Wyndham Hotel Group unites for its annual convention

It may have been April Fool’s day, but it was serious business at Wyndham’s annual convention, as the 7,200-strong hotel group gathered at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino for Achieve 2012, held in Las Vegas. “The conference is a live demonstration of the strength gained by being part of the largest hotel group in the world,” said Eric Danziger, president and CEO, Wyndham Hotel Group, upon welcoming delegates to the entertainment capital. Speaking on stage to thousands of delegates — with visuals transitioning on screen behind him — Danziger emphasized the importance of  reaching out and paying it forward. “Today,” Danziger said, “We need to connect to the whole world, because we’re competing in a global marketplace. We’re in the business of serving travellers.” He said the bona fide, competitive advantage in achieving goals comes from accepting challenges and paying it forward. “It’s all about doors — engaging and achieving by opening doors, going through doors opened for you, leading others through doors and remembering the people who have opened those doors for you,” Danziger declared.

All Wyndham brands were represented at the conference, including, Howard Johnson, Ramada, Super 8, Microtel Inn and Suites, Planet Hollywood, Baymont Inn and Suites and Days Inn, to name a few. Irwin Prince, COO and master franchisor of Days Inn, Canada, spoke about the state of the Canadian marketplace during his brand presentation session. “It depends on who you ask,” he said, remarking that transactions for Days Inn are certainly better in Western Canada than in Eastern Canada.

In an exclusive interview with Hotelier magazine during the convention, Prince said Days Inn is enjoying enormous success. “The brand’s doing phenomenally well. We’ve had great success in both conversion and new construction over the past five to six years. Today we have two new Days Inns under construction, as we speak — one slated for construction before the end of the year, and another three coming into the system as conversions in the course of the next two or three months.” The  Realstar Hospitality COO says the average rate this year rose from $106 to $112, with an occupancy rate of 66 per cent and a RevPAR of $65 to $70.

As for the brand’s continued growth, Prince is optimistic, “Days Inn can comfortably grow to about 160 or 170 hotels across the country. We’re not in every province today; there are opportunities in Newfoundland and Labrador, [and for] bigger growth in Maritime Canada as well as in the territories.

And, as we add hotels,” he says, “we add distribution.” Speaking directly to delegates about the brand’s expansion, Prince said he’ll “continue to be focused on growing the brand in a healthy and responsible way.”

Meanwhile, Wyndham announced two new initiatives at the convention that are designed to increase direct business to hotels. WynReview and MyRequest are the two new management tools as well as new mobile websites for its hotel brands. WynReview, provided free to franchisees, helps manage consumer reviews. Danziger says, “by providing tools such as WynReview and MyRequest, we are  helping them to position their hotels so that consumers want to stay with them.”

On the community front, Wishes by Wyndham, the hotel group’s charitable foundation, donated $100,000 to Starlight Children’s Foundation during the conference. “We are proud of our partnership with Wyndham, an industry leader who shares Starlight’s vision of helping seriously ill children and their families live through chronic illness or life-altering injury,” said Starlight Children’s  Foundation’s CEO, Jacqueline Hart-Ibrahim.

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