nine owned hotels for over $116 million in gross proceeds. In order to concentrate even more of their available resources on the franchise business, the company has transitioned four of the remaining owned hotels to third-party managers in anticipation of future sales.
The Company is experiencing continued strong interest in its franchises into 2019 and is providing guidance of 160 to 200 executed agreements for the year. As previously communicated, the Company's franchise development efforts are being intensified on its mid and upscale brands.
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