Site Visit: It's hip to be 'Tryp'
Tryp by Wyndham, the hip, urban lifestyle upper mid-scale brand by Wyndham Hotel Group, makes landfall in Dubai. Hotelier Express goes on a 'tryp' to check it out
On Hotelier Express’ visit to the new Tryp by Wyndham in Barsha Heights, Dubai, the taxi pulled into the hotel driveway and the cab door was pulled open by the property’s beaming hotel manager, much to our surprise. This occurred a few days before the hotel was due to officially open, with the entire property a bristling hive of activity, yet hotel manager Jo-Ella Moore herself was hands-on in leading the crew of hotel staff waiting to welcome guest arrivals.
Talk about a ‘wow’ welcome.
Moore, the dynamic, loquacious, nattily dressed (in a colourful shift mini-dress and beribboned champagne-hued sneakers) leader of the ‘Trypsters’, is the vividly hip personification of Tryp, the upper mid-scale lifestyle hotel brand by Wyndham Hotel Group. Youthful, attractive and astutely smart, she walks and talks and wears the brand well.
Asked to clarify about the hotel’s positioning, Moore enthuses: “We’re really moving in line with the whole new face of Tecom/Barsha Heights. They’re beautifying the area and they’re making it hip and urban which is essentially what Tryp is. So we’ve really positioned our location in the perfect area. It’s all about that budget-conscious concept traveller who comes here and then explores because they’ve got the travel budget to do so. It’s exciting.”
Moore is mindful of the size of her hotel and that she’s got a lot of rooms to fill and so, is careful to hedge her bets, preferring to cast her net to include traditional, nearby markets as well as those emerging from far and wide.
“For the Barsha Heights area, a lot of it is focused on the GCC market, whether that’s a fly-in or a drive-through market from Saudi Arabia and Oman. We also have a lot of interest from large volume groups coming from India as well as from Chinese tour series,” she says.
“It’s quite a nice bag of eggs. We don’t have to have everything in one basket,” she adds. “We’ve got a great mix of leisure and corporate and obviously, groups. The way we’ve configured the hotel is that one-third of our inventory is twin beds, which is great for families as well as for the groups market, 250 rooms based on twin configuration. Something that’s really needed in Dubai and quite timely in this area.”
Volume is the key to filling the hotel’s rooms, Moore concurs, and forms the core component of her strategy in achieving her most important objectives during the hotel’s crucial first year.
“Basically, we’ve got to meet those financial targets for our owners and for our brand, that’s on everyone’s minds right now,” she says.
Moore states that while she’s also keen on developing a corporate social responsibility programme with her team, to see how they can all contribute to the community, a more pressing concern for a hotel that is geared towards today’s digital-savvy travellers, is social media feedback and engagement.
“One of our most important goals is, we want to get positive feedback on sites such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and of course, any of the social media outlets, to show that this is not just a hotel, we’ve got great characters working here too,” she says.
Moore confirms that 160 employees, comprising 29 different nationalities, are already onboard, representing only 50% of her manning, so she’s still hiring. What is she looking for specifically?
“We’re really trying to make sure that we recruit the right people with the right personality because we can train the rest. We want to make sure that we interact with you and make your stay more fun,” she says, adding that a significant portion of staff training is actually focusing on getting to know the Barsha Heights local neighborhood as well as all the local ‘insider’s secrets’ about Dubai, such as being able to recommend the city’s best shawarma, should a hungry guest have a craving.
Though truth be told, hungry guests don’t need to venture too far, seeing as Tryp by Wyndham Dubai is introducing new and exciting food and beverage concepts along with the hotel opening. At the time of our visit, Local, a bright, airy space with an outdoor patio perfect for socialising and sharing fresh, authentic international favourites, was already bursting at the seams. Set to open in Q4 2017 are two more outlets, L!QD, adjacent to the hotel’s swimming pool, and BarBary, a 1920s Parisian-styled speakeasy. In addition, the hotel is about to debut ‘Nest’, what it claims is the first “integrated co-working space concept within a hotel” in Dubai.
Elaborating further on the concept, Moore says: “In simple terms, there’s a lot of people in Dubai who are entrepreneurs and trying to set up their own business but a lot of businesses don’t require an office or a showroom but need a professional working environment. And they need a place where they can maybe make new contacts and they can help each other. Co-working spaces are all about trying to help people succeed in their business.”
She continues: “It’s a whole working environment but it’s multi-outlet. It can be closed off for meetings. It’s got little pod stations, meeting areas, serves tea and coffee all day, and of course, it’s equipped with the latest technology.”
Moore says the Nest booking policy is “very flexible” with guests provided the freedom to come on a day-to-day basis or opt for full-time membership, the latter coming with a host of benefits. According to Moore, more networking opportunities will be offered to members with events organised by the hotel.
Such innovations in mid-scale hotel operations are coming to fruition in the Middle East with the emergence of lifestyle brands, and Moore is of the opinion that such changes are not only welcome, they’re sorely needed in order for markets like Dubai to mature.
“I take my hat off to brands such as Rove, Aloft, and Tryp, of course, for coming up and interpreting this lifestyle concept in their own various ways, with stylish but still affordable accommodation, casual and fun concepts, and yet with service that doesn’t make you think you are missing anything from not staying in a five-star hotel,” Moore says.
According to Moore, the buzz swirling around the region’s mid-scale brands is indicative of a shift happening in the overall hospitality industry.“There is so much opportunity in this sector because for so long, Dubai has been based on five-star properties and luxury hotels. Dubai needs to capture another market; it’s not about the luxury traveller anymore.”
And this shift is driven by a powerful, tectonic change in travellers’ behaviour. “Travellers these days, they want tthe flexibility of doing what they want to do. Coming back to the hotel, they want a safe and comfortable haven. It has to look good, so they can post about it on Instagram and Facebook. They want staff who know what to do, WiFi and good food.”
“With brands like ours, they’ve got the best of both worlds. And that’s why these brands are doing so well,” Moore concludes, with a smile.