The head of one of the world’s largest hospitality groups has branded Dubai’s most grandiose hotels as “monstrous” and said he is not interested in building such properties.
Eric Danziger said Wyndham Group, which has nearly 7400 hotels with 15 brands across the world, was planning to rapidly boost its presence in the Gulf, particularly in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, but he would not be lured by opulence, instead choosing to fill a gap in the middle and lower ends of the market.
“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,” Danziger, who is Wyndham Group CEO, told Arabian Business in an interview.
“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 said he was “excited” by the prospect of Dubai doubling its visitor numbers to 20m by 2020 and Wyndham was “committed” to participating in the growth.
However, it would not be afraid to bring some of the group’s value brands, such as Days Inn and Super 8, alongside its most prestigious, Wyndham Hotel, he said.
“Dubai currently is heavily saturated with five-star property and that’s wonderful because there’s a five-star demand but some part of the 20m people is not going to be five stars,” he says. “So we have four-star brands, we have three-star brands, we have two-star brands.
“My instinct would be that more of our product coming in, while there will be several Wyndhams and Ramada Plazas, we’ll see some of those other mid-scale ones too because there’ll be a desire for more affordable properties for people.”
The company is already flexing its muscle in Saudi Arabia’s economy sector, with a contract to build 10 Days Inn roadside motels in seven years and 20 Super 8s in 10 years.
Wyndham is expected to play a major role in providing for the rapidly expanding tourism sector in the kingdom, which is taking advantage of the hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims who make the annual voyage there as well as its booming domestic tourism as nationals become wealthier.
The company also has announced its first five-star Wyndham Hotel in Dubai, to be built in Dubai Marina. “I have no ego problem with having hotels in the market underneath the super luxury market; we’re okay with that.”