(Corrects last paragraph to show that Eric Danziger is CEO of Wyndham’s hotel group, not CEO of the whole company)
* TRYPs to open in Colombia, Portugal and Spain in 2011
* U.S. openings very possible in 2011 - CEO
By Helen Chernikoff
SAN DIEGO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - U.S. hotel operator Wyndham Worldwide (WYN.N) is planning 2011 openings of its newest hotel brand, TRYP by Wyndham, in Colombia, Portugal and Spain.
Wyndham also said launches in its domestic market were possible this year in addition to one scheduled for New York.
Known for affordable hotels such as Howard Johnson and Super 8, Wyndham used the Americas Lodging and Investment Summit to woo developers and owners to the middle-market brand it bought in June from Sol Melia, a Spanish hotel group.
The company hopes TRYP’s emphasis on its Mediterranean roots, with light Spanish-style snacks, Italian coffee and exercise equipment in some bedrooms, will appeal.
Its challenge is persuading hotel owners in the United States, where TRYP is new, to take a risk on an unfamiliar leisure brand flag even as tourism lags business travel in the lodging industry recovery.
“It is a tough time to introduce a new brand,” said Bill DeForrest, chief executive of Lane Hospitality, an Illinois-based hotel ownership and management company.
Unlike DeForrest, operators like Wyndham and rival Marriott International MAR.N tend not to own hotels but generate revenue by collecting management and franchise fees from the owners of the property.
Another owner is Andrew Weiss, a New York hotelier converting an existing hotel to the first U.S. TRYP. He went with TRYP, which offers airy rooms suited to longer stays, when he realised how much international travellers would like it.
“We had a lot of international travelers coming in,” he said. “We did not have the right room.”
Wyndham is touting a built-in source of guests who are fans of the 92 existing TRYP hotels. Because the previous brand owner, Sol Melia, will continue to manage those properties, new owners of individual hotels like Weiss will be part of both Sol Melia and Wyndham’s reservation and guest reward systems.
That made a big difference to Weiss. “That is a guaranteed stream of guests into my hotel,” he said.
The interest Wyndham received from owners like Weiss indicated more U.S. openings this year were possible, said Eric Danziger, chief executive of Wyndham’s hotels division. (Reporting by Helen Chernikoff; Editing by Dan Lalor)