By Colleen Isherwood
LAS VEGAS — Wyndham Hotel Group continued to expand steadily in established markets including Canada and the U.S., but posted exponential figures for its pipeline in newer markets, including 500 new hotels in China over the next three years.
A record 7,000 people attended the 2019 Wyndham Global Conference held at Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas Sept. 23 to 26. “We had to cut registration off at 6,300 people,” Wyndham president and CEO Geoff Ballotti told Canadian delegates at the Superior Lodging session Sept. 24. The balance of attendees included Wyndham staff.
Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney provided the keynote address, and television celebrity host Ben Mulroney was on hand to interview his dad. While older delegates might remember the friendship between Mulroney with former U.S. president Ronald Reagan, more recently his is known for his eulogies at the funerals of Reagan and former U.S. president George H.W. Bush. Mulroney received a standing ovation, following an interview in which he talked about his friendships with former British PM Margaret Thatcher and South African icon Nelson Mandela.
Canadian sessions for Days Inns and Superior Lodging (Travelodge, Microtel and Super 8) were engaging and well-attended.
The conference included multiple brand sessions, a bustling trade show floor and many educational opportunities. Below are the top highlights.
— With its 50th anniversary approaching in 2020, Days Inn unveiled Dawn – a new interior design package for its 1,400 hotels in the U.S. The design had some Canadian input. Read more.
— Wyndham Garden unveiled plans for a new interior and exterior prototype called Arbor, which offers a streamlined look inspired by nature designed to reduce cost-per-key to build.
— Five Wyndham brands have opened in new markets this year: Days Inn in New Zealand; Microtel in China; Ramada in Armenia; Wyndham in Malaysia; and Wyndham Garden in Argentina, Australia and the Philippines.
— Trademark continues its rapid growth, adding six new hotels in Canada and its first hotel in LATAMC, in Belize.
— Wyndham is the largest international franchisor in Greater China and plan to open approximately 500 hotels in China over the next three years, bringing the projected total in the country to more than 2,000 hotels by the end of 2022.
— Wyndham is addressing the challenge of giving guests really stellar Wi-Fi by offering franchisees a new bundle of wireless and network services that feature high-quality hardware and equipment at one of the lowest costs in the industry.
— The company is launching a new mobile app in the spring of 2020 to offer streamlined bookings, account management, gamification, and exciting on-property features enabling guests to make the most of their stays.
In addition to these announcements, Ballotti presented two new awards, The Wyndham Humanitarian Award and The Wyndham Developer Award, recognize franchisees who show leadership in each area by making a difference in their local community through hospitality. They complement Wyndham’s existing collection of brand awards honouring its owners for strong performance and outstanding hospitality.