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Sam Nazarian’s sbe Forms Strategic Alliance with Wyndham

Sam Nazarian’s sbe Forms Strategic Alliance with Wyndham

sbe, the privately-held leading international lifestyle hospitality group that develops, manages and operates world-class hotels, restaurants, lounges and nightclubs, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: WH), the world’s largest hotel franchising company with approximately 9,100 hotels spanning over 95 countries, have announced the launch of a new smart lifestyle brand under the working title, Project HQ Hotels & Residences.

Project HQ unites the decades of experience of lifestyle visionary Sam Nazarian with the global scale, resources and reach of Wyndham. Owned by sbe with strategic investment by entertainment icon, entrepreneur and sbe equity partner Marc Anthony and his company Magnus, Project HQ will be affiliated with Wyndham’s Registry Collection Hotels, which caters to hotel owners in the luxury and smart lifestyle segments.

This marks sbe’s first hotel brand after the 2020 sale of its hospitality brand and management platform which included over 100 hotels (SLS, Delano, Mondrian and Hyde, among others), more than 150 restaurants and lounges, and over $4 billion of luxury residential sales.

Sam Nazarian, Founder & CEO of sbe states:
“At sbe, we believe in the fundamental value of hotels as places where people make memories and experience wonder. When we created lifestyle luxury back in 2005 with SLS, we forged a new category. Now, almost 20 years later we look to reinvent lifestyle again with Project HQ, the first smart lifestyle hotel brand. We will channel our entrepreneurial spirit and deep industry expertise into crafting intuitive, groundbreaking solutions for both hotel owners and guests. As a global leader for over two decades, we feel uniquely equipped to solve for the unmet needs of the next generation who are eager to engage with culinary excellence and vibrant social spaces that we’ve curated and cultivated with intention. It is such a privilege to have the support of an icon and entrepreneur like Marc Anthony as we embark on this next chapter. We also feel so honored to have established a strategic alliance with the best-in-class team at Wyndham and look forward to bringing The Wyndham Advantage to owners of Project HQ hotels around the globe.”

Geoff Ballotti, President & CEO of Wyndham states:
“Today we are combining Sam Nazarian’s unmatched culinary and lifestyle experience with the unrivalled scale and resources of the world’s largest hotel franchisor to fuel Project HQ Hotels & Residences. Our owners drive our success. Hotel owners searching for a differentiated, yet approachable, lifestyle brand will immediately benefit from the scale and resources of the world’s largest hotel franchisor, gaining access to best-in-class sales, distribution and technology, along with the industry’s number one hotel loyalty program in Wyndham Rewards.”


Smart Lifestyle: A New Category
With over two decades of experience in lifestyle hospitality, sbe is setting out to pave the way for a new category, smart lifestyle, revolutionizing hospitality by building communities and creating meaningful memories for its savvy Millennial and Gen Z guests through memorable experiences. Project HQ was concepted to be a more approachable experience for the consumer that has been priced out of the lifestyle hotel market and doesn’t feel like they have a brand that speaks to their desires in travel. Project HQ is the only smart lifestyle brand that provides innovative, proven solutions for the hospitality space. The brand name “Project HQ” is born from the concept that Project HQ Hotels will be in the heart of the cities they launch in, serving as the “headquarters” for exceptional dining, nightlife and wellness.

Project HQ’s 360 Approach to Smart Lifestyle
With brands backed by celebrity chefs like Casa Dani from 3-star Michelin Chef Dani García; MXO, a Mexican Steakhouse by Chef Wes Avila; the award-winning Katsuya by Chef Katsuya Uechi; and more brands in incubation with rising stars in the culinary space, Project HQ provides a unique food and beverage experience that transforms its hotels into sought-after destinations for locals and travelers alike. With a comprehensive approach, Project HQ offers legacy hotel owners an unparalleled and simplified experience to revitalize their properties, elevating them into distinguished Project HQ Hotels & Residences.

With a 360 approach to programming a property, Project HQ can equip a hotel with a desirable brand and global awareness, pre-approved FF&E packages, supply chain, technology integrations, OS&E packages, and unique programming to monetize otherwise underutilized spaces of the hotel. Project HQ can deliver this through its collection of partnerships and collaborations.

Project HQ will provide owners with sbe wellness programming, adding the med spa offering with sbe Wellness Clinics, and myriad food and beverage offerings ranging from fine dining to the array of brands from Sam Nazarian’s C3 and Nextbite with influential celebrity partners like Sofia Vergara, Dario Cecchini, Iron Chef Masharu Morimoto, Dani García, and Wes Avila;  YouTube influencers like Dude Perfect and Matt Stonie; legendary brands like Umami Burger and Soom Soom and additional brands with cult followings. These comprehensive enhancements will not only help hotels revitalize their real estate, but deeply enrich the guest experience, making every visit memorable and unique.

Project HQ Branded Residential
Project HQ will also deliver a uniquely positioned branded residential offering for underserved markets like integrated student housing, workforce housing and the like. After launching an extremely successful branded residential business with brands like SLS and Mondrian that regularly sold for ~20% above market rates, this Project HQ product is set to build on that expertise to deliver a unique smart lifestyle residential program that will drive licensing revenue for owners and address a need for the most sought-after Millennial and Gen Z audience.

A Strategic Alliance: Wyndham
Through its strategic alliance with Wyndham, Project HQ join Wyndham’s Registry Collection Hotels brand. Widely recognized for its OwnerFirstSM approach, Wyndham in recent years has invested more than $275 million in technology, helping deliver industry-first sales, marketing and digital innovations including mobile check-in/check-out, mobile key and more—all while expanding its on-the-ground operational support of hotels.

From next-gen property and revenue management systems to opt-in, revenue-boosting, ancillary services like its Signature Reservation Services, to loyalty-building team member incentives like The Rewards Circle—no other major hotel company is more focused or more committed to the long-term, collective success of owners and franchisees.

Project HQ will also participate in Wyndham Rewards, connecting them to a rapidly growing enrolled member base of approximately 105 million everyday travelers around the globe. Program members account for nearly one out of every two check-ins at Wyndham’s hotels across the U.S. and on average, stay and spend nearly twice as much as non-members. Wyndham Rewards is routinely celebrated for its simple, generous approach to rewards has been named the number one hotel rewards program by both U.S. News & World Report and the readers of USA TODAY.

The Future of PROJECT HQ
Project HQ plans to open 50 hotels by 2030, delivering approximately 7,500 rooms designed uniquely for the savvy Millennial and Gen Z traveler. PROJECT HQ’s business development team will also benefit from the experience and reach of Wyndham’s large development organization, aiding the brand in seeking out both ground up developments and conversion Projects. Project HQ’s concept is a solution that legacy hotel owners have a deep and urgent need for in todays’ market. Project HQ plans to open 50% of its properties stateside with 50% of openings internationally, and a mix of 80% conversion Projects and 20% ground up new construction.