PARSIPPANY, NJ—Wyndham Hotel Group has plans to acquire the Minnesota-based AmericInn hotel brand and its management company, Three Rivers Hospitality, from Northcott Hospitality for $170 million.
Wyndham’s discussions with AmericInn began in 2008, with the owners of Northcott Hospitality, the parent company of AmericInn, the Nelson family. At the time, the family wasn’t ready to sell the brand. “We remained very close with the family through its board of trustees and, certainly, through its CEO, Paul Kirwin, who is a good friend and a phenomenal leader in the industry,” Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO, Wyndham Hotel Group, told Hotel Business. Discussions picked back up again in July 2016 and concluded early this morning.
“[AmericInn] is an incredibly consistent, very strong brand when it comes to guest satisfaction and when it comes to quality,” he said. “It has tremendous awareness; it’s been around for 35 years. It’s very well known in the Midwest, and it’s a brand that is just very pure, in terms of its delivery when it comes to its service, its standards and its quality. It’s a brand we think has tremendous legs, and it’s a brand that we think will be a great fit inside the Wyndham Hotel Group.”
AmericInn’s portfolio consists of 200 primarily franchised hotels with approximately 11,600 rooms in 21 states, predominately in the Midwestern U.S., Ohio Valley and Mountain states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and North Dakota. The brand’s U.S. pipeline consists of 23 hotels. Committed to its asset-light strategy, Wyndham Hotel Group will explore options to divest the owned portfolio. “We’re a company that primarily franchises, and of the 200 hotels, only 10 are owned, and we’re exploring options for those 10 right now,” he said in response to a question on when a decision will be made regarding the owned properties.
The deal, subject to regulatory and government approval and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, will bolster Wyndham Hotel Group’s existing collection of more than 1,500 midscale hotels while also significantly increasing its footprint in the Midwest. Upon closing, Wyndham’s family of brands will expand to 20 names.
“[The deal] shakes things up in that we now have 200 new midscale hotels in the Midwest that have a great brand awareness and a great brand positioning, [and]that have great quality and a great following with both leisure and business travelers,” he said.
Since the deal hasn’t closed yet, Ballotti couldn’t comment on potential layoffs or Wyndham’s plans for Kirwin. “I look forward to working with WHG and our team to effect a smooth transition through the closing,” Kirwin told Hotel Business. “Once that is complete, I’ll work with our board to determine my future. It’s been an honor and pleasure to lead this brand and I look forward to watching it grow under WHG’s leadership.”
AmericInn is the latest addition to Wyndham Hotel Group’s growing portfolio of brands following last month’s launch of The Trademark Hotel Collection, a new concept for upper-midscale-and-above independent hotels. Late last year, the company acquired Fen Hotels and its Dazzler Hotels and Esplendor Boutique lifestyle brands, significantly expanding its presence and management business in Latin America.
“What’s first and foremost, our vision is to continue to allow AmericInn to grow,” he said. “It’s a very strong brand locally and regionally. We believe that there’s still tremendous opportunity for natural continued growth in the heartland, but we also think that outside of the Midwest, it has opportunity for growth. Secondly, our vision—other than our ability to grow the brand and continue to make it stronger—is to continue to add value for those franchisees.”