LAS VEGAS — Irwin Prince, COO and master franchisor of Days Inn in Canada, opened his brand presentation at the Wyndham Hotel Group annual conference by asking the operators in attendance: “How’s business?”

Not surprisingly, the answer is different from province to province, but Prince reported 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.

Encouraging Days Inn staff to strive for excellence, Prince used a hockey analogy from Wayne Gretzky’s on-ice strategy. “Gretzky was asked ‘how do you play so good?’ And, he said, ‘I skate where the puck is going to be, not where it is right now.’”

Meanwhile, the COO stressed that the brand needs to expand its inner circle members into mentors to earn a larger piece of the pie for the brand, leaving a smaller piece for GDS and OTAs.

Prince also talked about the success of moving RoomKey — a new hotel search engine supported by hotel brands, such as Wyndham — past the beta phase. “Guests are in full control with RoomKey,” said Prince. Speaking to the application’s future, he told delegates, “It will be a strong indicator of new business.” Facebook, a web approach, he admits he initially had concerns about, is now up and running, while TravelClick/Hoteliligence 360 is “another tool to help us reach our goals,” he said.

In other brand news, the marketing team is working to attract new business from abroad, although the details are yet to be released.

While there are many initiatives in the works at Days Inn, Prince assured delegates, his work will “continue to be focused on growing the brand in a healthy and responsible way.”

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