Hotel drops franchise, still guarantees consistent service
September 16, 2010
The one-year-old hotel on the corner of Main Street and Cascade has changed its name from The Best Western to The Riverview Hotel and Suites. The hotel officially decided to drop the franchise name July 1 this past summer.
“It costs a lot of money to keep the Best Western franchise name,” said Dustin Hanson, the general manager at The Riverview Hotel.“Because we were paying more than we were making just to be a Best Western, we had to make the change.”
According to Hanson, it had cost the hotel about $60,000 more to keep the Best Western name. The summer months had hurt the hotel the most because, according to Hanson, more than 50 percent of the hotel’s occupancy has been from UW - River Falls events.
“Even though we were completely full for Farm Technology Days the restaurant didn’t get as much response as anticipated,” Hanson said.
The hotel made most of its money from sporting events to housing students last year, . The Riverview Hotel and Suites expects to be completely full for the weekend of the rodeo, Sept. 16-19.
“Customers don’t really see much of a difference in the hotel and the customer service other than the name change,” former Riverview Hotel and Suites employee,Tannae Maki, who worked at the hotel during the transition from a Best Western to a Riverview Hotel and Suites said it was a smooth transition.
“The hotel has been trying its best to keep it’s standards while saving money. It was a pretty smooth transition,” she said.
The Riverview Hotel isn’t the only hotel in River Falls to change its name. The Country Inn located behind the McDonald’s in River Falls became The Crossings Inn and Suites on June 1, 2009, a more familiar franchise based out of Saint Paul.
“The occupancy has gone down with the bad economy, but that’s not the reason we switched the franchise names,” said Manager of The Crossings Inn and Suites, Stephanie Johnson.“The new franchise name gives us an opportunity to be more localized.”
The new franchise allows the Crossings hotel to be more involved in the community of River Falls.
“Our occupancy consists of weddings, town events, youth sports and university events,” says Johnson.“We also have been sponsoring the hockey team.”
The Riverview Hotel and Suites expects the same amount of occupancy despite of the loss of the franchise name.
“There has been no drop in customers, but it’s still too early to tell,” Hanson said.
The Riverview hotel replaced also had to change the mugs, napkins and soap as well. “Our main goal is still the same and that’s taking care of our guests,” Hanson said.
According to Hanson, there won’t be much of a change to the hotel.
“The hotel and bar will still be involved with the River Falls community and the university,” says Hanson, “Juniors will still have open mic and the specials every week, and the hotel will be providing the same level of customer service.”