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Econo Lodge to change name

By Staff | Sep 28, 2009

Rugby’s only franchise motel – Econo Lodge -will be end its affiliation with the Choice Hotels corporation later this month, and become an independent motel to be called Northern Lights Inn.

Sandy Munyer, motel manager, said the new name will become effective Oct. 19, and soon a new sign and logo will be erected.

For more than two decades the motel has been part of the Choice Hotels chain, but owner Schil Patel, of Chicago, decided to discontinue that arrangement.

“This decision has been talked about (by Patel) for the past five years,’ Munyer said.

There is no doubt the Econo Lodge name is familiar with travelers, but a survey revealed that only six percent of the motel guests chose to stay there simply because it was one of Choice Hotels chains, which rewards its frequent guests with discounts and occasional free nights lodgings. That figure didn’t cover the annual franchise fees.

Munyer said the vast majority of guests chose to stay there for other reasons. “The fact we are in a remote area (and with few other motels around) it’s not as critical to be tied to a large chain.”

In the future it’s possible the motel will establish perks to its frequent guests similar to the current arrangement.

Since the end of April, the motel has been full virtually every night, Munyer said, and for the better part of the year have run at a 97 percent occupancy rate. That is a higher rate than those motels in Minot.

Rugby’s location between Devils Lake and Minot is a benefit as the motel gets its share of bookings from travelers who are attending events in those towns. An example of that is with the Norsk Hostfet which took place last week in Minot.

The construction work going on in the community and area this summer helped to fill the motel along with weddings and reunions. And this fall waterfowl hunting will bring guests from out-of-state to the motel.

Munyer said i design is working on the new logo and it should be ready in time for the name change.

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