Red Roof

Red Roof New Premium King Room

Red Roof® debuted The Red Collection™ and focuses on growing its franchise network throughout the country. 

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Knighthouse Media

Creating positive guest experiences and building long-term relationships are the keys to success in the hospitality industry. Since its inception in 1973, Red Roof® has built its reputation on providing travelers with simplicity and economy without compromising quality.

“Red Roof focuses on ‘Genuine Relationships. Real Results.™’ That is part of the company’s DNA,” says Joe Luck, regional vice president of West Coast. “We have deep rooted concern for the success of the company and that carries over to our franchise partners because their success is our success.”

Builder, contractor and future Indy-winning race team owner James R. Trueman founded the Columbus, Ohio-based company in 1973 when he opened the first Red Roof and charged guests $8.50 a night. In March, Red Roof moved its headquarters from Columbus to New Albany, Ohio, to support growing demand for the brand. The 43,000-square-foot building houses its team of 150 corporate office employees with the capacity to expand the workforce.Red Roof fact box

“This new state-of-the-art headquarters is just one of many ways we are working to support our ongoing growth trajectory and is an important milestone as we look to the future,” President Andrew Alexander says. “We believe this move will enhance and strengthen our ability to deliver on our promise to consumers with the benefit of bringing all of our corporate employees under one roof, which fosters a more dynamic and collaborative workplace.”

Growing Demand

In 1997, Red Roof opened its first franchise in Branson, Mo., and now has more than 550 locations nationwide. Of those, Red Roof manages 126 properties. “We know what it’s like to have skin in the game and what it takes to run the hotels and make it profitable,” Luck says.

In addition to Red Roof Inn, the company introduced Red Roof PLUS+® in 2013 as an upscale economy option for its guests. In just four years, more than 60 Red Roof PLUS+ locations have been franchised throughout the county, as well as one in Japan. 

Red Roof is further expanding its options to franchisees this year with The Red Collection, the company’s first-ever soft brand. The St. Clair Hotel™ in Chicago will be the first to open in The Red Collection with the second downstate in Springfield, Ill. 

“The Red Collection features very modern, clean and fresh décor at an affordable price,” Luck explains. “In The St. Clair Hotel we have upgraded the bedding and pillow top mattresses and created spa-inspired bathrooms in every room and designed a warm, inviting lobby with plush high tops and outlets for multiple devices and network connectivity.”

The Red Collection is expected to attract millennials and female travelers who Luck says are willing to pay a premium for preferred travel and amenities. “The Red Collection hotels will be located in the hearts of cities our guests’ love,” he adds. 

Red Roof’s The Red Collection is also appealing to franchisees not only because guests are demanding a more upscale stay with modern amenities, but also because while there are quality standards, the design and aesthetic of each property will be unique. “The only caveat to it is that it has to have The Red Collection stamped onto the building somewhere,” Luck says. “We feel this is where the market is gravitating towards. You will always have franchisees who only do economy brand products, but you have others who want to build in metro areas and attract the millennials, and that’s what a soft brand does.”

Brand Appeal

For the past seven years, Red Roof has earned the highest customer satisfaction score among all competitive economy hotels based on online reviews by Clarabridge. The company attributes that satisfaction to its strong franchise relationships and its solid support network.

“We have a really good leadership team led by our President Andrew Alexander, Chief Development officer Phil Hugh, Senior Vice President of Franchise Sales and Development Matt Hostetler, I am the regional vice president for the West Coast and Jason Yarbrough is the regional vice president for the East Coast,” Luck says. “Greg Fox just came aboard as the vice president for development for The Red Collection and is leading the charge for it across the United States.”

Red Roof provides its franchisees extensive on-site training in pricing strategy, managing operational expenses, assistance with marketing and operational programs, and quality and service initiatives. In addition to field training, its online training program is available to all franchisees from day one to provide management tools and explain brand expectations and best practices. 

Whether franchisees choose to build a new property or retrofit an existing one, the Red Roof development team is involved every step of the way. New prototypes have been designed from the ground up to be easy to build and maintain. The company also has created design elements that are flexible enough to fit any property being considered for renovation or conversion upgrades. 

Once the hotel is built or converted, Red Roof’s regional vice presidents attend the grand opening and continue to provide training and support to ensure the location will succeed. “Our operations team averages 15 years of experience in the industry,” Luck says. “We have the best of the best and know exactly how to run a hotel to its full potential. That’s what we are good at.”

Expanding West

A majority of Red Roof hotels are located in the eastern United States because the company was founded in Ohio, Luck says. “My focus is putting a bigger footprint out to the west. From Louisiana straight up to Canada and west is my focus,” he adds. “It has to be the right market, the right property and the right ownership. We have to look at the whole deal and typically if there is a ‘no’ there somewhere, we did something wrong or aren’t looking at the right property.”

Moving forward, Red Roof will continue focusing on The Red Collection. “The Red Collection is going to be phenomenal,” Luck says. “We are putting together deals in the west that have probably never been seen before in the industry. We will make it advantageous for franchisees to be part of the company and that may not last for long, so now is the time to take part in it.”


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