Comwell Hotels is the first Scandinavian chain to partner with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. With two Comwell hotels joining the Dolce by Wyndham portfolio, their doors are set to open to new loyalty members in their millions.

By Kim Wyon

You would be forgiven for believing that Comwell Hotels needed no further brand management. With 50 years of history on the Danish market and with soul-pleasing destinations that include palatial seaside spas and scenic conference resorts, the Comwell brand is already top-of-mind among Danish MICE operators, winning the Best Hotel title at the Danish Travel Awards last year.

In 2019, Comwell was even the highest-rated hotel chain in the Danish Sustainable Brand Index B2C. But in the modern world of travel, sustaining your success takes more than nurturing a home-grown following. With an eye to wider international markets, Comwell Hotels is now the first Scandinavian hotel chain to enter a partnership with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, allowing two of their state-of-the-art hotels – one in Copenhagen and one in Aarhus – to join the Dolce by Wyndham collection. GUEST magazine spoke to CEO of Comwell Hotels, Peter Schelde.

Central to the Dolce by Wyndham brand are hotels with a resort feeling. Here the culinary world of Comwell Aarhus Dolce By Wyndham, Restaurant V.

What are your visions for your partnership with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts – and how would you describe the match between you?

“Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is the world’s largest hotel franchise company, represented worldwide and with 77 million loyalty members. They have a strong international sales team with global customers, which means that in future we will gain a strong standing in the market, not least when we open our first hotel in Copenhagen in January 2021.

“So, our collaboration means that we will attain significantly better exposure to foreign tourists, businesspeople and the conference and congress market when travellers search for hotels in Denmark. That is not the case today. As I see it, we are currently competing with other hotels for the same customers in Denmark. I see this collaboration as giving us a global market that is significantly larger.

“Our longstanding and solid expertise in meetings and conferences as well as our award-winning concepts are a good match with the Wyndham brand. I think we can learn a lot from each other.”

The conference industry is experiencing many changes. On the one hand, it is expanding, yet on the other hand, we are seeing a greater awareness of the environmental cost of travel among businesses in Scandinavia, many of which are now studying online alternatives to physical meetings. How are these developments affecting the product you offer?

“I don’t think one excludes the other. Firstly, we at Comwell have been aiming for sustainability since 2015. An undertaking for which we have gained a lot of recognition and awards both at home and abroad. We clearly notice that our customers are increasingly choosing partners who take their CSR policy seriously and can contribute to the customer’s ‘green journey’.

“Secondly, we have never been more innovative than in current years. We are constantly developing new concepts and learning tools both internally and in collaboration with external partners. Naturally, we do this because as a meeting and conference provider, we really need to reflect the reality we live in. In just a few years’ time, we will be confronted with a whole new generation that is used to communicating and meeting in completely different ways than we do today.

“I don’t think the need to meet face to face will ever become redundant. We just need to think of new methods and tools for our concept and new offers for our customers.”

There is a growing international trend towards combining business or conference stays with leisure. How does this influence the way you develop your hotel concepts?

“We do this by constantly focusing on our concepts and fine hospitality. For very many of our business guests, the keyword is convenience. It should be easy to book, check in and check out and to order services. But this will never be enough on its own. Good hospitality must include a high level of flexibility and personal service.

“Denmark is known for its high price level. So, if business guests or tourists are to pay three times the price for a cup of coffee compared to many other countries, then we need to add an extra dose of service to the experience.

“I think Comwell wins a lot when a business guest has experienced our high level of service, well-crafted organic food, good location and modern spa concept. Then, hopefully, we will be top-of-mind when one day they return to Denmark – or for that matter when a Dane visits other cities in our own country as a private traveller.”

Located in Nordhavn, one of Copenhagen’s fastest-growing dockland developments, the hotel is set to open in 2021 and will comprise 484 guestrooms, including 3 suites, in addition to 18 conference rooms. Next to the hotel, a new metro line (M4) will open later this year, ensuring fully-automated transit service to the city centre in just 10 minutes. There are also plans to add a water taxi service to romantically bring guests into town via the waterways.