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Wyndham Hotel Group offers affordable and quality accommodation with options to suit all travellers ranging from economy to upper-upscale

Motaz Othman, M.I.C.E Middle East - Dubai,

12 Wyndham Hotel Group brands are adding the powerful “by Wyndham” suffix to their names and the future looks good for us.
As one of leading and largest hotel chains in the world with nearly 8,400 properties, Wyndham Hotel Group properties range from affordable and quality economy, to upper-upscale, and during ATM2018, I had the chance to meet with Mr. Ignace Bauwens, Regional Vice President for Middle East, Eurasia and Africa for Wyndham Hotels Group, I asked him:
Q: You are attending ATM2018 representing Wyndham Hotel Group’s 8,400 properties worldwide, how many properties are here in our region, GCC and the Middle East?
A: We are the world’s largest hotel company based on number of hotels, with nearly 8,400 hotels in 82 countries. We are a major player in the USA with almost 6,000 properties there, but we also have a strong presence around the world. Take for example China, where we have 1,368 properties, more than 1,095 of which fall under the Super 8 by Wyndham brand, and Europe, the Middle East, Eurasia and Africa region, where we have around 460 properties. We currently have 54 operational hotels in the region and a further 24 under development, with around 10,000 rooms and another 4,400 coming. 
Q: You mention Super 8 Brand in China, this is of course part of the Wyndham Hotel Group. What brands are in the Middle Est and in which countries?
A:  We are focused on growing in key destinations across the Middle East; our biggest presence in the region at present is in the UAE (18 hotels) and Saudi Arabia (12 hotels). In Bahrain we are already the no. 1 global hotel player with over 1,100 hotel rooms. Africa is also steadily developing into one of the world’s great regions for travel, and we are strengthening our presence in this market too.
Q: Can you tell me about the Wyndham brands that are here in Middle East?
A: Our best-known brand in the Middle East and Africa is Ramada by Wyndham with 31 hotels. our iconic hotels range from economy to upper-upscale, meaning we have options to suit all kinds of travellers, wherever in the world they want to go and regardless of how they want to stay. We recently brought another of our brands to the region, Wyndham Garden, which opened in Bahrain last year, in Ajman just last week and is set to launch in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, later this year. In January, we opened Wyndham Grand in Bahrain and in August last year we launched the largest mid-scale style TRYP by Wyndham in Dubai with 650 rooms, so our footprint in the region is growing exponentially.
Q: Can you tell me some more about the brands that fall under the Wyndham Hotel Group?
A: There are 20 brands in the Wyndham family and just last month, we announced that 12 of these – including iconic names such as Super 8, Days Inn and Ramada – would be adding the powerful “by Wyndham” suffix to their names. The move not only unites the company’s diverse hoteliers under a common mission and name but is also expected to favourably impact guest trial and brand awareness throughout the company’s portfolio. The shift also reinforces the power of Wyndham Rewards, which continues to drive loyalty to the entire family of brands. Guests will now be able to easily associate each “by Wyndham” brand with the top-ranked program – giving them peace of mind and a reason to return again and again
Globally, our brands are now known as Trademark Collection by Wyndham, Dolce Hotels and Resorts by Wyndham, Wyndham  Grand, Dazzler by Wyndham, Esplendor Boutique Hotels by Wyndham, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Wyndham Garden, TRYP by Wyndham, Wingate by Wyndham, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham, Ramada by Wyndham, Ramada Encore by Wyndham, Baymont by Wyndham, Days Inn by Wyndham, Super 8 by Wyndham, Howard Johnson by Wyndham, AmericInn by Wyndham and Travelodge by Wyndham.
Q: I'm interested to know more about the TRYP by Wyndham Brand, please?
A: TRYP by Wyndham has a very unique brand identity, defined by a true connection to its city and surroundings. The brand’s tagline is "Powered by The City", will tell you a lot about the experience travellers can expect here. At TRYP by Wyndham, you will find young and dynamic staff who are very connected to the city and what's happening outside the hotel. Travel has changed a lot in the last ten years, and we are focused on driving innovation every step of the way to address this, so our guests get the best possible value and experiences. Firstly, more and more young people are travelling and they’re doing this more often. While previously people travelled maybe once a year, today we are seeing a trend towards increased travel but for shorter periods. So people are looking for affordable accommodation options which still offer the best possible quality and this is something that we, as global leaders in economy scale, offer. TRYP by Wyndham is particularly popular with the younger demographic, who want quality, affordable accommodation whilst still feeling like they’re in the heart of the action.
Q: What about nationalities and where people are coming from?
