Wyndham Hotel Group reveals Middle East expansion plans

Guest Writer

Wyndham Hotel Group (WHG) has plans to roll out at least 32 new hotels in the Middle East, the firm’s Senior Vice President Development EMEA, Martin Armitstead, has told TDME.He said the group, which is the world’s largest hotel company with 7,100 hotels and 600,000 hotel bedrooms across 11 brands, had already signed three new properties for region – Wyndham Riyadh, Ramada Encore Doha and Ramada Plaza Mecca - but was actively seeking opportunities across the Gulf, Levant and North Africa.”We have projects going ahead in many countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Jordan,” said Armitstead. “We have something like 32 hotels planned for the Middle East - a very active pipeline - so hopefully we will grow our brand considerably.”He explained that one priority was to roll out more of the two Wyndham brands – the five-star/upscale ‘Wyndham Grand’ and ‘The Wyndham’, which competes with the likes of Hilton and Marriott - while one of the group’s newest brands, Ramada Encore, would debut in Doha soon. “It’s a trendy three-star plus concept,” he said. “This (the Doha property) will probably open after Ramadan,” he added.Armitstead continued: “We have 11 brands in total across all sectors [from budget to five-star], but we are actively promoting five [in the Middle East].”He noted that in the past year, the firm, which mainly franchises its hotel brands although manages a few, had witnessed an increase in the number of interested Middle East parties approaching it to forge deals.”At the recent Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), two of our competitors came up to us and said, ‘two years ago we had never heard of you but now we are competing with you for every deal’,” he explained”We are adding new brands to the market, rather than existing ones, and are being recognised as a viable alternative [to these existing brands in the market].”People are realising the potential of being a franchisee for us. It’s also assuring for people to know that we are part of the Wyndham Group, which is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange and is transparent.”Also, we are not about running egotistical hotels that look fantastic but make no money.”

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