SPOKANE, WA-After nearly a year of market research and analysis, WestCoast Hospitality Corp. has decided to expand Red Lion by converting more than 20 WestCoast hotels.

Qualifying hotels contain a total of more than 4,500 rooms and roughly 240,000 sf of meeting space. The conversions are expected to be completed by February 2003, increasing the number of Red Lion hotels to more than 65 and further positioning the brand for national and international growth.

WestCoast maintains the brand has a strong reputation in the western states, and under the moniker of WestCoast Signature Hotels the brand will continue and grow, while serving its customer base with the full array of support systems that will be enjoyed by the expanded RedLion brand. However, some of the marketing focus of the WestCoast SignatureHotels will change to highlight the unique Signature product.

“In the next three to five years we expect to focus a significant amount of our growth in the Midwest and Eastern U.S.,” says Don Barbieri, chairman, president and CEO of WestCoast Hospitality Corp. “During our market research process it was determined that on a broader geographic scale the Red Lion brand is a better known name, especially as you move furtherEast.

Red Lion facilities now average 160 rooms and just over 6,000 sf of meeting space, while the hotels being converted average more than 200 rooms and almost 11,000 sf of meeting space.

The Red Lion brand was founded in the 1960′s and focusedon three- to four- star hotels. The brand reached a peak of 59 hotels before beingacquired in November 1996 by Doubletree for $1.2 billion. The number ofhotels in the brand decreased during the ensuing four years, as Promus HotelCorp. subsequently acquired it, then Hilton Hotels Corp. Duringthis time, many of the hotels were converted to the Doubletree brand.

RedLion began to re-emerge and flourish under Hilton ownership before beingacquired in December 2001 by WestCoast.

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