Geoff Ballotti, Wyndham

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts has celebrated five years as a publicly traded, pure-play hotel company, this week (Jun 5), with the anniversary creating a significant buzz at the 45th Annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York.

The world’s largest hotel franchising company, with approximately 9,100 hotels spanning more than 95 countries, has a mission of making hotel travel possible for all with a strong owner-first approach to franchising, according to Wyndham Hotels and Resorts’ President and CEO, Geoff Ballotti.

He said the anniversary marks a major milestone for the Company as it strengthens its position as a select service leader and champion of the everyday traveller.

“The last five years have been monumental as we’ve welcomed, launched and integrated five entirely new brands, bringing our portfolio to 24 globally,” he said.

“We’ve also expanded into over 55 new countries while debuting our brands more than 100 times in countries where they’ve never been before, all while nurturing a record development pipeline of over 1,800 hotels, which continues to see positive growth. T

“Through it all, we’ve proven ourselves as a Company dedicated to the long-term success of our franchisees, team members and shareholders, the latter of whom have seen over $1.5 billion returned to them in the form of dividends and share repurchases. 

“As proud as we are of all we have accomplished, we’re even more excited about our future, which has never looked brighter,” he said.

Since going public in 2018, Ballotti said Wyndham has been laser-focused on strengthening and expanding its select service portfolio (economy and midscale), creating new travel experiences and opportunities for owners and guests alike. 

“Today, with 24 brands spanning every chain scale, the Company offers a hotel for every owner and guest,” he said.

In the last five years, the company has grown its midscale and above portfolio by 63% globally while expanding La Quinta by Wyndham, the largest acquisition in the company’s history, into three new continents and four new countries (China, New Zealand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates).

Wyndham has launched new brands in new segments—ECHO Suites Extended Stay by Wyndham (extended-stay), Wyndham Alltra (all-inclusive) and Registry Collection Hotels (luxury).

The company has also expanded its global pipeline by over 50% to 226,000 rooms—80% of which is now new construction—while increasing its U.S. pipeline nearly 60% and its direct franchising pipeline in China by nearly 70%.

Wyndham has also Simplified its business to nearly 100% franchised, selling the Company’s two owned hotels while substantially exiting the U.S. hotel management business.

Wyndham Garden Suites Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

The company has also bolstered its presence in Europe with the acquisition of the Vienna House brand from Berlin-based HR Group, a longstanding Wyndham franchisee, adding over 40 new hotels and more than 6,400 rooms.

“When owners succeed, Wyndham succeeds,” Ballotti said. “It’s why the company looks at every major decision first through the lens of its franchisees. 

“The approach has helped make Wyndham one of the industry’s most admired, most known and most trusted franchisors.”

In the last five years, the company has improved contribution to account for over 75% of all U.S. bookings, while nearly doubling the size of Wyndham Rewards to more than 100 million enrolled members.

Nearly half of all U.S. check-ins are from program members who, on average, stay nearly twice as long and spend nearly twice as much.

Wyndham has invested over US$275 million, providing franchisees with best-in-class technology from industry-leaders like Sabre and Oracle (next-gen property management systems), IdeaS (next-gen revenue management system), Salesforce (sales and service platform) and Amperity (customer data platform), among others.

Wyndham Hua Hin Pranburi Resort & Villas pool

The company has also rolled-out an award-winning mobile app – now the Company’s fastest growing booking channel – with booking features tailored to road trippers like Lightning Book and Road Trip Planner, mobile check-in and checkout (first at scale in the economy segment), and in-stay features like digital room keys. 

Wyndham was also the first to make mobile tipping available to franchisees at scale.

Impressively, Wyndham has also increased its franchisee retention rate from 92% to over 95%, making it among the highest in the economy and midscale segments.

Ballotti said since its inception, Wyndham has focused on fostering a more diverse global community while living its core values of Integrity, Accountability, Inclusivity, Caring and Fun. 

Today, the company is not only one of the world’s leading franchisors, but one of the world’s most respected employers, he said.

In the last five years, the company has received dozens of awards celebrating and recognizing its commitment to ethics, sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion. Top awards include: one of Newsweek’s Most Loved Workplaces, one of Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies and one of Diversity Inc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity.

Wyndham has invested in team member work-life balance with regular team member appreciation days, annual philanthropic-focused WISH days, as well as hybrid and flexible work arrangements. 

“The approach has helped the Company to attract and retain top-tier talent while strengthening its position in the industry,” Ballotti said.

The company has launched the first-of-its-kind Women Own the Room program, quickly followed by BOLD by Wyndham, helping advance hotel ownership among women and Black entrepreneurs. 

Wyndham Hotels
Wyndham Garden Christchurch Kilmore Street features 96 keys.

To-date, the award-winning programs have led to more than 50 combined signings and over a dozen openings.

Wyndham has also prioritized greater industry diversity through DEI training related to antiracism, unconscious bias and allyship, while advancing gender equity. 

Ballotti said the company is on track to meet its 2025 goals of 100% gender pay equity globally along with 100% of hotel team members receiving unconscious bias training.

Wyndham has expanded its Affinity Business Groups for team members, which include eight fully inclusive networks led by Executive sponsors developed to foster innovation, drive growth and enhance DEI globally.

Ramada by Wyndham Newmarket Auckland features 93 rooms and apartments.

The company has also reinforced its commitment to helping protect human rights by supporting humanitarian causes and combatting human trafficking. A proud and long-time partner of organizations like Polaris, BEST and ECPAT-USA, the Company requires training for all hotels globally and, earlier this year, donated $500,000 to AHLA Foundation’s Survivor Fund.

Wyndham has also committed to a more sustainable future with Wyndham Green, a program designed to help franchisees reduce their environmental footprints and operate more efficiently through eco-friendly initiatives. All hotels globally are required to attain a minimum of Level 1 Core Wyndham Green Certification.

“None of these achievements would have been possible without the constant support and engagement of our owners and team members which has never been stronger,” Ballotti said.

“We’ll continue to deliver on our mission of Making Hotel Travel Possible for All by providing the very best value in the industry to our owners and guests, offering Count On Me service while living our core values of integrity, accountability, inclusivity, caring and fun.”

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management