A: In the past, most travellers were coming from Europe, whereas today we are increasingly seeing an influx of travellers coming from the East, from countries like India and China. In Dubai, India is the number one source market for visitors, with China also ranking in the top 5. If we look at history, the Middle East has always played a vital role, through Silk road trips, in connecting East and West. Today, GCC airlines are continuing this tradition, connecting East and West through the UAE and other GCC countries. 
Q: Wyndham recently announced that it is adding the label “by Wyndham” to 12 brands. What advantages will this bring to your guests?
A: Well, there are a number of advantages. In a world with thousands of hotel brands available, guests look to names they trust, like Wyndham, which they know means a quality experience and exceptional service. Research shows that nearly 45 percent of consumers “feel better” about an endorsed brand, and almost one-third expect a better quality experience.
Guests will feel more confident when choosing one of our endorsed hotels, because they will know that this hotel is one of our brands and is a member of the Wyndham family. Secondly, the shift also reinforces the power of Wyndham Rewards, which continues to drive loyalty to the entire family of our brands across the world. Guests will now be able to easily associate each “by Wyndham” brand with the top-ranked program – giving them peace of mind and a reason to return again and again.  
Q: Can you tell me more about Wyndham Hotel Group’s meetings facilities and offerings for the MICE industry?
A: We have strong MICE facilities and we are currently running a MICE promotion at participating hotels for new events booked and confirmed by September 30th 2018 and arriving between October 1st 2018 and March 31st 2019. This includes a 5% discount on the master bill, double Wyndham Rewards points for the meeting planners and a complimentary welcome reception.
While our main focus in the Middle East at present is on leisure, we are also aiming to expand our MICE facilities over the coming years. Our Dolce Hotels & Resorts by Wyndham brand has a dedicated MICE offering, and we think this has a strong potential for the Middle East. 
Q: You know the month of Ramadan is coming soon, as well Summer time, do you have special incentives, rates for the same?
A: Yes, we are running a special summer offer for visitors, where they can stay two nights and save 20% for bookings made between May 23rd through September 1str 2018, for stays through September 03rd 2018. Guests can also stay up-to-date with our current and upcoming promotions on our website.
Q: Well, I recently experienced Wyndham Dubai Marina, everything was excellent, the room, food, amenities and services, I believe it's an upper-scale brand?      
A: Yes; we are proud to have a diverse portfolio of brands that meet all travellers’ needs. From the upper-upscale offerings of our Wyndham Grand brand to the distinctly comfortable and familiar hotels of our Ramada by Wyndham, Days Inn by Wyndham, Super 8 by Wyndham, and Howard Johnson by Wyndham brands, we focus on providing guests with exceptional customer service and excellent value.
We will continue to expand our footprint of existing brands and also bring additional brands to the region so that no matter where our customers want to visit and no matter how they want to travel, there is a Wyndham hotel that meets their needs.  
Q: What about your partners, I mean are you investing or just managing the hotels?
A: We operate both a managed and franchised hotel model. We are happy to work with partners on a franchised or managed basis, depending on their business model and market of operations and what makes sense for the individual partnerships.
Q: Tell us about your experience in the Middle East, do you trust investors and partners, have you ever faced any difficulties or misunderstandings with them?
A: Well, I came to the Middle East 16 years ago and in that time I've worked in a variety of roles – I’ve been a G.M in Dubai, then moved to regional positions. Having been in this business for 34 years now, I have to say I really enjoy doing business in the Middle East. Relationships and trust are very important here – when you do business you need trust. We take the time to talk, and when we say we’ll deliver on something, we deliver. We trust our business partners and they trust us and this is key to our success.
Q; Last question Sir, what do you think the future holds for the hotels industry in the Middle East?
A: If you look back just 15 years ago, there was a limited number of hotels in the region. For example, in your country Jordan, there were a handful of international hotel brands. Now almost all of the big international players are here. In Dubai in 2002, there were just 35,000 rooms, today there are more than 108,000 rooms. As the number of arrivals continues to grow, this number will also increase.
However, as the region continues to transform and the market matures, the preference and profile of visitors will change too. This is where it will be crucial for the hospitality industry to bridge the gap in the current hotel supply to cater to a more diverse traveller. We want to be the region’s leading player in the mid-market hotel segment, striving to elevate the experience of the everyday traveller. With a growing and diverse portfolio of approximately 40 mid-scale hotels in the Middle East and North Africa region, we are strongly positioned to meet this objective.

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