Wyndham Legend Halong Swimming pool

Wyndham Hotel Group (WHG), the world’s largest hotel company based on number of hotels, has unveiled its vision for the democratization of travel, which is says is about “bringing the hospitality industry one step closer to providing great value and quality experiences at every price point”.

Launching the plan this week (Jun 8) at the 38th Annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York, Wyndham Hotel Group Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Ballotti, said WHG’s roadmap for the strategic transformation of its 16 brands is aimed at elevating the travel experience for millennials and the diverse global middle class.

He said the product of an 18-month study focused on 50 recognized hotel brands along with the primary decision drivers of thousands of business and leisure travellers around the world, WHG’s global transformation will reposition and revitalize its16 economy, midscale and upscale brands to meet the needs of travellers regardless of their budget or traveling style.

From rejuvenated interiors and refreshed marketing campaigns to enhanced perks targeted to the kinds of travelers each brand welcomes, Ballotti said guests will begin to see changes throughout WHG as early as summer 2016.

“We’re transforming at a time when the USD$7.2 trillion global travel and tourism industry is growing faster than the global economy, fuelled largely by millennials and an increasingly travel-curious middle class,” he said.

“With Wyndham Hotel Group’s unmatched scale and the breadth of our portfolio, no one is better positioned to meet this demand and champion the everyday traveler.”

Wyndham Hotel sign

He said WHG’s transformation is unlocking the untapped opportunity to serve the everyday traveler, whose needs and preferences are often more nuanced than the existing ‘economy’ options available to them. Travel and tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries globally, with its contributions to the global GDP expected to rise from $7.2 trillion to $11 trillion over the next decade as the global middle class more than doubles from 2 billion to 4.9 billion. With its powerhouse portfolio of nearly 8,000 hotels worldwide in the economy, midscale and upscale segments, WHG is well-poised to meet these demographic tailwinds and lead the hospitality industry in empowering guests to have great experiences at a great value.

“We believe travel is about creating lasting memories, but given what’s currently available in the market, travelers are forced to compromise enriching experiences because of price,” said Josh Lesnick, WHG’s chief marketing officer.

“It’s time for the hospitality industry to get democratization right – it’s not just about value for money, it’s about the freedom to explore your world the way you want. Wyndham Hotel Group’s transformation enables that freedom.”

To uncover what matters most to the everyday traveler, WHG partnered with Siegel+Gale, a highly recognized brand strategy and experience firm, to understand guests’ preferences and priorities and design brand experiences tailored to elevate midscale and economy hotel stays by delivering both the wonders of travel and great value. The research yielded key insights into traveler expectations that informed WHG’s transformation, including a more nuanced “one size does not fit all” approach to economy hospitality and an emphasis on a great experience over status. These insights created the foundation for new brand promises for owners and guests built on differentiated values and guiding principles to drive more memorable experiences for travelers.

“We’re unlocking the potential of our iconic brands,” said Ballotti. “It’s time.”

Wyndham Melbourne Rooftop Pool

Building on the momentum of its revamped loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards, WHG clearly defined each brand creating meaningful identities to meet the needs of every kind of traveler, bringing to life a brand personality as unique as that of its guests: from re-energizing American classics such as Super 8 (new brand promise: ‘An American Road Original’) to enriching guest expectations at Travelodge (new brand promise: ‘Your Basecamp for Adventure’) to award-winning Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham (new brand promise: ‘Brilliantly Efficient’). Guests can look forward to changes that capture these brand experiences, from redesigned interiors to distinctive touches that differentiate each welcome, from websites to the moment they enter their rooms.

“Not all economy and midscale hotels are alike, just like no two travelers are alike,” said Lesnick. “We’ve taken our 16 brands and redefined them to stand for something that matters to the kinds of guests we welcome so there’s something for every kind of traveler, regardless of their budget.

“To Wyndham Hotel Group, hotel rooms aren’t just boxes, they’re the gateway to lasting memories.”

WHG said it is also investing in:
· Upgrading backend technology: WHG is the first hotel company of its scale to roll-out a secure, cloud-based property management system with automated revenue management capabilities to the majority of its portfolio. More than 300 hotels are converting to this best-in-class system each month; hotels that have adopted it have seen a an increase in RevPAR.
· Saying goodbye to the subpar and ushering in the new: WHG has never been more focused on improving the quality of its portfolio, having increased the number of substandard quality properties removed by 300% over the past two years while adding more than 650 new-construction hotels to its pipeline, including hotels under its LEED-certifiable Days Inn and Super 8 prototypes along with its award-winning Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham and Wingate by Wyndham brands.
· New perks and partnerships: WHG’s award-winning loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards, has seen 5MM new members since the roll out of the industry’s only simplified, single-tier redemption, and has just added an “elite” program for the masses that offers discounts on local experiences for no additional points at its top destinations around the world. WHG is also stepping up partnerships with apps, services and even chefs to upgrade guest experience and increase satisfaction without compromising price or quality, such as cold brew parlors at select Wyndham Grand properties, or discounted admission to participating Six Flags theme parks.

Ballotti said: “This transformation is just the beginning of our journey to not only solidify our position as one of the most formidable players in hospitality, but to champion the everyday traveler and the experiences they deserve.”

For an exclusive interview with Ballotti, click here.

HM flew to New York with United Airlines, which flies three times daily from Australia (Melbourne and Sydney) to Los Angeles and onwards to New York City. HM recommends flying in Business Class, which features flatbed seats, inflight WiFi, premium Australian and American wines, hundreds of hours of entertainment on demand and excellent service. Visit www.united.com.au


James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management