HM on Location: Wyndham launches platforms to drive engagement

ANAHEIM, Calif. — It’s been four years since Wyndham Hotels & Resorts held a global brand conference, and the company’s first gathering since 2019 is reportedly its largest, with more than 6,200 registered attendees at the Anaheim Convention Center. 

The big buzz at the event was the launch of Wyndham Community, a new owner engagement platform developed as a result of Wyndham’s five-year, $275 million investment in technology.

At the opening session of the convention, Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, recalled talking with franchisees and managers during executive summits and learning that the property leaders wanted an improvement to the MyPortal platform. 

The platform is meant to be an all-in-one concept that replaces the many technology systems available to hotel owners. Not very long ago, CIO Scott Strickland noted, the company had five central reservation systems, 12 different property management systems and “multiple” web platforms. Today, the company has consolidated onto a single central reservation system, and Strickland noted that Wyndham is one of the only in the industry on a single central reservation system for all of its hotels. “We're in the process of getting to two property management systems,” he added, and noted that the company now uses one digital marketing system in 95 countries and six languages. 

Community Engagement

Community was developed over the past 18 months with feedback from franchisees and Wyndham’s field operations teams, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Checchio said. 

Through the tool, owners can access real-time insights on key business metrics across their portfolio on any device while also keeping tabs on high-priority tasks and other key action items. Wyndham Community also provides a direct connection to operational support along with news and updates.

The company also launched a new reconciliation tool for online travel agencies that is meant to correct the overbilling that can occur when guests booking via OTAs don’t show up, cancel their reservation or change the dates. 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. This process has traditionally been handled manually or outsourced at an additional expense. The new service, developed with Expedia, covers all bookings made through Expedia and its affiliated brands and is available at no additional cost to franchisees.

“Our hope with Community is that it becomes our franchisees’ daily habit,” Checchio said, and Strickland added that the team would like to see adoption rates in the “high 90s” by the end of the year. 

Guest Engagement

Wyndham is launching a new guest engagement platform powered by Canary Technologies. The platform, a series of mobile-centric tools, focuses on four key elements: 

  • 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 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: Building on Wyndham’s efforts to bring mobile check-in and checkout to the economy segment, this newest offering helps protect hotels against unwarranted chargebacks and fraud by incorporating credit card and ID verification prior to guests’ arrival, speeding up the check-in process.
  • Dynamic Upsell: Ahead of a guest’s stay, the platform will connect with them and offer perks like early check-in, late checkout, pre-arrival treats and room upgrades for a cost. The options can help owners boost revenue for each stay.
  • 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 percent increase in positive reviews.

The new platform is slated to roll out in the next few weeks. 

Throughout the opening session, Ballotti emphasized that the new tools come at no additional cost to Wyndham franchisees, and said that the company does not expect to change its franchise agreements with its partners as the platform rolls out. “That would not help retention,” he said.