By Colleen Isherwood, Editor
LAS VEGAS – LAS VEGAS — “Days Inn by Wyndham, Travelodge by Wyndham, Super 8 by Wyndham, Ramada by Wyndham…” Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, was in his element as he called out the new names of the hotel group's brands to the more than 6,000 people who attended their annual conference last week. Starting April 10, 12 Wyndham Hotel Group brands – including Super 8, Days Inn and Ramada – are adding the “by Wyndham” suffix to their names.
“I'm behind it 150 per cent,” said Marc Staniloff, Canada's largest developer and franchisor of Wyndham brands including Super 8, Travelodge and Microtel.
“We already saw what happened with Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham. [Adding the suffix] provided 10 or 11 per cent higher revenue,” he told Canadian Lodging News at the Wyndham Hotel Group Global Conference in Las Vegas. “The association with the brand rewards program will be a huge win. I'm just ecstatic.”
“It's a no-brainer,” added Irwin Prince of Realstar Hospitality, which has master franchise rights to Days Inn in Canada.
Brands adding the “by Wyndham” hallmark are Super 8, Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, AmericInn, Baymont, Ramada, Ramada Encore, Dolce, Dazzler, Esplendor, and Trademark – representing 7,074 properties across the globe.
“By Wyndham” research shows that guests are more likely to stay, more likely to book direct, believe brand quality will improve and feel a better connection to Wyndham.
“We are not asking owners to change the pole or monument, just the piece of plastic or glass,” said Wyndham president and CEO Geoff Ballotti, adding that the request for “by Wyndham” came from owners, and that the company talked to more than 5,000 consumers before making the decision. The updates will progress around the world with an expected completion date of December 2022.
The “by Wyndham” cross-branding initiative represents a further evolution of the company and its brand portfolio leading up to its spin-off as a pure-play hotel franchising and hotel management company (Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc.), which is scheduled to occur later this quarter.
Wyndham’s Wingate, Microtel, Hawthorn Suites and TRYP brands already incorporate “by Wyndham”, and all 20 of the company’s hotel brands participate in the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program. That program, with its highly-recognizable Wyzard, has more than 55 million members worldwide — with five million added in the past year.
Wyndham adds five brands; spins off Knights Inns
Over the past few months, Wyndham has added four new brands: AmericInn, La Quinta, Dazzler and Esplendor, and has launched The Trademark Hotel Collection, a soft brand for upper-midscale-and-above hoteliers. AmericInn will add 202 hotels to the Wyndham Hotel Group; La Quinta will add 900. Dazzler and Esplendor are smaller brands based mainly in Latin America, with one Dazzler in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Of the four, La Quinta is the brand that is most likely to grow in Canada. So far there are three of them: Vancouver Airport, Oshawa and Niagara Falls. At least one major developer has expressed interest in a master franchise for Canada, according to Ballotti. And Raj Trivedi, La Quinta's longtime EVP and chief development officer, asked by CLN how the deal would affect Canada, said, “It is great news for Canada. Our growth will accelerate. I am very optimistic.”
Wyndham has also sold the Knights Inn brand, which has 362 properties, to RLHC in a $27 million cash deal expected to close in the second quarter of this year.
Ballotti described Knight's Inn as a deep discount brand, adding that RLHC was looking to grow. “I think the world of Greg Mount's leadership,” Ballotti told a media group at last week's Wyndham Hotel Conference in Las Vegas, referring to the company's president and CEO. “Knights Inn is in great shape with RLHC — the brand fits in their world and they will continue to grow the brand strategically and in a way that makes sense.”
Asked if Wyndham was going to acquire more brands, Ballotti said, “It's rare that deals come up like AmericInn — it's hard for them to compete in terms of distribution, connectivity, etc. It's also rare to find a brand so consistently pure in quality.” Eighty-eight per cent of AmericInns have a score of 4 stars or above on TripAdvisor.
Lisa Checcio, SVP Global Brands added that they would look at future acquisitions, “but not just for the sake of adding brands. They have to be complimentary for our portfolio, like La Quinta. As for acquiring or launching brands, we would do that in a strategic way that serves our guests and owners.”