Wingate Inn President Keith Pierce told franchisees attending their national conference here today that the brand will pursue high-profile hotel projects to augment its historically aggressive growth.
“Wingate Inns has embarked on a strategic growth plan to gain a foothold in major metropolitan markets, high-barrier locations and premium secondary markets including airport locations,” he said. “Our immediate goal is to accelerate development of the brand.
By developing properties in the top 25 U.S. markets—including “premium” center-city locations—Wingate Inns International will improve its presence among corporate travelers, drive higher brand awareness and, ultimately, drive “higher brand RevPAR,” Pierce said.
The plan, which also involves identifying and attracting multiunit developers and operators, ranks new construction as the first choice for development but allows for “re-adaptations” of existing facilities when land is not available, he said.
“Center city and high-barrier deals are the only deals that will be considered for our re-adaptation strategy,” he said, reiterating that the Wingate Inn brand remains committed to its core philosophy of developing all-new construction, upper mid-market, limited-service hotels.
“We will absolutely continue to require the hotel to provide all of the amenities and services that define the brand image and essence of Wingate today,” Pierce said. “If we can`t be true to the brand, we simply won`t do the deal.
Reporting on brand performance, Pierce said the brand has been “resilient,” has grown “steadily” and realized higher RevPAR in 2002 compared with the prior year.
Wingate Inns International opened its first franchised hotel in July 1996. Its focused service, upper mid-market franchised hotels feature sophisticated, consumer-based technology and comfortable, oversized rooms that were created in response to business travelers’ needs. All Wingate Inn hotels are independently owned and operated under franchise agreements with Wingate Inns International. Reservations can be made by calling the Wingate Inn toll-free reservation center at (800) 228-1000 or through the company’s Web site at www.wingateinns.com. Wingate Inns International is a subsidiary of Cendant Corporation (NYSE: CD).