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INTERVIEW: Global Expansion for Hotel Brands

Dimitris Manikis, President and Managing Director (EMEA) at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, outlines the key elements to creating a successful global brand expansion strategy.

In an increasingly globalized world where travel has become faster, cheaper, and more convenient, the hospitality industry has been thriving with travelers from all around the world. With a record 1.4 billion travelers in 2018 alone according to UNWTO, hotel brands have been expanding rapidly to keep up with the demand.

In an interview with the Young Hoteliers Summit, Dimitris Manikis, President and Managing Director (EMEA) at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, outlines the key elements to creating a successful global brand expansion strategy. He emphasizes the importance of respecting the rules of business engagement, adapting to the local culture, and working with the right partners.

Furthermore, a leisure traveler on vacation with his family may be looking for a luxury resort one week, but a mid-tier business hotel when he goes on a business trip the next week. Dimitris thus highlights how Wyndham’s wide range of brands from economy to luxury across different countries has given both travelers and franchisees many options by catering to a diversity of needs.

As more brands seek to leverage the travel boom, expanding into foreign countries and territories, the ability to understand the local culture and offer authentic experiences has become an important topic of discussion for the industry. As Dimitris says:

Agility and adaptability are key to taking a brand global.

Nonetheless, he also emphasizes the need to balance between being local and retaining the essence of the brand.
Dimitri Manikis YHS- V6

As the largest hotel franchising company in the world, Wyndham’s success is a testament to the viability of franchising as a business model for expanding a brand globally. However, franchising can be a tricky business in ensuring that the brand is respected by its franchisees. Therefore, Dimitris discusses how important it is for franchisors to first respect their franchisees, and listen to them and their team. In turn, the franchisees will also respect the brand and what it stands for, therefore bringing the two parties together and creating a successful franchising business.

About the Young Hoteliers Summit

In 2010, five students from the EHL Lausanne founded a small committee with a big purpose: to bring together established professionals and aspiring leaders of the hospitality industry to share ideas and knowledge, and accelerate progress in the industry. Since then, YHS has worked hard to become recognized as the largest student-run summit in the world. Every year, YHS welcomes approximately 30 speakers, student delegates from over 40 of the world’s leading hospitality institutions, as well as members of the media and other external guests at the summit. Building on a different theme each year, YHS serves as a platform for interesting and insightful debates and discussions on the industry’s hottest topics.

For the 10th Edition of the Young Hoteliers Summit, the Employer Rankings Report explores - among other things - the career path motivations and workplace characteristics hospitality management graduates and professionals view as the most important. This year, over 1200 students completed the survey from 100 nationalities across 285 schools. We rounded-up key takeaways from the report.

Click below to download the 2019 YHS Employer Rankings

Kimberly Yoong
About the author
Kimberly Yoong is a student at the EHL Lausanne pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in International Hospitality Management. Since obtaining her Singapore-Cambridge “A” Level diploma, she has tried her hand at running a start-up non-profit organization, and has had experiences in the hospitality industry in various roles across different countries – namely USA, Japan, Singapore, and Switzerland.