Wyndham's Plans For Growth

Change has been a constant at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts for the past several years. In particular, the Dallas-based owner, operator and franchisor has been busy disposing of non-strategic assets, a process it recently completed with the $366-million sale of 25 hotels to a venture fund managed by Goldman Sachs and Highgate Holdings.

Now the company says it's ready to grow again through management contracts, franchising and even acquisitions. In late December, Wyndham signed a joint-venture deal with Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners to expand and develop its neglected Summerfield Suites chain. To direct its growth initiatives, the company promoted Nicholas Bonrepos to senior vice president of business development and owner relations.

“We've gone through our changes as a company, and now it's time to leverage our strengths to build the brands we have,” says Bonrepos, who had been vice president of finance in charge of asset management before assuming his new role. “Among other things, we excel at revenue generation and our relationships with travel agents.”

Since, as Bonrepos says, “the market for our hotels are business travelers and groups, we need to have properties where they travel.” That wish list of locations includes nearly every one of the top 25 markets, including both in center city and at the airports in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as Seattle and Vancouver. He also would like to add a property or two in Hawaii, in particular ones that will expand the company's relationship with Golden Door Spas.

The venture with Lehman Brothers created an equal partnership that focuses exclusively on building the 23-property Summerfield brand through management deals, franchise sales and the development of new properties. As part of the deal, Wyndham sold six Summerfields to Lehman and its partner Gencom Group for $105 million.

“Summerfield is a brand that hasn't gotten the attention it deserves,” says Bonrepos. “We're looking at a variety of opportunities to add to the flag, some through conversions but most as new-construction properties.”

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