Wyndham Hotel Group—the world's largest hotel company with more than 7,800 properties—is revamping its 16 brands in addition to investing in new technology, updating its hotel properties and introducing new perks and partnerships to serve economy-minded travelers.
Through the diversity of its 16 brands, the hotel group is looking to address the needs of all travelers, including millennials and a growing global middle class, regardless of budget. The global middle class is expected to rise from 2 billion people to 4.9 billion people by 2030, according to the Brookings Institution.
"Everyone should be able to afford an amazing trip," said Lisa Checchio, VP of brand marketing at Wyndham Hotel Group.
Wyndham partnered with global brand strategy firm Siegel & Gale to understand guest preferences and priorities in midscale and economy hotel stays before revamping hotel interiors and instituting new campaigns and perks. The 18-month study focused on 50 different competitive hotel brands and helped identify primary drivers for business and leisure travelers.
"Instead of choosing one brand as our 'millennial brand,' we are positioning our portfolio, so they have a choice," said Ms. Checchio. "We are better defining what these brands stand for. This is the beginning of a brand-defining journey that will take these brands well into the future."
Through the study, Wyndham found that half of its Travelodge properties are within 25 miles of a national park. The new campaign for Travelodge, an economy hotel, will reflect and accommodate guests' enthusiasm for the outdoors.
The new brand promise of "Your base camp for adventure" will be echoed in new lobby art and a "grab + go" breakfast option. Staff will wear pins that say, "My national park is" among other changes rolling out this summer and fall. Families can also follow the adventures of Sleepy, the brand's ambassador since the 1950s, as he blogs about his national parks tour.
Super 8 Hotels also has a new brand promise -- "An American Road Original" -- and a new interior design. As part of the redesigns, the hotel chain gave away nearly 100 pieces of artwork last month at a New York City event, called "When the Art Comes Down: Works from the Super 8 Collection." It was hosted by comedian Amy Sedaris, who created humorous names for the pieces. Both the comedian and Super 8 have made in-kind donations to The Center for Arts Education, a nationally recognized arts education provider and advocate for children.
The removal of the old artwork paved the way for new contemporary pieces from a collection of 50,000 modern photographs. Owners of Super 8 locations were able to choose from a selection of those images based on their location. More than 1,000 hotels in North America have also added oversized hyperlocal photographs that serve as headboards. By the end of the year, Super 8 will have replaced more than 200,000 headboards.
"That's what I'm most excited about: to bring this personality to economy and bring memorable experiences to every traveler, not just the ones who can traditionally afford it," Ms. Checchio said. "We're seeing more and more selfies in front of the art and in that actual location in our social feed. These are shareable moments, which is what we want. It's unexpected in economy."
While Wyndham Hotel Group is significantly redefining its economy and mid-range brands, it is also developing its upscale brands.
Dolce Hotels and Resorts, which was acquired in early 2015, is the hotel group's newest brand. The high-end hotel, a popular business meeting destination, will have a kaleidoscope theme starting this year. It will appear on everything from coasters and business cards to artwork and banner ads. The kaleidoscope design reflects its new brand promise: "Inspire discovery" and tagline: "The art of inspiration."
Guests are encouraged to join in the hotel's unique teambuilding experiences. Dolce's Silverado Resort and Spa at Napa Valley offers "Build-a-Bike." Under the supervision of a bike mechanic, teams compete to be first to build a bicycle. The bicycles are then donated to children in need. At the Alexander in Indianapolis, groups can try "Concoctioneering," a mixology competition lead by a skilled mixologist.
"We want everything we do to be inspired -- food, art, meetings, weddings -- for whatever reason you are there at Dolce," Ms. Checchio said. "We want you to know that we take a different perspective, as you would in a kaleidoscope."
Other developments for Wyndham Hotel Group include instituting a cloud-based property management system with automated revenue capabilities in more than 300 hotels. That will allow its economy and midscale hoteliers to adjust prices based on the market, among other factors, and increase revenue per available room.