Friday, March 16, 2012

AmeriTel begins rebranding Ammon, Idaho Falls hotels

The new lettering at Ammon's La Quinta Inn was half-finished Friday at lunchtime. The Boise-based AmeriTel chain is rebranding most of the hotels it owns. While the Teton Spectrum hotel is now a La Quinta, the Lindsay Boulevard hotel will become a Hampton Inn next month.
The new signs went up Thursday and today, and the AmeriTel Inn at the Teton Spectrum in Ammon is now a La Quinta Inn. In mid-April, the AmeriTel on Lindsay Boulevard will become a Hampton Inn.

This doesn't mean AmeriTel has left the business. "We still own the hotels," said Chuck Everett, the Boise-based chain's vice president for operations. "We needed to reinvest in the properties, and we decided the best way to leverage the reinvestment costs was to rebrand the properties. It's increasingly difficult these days to operate as an independent hotelier."

The Lindsay Boulevard hotel opened in June 1996 and the Ammon hotel opened in May 2000. Since then, the local environment has become increasingly competitive, especially since the openings of the Fairfield Inn and the Hilton Garden Inn.

The conversions have been in the works for two years, and are part of a company-wide rebranding. The Ameritel in Twin Falls recently became a La Quinta Inn and the hotel at the Boise Spectrum will be a Hampton Inn & Suites by May. By this summer, the only AmeriTels left will be in Pocatello, Coeur d'Alene and Boise.

La Quinta and Hampton Inn are both owned by the Blackstone Group, but operate independently.

Given the Hampton Inn already on Channing Way, the Ammon AmeriTel couldn't be rebranded a Hampton Inn. There are a lot of considerations that go into rebranding and remodeling a hotel, Everett said. The other main thing is whether a franchise can be fit into an existing property.

To convert the Lindsay Boulevard hotel into a Hampton Inn & Suites, which they would have liked, it would require a two-story lobby and tearing out rooms to generate more suites. Nevertheless, the look and feel of the Hampton Inn on Lindsay Boulevard is going to be completely different from the AmeriTel, Everett said.