While Choice has talked quite a bit lately about branching out of their midscale comfort zone into more upscale properties, this would be a clear doubling down on their current market niche.
- Choice Hotels is strong in economy lodging such as Quality Inn, Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge
- While Wyndham is heavy in the same space with brands like Days Inn, Travelodge, La Quinta, and Ramada and Super 8
Both chains are more booking platforms than hoteliers, since they not only don’t own hotels they generally don’t run them either, preferring to franchise. Choice currently has over 7,000 properties and Wyndham over 9,000.
And both have a handful of nicer hotels, and nicer partner hotels (and homeshares and timeshares) where members can redeem their points. In general Wyndham Rewards is the stronger loyalty program in my opinion, and has been for about the past 8 years, however it’s also been devalued several times. Their small business co-brand is actually quite interesting. Here by the way are the internal secrets of the Wyndham Rewards program.
Choice Privileges on the other hand just launched new credit cards that are… ok. The premium card makes sense to get and to keep, if you’re in the Choice ecosystem, but not to spend money on. The design of the card really doesn’t reward ongoing spend. It does help with status, but the chain’s status benefits are weak (and getting franchise hotels to consistently deliver on promised benefits is hard).
If Choice does put together a deal for Wyndham it seems as though that will be their primary focus for some time, so I’d be surprised if they focused more in the near-term on growth in the more upscale space, though it’s possible there could be additional investment in Radisson’s and Wyndham’s more premium brands at least as an experiment.