It's been so long ago now--I imagine about a year by now--that I plugged Signature Inn into a search engine and found a listing for a Signature Inn in Kinder, Louisiana. Further investigation revealed that it once used to be an America's Best Value Inn & Suites. I was surprised to see the Signature Inn name come back, but I didn't find any other information on its return. Me being curious, I did some TripAdvisor reading on the motel, and let me just say that if THAT was the future of Signature Inn, well, what a slap in the face. As I have no personal experience with the place, that's all I'm going to say about that one. More recent research on the place indicates that the SI name has since been removed.
Within the last few months, I found some additional Signature Inn goodness when I was searching for images...
Hotel News Now, 4/13/2015: Vantage focuses on brand, member opportunities
This article states that Vantage Hospitality group acquired six brands from America's Best Franchising in 2014. As you may remember, ABF acquired Jameson Inns and the Signature Inn name (SI remained dormant since then) back in 2012. In any case, Signature Inn was one of the six brands that were acquired.
Hotel News Now, 4/8/2016: Vantage's Signature revival puts new twist on old brand
One of the first articles I've been able to find about Signature Inn's return; this one rolls out designs for exterior-corridor hotels, which is a stark contrast to what Signature Inn started out from. The brand will be available for both new construction and conversions. Also in this article, a new logo was introduced as an option, though from reading it, it still appears that the old logo will stick around.
|new logo, courtesy of Hotel News Now site|
Asian Hospitality, 8/16/2016: Signature Moment
According to the article, Signature Inn was relaunched in December 2016 as "an affordable boutique hotel in the economy segment." Sound familiar? Back in Signature's early days, the brand was designed to be a "first-class environment within a moderately priced segment" (Signature Inn website, 1998). So it's nice to see the brand returning, and returning to its roots. The article also states there are seven hotels waiting to be converted into Signature Inns.
Hotel News Now, 9/15/2016: Vantage's model won't change when Red Lion bid closes
Hotel News Now, 12/7/2016: Red Lion Execs: Vantage brands could vanish, change
The above two articles have less to do with Signature Inn and more to do with their new parent company. The latter part of 2016 sees the disappearance of the Vantage name, as that company was acquired by Red Lion. The second article brings the Signature Inn name into play only slightly more, as Red Lion decides what to do with the now-13 brands that are under its umbrella.
Hotel News Now, 12/8/2016: Red Lion execs see promise in Settle Inn, Signature Inn
Signature Inn takes lifestyle role
Signature Inn was another brand that came as part of an acquisition—in this case, Vantage’s 2014 acquisition of America’s Best Franchising’s core brands. Earlier this year, Roger Bloss, former president and CEO of Vantage and now president of global development for RLHC, detailed plans for a Signature Inn relaunch, positioning it as a design-forward, cost-effective, boutique-style option for conversions and new builds alike.
The company signed about a dozen Signature Inns before the RLHC acquisition. Now, Bloss said, the timing couldn’t be better to focus the brand as an “affordable boutique” opportunity that fits in well with RLHC’s Hotel RL, which launched in 2014 as an upscale, full-service lifestyle brand. The brand now has six properties open across the U.S.
Signature Inn currently is in the process of being tweaked to align it with RLHC, Mount said, and it will become “a play to go out and reposition existing real estate that’s in a good market and underbranded.”
“We want to make this an affordable boutique option, and it’ll resonate really well,” Bloss said. “When that guest wants to trade up, Hotel RL is there. When they trade down, Signature is there.”
Bloss and Mount both said great markets are key to Signature Inn’s success.
“We want to keep that flair there,” Bloss said, citing cities like Hollywood, California; Las Vegas; and South Beach, Miami, as great sites for the brand.
Mount said brand standards for Signature will be key.
“It’s not just about putting a sign up, or having great technology,” he said. “The physical plant has to mirror what guests in the independent, boutique market really want to see.”What once started out as a business-focused hotel with a secondary focus on leisure travel has re-emerged as a hotel focused on the leisure traveler. It'll be interesting to see where this brand ends up in the coming years. A look at Vantage's website, which may very well be on its last legs due to the merger, shows that there are three hotels under the Signature Inn name as of January 2017 - Fort Bragg, CA; Abilene, TX; and Superior, WI. I've done no research or reading up on these as of right now, but I may get into that later. A quick look at the three shows that they look like really nice places. I'm interested in seeing where this goes!