In today’s experience economy, travel is a top commodity for consumers. That’s good news for those in the hotel industry, because growing interest in travel drives growth across the business, from heads in beds to stakes in the ground. New hotels in up-and-coming destinations are in such demand that new construction development is up seven percent year-over-year. Wyndham is capitalizing on this trend with smart new-construction models for its brands.
Taking a page from the best practices employed by its recently acquired La Quinta by Wyndham brand and the success of Microtel by Wyndham’s transformative Moda prototype launch, the company is introducing thoughtful prototypes designed to lower development costs and capture greater efficiencies for owners, particularly in the economy and midscale segments where it’s a market leader.
In this short video, new construction developers describe their experiences with Wyndham. Click below to view.
David Wilner, senior vice president of the New Construction Franchise Development team for Wyndham, says the company’s new-build strategy starts with ensuring
a solid foundation with hoteliers. “Our development, design and construction teams work hand-in-glove with developers from the first handshake through opening day and beyond,” he explains. “We help make sure they break ground on time and to cost, and we work with them every step of the way after opening to hit success milestones.”
Krishna Paliwal, president of the La Quinta by Wyndham brand and head of Architecture, Design and Construction for Wyndham, describes the relationship between the new construction group and hoteliers as “organic.” “It takes time to see the fruits of the seeds you’re planting, and developers understand there’s a natural waiting period before these hotels are open and able to generate revenue,” Paliwal says. “But during that period, long before the royalties roll in, our commitment is there. The company is investing countless support hours.”
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Rock Hill, SC
Wilner says an important part of his job is building the right relationships with hoteliers, arming them with insights into the most opportune markets, sites and brands. “During these prospecting conversations, we call on the expertise of our design and construction teams for help mocking up brand prototype plans so our owners’ visions fit within site scopes and
make economic sense,” he says. Wyndham’s diverse portfolio gives developers flexibility in selecting which brand best aligns with their business goals. “Not every brand is right for a specific market or location,” Wilner adds, “but with our brand spectrum—from Microtel by Wyndham to Wyndham Garden to TRYP by Wyndham—hoteliers have options.”
Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham: Moda Prototype Rendering. Learn More.
Once the agreement is signed, our teams dive in deeper. “That’s when we really roll up our sleeves,” Paliwal says. “Everyone jumps in to welcome the owner to our family, the design and construction team officially takes point and the hotel construction process starts.”
Working with owners during this period can mean helping owners jump through the many hoops of completing a major hotel project. “We have a pre-construction meeting with the developer, as well as their architect, contractors and subcontractors, to go over all the details,” Paliwal describes. “This includes setting expectations for brand standards and the hotel’s finished look.” His team, he says, is with them throughout the entire pre-construction and construction process, facilitating the necessary approvals, permits, entitlements and financing, as well as overall job troubleshooting. “Our project managers visit these sites approximately every six weeks, hitting every construction phase from foundation to framing, roofing and sheet rock, and all the way to the finishes,” Paliwal adds.
Prior to opening, even more support teams join in. “In addition to those directly involved in the construction, our global sales team goes to work promoting the new hotel within the community,” Paliwal says. “Our operations team begins to load the property data for presale four to six months in advance of opening. Then, too, there is a high-touch onboarding process with hands-on technology software and systems training, plus opening and marketing support.”
Wyndham Garden: Arbor Prototype Rendering Learn More.
Wilner emphasizes the level of service offered by Wyndham goes above and beyond. “While new construction is typically more predictable than a renovation, there’s a possibility something may not go exactly to plan. Krishna’s team is there to troubleshoot and provide resources and solutions for any unexpected interruption—from product installation issues to inspection delays.”
Paliwal adds, action is the answer. “We respond to our owners’ needs promptly within 24 hours.”
New construction prototypes can offer significant cost-saving benefits, Paliwal says, noting the rising cost of construction is highlighting the need for more cost-efficient building designs. “Construction costs are often a significant pain point, so the value of building at a lower cost is always appreciated, especially with prices as escalated as they are now.”
Paliwal notes that La Quinta by Wyndham’s Del Sol concept—with its flat roof—is one such cost-effective, revenue-enhancing design, underscoring efficient use of land and attracting a growing number of upper-midscale developers.
Similarly, Microtel by Wyndham’s Moda prototype is driving developers to the economy segment, and there are several hotels already underway. He says guest and owner feedback shaped the prototype, sourcing insights from a development council comprising 15 experienced developers with diverse backgrounds and portfolios across the industry.
Wyndham then worked closely with designers to integrate the council’s asks into the Moda design. In addition to streamlining costs, Wyndham implemented suggestions like flattening the roofline for a more contemporary look and reconfiguring the lobby setup for better flow, furthering operational efficiencies and bolstering the guest experience. “We believe Moda now mirrors the aesthetic of higher midscale hotels and helps drive more robust efficiencies and revenues for its owners,” Wilner conveys.
Since its official March 2019 unveiling at the Hunter Hotel Conference, Moda momentum is running high with more than a dozen new hotels signing up for the design. Pete Patel, a member of the Moda development council, is building five of those hotels. The agreement with Patel includes new Microtel by Wyndham hotels in strategic growth markets, including Destin and Fort Walton, Fla., Saint Rose and Chalmette, La., and Midland, Texas.
“It goes a long way to see a brand truly cares about the feedback from owners and developers,” Patel says. “The Wyndham team included us in the creative process as they were designing the Moda prototype, and that shows me they care about evolving their brands in ways that work for those of us who build and operate them. It’s all about having a collaborative relationship with the brand, which is why we are excited to build these new Microtel by Wyndham hotels.”
Another member of the council, Mayur Patel of KM Hotels, also recently signed agreements for a prototypical Microtel by Wyndham hotel in Asheville, N.C., as well as a La Quinta by Wyndham in Richmond, VA.
Wilner and Paliwal mention Wyndham is also exploring other new-construction opportunities, such as a dual-branded Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham and La Quinta by Wyndham prototype. The concept combines the company’s extended-stay accommodations with the upper-midscale limited service of the La Quinta brand under one roof, helping to reduce development costs and capitalizing on the operational efficiencies of having one general manager, shared amenities and a joint backof-the-house, while serving two consumer market segments.
Paliwal notes new prototype development is predominantly cost-driven, but is also influenced by construction techniques and styles that have evolved over the last 10 to 15 years, such as cleaner aesthetics and greater efficiencies.
Dual-Brand Prototype: La Quinta by Wyndham and Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham
According to Wilner, Wyndham hoteliers run the gamut from first-timers to seasoned, multi-hotel owners. “The level of service Krishna’s team provides on the design and construction side, along with my team’s assistance on site selection, and our operations team on ensuring operational success, is something every developer can benefit from, whether it’s their first or 50th hotel,” he says.
Wilner also notes Wyndham’s longstanding, hands-on reputation assures greater confidence among both veteran and newer developers. “We are seeing many highly successful, sophisticated developers with large, varied portfolios showing interest in building a Wyndham hotel. I think the main reason is because they know the investment they’re making in that hotel, which won’t open for two years, is in good hands.”
“We strive to make all our projects the most cost-efficient and competitive for the long haul,” he adds, “because at the end of the day, our success is dependent on making our franchisees successful.”