Baymont Inn & Suites has started the year off right. The brand, which joined Wyndham Hotels in They were listed on Entrepreneur’s Fastest-Growing Franchises list for 2017 and named top budget-friendly brand in Money Magazine’s “Best Hotels in the World 2017” ranking. It’s also growing at a rapid clip, adding about 50 hotels and experiencing a net portfolio growth of 6 percent in 2016. LODGING chatted with Wyndham Chief Development Officer Chip Ohlsson to talk about Baymont’s recent successes.
What is behind the brand’s explosive growth?
Since Wyndham acquired the brand 10 years ago, we’ve tripled the number of open Baymont properties. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it’s a good brand and people have been interested in it for decades. However, many developers were hesitant to sign a contract until it had the Wyndham engine behind it. So once it became a Wyndham brand, and could tie into our major programs like Wyndham Rewards, developers felt more comfortable making that commitment. We also have a solid base of franchisees that do multi-unit developments. In fact, 20 percent of Baymont developers own more than one Baymont property.
We’ve also been working to update the brand. We’ve redesigned Baymont’s interiors and started offering cookies at reception, which has been a huge hit with our guests. So all the pieces are in place to continue Baymont’s success.
How do you plan to keep this momentum going?
Right now we have 436 hotels in the Baymont portfolio and we’re really excited because we see an opportunity to take the brand to over 1,000 hotels in the near future. There are so many markets that fit the Baymont profile, even ones that don’t have an existing hotel presence. We’ve actually had a lot of success positioning Baymont as the first property to go into smaller markets by finding a “hometown hero”—a developer who knows the market, knows the area, and wants to provide a great service for the community—and using that person’s expertise to find a site. Baymont resonates with these types of developers. And we’re finding that once the properties open, they resonate with the whole town and become interwoven into the fabric of the community.
Do you think that Baymont will continue to excel in the years to come?
We do. Our guests really love it, and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. It’s also a great vehicle for members who are looking to earn Wyndham Rewards points when on the road. If you’re traveling for work and stay at a Baymont, you’re able to earn points that can be used to take your family to any of our other properties, even vacation properties like Bonnet Creek (a resort in Walt Disney World), now that we’ve tied Wyndham Rewards to our timeshare division. The fact that Rewards members can spend those points at those high-end vacation properties gives them a better value proposition than they’ve ever had before. Having those returns as a possibility though our Rewards program definitely has a positive impact business for Baymont and other brands in their segment.