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Red Lion announces long-term growth plan; full-service chain to increase properties by 50 percent in five years.

VANCOUVER, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 23, 1996--Following its successful Initial Public Offering last July, Red Lion Hotels Inc. plans to place its flag on as many as 24 hotels in the next five years, strengthening its position as the premiere full-service hotel in the western United States.

"We are aggressively pursuing opportunities for growth," said Red Lion's vice president of Development, C.A. Anderson, a panelist at the eleventh annual Hotel Industry Investment Conference, a major gathering of hotel industry leaders. "We currently have an inventory of more than 14,000 rooms and anticipate adding 7,000 over the next five years."

The full-service chain expects to complement its 54 existing locations with additional properties in cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, and continue moving east to cities such as Dallas, Houston and Kansas City. The company's strategy is to own, manage and enter into selective joint agreements. Red Lion will maintain operating control over all properties to ensure high quality and consistency.

"Red Lion is very selective, participating as partner or operator only in properties that meet strictly defined criteria of property type, size and location," Anderson said. "We take a long-term approach, creating deliberate, strategic growth that provides our shareholders and other partners with the highest long-term return on investment. Our operating expertise, combined with a strong balance sheet that gives us capital availability, positions us well for growth."

To maximize the potential of its existing and future occupancy, Red Lion is investing $11 million in a state-of-the-art central reservation system that includes a new call-center facility, telephone equipment, computer systems and Anasazi reservation software. The system, named OSCAR for "On-line Systems for Centrally Automated Reservations," will link central reservations, global distribution systems and Red Lion properties directly to up-to-the-minute room availability and rate information beginning April 1, 1996.

"OSCAR will dramatically streamline operations, resulting in increased revenues and operating efficiency," Anderson said. "More importantly, it will allow us to provide enhanced service to guests and travel agencies because we'll be better able to track last room availability."

Red Lion's primary focus is meeting the needs of the business traveler with high- quality meeting facilities, full-service amenities and prime locations in the western United States. More than 50 percent of its guests are individual business or leisure travelers and more than 30 percent are convention or group delegates. Known for its loyal customers, Red Lion recorded 1.2 million group-room bookings in 1994. Its Frequent Guest Dividends program is currently up by nearly 56 percent from 1993, and its occupancy rates have consistently exceeded the industry average.

A proven industry leader in the full-service category, Red Lion also enjoys strong alliances with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Horizon Air, American Express, AT&T and Hertz.

Red Lion's current portfolio is composed of wholly-owned hotels, joint-venture properties, leasehold properties and management agreements. Currently, Red Lion operates and manages 54 hotels and resorts in 10 western states, and employs more than 10,500 people. Red Lion Common Stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "RL."

CONTACT: Red Lion Hotels Inc.

Kerri Culbertson, 360/696-0001
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 23, 1996
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