Wyndham has granted substantial fee waivers to franchisees.
The long-awaited Covid vaccines are almost here, bringing hope that the days of the pandemic are finally numbered. Looking ahead to a brighter 2021 is Joon Aun Ooi, President (Asia Pacific) of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, who recently explained to Hotelintel.co exactly how he sees the prospects for his company in the coming months.
Wyndham is today the world’s largest hotel franchising company, with 20 hotel brands and more than 9,000 hotels in around 90 different countries. Within Asia, Wyndham’s sub-regions of South East Asia and Pacific Rim, and Greater China, were combined earlier this year to form the APAC division, which oversees an operating portfolio of around 1,500 properties across 16 countries. This restructuring should facilitate further expansion as well as cross-border collaboration. According to Joon, “the hotel franchise model is definitely ripe for expansion in South East Asia and Wyndham is well-set to cater to this burgeoning demand.” Throughout Asia Pacific there has been strong growth in franchise signings, with Vietnam and Thailand leading the way for South East Asia with a very robust hotel pipeline.
Such a positive outlook might appear unusual right now, but Joon notes that “owners are increasingly seeing the power of our global brands through a franchise, which is more important than ever in these unprecedented times. This will offer hotels a strong brand affiliation, and visibility across various distribution channels, which is critical for hotels in their recovery efforts amidst a competitive market landscape.” It is clear in this context that the franchise model offers both global reach and operational flexibility.
In addition, Wyndham has granted substantial fee waivers to franchisees to provide financial relief since the onset of the pandemic, as well as coordinating marketing and promotional campaigns to support those franchisees in the recovery phase with strategies tailored to each individual market.
The anticipated resurgence in hospitality after Covid is likely to proceed in different ways in different markets. Joon observes that “we are currently seeing countries like China, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia showing great progress to recovery,” adding that “thanks to China’s robust domestic market, we have seen several hotels reaching full or over 90% of occupancy during the Golden Week holidays, a strong sign of continued demand for leisure travel. We continue to be hopeful that the hotel industry will see more activities resume by next year. However, it will take some time before it returns to pre-pandemic levels.”
As borders begin to re-open, Joon explains that another key focus in the year ahead will be conversion opportunities for independent hotels. “Conversions have always been an important part of Wyndham’s consistent room growth, during both high and low cycles thanks to our unique brand positioning and diverse portfolio of globally-renowned brands,” he states. “Our brands cover almost every sector of the market, from economy to luxury, allowing our owners to find a brand that suits their unique property identity.”
In this difficult period, the franchise model has clearly demonstrated its strengths. The support delivered to franchisees by Wyndham in terms of technology, sales and marketing, expertise, and global distribution channels helps owners to stay ahead of the competition. With better times hopefully just around the corner, Joon believes that there are plenty of opportunities ahead, but says that “in order to succeed, we must stay vigilant, nimble and adaptable to fluid situations.”