Wyndham Hotel Group to add 26 hotels in India

Chennai, April 12 (IANS) Global hospitality major Wyndham Hotel Group has been planning to add 26 new hotels through the franchisee route in India, a senior company official has said.

"Currently we have 17 hotel properties in India with a total room strength of around 1,800. We will be adding 26 more properties with a total room strength of 3,000. Outside India in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, the group plans to add 92 hotels with a total room strength of around 19,600," Duane Elledge, group's executive vice president and managing director, told IANS.

According to Elledge, the group is focused on franchising its brands in India and not managing the hotels.

He said the focus markets for the group are China, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. In the APAC region, the group has nine brands.

Wyndham Hotel Group is one of the world's largest hospitality players which has over 7,340 hotels and approximately 627,440 rooms in 66 countries.

The group has 15 hotel brands including Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Ramada, Howard Johnson, Days Inn, Super 8, Wingate by Wyndham, Baymont Inn and Suits, Microtel Inn and Suites.

"By the third quarter of this year nine hotels with a total room capacity of 1,000 is expected to go on stream," Deepika Arora, regional vice president-Indian Ocean, said.

The Wyndham group is looking at tier two and three towns in India including temple towns, according to Arora.

She said the group would have its brands in pilgrimage centres like Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh and Shirdi in Maharashtra.

Elledge and Arora were here for the inauguration of the 115-room capacity Ramada Chennai Egmore, a mid-scale hotel here, Friday.

The Ramada Chennai Egmore was earlier known as Marina Towers and now sports the global brand badge after refurbishment at an outlay of around Rs.12 crore.

Before Ramada, there was another hotel that sported the Wyndham group brand under franchisee agreement but later opted for a different brand.

On the learning experience from this, Elledge said the group now works with owners who are in sync with it.

"We do our home work now more diligently. The product now is highly evolved and has a new look and there is focus on food and beverage. Of the 26 new properties to come up in India, majority of them will be under the Ramada brand," Arora said.

A hotel industry expert said that Ramada was a mid-scale brand in the US but in Chennai it has been given a four star hotel look. He added that it would be interesting to see how the group will make the brand connect with the international tourists.

However, Arora said the group would not change the brand equity and for international tourists the product and the brand experience will be similar.

"But the offering has to be customised to the Indian market. Hence we are positioning the Ramada brand in India as a mid-scale but full service hotel," Arora said.

The room tariff for single and double occupancy is around Rs.10,000 and Rs.11,000 net of taxes, a hotel official said.

Prakash Chandran, general manager, Ramada Chennai Egmore, told reporters that the hotel would target business and leisure travellers.

He said the meeting/banquet area would be increased by 5,000-20,000 square foot by the end of this year.

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