04/22/2013 | by
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MHI Hospitality Corp. (formerly NASDAQ: MDH) has officially rebranded, announcing April 22 that it had changed its name to SoTHERLY Hotels Inc. (NASDAQ: SOHO). 

The Virginia-based hotel REIT has held the MHI name since the 1950s. However, a name change has been in the works for several years, according to company executives, who said that the name MHI offered little value today in terms of accurately representing the company.

“It’s a bittersweet day. My dad founded the company in 1957, so I’ve spent a lifetime with MHI,” said Drew Sims, CEO of SoTHERLY Hotels. “We were looking for a name that more clearly defined what we’re going to be about and where we are going in the future. “Even though MHI has been around for 56 years, it doesn’t tell the story of what we’ve accomplished and what we’re trying to do.”

Since the company’s initial public offering in 2004, Sims said it has accumulated a portfolio of unique, upper upscale and upscale hotels assets primarily located in premier destination markets throughout the southern portion of the United States. Sims noted that the new name symbolizes the current and future footprint of its portfolio.

SoTHERLY Hotels Inc. has a long-term goal of building a larger portfolio throughout the South, according to Sims. He said the company plans to expand its footprint to select markets that fit its growth strategy, including Atlanta; Houston; Nashville, Tenn.; and Charleston, S.C. 

“The type of markets we’re going to be looking for in the South is going to be representative of the major drivers of travel in the South. The location has also got to be in a central business district and in a nice walking location,” he said. 

He added that as the population continues to migrate towards warmer climates, lower taxes and expanding business hubs, the long-term growth prospects in the South are appealing. 

Sims said that the name change comes at a time when the company’s portfolio is performing strongly. The company’s revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2012 increased to $78.65, up 7.8 percent from 2011 as a result of a 4.1 percent increase in occupancy and a 3.6 percent increase in the average daily rate.

In conjunction with the name change, the company also launched its new website, www. SOTHERLYHOTELS.com.