Wyndham Hotel Group's history has been marked by acquisitions and mergers between different hotel groups, emerging as an industry giant. If the group has been in the top 5 biggest groups in terms of supply for nearly 20 years, it is thanks to the different choices made by its managers who have had to face various challenges...
Over the last 25 years Hospitality ON has borne witness to the evolution of hotel groups. In celebration of this quarter century, we offer a look at their history through the data we have collected.
If the company is now called Wyndham Hotel Group, it will have been the result of a partnership between the eponymous brand born in 1981 in Dallas and the giant Hospitality Franchise Systems (HFS).
Merger with CUC, financial scandal and acquisitions
Created by Henry Silverman in the early 1990s, HFS's mission is to acquire hotel franchises as its name, Hospitality Franchise System, suggests. In 1991 the group bought Days Inn and then diversified into car rental with the acquisition in 1996 of Avis Rent a Car. In 1998, HFS became the world's leading franchisor and merged with the American service giant, CUC International, to create a new company called Cendant.
First group to exceed 500,000 rooms - 503,656 rooms in 5,566 properties as of January 1, 1998 - the company is not only the largest player in the hotel industry but also a multi-service company that is active in car rental, timeshare, real estate and many other fields.
Cendant then strives to optimize synergies in all areas of purchasing, partnerships and of course marketing, with nearly 100 million American citizens listed in its databases in 1998.
The new company, for which everything seems to be going well, thus finds itself faced with a major challenge. Only a few months after the merger between HFS and CUC in April 1998, Cendant discovered massive accounting irregularities at Comp-U-Card. These revelations led to one of the most serious financial scandals of the 1990s, weakening the new entity.
In 2004, the company has since surpassed its financial problems and is beginning to purge its worst performing properties, including diluting its Villager Lodge brand into the Knights Inn brand. The American franchisor, which is continuing its development at the same time, is acquiring all the rights to the Ramada International brand, previously held jointly with Marriott.
On October 23, 2005, Cendant Corporation announced its decision to split into four companies, citing the need to diversify in order to attract shareholders and try to increase the company's value after its split. These four categories include: Real Estate, Travel Distribution, Hotel and Car Rental.
Development of Wyndham hampered by 9/11
At the end of the 1990s, the Wyndham brand acquired several portfolios of high-end hotels, which it renamed in its name. In 1998, Summerfield Hotel Corporation was purchased and the luxury brand Grand Bay Hotels & Resorts was launched. The hotelier, which has developed a significant debt to develop itself is strongly affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It then sells many properties at prices that are often lower than their purchases.
2005: Acquisition of Wyndham
In 2005, Cendant continued its acquisitions by acquiring the rights to Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the high-end brand that had been acquired shortly before by the investor Blackstone. This acquisition will foreshadow a rebranding operation of the company, now called: Wyndham Hotel Group.
2007: Exit from the American market
With the acquisition of the Wyndham brand, the former Cendant group has also acquired a new competence in hotel management that it intends to build on. The new hunting ground of this very powerful group on its domestic market is now located on the international scene. The conversion of the Conrad London into Wyndham London Chelsea Harbour symbolizes this desire to establish the brand in the world's major cities with institutions under management.
The evolution of Ramada's base also demonstrates this globalization: while the number of rooms worldwide remains almost unchanged, its base is undergoing a profound change with a decrease in the offer in North America, offset by the brand's development in Europe and its rise in the Middle East and South America.
2008: New acquisitions
Wyndham spends $131 million to acquire two US Franchise brands that had become part of Global Hyatt, namely: Microtel Inns & Suites - the economy brand that holds first place in the JD Power customer satisfaction ranking across the Atlantic - as well as the Hawthorn Suites long-stay product.
2014: +10% of the volume of bookings
CEO Steve Holmes says he is particularly pleased with the marketing campaign conducted in 2014, which led to a 10% increase in the volume of bookings and a 52% increase in loyalty program members.
A franchisor just a few years ago, Wyndham has strengthened its management model with its eponymous brand and the acquisition of the Dolce Hotels & Resorts group, which specializes in hosting seminars. Still very American, the group acknowledges that it is suffering from the current rise in the dollar against other currencies.
2017: Separation of its business lines
The American market posted a +13.9% increase in the number of rooms due to the acquisition of La Quinta's franchise and hotel management activities for USD 1.95 billion.
The group launches the soft brand The Trademark Collection aimed at bringing independent hoteliers in the sector together in the mid-range, while allowing them to retain the particularities - identity - of the buildings. Barely a month later, the group bought AmericInn, adding 200 American hotels to its portfolio.
At the end of the year, Wyndham Hotel Group began to separate its various businesses: hotel operator and timeshares with Wyndham Destination Network and Wyndham Vacation Ownership