HB on the Scene: Wyndham launches new owner and guest engagement platforms

At Wyndham Hotels & Resorts‘ 2023 Global Conference at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA, the company introduced new owner and guest engagement platforms. Over the last five years, the company has invested more than $275 million in technology, all while expanding its on-the-ground operational support of hotels. The tools come at no additional cost to Wyndham franchisees.

“We’ve migrated off [our legacy systems] to a cloud-based central reservation system, allowing for cloud-based property management systems which do not require any of our small business owners to maintain a server in their hotels—that’s a big deal,” said Geoff Ballotti, president/CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, during a press conference following the opening general session. “All you need [in order] to be on the Wyndham system today is an internet connection. And we’re offering choices and trying not to mandate. We’re offering services that you could opt into.”

Developed with help and insight from Wyndham’s franchise advisory and brand councils, Wyndham Community—the new owner engagement platform—marks a significant advancement for hotel owners looking to streamline and simplify management of their hotel operations, regardless of whether they own a single hotel or a portfolio spanning multiple brands and segments, according to the company.

“Six years ago, we were running, as they say in England, a dog’s breakfast of systems,” said Scott Strickland, EVP/chief information officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “We had five central reservation systems, multiple web platforms and 12 different property management systems.”

He continued, “So as part of [the $275 million] investment, we consolidated onto a single central reservation system, and we’re in the process of getting to two property management systems. So a lot of that investment was about standardizing our platforms, and one of those big standardization pushes was to Salesforce.”

Wyndham Community, Strickland said, “was a natural extension of our Salesforce investment. It gives us a 360-degree view of our franchisee and our customers. Because we get to see how we’re servicing them, how we’re marketing for them, who their customers are, and now with community, here’s how they’re accessing our system.”

When the platform was piloted, there were “12,000 logins on the first day,” Strickland said. “We’re consistently at more than 18,000 logins right now, and 100,000 dashboard views. But what’s important is it’s [the owners’] portal; it’s their single place to go. You log in via your mobile device, and you take a look. ‘OK, how did I perform last night? This is how I performed. Do I have an open review case on my property? I do, so I better respond—good review or bad review, it doesn’t matter, but I better respond.’ It’s our last piece of major legacy technology that we’re replacing.”

Through Wyndham Community, owners can access real-time insights on key business metrics across their portfolio, from anywhere and any device, while also keeping tabs on high-priority tasks and other key action items. The platform also provides a direct connection to operational support while serving as owners’ primary destination for news and updates.

Mobile-based guest engagement

Wyndham’s new guest engagement platform, powered by Canary Technologies, further enhances the guest experience by providing hotel owners with a series of mobile-centric tools. Slated to start rolling out in the coming weeks, it’s built around four key areas:

  • AI-driven property messaging: Integrating directly with Wyndham’s next-gen property management systems (SynXis Property Hub and Opera Cloud), guests can text hotels directly for any needs throughout their stay. Frequently asked questions are answered by Wyndham Hospitality AI, freeing hotel staff to focus on other guest needs.
  • Smart mobile check-in: This offering helps protect hotels against unwarranted chargebacks and fraud by incorporating credit card and ID verification prior to guests’ arrival, significantly speeding up the check-in process.
  • Dynamic upsell: Hotels can engage guests in advance of their stay, offering enhancements like early check-in, late checkout and room upgrades. In doing so, hotel owners can now easily unlock new opportunities to boost revenue and their bottom line.
  • Smart mobile checkout: Upon checkout, housekeeping is automatically notified a new room is ready for cleaning while the checkout screen on the guest’s device asks for a review of the stay. On average, pilot properties are seeing a 25% increase in positive reviews.

The Wyndham Advantage

Wyndham’s new owner and guest engagement platforms join a growing list of additional tools and resources, which collectively offer franchisees The Wyndham Advantage, including next-gen property and revenue management systems to opt-in; revenue-boosting, ancillary services like its Signature Reservation Services; and loyalty-building incentives like The Rewards Circle.

Ballotti said that 4,500 franchisees have already opted-in to the Signature Reservation Services, where room booking calls are directed to a professionally run call center.

“It’s driving a longer average length of stay and a higher ADR, driving, on average, $22,000 in revenue,” he said.

The CEO emphasized that while the new offerings within The Wyndham Advantage come at no cost to the franchisee, he hopes that tools like “mobile key, mobile tipping, mobile check-in and checkout and The Rewards Circle will all achieve that above-50% adoption that our Signature Reservation system has achieved.”

Wyndham also debuted its new OTA reconciliation tool. Aimed at correcting the OTA overbilling that can occur when a guest no-shows, cancels or shortens their reservation, the tool automatically reconciles each hotel’s stay data with the commissions previously charged at the time of booking. In instances of misalignment, the tool reconciles those stays so the appropriate commission is charged. Historically a manual process, or one which hotels needed to outsource to a third-party for a fee, the Wyndham-provided service is available at no additional cost to franchisees and currently covers all bookings made through Expedia and its affiliated brands.