Springfield, MO

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Budgetel changes name to Baymont

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by Melissa Wilson

SBJ Staff

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 11 a.m. Oct. 19 at the newly named Baymont Inn and Suites, 3776 S. Glenstone Ave. Formerly the Budgetel Inn, the hotel is not under new ownership but was renamed by its parent company, the Marcus Corporation, to better appeal to its broad group of business and leisure guests.

From a marketing standpoint, the name Budgetel is rich in meaning, said Marcus Corporation Chairman and chief executive officer Stephen H. Marcus, in town for the ceremony.

"Basically what it (Budgetel) means is low-priced motel," Marcus said. "The name Baymont lets us send the message that this is not a low-priced or bare-bones lodging facility."

The Marcus Corporation decided to drop the Budgetel name after researching the market to find out what impact it had on the public and if a name change would be appropriate. Marcus said the next step involved selecting from more than 2,500 names to find one that would best convey what the hotel offers to its guests, such as coffee makers in the rooms and various other amenities, including an iron and ironing board, a hair dryer, free USA Today newspapers and breakfast in the hotel lobby.

"The name change opens us up to a much broader audience of people ... we began hearing, especially after we announced the name change, that we were having difficulty selling the hotel to the corporate segment of the population," Marcus said. "Before, there was a reluctance for many companies who didn't know what Budgetel was to send their people to us. Now, with the Baymont name, there won't be that reluctance."

The Springfield Baymont Inn and Suites is owned by James River Inns, with Sam Hamra Jr. and Gordon Elliott as principals.

"We're the first hotel of the 160 nationwide to undergo the name change," Hamra said. "We were also the 150th Budgetel built, which is a distinction we're proud to have."

Marcus credits all the franchisees with being involved in selecting the Baymont name and making the transition to the new name a smooth one.

"This process could not have been done without the franchisees. Even though the company owns two-thirds of the existing properties, I looked particularly to the franchise community because they are all businesspeople thinking about the impact of this (name change) on their investment ... We submitted the 2,500 names to the franchise advisory council, they boiled it down to three names, and then made the final selection from the three," Marcus said.

The Marcus Corporation has its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis. The company operates in 30 states with 152 Budgetel Inns, four Budgetel Inns and Suites and five properties under the new Baymont Inns and Suites.

The Springfield Baymont offers 107 guest rooms, including 12 suites and 10 rooms with hot tubs. A room with two double beds or one king-sized bed is $54.95; a two-room suite is $99.95; and a room with a hot tub is $119.95. Marcus said there is no intention of raising room rates with the name change.

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