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The world's largest hotel franchisor has its eye on Latin America. Wyndham has named Gustavo Viescas to a top role, where he'll lead the company's plans to double its hotels regionally by 2027.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ new Senior Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean Gustavo Viescas has one major objective — increase its presence significantly in the region.

“Our goal is to become the leader in Latin America, where some of our competitors are twice as big as us,” said Viescas, who has worked at Wyndham for twenty years. “We need to at least double our hotel numbers in the region in about five years.”

The company’s 235 hotels in Latin America — more than 200 of which are franchises — represent 2.7 percent of its global tally. Viescas aims to open at least one Wyndham Grand in each Latin American capital as well as expand all of its brands in the region. The company operates 17 of the 22 brands in its portfolio across Latin America.

Wyndham made two major additions to its portfolio last year in the Registry Collection, its first luxury brand, and Wyndham Alltra, the company’s first brand dedicated entirely to all-inclusive properties. Wyndham opened hotels for each brand in Mexico, where the company operates 66 properties.

“The pandemic tipped the scale towards investors having their eye on the leisure segment,” Viescas said. “All-inclusive is a very hot business right now and not just in Mexico but throughout the region, with people searching for opportunities for new construction as well as conversions.”

But Viescas sees enormous potential for growth in other major Latin American markets such as Brazil, where Wyndham operates 36 hotels, and Argentina. Wyndham is already a major player in the latter country, having acquired Fën, the Buenos-Aires based hotel management company behind brands Dazzler and Esplendor.

“In Argentina, we will continue target conversions,” Viescas said about the country where it has 57 hotels in its portfolio. “There are a lot of independent hotels that could benefit from our expertise and brands. Besides, we are the only international chain with a regional office in Buenos Aires.” 

Wyndham has already made progress expanding in Chile. The company collaborated with the local Pettra Group to double its presence in the country in March, adding hotels in Santiago, Concepción and Antofagasta that will operate under the Wyndham and Wyndham Garden brands.

Viescas said Wyndham has very important criteria for determining which hotels it targets. “They have to be in a growing market and add some strategic value,” he said, citing Colombia — a country where Wyndham operates eight hotels — as an example.

“For instance, we currently don’t manage any hotels in Bogota, a capital city with an important international airport. Therefore, that could be (an) interesting destination.” 

Viescas added that Wyndham might consider launching a brand in a new market or adding hotels that already have owners to its portfolio in major cities like Buenos Aires, Montevideo or São Paulo, which he believes the company could efficiently run.

“For us, (a hotel with an) existing owner takes priority over potential new ones,” Viescas said.

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Tags: coronavirus recovery, future of lodging, hotels, latin america, wyndham, wyndham hotel group

Photo credit: Wyndham's Alltra Cancun resort. Wyndham

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