For a company with the largest number of hotels in the world — nearly 7,400 — Wyndham Hotel Group has a tiny footprint in the Gulf. But that is fast changing.
The international conglomerate has dozens of new properties in the pipeline across the region, from a chain of budget motels in Saudi Arabia to its signature five-star Wyndham in Dubai and a Planet Hollywood in Doha. And that’s just the beginning.
Global president and CEO Eric Danziger says the regional expansion from a mere 38 hotels, or 6,100 rooms, is one of the company’s greatest focuses but he’s not about to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of ‘the best’ or ‘the most’. Indeed, if the 10 million new tourists that Dubai intends to attract each year on top of the existing 10 million by 2020 demand budget accommodation, then that’s what Danziger will give them.
“I think the lion’s share of the properties [in Dubai] are big, monstrous Atlantises, Jumeirahs and all that. They’re wonderful but not everybody around the world can afford that so we need a good balance,” he tells Arabian Business.
“I have no ego problem with having hotels in the market underneath the super luxury market; we’re okay with that.
“We never want to do a hotel that we can’t say is going to be a success just to add another hotel, it’s not our culture, so we’re working very hard with a lot of people with a lot of hotels.”
Danziger, who is based at Wyndham’s headquarters in New Jersey, is in Dubai shortly after Helal Almarri, the director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), revealed the emirate planned to double the number of visitors to 20 million by 2020 and treble tourism revenue to AED200bn ($81bn) a year.
Dubai is already one of the most successful locations for Wyndham’s mid-scale brand Ramada — of which there are 25 in the Gulf — and in May it announced its first self-titled hotel in the UAE, the Wyndham Dubai Marina. Occupancy levels are higher than 85 percent, which Danziger says is rare anywhere in the world.
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