Executives at the 2016 Wyndham Hotel Group Global Conference said the company is appealing to the global middle class through its economy and midscale brand offerings.
LAS VEGAS—Wyndham Hotel Group is targeting the growing global segment of middle class travelers with economy and midscale offerings around the world, company executives said in a press conference.
Bob Loewen, EVP and COO at Wyndham, said the company is “well-positioned to attract the middle class” during a press conference held at the 2016 Wyndham Hotel Group Global Conference.
Eye on China, Middle East, India
The scope of the growing middle class extends beyond the United States, and Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, said the company’s brands are attractive to the middle class in China.
“To say that we’ve got 1,200 hotels in China appealing to that incredible (class), when you look at the growth … that the (global) middle class of travelers of 2 billion is about to, in the next ten years, (go to) 5 billion,” he said. “And where’s that growth happening? It’s happening in China, so we’re very focused on China.”
Wyndham is already well-positioned in China, but Ballotti said there’s much more room for growth in the country because Western brands appeal to Chinese travelers.
“There are 200,000 hotels in China today,” he said. “Less than 40,000 of those 200,000 are branded. The developers that are coming to us in China are looking for distribution. They’re coming to us looking for branding. And Western brands appeal to Chinese travelers in the economy and midscale space.”
Ballotti said the middle class is also strong in other parts of the world, such as the United Arab Emirates, and Wyndham has met with developers about bringing Super 8 and Days Inn to the area. He also said India could be another target for expansion.
“(The growth of the middle class is) happening in India … we have a massive development pipeline underway in India,” he said. “And it’s happening here in the U.S. It’s happening not only in the hotel space, it’s happening in the time-share space, it’s happening in the vacation rentals space.”
As part of Wyndham’s global growth strategy, Loewen said the company also is looking at development in Cuba.
“We are working on opportunities there,” he said. “Our teams have been there, we have partners that we’re talking to. We will be (bringing) some of our brands there. We’ve talked to both (developers) who want the upscale side and some who really see the need for a good solid economy hotel, so I think you’ll probably see both.”
Loewen said he sees a few challenges when entering the market in Cuba.
“You’re partnering with the government,” he said. “So someone is going to partner with the government on the ownership of the property, and anywhere outside of Havana, the utilities aren’t there yet, so it’s really working on getting the utilities, infrastructure.”
Editor’s note: Wyndham Hotel Group paid for the hotel stay during this trip. Complete editorial control was at the discretion of the Hotel News Now editorial team; Wyndham Hotel Group had no influence on the coverage provided.