DALLAS-Wyndham International Inc. vows to stay the course of a three-year, turnaround strategy put into play to return stock value to its investors. At least that’s the message from yesterday’s fourth quarter conference call, while announcing the final appointment to a new management team assembled just to steer the plan. Non-strategic properties will continue to be sold and revenue applied to reduce debt plus expand and improve core brands of Wyndham Luxury Suites, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Summerfield Suites. The three-year plan will come full circle in 2002.

Jeff Wagoner, a 20-year hotel industry veteran, rounds out the turnaround team as the new senior vice president of hotel/garden hotel operations. He will oversee the more than 100 Wyndham properties.

Until this year, Dallas-based Wyndham had never had a strategically aligned, full-service vice presidents’ team. In addition to Wagoner, the senior vice presidents’ team consists of Michael Welly, appointed in March; Robert Burg, named in May; and Andrew Katz and Mike Grossman, both put in place in 1998.

“I think with the new management that we definitely have a strong team in place. We are definitely moving forward,” Wagoner tells GlobeSt.com.

Wyndham is allocating $184 million in the coming year for capital improvements at its holdings, complementing a $25-million investment this year for across-the-board comfort standards such as 900 megahertz cordless phones and high-speed Internet access. Meanwhile, the Downtown Dallas Anatole, a 1,620-room facility, is in line for an expansion of its 300,000 sf of meeting space. It also is being outfitted with a Golden Door Cities Spa. The Anatole’s added meeting space has yet to be determined, but it will be “substantial,” Wagoner tells GlobeSt.com.

The Anatole’s ongoing work has caused a shift from citywide convention bookings for 2001 to corporate bookings, according to executives conducting the conference call. But, it’s only for the short-tem, they say.

Wyndham has generated $416 million to date this year by unloading properties not considered key to its plan for a well-positioned play in the highly competitive hotel market. The revenue has been used to lower debt. Another $500 million in property will be sold off or swapped in 2001 as the company “continues to explore any avenues for large-scale asset disposition,” says Fred J. Kleisner, who took over as CEO in March and had been elected board chairman in October. “The plan is working. It continues to work and there is a strong basis to make it better.” He came on board in 1999 as president to steer Wyndham’s turnaround play.

Wyndham expects its adjusted EBITDA to be about $661 million or 6.5% more than its current adjusted run rate of $620 million. In 2001, RevPAR growth is predicted to come in at nearly 4%.

In early first quarter 2001, Wyndham will close on $59 million in asset sales that will be applied to debt reduction, says Ted Teng, president and COO. At the fourth quarter’s close, Wyndham’s debt will total $3.3 billion. This year, the hotelier had incurred $103 million in non-recurring debt that had been contractually obligated prior to the positioning of the new management team, says Teng, who came on board as COO in May.

Prior to the disposition plan, Wyndham’s brands and non-proprietary assets had been fairly even. Now, Wyndham brands account for 65% of the holdings and non-proprietary assets, 35%, says Kleisner. “And that number continues to shrink,” he emphasizes.

But the sell off doesn’t mean that Wyndham intends to stop growing. The 2001 plan calls for Wyndham to add one hotel a month. Just this year, Wyndham has added properties in Baltimore, Oak Brook, IL, Mt. Laurel, NJ, Buffalo Grove, IL, New Orleans, London and Miami. According to Wagoner, Wyndham is keeping its eyes open for properties in San Francisco and Manhattan. “Those are two markets we would love to be in,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

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