PARSIPPANY, N.J. -- Wingate Inns properties are opening at the rate
of one per week, John Paul Nichols, the chain's president and chief
executive officer, said.
Cendant Corp.'s 2-year-old, all-new-construction business-travel
brand now totals 32 hotels. Nichols predicted that number would
leap to 65 by the end of the year and to more than 250 by 2001.
Wingates are slated to crop up overseas as well: The brand has
four construction sites in the Philippines; the hotels should open
within a year.
In Canada, Wingates are scheduled to appear within 10
In the U.S., the brand is showing up in clusters in the Chicago,
Dallas, Houston and Phoenix areas.
With prices of about $50 to $60 per night, Wingate properties,
which average 100 rooms, rival Courtyard by Marriott and Hampton
About 60% of Wingate bookings come from corporate travel agents,
Half of the chain's guests arrive by plane and the other half by
Cell phones set the chain apart from the masses of midpriced
hotels, Nichols added. Wingates include a 900 megahertz cordless
phone in every room, plus a second, dual-line phone. Guests can
walk down a hallway with it and even take calls in the room next
The front desk rents out complimentary "roving" portable phones
that guests can take to the breakfast area, a meeting room or the
fitness center, billing long-distance-calls to their rooms.
Meetings attendees have been especially keen on the roving phones,
Nichols said. Wingates typically host small meetings of up to 50 or
Future plans are to add in-room Internet access. The chain
currently offers free Internet access in its 24-hour business
centers. "Mr. Smith would go into Room 101, turn on the TV and find
a customized home page with his preferred newspapers and subject
matter," Nichols said.
Wingate's automated check-in/checkout machines -- called Ed for
Express Desk -- attract as many as 20% of guests at some
properties, he said.
The chain launched a frequent traveler club earlier this year:
After staying nine nights, guests can choose from a free night,
2,500 American AAdvantage miles or 2,500 Continental Airlines
Wingate features a 100% satisfaction program as well.
"Of the first 30,000 room nights that we sold, we had to deal
with only 27 refunds," Nichols said.
The newest Wingate Inns can be found in Anniston, Ala.; Augusta,
Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; Mechanicsburg, Pa.; Clarksville, Tenn.;
Arlington, Texas, and the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in Texas.