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Ramada Inn Governor House in Olympia, Washington Severs Ramada
 Affiliation; The 119 room Hotel Will Operate Independently
 as the Governor House

By Jim Szymanski, The Olympian, Olympia, Wash.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

May 26, 2006 - OLYMPIA -- Downtown's Ramada Inn Governor House will end its relationship with the national Ramada hotel chain this summer.

The move means the 119-room hotel, at 621 Capitol Way S., will independently market itself, change its name and offer customers a new Web site to make reservations, general manager Sandra Miller said Thursday. She expects the changes to take effect July 5.

At that time, the hotel will take The Governor House as its new name, Miller said. Reservations will be available through a new Web site, olywagov.com, which is not up and running.

The hotel's percentage of business routed through Ramada reservations fell from 25 percent to 12 percent the past three years, Miller said.

"It made more sense for us to operate as an independent," she said.

Travelers are becoming more inclined to book reservations on their own through an increasing number of Web sites, Miller said. Further, she said, Ramada required its hotel clients to market their properties according to a universal Internet format, which Miller said reduced her marketing flexibility.

Customer surveys also showed that the hotel is a regional draw, not a national destination, Miller said.

Ramada and the hotel negotiated an end to a marketing contract that had nine years remaining, Miller said.

Ramada spokeswoman Stacey Kennedy declined to comment except to say that the separation was mutual.

The lodging industry increasingly is exhibiting "new twists," including moves such as the one Miller announced, said Jan Simon, president and chief executive of the Washington State Hotel & Lodging Association. Other trends include hotels adding stores and condominiums, Simon said.

She applauded the Governor House move.

"This is a small business really stepping out and claiming its own personality," she said. "This is just one more of the industry's new twists."

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Copyright (c) 2006, The Olympian, Olympia, Wash.

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