Wyndham Hotels & Resorts launched “Dawn,” a new Days Inn prototype that will inject bright colors into its guestrooms as part of its continued efforts to update its portfolio of economy brands. Also, Super 8 executives unveiled a new prototype for group rooms with more social space.
LAS VEGAS—Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is redefining one of its iconic economy brands.
At its recent brand conference in Las Vegas, Wyndham unveiled its new “Dawn” prototype for the Days Inn brand ahead of Days Inn’s 50th anniversary in 2020.
Days Inn brand SVP Patrick Breen said during an executive Q&A session that his team learned a lot from recent refreshes and redesigns of some of Wyndham’s other brands, including La Quinta, Microtel, Howard Johnson and most recently Super 8.
“The lessons that (Super 8) learned in terms of timing have been proven,” Breen said. “For years, Days Inn has been a conversion brand, which means that many Days Inns were not born as Days Inns but were born as something else. We have a lot of inconsistency out there, and that worked for so many years from Days Inn, but we learned the lesson from Super 8 when they executed Innov8te they saw performance go up, they saw their scores go up, and so it was just natural that we do the same thing.”
Days Inn will roll out Dawn in three phases. First, by the end of 2020, guestrooms will have three-panel color photographs of local sunrises above the bed, and the bed’s topping will be changed to white. Breen said the look of Dawn is contrary to where hotel design is trending, but that it fits Days Inn perfectly.
“Hotel rooms, so many of them are dark—dark wood, dark carpeting—but we’re Days Inn, … If we were a season we’d be summertime, so we wanted our rooms to reflect that,” he said. “And so much of our brand is in the Southeast (U.S.). While the others are zigging, we’re zagging. … We wanted (the design) fresh and bright because that sends a powerful message to our customers.”
The second and third phases of the redesign will incorporate luxury vinyl tile flooring instead of carpeting and case goods to update the furniture in the rooms. Breen said the plan is to obtain 100% compliance with the Dawn design within eight years.
“The goal for next eight years is to get from where we are now—which is diversity in color and design and fabric—to consistency, which is what (brand founder) Cecil B. Day had in mind all those years ago.”
What’s next for Super 8
Super 8 SVP Mike Mueller and Director of Brand Operations Haley Maglio announced during a conference brand session that Super 8 owners are more than 90% compliant with Innov8te, a guestroom refresh with updated bedding and black-and-white photography above the headboard.
Mueller attributed the “measured” capital-investment approach as critical to Innov8te’s success the past few years.
“Owners have told me, ‘I can’t do $100,000 of investment into my hotel,’ but they can do it over two to five years,” Mueller said during an executive Q&A session. “Today, we’re over 90% compliant. It’s really the sensible approach to capital deployment that we’ve asked of our franchise base that’s made it successful.”
A new room concept joining the brand is Room8te, which is in the pilot phase but intended for properties with larger rooms that can accommodate groups of guests with bunk beds and more social space.
Maglio said many of Super 8’s guests want to share a room but not share a bed.
“Travelers today want their own place to socialize, instead of awkwardly hanging out in your hotel lobby, which is small anyways, or in the parking lot in the back of their pickup truck—I know I’ve seen it and you have, too,” she said. “We’ve seen it countless times and we hear it from our guests: They want the social opportunity of an Airbnb type of a shared accommodation but they also want the predictability of a hotel, like knowing where to check in, get their room keys and even the benefit of daily housekeeping services.”
The cohesiveness of Wyndham’s economy brands
EVP of North America Scott LePage said the company wanted to inject “experiential travel” into the redesigns and refreshes of its economy brands.
“In the economy segment, the traveler isn’t always expecting an experience,” LePage said during an executive Q&A session. “If you go to an upscale hotel or resort, you’re expecting some type of experience. The economy traveler is generally expecting a stay, but by implementing (Super 8’s) Innov8te, which has hyper-local art that you can’t miss that’s on the wall, or by putting in Dawn (in Days Inn) and bringing the concept of ‘clean and bright’ into the room, or Travelodge where we come up with the concept of ‘Go’ and have the relationship with the national parks and bring that into the business, we’re giving the economy segment customer an experience within the hotel, an experience that doesn’t cost them more and that fits their budget.”
With a U.S. downturn possible in the near future, Breen said economy brands are also a good investment for owners.
“People are concerned there will be a downturn, and an economy brand is a great hedge against that,” Breen said. “In the previous recessions, our brands have done very well because companies start to stretch their travel dollar and stay at Super 8s and Days Inns. We don’t want a recession but we’re a great hedge against it.”
Editor’s note: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts paid for meals, registration fees and accommodations at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to attend its brand conference. Complete editorial control was at the discretion of the Hotel News Now editorial team; Wyndham had no influence on the coverage provided.