In the small regional town of Rainbow, Victoria, a renovated hotel is hoping to cut through with a new name and a new operator.

The Royal Hotel is dead, long live the King Charles. So says Graham Francis, one of the owners of the hotel, who told Australian Hotelier that the change of name was a result of some prescient planning.  

“We’ve had the hotel for over 15 months or so, and in that time, one of the directors had registered the name, King Charles III Hotel – way before it was ‘due to be used’,” Francis explains.

The hotel has strong regal connections – it retains symbols of crowns and kings on its windows from its previous iteration as the Royal Hotel, and is found on the intersection of Rainbow’s Federal and King Street.

This registration of the pub’s name is of utmost importance – it means that no other group or operator will be able to establish a pub under the name, ‘King Charles III Hotel’.

The new name is part of a total revamp for the pub, which, as Francis outlines, was in a state of disrepair when purchased.

“The place was pretty dilapidated when we took it over,” Francis says.

“And we’re probably about halfway from being operational.”

The pub, which dates back to 1894, has been repainted a vivid blue hue with white accents.

There’s also a clear marketing advantage to being called the King Charles III Hotel – particularly in comparison with the previous name.

“There are 242 Royal Hotels in Australia – it kind of has a null and void scenario,” the owner adds.

“So we’ve tried to put a point of difference out there. We want to make it something that Rainbow, as a town, can appreciate and people can come to and see as a landmark.

“It’s the attraction from outside of Rainbow that we want. As with any marketing, [it brings] the ability go to the outside and tourism and so forth.”

Another key aspect of the new King Charles III Hotel is the addition of an Airbnb space to its upstairs area – with the existing accommodation ripped out and replaced.

As for the pub itself, Francis and his partners are putting out the call for potential leaseholders.

“We’re looking for the right people – not just anyone. We’ve had a few proposals put to us but they just haven’t been the right people,” Francis says.

The lease is available for a buy-fee of $52,000, with weekly rent at $660 (a discount is available for the first year). The lease includes operating equipment, furniture, plants and an operational commercial kitchen. The venue occupies a large plot of approximately 2,450 square metres, and is described as a “typical country bar.”

Finally, the owner illustrated the positive local reaction the new name has had within Rainbow, which is home to roughly 700 people.

“We’re putting a large investment into the town. They’ve all jumped on board and been very supportive,” Francis comments.

“In the local community groups, local Facebook Groups, we had about 204 [in favour] and about six against us changing the name.

“A couple of them didn’t understand it at the start, but they then saw when I tried to explain to them – ‘Hey, if we call it the Royal Hotel, it’s not going to give us any traction outside of Rainbow’ – and for Rainbow to prosper, it needs more stimulus into marketing, and more into tourism,” the owner concludes.

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