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Wednesday 18 March 2020

Bizarre timing: a new hotel brand unveiled in a time of crisis

There is unfortunate timing; bad timing and shocking timing. 

At a time when the travel industry is in crisis across the region, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts decided to go ahead with an announcement on the launch of a new hotel brand in New Zealand. That's either crazy timing - or tone deafness.

Wyndham, the world's largest hotel franchising company with approximately 9,300 properties located across 90 countries, announced La Quinta by Wyndham's inaugural launch into the South East Asia and Pacific Rim (SEAPR), unveiling two hotels in New Zealand.

Wyndham acquired La Quinta's hotel franchise and management businesses in 2018 - but why it would use a Spanish name in a market where very few people speak Spanish, or can even pronounce Spanish names, is beyond me.

The announcement follows the brand's recent European debut in Istanbul (where they also speak very little Spanish). It was the first La Quinta to open outside the Americas (where many people do speak Spanish).

The first hotels set to fly the brand's flag in New Zealand will be located in Auckland and Queenstown under a franchise agreement with Safari Group, Wyndham's long-standing partner in the region.

“We are delighted to deepen our relationship with the Safari Group and to introduce another sought-after and growing brand to New Zealand, and the SEAPR region," said Joon Aun Ooi, Wyndham's president and managing director for the region.

"Despite the current situation, we are confident of the tourism momentum in New Zealand and that international travellers will return to seek out the country's natural attractions and stunning scenery.

“With hundreds of properties already operating in the Americas and a global expansion strategy also underway, La Quinta by Wyndham is a proven favourite among guests and hotel developers alike." I must say I had never heard of the brand until today.

Wyndham describes the La Quinta brand as "upper-midscale" (whatever that means).

Close to Queenstown Airport, the 87-key LQ by Wyndham Remarkables Park (quite a mouthful compared to the Hilton, or the Hyatt) is pictured above and is set to open its doors in late 2020.

The 246-room LQ by Wyndham Greenlane Auckland (these people love long names) will be in the Ellerslie district between Auckland Airport and Auckland CBD and open in mid 2022.

Both properties will feature a mix of accommodation for short and extended stays, and facilities including fitness centres and “grab & go” caf├ęs.

# I looked up La Quinta for you. It apparently means "the Fifth" and is an old-fashioned term referring to a hacienda or rest-stop reached every five days on a long journey or pilgrimage. So not very New Zealandy at all. 

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