Wednesday, November 19, 2008

15 minutes with Eric Danziger

On Monday, Wyndham Worldwide announced the company had hired Eric Danziger, a veteran of more than 30 years in the hotel industry, as the new president and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group. Click here for the official release announcing Danziger's appointment, which includes his biography.

I spoke with him Monday evening. Here's a short excerpt from that conversation. Stay tuned to future issues of Hotel & Motel Management for a more in-depth report on Danziger's plans for Wyndham Hotel Group.

H&MM: Why come back to hospitality?
E.D.: It’s all I ever did for 30 years. When you spend a lifetime in an industry, it’s a passion. It’s in your blood. I missed it, and that high level of passion for that industry and its people was important to me. What’s more important was matching it with that company that fit well. This opportunity came along … I wanted to work with Steve Holmes, and it's a perfect marriage.

H&MM: You’ve had an impressive career with top hotel companies—Doubletree, Starwood, Carlson, Wyndham, the board at Kimpton. You’ve got a reputation of growing these brands. Stephen Holmes in the press release this morning said one of your best qualities was your ability to diversify and grow businesses. Wyndham is pretty diverse, brand-wise, and it’s pretty large. What are your plans for the group and its brands? To diversify and grow?

E.D.: You grow business by some pretty simple basics, no matter what size you are. If you create dynamic enthusiasm and operating excellence, you will become the brands of choice--the brands to work at, stay at, invest in, have the hotel franchised with. This is a great company populated with heritage brands.

We don’t have to create a new brand. Let’s just figure out, are we doing all the things we should be doing? If not, let’s go do that. That’s what grows any company. It isn’t about a marketing logo, it’s about doing what you say you’re going to do and having people in the company who have no fear of failure. Playing to win and playing not to lose are two different mentalities. We’re playing to win.

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