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NEW DELHI : American hospitality firm Wyndham Hotels and Resorts is expanding its hotel pipeline and plans to add 34 hotels in the country by 2023-24, said the company’s India and Eurasia head Nikhil Sharma. The company had earlier announced the launch of a 300-room property in Mumbai.

The company works on a franchise model in India where it signs agreements with hotel owners who can operate their hotels by themselves under the company’s brand name and use its technology capabilities, distribution and marketing systems in exchange for loyalty fee.

Management hotel companies, in contrast, are run directly by hotel companies where they take a management fee and give owners a fixed pie of their earnings.

Wyndham is currently present in 95 countries and has six brands in India and south Asia. It has 50 hotels in the country.

The upcoming projects, Sharma said, will be a mix of green and brown-field project conversions, that is, new constructions as well as old shell hotels that are broken down, reconstructed and re-branded.

Commenting on occupancies, he said there is a pick up post the second wave “They are north of 60% in most of our hotels, even business hotels. Obviously, average daily rates or ADRs are nowhere near where anyone wants them to be but that is the case with most companies," said Sharma.

In the first wave, the company said, only Delhi occupancies were noteworthy, but after the second wave Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru also picked up for them. “Once Mumbai opened post the second wave, they became the market leaders for us," he said.

Earlier this year, the company also opened a 160-key upscale Wyndham property in Ahmedabad and will be opening another Wyndham in Mohali soon. Its other brands are Howard Johnson, Ramada, Ramada Encore and Hawthorn Suites. The company will open under these brands in Varanasi, Jaipur and Gangtok this year, said Sharma.

Wyndham is the company's upscale brand whereas Ramada and Ramada Encore are mid-market brands. Howard Johnson is an economy hotel and the Hawthorn is an extended stay suites business.

In the pandemic year of 2020-21, the company saw an uptick in banquets and social function business in India while occupancies from regular business were down like they were for the entire hospitality sector.

In 2019, Sharma said, the brand's business hotels outperformed both leisure and mixed demand properties in Eurasia but post the covid waves, demand for leisure jumped.

"Between January to March 2021 our leisure properties had the highest occupancies ever and this continued again between June to August following the second wave. Business hotels still have a lower occupancy than their leisure counterparts," said Sharma.

According to hospitality consultancy Hotelivate, in the fiscal year 2020-21, the existing rooms supply in India grew by 3.3% over the previous fiscal year, increasing the total number of branded rooms in the country to 1.44 lakh. This takes into account the 4,093 new rooms that opened during the year.

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