Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced that it is expanding franchisee relief measures by reducing breakfast requirements for its economy brands. These changes, which were announced this week at Wyndham’s virtual spring meeting with North American franchisees, are intended to help substantially reduce breakfast expenses for economy owners.
The move is designed to help owners manage costs and operate more efficiently while continuing to provide the high level of service guests expect as travel begins to return. The new economy breakfast guidelines build on previous Wyndham franchisee relief measures that began in March 2020 and included multiple fee waivers, extensions, and access to hospital-grade cleaning and safety products at reduced prices at a time when these items were difficult to source.
“We’ve always taken an owner-first approach to support our hotels,” said Scott LePage, president, the Americas, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “Since the pandemic began, we’ve worked alongside our franchisees to help them step up their health, safety, and service protocols to meet today’s guest expectations, and we are continually looking for even more ways to assist. Over the past two decades, the creeping cost of a free breakfast has had an impact on hotel profitability, particularly in the economy segment. The modifications we announced this week are based on extensive feedback from our owners, Franchise Advisory Councils, and most importantly, the guests we’ve surveyed on what they value most during their stay. They are changes that will help our owners reduce their operational costs while enabling them to continue to deliver on our Safe Stay initiatives and brand standards our guests most appreciate, while providing Wyndham’s best-in-class ‘Count on Me’ service.”
For the over 3,000 Days Inn by Wyndham, Howard Johnson by Wyndham, and Super 8 by Wyndham hotels in the United States, the new breakfast requirements—which go into effect July 1, 2021—have been simplified to include upgraded coffee and juice beverages, plus one prepackaged food item such as a granola bar or breakfast pastry. Travelodge by Wyndham will continue offering 24-hour beverage service.
For Microtel by Wyndham, as well as the company’s midscale and upper-midscale brands, Wyndham is currently evaluating breakfast options with a similar goal of reducing costs while maintaining guest satisfaction. Current COVID-related restrictions around breakfast remain in place for these hotels.
The company plans to closely monitor guest feedback related to the changes and make adjustments as necessary. Hotels interested in offering a more robust breakfast will have the discretion to adjust their breakfast offerings as desired.
Also at this week’s virtual spring brand meetings, company leadership shared strategies, tools, and resources with thousands of North American franchisees to help them recover faster. The company also provided supplier discounts it secured from vendors and detailed the investments it is making in technology, sales, and marketing to help owners generate and optimize revenue.
Wyndham’s previously announced franchisee relief efforts included suspending non-room revenue related fees, such as Wyndham Rewards retraining fees; deferring property improvement plans and certain non-essential brand standards requiring cash outlays, such as hot breakfast requirements; and providing payment relief by deferring receivables and suspending interest charges and late fees through September 1, 2020. As part of its pandemic response, the company also partnered with industry associations to advocate for government relief for franchisees and their employees; guided owners through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its evolving guidance, and urged the government to expand and clarify these loan programs for which the majority of its owners qualify; revised cleaning protocols and secured critical cleaning and disinfection supplies pursuant to new U.S. CDC guidelines through the procurement network at reduced costs for franchisees, as well as funding and deferring repayment of these costs to help franchisees conserve cash during the pandemic; and continued marketing and sales efforts during the higher demand summer travel season to drive bookings.