Montana convention center hotel signs on with Red Lion

(Billings Red Lion)

The Billings Hotel and Convention Center in Billings, Mont., is now a member of the Red Lion hotel brand.  

The hotel's name has changed to the Red Lion Hotel and Convention Center in Billings, Mont., effective immediately. However, the full transition to the Red Lion brand is expected to be completed mid-September. The property retained the same owner, Billings businessman Jeff Muri, who purchased the property in 1999. 

The 230-room hotel is the seventh Red Lion property in Montana, and is so far the farthest property east in the state. RLHC (Red Lion Hotels Corporation) is based in Seattle, and traditionally keeps its hotels located in the Western half of the U.S., though it has recently branched out into buying and opening hotels on the east coast in destinations such as New York. 

Rob Spence, GM of the Montana hotel, said in a statement that the transition to the Red Lion brand was a part of the property's plan to better compete nationally for the meetings and events business. The property is 44 years old, and is in the midst of guestroom updates that will add 55-inch TVs and gourmet coffee in each room, as well as other new amenities. 

“We’re known within the state, but by coming to Red Lion, they’re nationwide,” Spence said in a statement. 

The hotel's attached 26,000-square-foot convention center is also getting an upgrade, including new walls to divide rooms and a new $65,000 audio-visual system. 

In addition, Red Lion said in a statement that its acquisition in Billings is part of a strategy to brand 100 hotels in 100 weeks. 

"The property's unique offerings and location align with our growing portfolio while catering to a larger meetings and conventions audience," Brian Quinn, Red Lion’s chief franchise officer, said in a written statement.