Wyndham Aims for Hassle-Free Hotel StaysBy Jan Hogewoning | Mon, 04/06/2020 - 15:28
Q: What is your coverage in Mexico and how do you intend to expand?
A: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (Wyndham) is still a young company. Since the beginning, however, we sought to add brands. The last brand we acquired was La Quinta, which included 11 properties in Mexico. This is a brand we are developing right now, specifically the properties in Los Cabos and Tamaulipas. We have 20 brands in total, catering to the economy, midscale and upscale segments. The midscale segment is the strongest, with hotel brands such as Ramada Encore, Microtel Inn & Suites and Wyndham Garden. Our mission is to find brands that attract different types of travelers. In 2020, we plan to reach a total 65 hotels in Mexico. In 2021, we will reach 75 properties across the country. Of these 65 properties in Mexico, some are focused on beach tourism. However, most of our hotels are in cities, such as Chihuahua, Guadalajara, Leon and Monterrey. These are primarily geared toward corporate travel, with a certain leisure component. Corporate travel is a big part of our global business and we have relationships with over 12,000 companies worldwide.
Our property acquisitions are about 50 percent our own developments and 50 percent conversions of existing hotels. Ultimately, we want to have a complete presence across the country. In Mexico, we grew 14 percent in 2019, which is impressive. This is largely due to our strong global name, which makes us an attractive partner. There are many opportunities in Mexico in terms of properties that are not yet part of a group. In fact, there are about 1.5 million of them which could benefit from our global presence. We want to make a difference there.
Q: What is your strategy to implement Wyndham standards across your different brands?
A: The most important factor is understanding what the client needs. One component we focus on is to make the process simple and hassle-free for the client. Guests just want a good night’s rest, a great shower and go to their meetings or visit clients. We want to ensure that the guests’ experience is not complicated by anything and that there is no confusion.
Another aspect we are looking at right now is to make communication with the customer simpler and better. Guests could, for example, communicate with the front desk through an interface or an Alexa-type device in their room. We do all kinds of analytical studies to understand our customers evolving wishes. We have a system called the net promoting score, which tells us what is recommended by customers. In Latin America, over 60 percent of people say they will recommend us after their stay. That is very high. We never know what customers will post online after they leave. We combine customer feedback with our own research into trends.
Our brands do offer a variety of unique services. Our TRYP by Wyndham hotels, for example, are all about experiencing the city. We focus on providing the client with suggestions on what they can do and places where they can connect with people. Wyndham Garden provides a quieter experience, with spaces that offer fewer distractions. Of course, we cannot accommodate everybody. However, our different brands give us the opportunity to have four, five or six of our hotels in one city. Apart from providing the best standards at each hotel, we want to create better connectivity between our hotels. We would like Mexicans to use our hotels across the world in any destination where we are present. One way to ensure this is our award-winning loyalty program Wyndham Rewards, with access to 8,000 hotels.
Q: How important is your loyalty program to your business?
A: Designed for the everyday traveler, Wyndham Rewards is the award-winning guest loyalty program uniting tens of thousands of hotels, vacation club resorts and vacation rentals globally. USA Today and The Washington Post named it the No. 1 loyalty program in the US. The secret is that it is very simple. Starting at 7,500 points you can get a free night in thousands of hotels, vacation club resorts, and vacation rentals worldwide and at any time of the year. The point is you do not have to do a lot of math. Other loyalty programs are sometimes too complicated. We wanted to simplify ours so people can actually use it. Our goal is to keep adding hotels to the roster.
Q: What role do online travel agencies (OTAs) play in customer engagement?
A: These are important for everyone. At the end of the day, OTAs are very strong because they have a lot of marketing dollars. They are able to generate great exposure and capture audiences. We cannot afford to be left out of any program. We need to ensure we have excellent negotiations with them to ensure better revenue for our hotels. The hotel that does the best job and employs the most tools will get the most clients.
Q: How important is the tourism sector for business in Mexico?
A: Our leisure destinations benefit from the fact that we are an American company. Clients collecting points in the US like to use them for leisure trips. Mexico is a major tourism destination. Our challenge in this area is to be in all leisure destinations. Competition is very strong; however, the tourism demand is also very high and continues to grow. We have five hotels along the Riviera Maya, but these are saturated. Soon we will be signing a deal with a very large hotel in the Riviera Maya. This will be a construction development that will be completed in two years. In Mexico, we will also be opening our first Travelodge Hotel soon. This is a brand that already exists in the US and is oriented towards nature.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is a global hotel group present in over 80 countries. The company has 20 distinct hotel brands for different traveler segments