HB ON THE SCENE: Wyndham celebrates global growth, new prototypes

LAS VEGAS—Wyndham Hotels & Resorts celebrated its growth and introduced new prototypes for some of its brands at its 2019 Global Conference here at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

“We have been on a growth trajectory unlike any others of late,” said Geoff Ballotti, president/CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “Our growth trajectory has been very consistent at between 2% and 4% on a net rooms growth basis, which is about the same in terms of what we have been growing on average—3% a year from a hotels standpoint. Our growth is accelerating, and it has been picking up internationally… It has been growing far more internationally than it has been domestically.”

Five Wyndham brands have opened in new markets this year, including Days Inn by Wyndham in New Zealand; Microtel by Wyndham in China; Ramada by Wyndham in Armenia; Wyndham in Malaysia; and Wyndham Garden in Argentina, Australia and the Philippines. The company also revealed that it has signed agreements to introduce Dolce Hotels and Resorts by Wyndham in Denmark and Vietnam this year, and La Quinta by Wyndham in the Dominican Republic in 2021.

Leo Liu, president/managing director, Greater China, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, reported that the company has seen great success in his region. Wyndham is the largest international franchisor in Greater China, according to the company. “Five years ago, when I joined the Wyndham China team, we had 700 hotels,” he said. “Today, we have 1,500 hotels. Over the next three years, we will be opening another 500 hotels, taking us to more than 2,000 hotels. It is not about growth. Something that is giving us a lot of confidence is that we have such a large portfolio covering all segments. We are the first and only one not only fighting for the big cities and second-tier cities in key locations, but we are ready to go with our brands everywhere in China where there’s a need.”

Wyndham’s fastest growing region is Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim (SEAPR), with plans to open three new hotels in Thailand later this year. The company added three Ramada hotels in South Korea this year, surpassing 40 hotels in the country. Part of that growth, according to Joon Aun Ooi, president/managing director, SEAPR, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, is due to the increase in travelers from China. “There are huge numbers coming from there, growing affluence,” Ooi said. We are right next to China, so we benefit the most—and these Chinese travelers spend a lot. There was a report two years ago that said that they are No. 1 in terms of spending, and the next three added together is less than them.”

New prototypes introduced
Wyndham also took the opportunity of the conference to introduce several new prototypes for a few of its brands.

Among the new prototypes is Dawn for Days Inn by Wyndham, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020. “This is the dawn of a new Days Inn; this is the beginning, right now,” said Patrick Breen, SVP/brand leader, Days Inn by Wyndham. “So many hotel rooms are dark—dark wood, dark carpeting—perhaps to give them an elegant look, but we are Days Inn; we are powered by the sun. If we were a season, we would be summertime. We wanted our rooms to reflect that. Given that, the new design is adopting light colors with accents of yellow.”

The design will be introduced in three phases, with the first introduced at the end of next year. “The first phase is a three-panel, local photographic imagery, full-color, and a white bed topping,” he said. “You would think that a white bed topping is relatively simple, but it is not for Days Inn. It is a new idea. We wanted fresh, bright and white, and that sends a really powerful message to our customers.”

The second phase will see bigger differences, especially in the flooring, according to Breen. “Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is a very popular flooring right now,” he said. “Some folks don’t always think that, but we are going to show them the right way to do it. Carpet tends to be dark to hide the dirt. With LVT flooring, you can go light and bright.”

The last phase of the design introduction includes casegoods. “The goal for Days Inn is to get from where we are now to diversity of color, design and fabric to consistency, which is what Cecil B. Day had in mind all those years ago,” he said.

The company also revealed a new interior and exterior prototype called Arbor for its Wyndham Garden brand with a streamlined, modern aesthetic inspired by nature that is designed to reduce cost-per-key to build.

The conference also saw the introduction of a new prototype combining its extended-stay Hawthorn Suites brand with La Quinta, which is designed to streamline development and operational costs, while appealing to multiple types of travelers. The prototype used the newly refreshed room of La Quinta’s Del Sol prototype, which continues to draw developers, with seven new-construction agreements signed in the second quarter.

The company also debuted a refreshed interior design for AmericInn, inspired by the modern lodge look, updating the brand’s contemporary exterior prototype. HB

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