Is Wyndham among the hotel chains you first think of when booking travel?
Little known fact: With over 8,000 properties, the Wyndham Hotel Group boasts the largest hotel network of any major chain. That’s right, more hotels than Marriott or Hilton or InterContinental.
Wyndham has been something of a sleeping giant until recently, when it began leveraging that size with a series of enhancements to its Wyndham Rewards loyalty program. Today, with its standing offer of a free night anywhere in the network for just 15,000 points, and a series of generous bonus promotions, the program is considered by some to be the most value-rich in the industry.
Now, Wyndham has returned its attention to its size advantage, announcing today that it will acquire La Quinta Holding’s 900 hotels for $1.95 billion. The deal is expected to close sometime in the second quarter of 2018.
With the new properties, the Wyndham network will include more than 9,000 hotels in more than 75 countries. La Quintas are generally considered upper-midscale hotels, so the move pushes Wyndham slightly more upscale than its midscale origins.
Predictably, the 13 million members of the La Quinta Returns program will be folded into the Wyndham Rewards program, with its 53 million members. It remains to be seen whether Wyndham Rewards will be modified to incorporate any features of the current La Quinta scheme.
While La Quinta has just three brands (La Quinta Inn & Suites, La Quinta Inn, LQ Hotel), the Wyndham network comprises fully 21 brands (The Trademark Hotel Collection, Dolce Hotels and Resorts, Wyndham Grand, Dazzler Hotels, Esplendor Boutique Hotels, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Garden Hotels, TRYP by Wyndham, Wingate by Wyndham, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham, Ramada, Baymont Inn & Suites, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson, AmericInn, Travelodge, Knights Inn). That’s arguably a positive, in terms of micro-targeting. But such brand profligacy makes it more challenging to make the case that the thousands of hotels are part of a single network. Which explains why so few travelers know just how large the Wyndham family of hotels is.
With a solid loyalty program and an even larger network of hotels, Wyndham is well positioned to compete against the other major chains. Its next hurdle may be simply communicating to the traveling public just how extensive the network is.
After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.