Christian Michel, VP of development for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and a 30-year lodging industry veteran, will be speaking on the International Operators’ Panel, “What can international brands bring to Israel’s hotel market?” at next week’s Israel Hotel Investment Summit, sponsored by Questex, parent company of Hotel Management Magazine.
At Wyndham, Michel is responsible for growing the portfolio of brands and leading the company’s development team in Europe.
Ahead of the conference, Michel shared his thoughts on industry trends, brands and the importance of the industry gathering for face-to-face meetings.
1. What are the main trends you are seeing within the Israeli hotel market?
In the past few years Israel has experienced strong growth in its tourism sector. Last year alone, the country welcomed [more than] 4 million tourists, with a strong 14 percent [year-over-year] growth, also supported by more air routes available. This has benefitted local hoteliers and drawn the attention of more international hotel brands.
With the strong demand, we think there is a growing need for the hospitality sector in the market, particularly in key resort developments, as well as projects in secondary cities.
As tourism in the region increases, the main challenge for hoteliers will be to attract returning visitors and to do so they must have a consistent and high service level. This is something that established brands like ours help provide.
2. What are the salient points to note when considering Israel as a destination for hotel development?
Israel is an incredibly diverse destination with really strong potential for development. The country offers stunning beaches and landscapes, rich history and culture, and has something to offer to any type of traveler. It has also a strong local economy, and provides many opportunities in both business and leisure destinations.
3. You’re speaking on a panel session during IHIS that will discuss the value international brands can bring to a destination. How does Wyndham gauge whether there is still consumer demand for brands?
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is the world’s largest hotel franchising company, with approximately 9,200 hotels across more than 80 countries in six continents. We have a strong portfolio of 20 international brands, with a great exposure in Israel’s main feeder markets. Our portfolio ranges from economy to upper-upscale offerings, and is the perfect fit for international travelers seeking internationally recognized hotel brands they know and trust, with high quality standards and a great guest experience.
The value of a brand is even more paramount in a market like Israel. Travelers desire to explore lesser-travelled destinations, but they want to find the quality of their accommodation and service of international brands. Long-established brands like Wyndham Hotels & Resorts guarantee provide stability and reputation, helping to attract visitors and bring them back time and time again.
Our global scale gives us an in-depth insight into the value of brands within hospitality and the trust that travelers put in them. Our Wyndham Rewards loyalty program is a very strong indicator of the consumer demand for brands. We have over 77 million enrolled members, who make the most of the thousands of hotels, vacation club resorts and vacation rentals that are available through the program.
4. According to a recent article in Hotel Management, Wyndham have significant plans for international development. Can you share these plans in relation to Israel specifically?
We are incredibly proud to have built an established presence in Israel with our Ramada and Tryp by Wyndham brands and we are in continuous talks with partners to further expand our footprint. [While] I am not in a position to share any plans at this stage, we see potential for our upscale brand Wyndham and our mid-market brand Ramada by Wyndham, as well as our Days Inn and Super 8 by Wyndham brands, which would provide great budget and economy accommodation options in the market.
5. What is it important for the hospitality community to gather at events such as IHIS?
Events like IHIS are a huge part of the hospitality industry. They provide a forum to access more inside knowledge and in-depth analysis about the market, meet key players and developers, and very importantly exchange information with key consultants and interact with local authorities promoting Israel.
Michel will be speaking on the International Operators’ Panel: “What can international brands bring to Israel’s hotel market?” on Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. during the Israel Hotel Investment Summit, which runs Nov. 20-21 at the Hilton Tel Aviv. Learn more here.