GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — Pomeroy Lodging made the news twice in less than one month by unveiling a new brand, Hotello, in Vegreville, Alta. and buying the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis, Alta.
Hotello opened its first location Oct. 1 in Vegreville, Alta. It provides a stylish modern experience for tech-savvy travellers who want to make the most of their budgets.
“We saw a gap in the market in the economy segment,” president Ryan Pomeroy told CLN. “We set out to create something unique that meets the needs of today’s travellers who care more about a good Internet connection and up-to-date technology than lush duvets and large rooms.”
He said they chose Vegreville, 103 km east of Edmonton, because they had land available there and it would complement existing hotels, including their Pomeroy Inn and Suites. Hotello Vegreville has 83 guestrooms, 24-hour laundry and fitness facilities including a pool and hot tub, and over 20 Mbps high-speed Internet. The media hub has USB, Bluetooth and HDMI ports to allow guests to recharge today’s devices, connect with family and friends, communicate with business associates, or enjoy their own music and entertainment. It’s a cool, sleek modern offering with a room rate of $99 to $139 per night.
A few years ago, Pomeroy started looking at expansion in the economy sector. They built a Motel 6, which Ryan Pomeroy describes as “a great product.” They also did some research on brands such as Microtel and Red Roof. “In the end, we found a product that wedges in there nicely,” he said.
Pomeroy Lodging is building a second Hotello in Prince George, B.C., a dual-branded property that will consist of a 120-room Pomeroy Inn and Suites and a 108-room Hotello. Pomeroy Inn and Suites is an upscale extended stay property, similar to Residence Inn. The hotels will be joined by a waterpark, rather than the meeting space that often links dual-branded properties, because the market does not need additional meeting space. This property should open in the first quarter of 2017.
The company had three or four additional sites for Hotellos in mind, but put the brakes on when oil prices dropped.
In mid-September Pomeroy Lodging purchased the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis, and announced a $26-million renovation to transform the property in stages over the next 24 months into a leading four-star conference and destination resort within the region.
Ryan Pomeroy sees the 412-guestroom property as a way to balance its portfolio, which includes many properties in oil and gas markets. When oil goes up, the Canadian dollar goes down, which is good for tourist markets like Kananaskis.
“It’s also a great opportunity to train and develop our talent pool for the rest of the country in a hotel with more complex operations than our 80 to 100-room properties,” he said, adding it will help them grow their leadership team.