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Global hotel groups are all looking to stake their claim in the growing Middle East market, but there’s plenty of room left for competition with demand ranging from budget to luxury accommodations.
Wyndham Hotel Group has indicated it will expand its Hawthorn Suites brand in KSA and its Days Inn brand in Dubai, having established success in the region with powerhouse brand Ramada.
The company has introduced four more of its 15 brands to the region in the last 18 months according to Rui Barros, Wyndham Hotel Group SVP & managing director, Europe, Middle East & Africa.
This month, upper midscale Wyndham Garden Doha was signed and in Riyadh, the first Super 8 in the GCC opened its doors. Budget brand Days Inn now has a presence in two locations in Jordan in Amman and Aqaba and one in Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, and Barros hints this brand will soon expand into the UAE.
Barros said: “Bani Haddad (Wyndham regional VP) has identified this as an opportunity for the UAE because it sits on a price point that makes a lot of sense and is really aligned with the market, and from what we understand there’s a lot of support around accelerating the growth around that level of offering. We have nothing confirmed yet in the UAE but that’s something I think we’ll be looking for as well.”
Additionally, following the opening of long-stay brand Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham in JBR, Dubai in quarter four last year, Haddad has suggested KSA will be the next stop for a Hawthorn Suites property.
Haddad commented: “Our Hawthorn in Dubai in JBR is a very nice property because this is setting the pace for us and we’re being able now to show the investors what an extended stay means and how it should be run under a brand.
“Especially in Saudi Arabia, where the furnished apartment market is huge but it’s just been run locally and now we’re able to show them how it’s managed under a brand so we think we’re going to get a lot of traction from this opening in KSA.”
Barros said that expanding these brands in the Middle East will be the group’s main focus, as well as expanding the already established Ramada and Wyndham brands.
Barros commented: “There is definitely an opportunity to expand – we have 15 brands, everything from economy to luxury so that’s one of the competitive advantages that we have so we’ve found that in this particular market there’s an opportunity to introduce economy solutions and extended stay solutions – again it ties to what’s the market demand and do we have a solution to meet that demand.”
The expansion plans, according to Barros, underline a move by Wyndham to increase global awareness of the Wyndham’s brands.
A global umbrella marketing campaign that launched earlier this month in North America is aimed at building consumer awareness of Wyndham through its powerhouse brands such as Ramada. It marks the first time the hotel group has invested in a multi-brand television and digital campaign.
Barros commented: “There is a halo effect that happens, when you have that level of marketing power that ultimately will spill into international markets. Internationally we have very strong awareness around Ramada but people are still not quite sure what Wyndham is or some of these other brands so really investing in an umbrella strategy will help us I think.”
Wyndham hotel group currently has 7,500 hotels worldwide and seven of its 15 brands now operate in the Middle East.
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