BERLIN, Germany — Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, looked back on 2015 with a wide grin, and kept the smile going as he talked about this year.
The acquisition of Dolce Hotels last February, Ballotti said, during an interview at the International Hotel Investment Forum, filled a big gap in the company's portfolio. Dolce was acquired by Wyndham for $57 million in cash, expanding Wyndham's managed portfolio by nearly 40 percent and adding 24 meetings-focused properties, both in Europe and across America, to Wyndham's collection. "We're looking at adding managed portfolio acquisitions, and if there are more of those out there on the horizon we'll look at anything that comes along," Ballotti said.
At the other end of the scale, Wyndham is also expanding its economy Super 8 brand, with significant growth in Germany and China. "With the right partner, the potential is huge," he said.
Wyndham also restructured and simplified its loyalty program last year, with a flat, free night redemption rate. "We took a program that had multiple levels of redemption and boiled it down to one," Ballotti said. Under the new rules, upscale hotels redeem the same number of points as economy properties. Guests can accrue their points at Super 8 hotels and then spend them at Dolces, he noted. "That program has transfixed and transformed our company. Our franchisees have bought into it in a way they never bought in [before]." The end result, he added, is that franchisees are signing up record numbers of new members for the program.