Hotel Business Magazine, hotelbusiness.com | The Newspaper For Lodging Decision Makers

HB ON THE SCENE: Wyndham Debuts HoJo Brand Reinvigoration

Tuesday September 10th, 2013 - 3:51PM


Howard Johnson Lobby Rendering

LAS VEGAS—At its 2013 Global Conference being held here, Wyndham Hotel Group debuted early details and designs around its reinvigoration project for the Howard Johnson brand.

The multi-year undertaking is focused on elevating the overall guest experience by revitalizing all aspects of the brand.

The project is backed by significant investment in consumer research, representing the start of the next major chapter in the brand’s nearly 60-year lodging history, according to the company.

“Howard Johnson is a brand that, for millions of travelers, conjures fond memories of ice-cream cones and family vacations,” said Eric Danziger, president/CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group. “It’s a name that carries with it incredible equity. Reinvigoration is about growing the brand and restoring it to its rightful place within the industry by inspiring that same type of brand loyalty and affinity from a new generation of consumers.”

As part of the unveiling, the brand shared conceptual interior and exterior designs that will begin appearing at yet-to-be-announced test locations throughout the United States as early as the end of next year. The designs showcase a new Howard Johnson that, while modern in look and feel, offer a playful nod to its history. As an example, the brand is looking at ways to bring select flavors of ice cream back as a signature offering at all of its hotels.

Also unveiled were early details around a new service-training initiative that will launch as part of the larger project, an effort the brand believes will play an integral role shaping the overall guest experience at hotels.

“The goal is to create a consistent, outstanding product that exceeds guest expectations at all levels. To get there, great design is only one half of the equation, you need great service too,” said Danziger.

Once tested and refined, the brand expects U.S. franchisees to have the opportunity to join the new Howard Johnson as early as 2015, provided a property has completed the necessary improvements, which are expected to vary from property to property. A new construction prototype also is expected to be available in the coming years.