Wyndham continues waivers on franchise fees

The company began offering relief in March

Geoff Ballotti, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ president and CEO, laid out in a letter several fees the company will continue to waive to help franchisees make it through the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

WYNDHAM HOTELS & RESORTS is extending its waivers on certain franchising fees to help its owners. The company began in March waiving all fees for March, April and May 2020 to September 1 and will now continue the waivers with the June fees.

The company also postponed its 2021 Global Conference originally scheduled for April to relieve franchisees of the conference fees, according to a letter to franchisees from Geoff Ballotti, Wyndham’s president and CEO.

“We will ask for your feedback on when and where you feel our next global conference might make sense, from 2022 and beyond,” Ballotti said. “This also means that we will not need to ask our business partners to help underwrite the conference, as they so generously have done in the past.”

Some of the fees to be extended include 100 percent of the revenue management service fee; Wyndham Rewards enrollment requirement and related retraining fee; fees for using the Mobile Operating Platform (MOP) crisis communications program created by La Quinta Inn owner Pradip Mulji; quality inspections and related fees; and fees for Hospitality Management Program training as well as a delay in the requirement for general managers to complete the program until July 1.

“In addition to these fee relief extensions, other components of our recovery assistance planning include: providing access to difficult-to-source hospital grade cleaning and PPE products at cost through our Count on UsSM initiative; enacting flexible booking policies and loyalty benefits for travelers; and honoring #EverydayHeroes with loyalty status and special rates,” Ballotti wrote.

Several hotel owners have called for more relief on franchise fees from hotel brands and companies since the pandemic began. In an interview for the May issue of Asian Hospitality, Prakash Shah, president of the newly formed Fair Franchising Initiative, said the pandemic has highlighted an ongoing debate between franchisers and franchisees.

“A rising tide is lifting all the boats, so at that time you don’t like some things but you tolerate it because at least we’re making money,” said Shah, who also is a hotelier who recently divested his business of properties and owner of First Group Mortgage and Realty Group investment bank in New Jersey. “Then the tide turns and now, all of a sudden, things that were costing you here and there are now driving you into a loss situation. Without these things at least you make a little bit of money. With these things you are losing money and paying from your pocket.”