Wyndham emphasizes India development with new Howard Johnson and Ramada hotels

Wyndham Hotels Group recently revealed that its Howard Johnson brand will be initiating a brand-wide makeover, including a new logo, exterior design and FF&E. While new U.S. franchisees are expected to have the option to join the updated Howard Johnson in early 2015, the brand, and Wyndham as a whole, are continuing to make developments in India.

According to the Hindu Business Line, Ahmedabad-based Unique Mercantile India entered into an agreement with Howard Johnson to develop and operate 35 Howard Johnson hotels in India over the next 15 years. This development began with the opening of a Howard Johnson in Bangalore last Friday, and Unique Mercantile plans on opening one hotel every six months. Unique Mercantile will own equity in all 20 hotels, 10 of which will be launched under the joint venture model, four under the leased model and six under the owned and operated model.

The Economic Times reported that Wyndham is experiencing faster growth for its business in India as opposed to China. Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO of Wyndham, told the Economic Times that the company plans on tripling its room base in the country to nearly 4,500 by mid-2017, up from 1,500 rooms two years ago.

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"As a growth market, India is ahead of China and we are dedicated to this market like any other Asian market," Ballotti told The Economic Times.

Signs of this dedication are evident from Wyndham's recent signing of four new Ramada Encore properties in the country last week. The properties are expected to open by mid-year 2017.

Wyndham also signed a franchise agreement with JMJ for the first Planet Hollywood hotel in India. The 115-room property is expected to open on Goa's southern coast by the end of 2014, and will be the second in the world after the Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas. 

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The one-day event will focus on related hospitality concepts such as hostels, co-living, co-working, student accommodation and serviced apartments.

The company plans to introduce the changes—including switching to large-format bathroom amenities—no later than June 2021.

Construction of the hotel on the site of the historic Equity Chambers building has commenced and the project is expected to open by Q2 2020.