Since joining Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in 2016, Ignace Bauwens has been instrumental in expanding the group’s portfolio of hotels across the Middle East and Africa, including key GCC markets such as the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. During his short time with the group, Bauwen’s remit has also expanded to include Eurasia.
Over the last two years, Bauwens has overseen the group’s portfolio grow by 30%, from 8162 rooms in 2016 to 10,593 rooms today in the Middle East and Africa.
In the past 12 months alone, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has expanded its growing portfolio in the region with seven important openings across the MENA region. This includes the largest TRYP by Wyndham in the world with 650 rooms, which opened in Dubai in August, as well as the introduction of the Wyndham Garden brand to the region, with openings in Bahrain (also the largest Wyndham Garden in the world) and the UAE, which will add to an additional Wyndham Garden opening in Saudi Arabia, expected later this year.
The Middle East remains an important market for the hotel operator, especially Saudi Arabia, where the group currently operates nearly 2,000 rooms.
In June 2017, Wyndham introduced the first Ramada Encore by Wyndham into the Kingdom. In the past year, the group has expanded its development pipeline, with plans to bring add seven additional hotels and over 1,000 rooms over the next three years across a variety of brands and destinations.
These include the launch of new brands in the region with Wyndham Garden in Dammam and Riyadh, and Howard Johnson by Wyndham in Dammam. The group has also signed more Ramada Encore and Ramada by Wyndham hotels in Al Khobar and Riyadh respectively.
Bauwens tells Hotelier Middle East: “Saudi Arabia is another important market where we have 12 hotels and almost 2,000 rooms and we see strong growth opportunities, particularly in the mid-market sector.”