Wyndham Hotel Group

Eric Danziger outlines the future of Wyndham Hotel Group

4 Apr, 2012 By: Andrew Sheivachman


Wyndham Hotel Group president and CEO Eric Danziger

LAS VEGAS—It's been a big year for Wyndham Hotel Group, and president and CEO Eric Danziger is excited at the company's global growth prospects. Perhaps the biggest piece of news detailed at the 2012 Wyndham Hotel Group Global Conference at Mandalay Bay was the rebranding of Microtel Inns & Suites to more broadly include its presence in Wyndham's brand portfolio.

"In the case of Microtel, it was the right thing to do," said Danziger. "In all reality, there's never been a brand that didn't start out being all new build; they do change. The last couple years were a little bit slow so we have even created some incentives to help people build Microtels. We'll help ensure the person the ability to get financed and have offered some bank assistance."

Danziger also addressed Wyndham's uncharacteristic ownership of the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek, couching the move in terms of grand strategy. "In terms of Bonnet Creek, I don't think its right to say it's a change for us," said Danziger. "We don't want to be owners of real estate and we won't be. Thats not to say there will not be the occasional product that make sense for us."

Development will remain Wyndham's bread and butter expansion strategy, however, and the company has even begun working with owners and developers to help get new projects off the ground. "We've gone into this year in an aggressive development mode for Wyndham, which may mean we make operational guarantees or loans," said Danziger. "For the right hotel, we're going to find a solution. For Bonnet Creek, it's part mixed-use with 1,000 vacation ownership units. We were happy to complete the deal but I don't know how long we'll own it because someone will want to buy it. Then maybe we can use that capital. It is not a strategic shift to be in the ownership business."

Danziger is especially excited about Wyndham's development pipeline outside the United States, where most new-build development has ceased. "Forty-five percent of the company's pipeline is international, especially in places like China, India and Panama," said Danziger. "Outside the States is very active, and Canada is very active particulary with our Days Inn brand."

Another bold move for Wyndham in 2010 was its licensing agreement to manage the the Planet Hollywood brand abroad and conversion to a global lifestyle resort brand. "We're seeing a lot of interest in Planet Hollywood internationally," said Danziger. "We've spent a long time working on what it should be, maybe longer than I thought. The challenge is that we wanted to be sure we created a brand that's not just attractive to the leisure market. The fear is, how do you create a brand that's all entertainment and communicate that the brand is ok for a corporate group? We went to about 80 key customerss and asked what would stop them from using the hotel."

Wyndham will continue to aggressively improve its existing product without moving away from what has worked for guests, owners and franchisees in the past. "We were a very innovative company and people confuse innovation with invention," said Danziger. "It is an innovation that we all have iPhones; it is not an invention, the telephone was invented a long time ago. I hope we know what a consumer wants and find a more efficient way to get them what they want."

So what's on the horizon for Wyndham? A reinvention of the Howard Johnson brand is in the offing, but Danziger remained tight-lipped on what changes guests can expect from the iconic brand. "Whatever we do with it should be modern and forward-looking, but very inclusive of its past," said Danziger. "That's what it'll be, trying to bring back the old HoJo."

Topic : Wyndham Hotel Group, Microtel Inns & Suites by Wyndham, Planet Hollywood
External Source : Hotel Management

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