How Wyndham Hotels & Resorts improved their data capabilities to get to know their guests better

Situation

Running one hotel isn’t easy - running 9,000 hotels across 80 countries is a challenge on a different scale

In 2020, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, a franchisor which operates brands ranging from Super 8 to Wyndham Grand, was four years into a “cloud first” strategy and migration that had seen some early successes. Still, opportunities remained. Like many hospitality enterprises, Wyndham has grown in large part by acquisition to become a major international hotelier spanning 20 separate brands processing more than a million reservations a day.

Wyndham knew that data could provide a better understanding of guests, their stays and their preferences at Wyndham properties—and thus help positively impact the overall guest experience and loyalty. In 2016, the company undertook a large-scale data architecture overhaul as a first step. However, despite the years of investment, Wyndham still had opportunities for maximizing the potential of its data assets and to derive further benefits from investments already made.

Solution

Redesigning Wyndham’s data architecture with an eye toward a more efficient future and better guest experiences

The goal: Manage the Wyndham business more effectively by redesigning the data landscape to glean further insights and connect with guests in a personalized manner.

Wyndham had already implemented Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the basis for a new, cloud-based back end for data processing. However it was still relying on legacy platforms to ingest, move and process data. The first step was to help Wyndham more fully utilize AWS tools and services, while standardizing the methods by which data was transferred between its core systems. Specifically, Wyndham’s move to a more robust, scalable cloud environment provided improved quality checks, better error controls and better overall accuracy of its guest data.

One significant challenge was revamping the way that Wyndham handled data, including reviews for data integrity requiring manual review of each error—a painstakingly, slow and costly process. In the new data architecture, numerous AWS Platform as a Service (PaaS) tools were used, such as Amazon Kinesis, SFTP, Amazon API Gateway, to make sure that Wyndham’s data was streamlined, automated and moved to the new AWS environment securely. From an operational standpoint, tools such as Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon Elasticsearch and Amazon QuickSight enabled Wyndham to quickly visualize guest and property metrics through interactive dashboards. In aggregate, the newly established architecture – packaged using AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM) - allowed Wyndham to access guest insights at a depth and speed which they had never experienced before.

Results

Dramatic improvements in efficiency and accuracy, using the features of AWS

Before PwC entered the engagement, a single piece of data would travel an average of nine system steps to get from its point of creation to Wyndham’s central database, an error-fraught trip which would take up to two-and-a-half days to complete. Today, that number of steps has been reduced to four, and the journey now takes as little as five minutes. The quality of data has also been improved because it has been so effectively centralized, reducing the likelihood of inconsistencies and conflicts.

Wyndham has also seen an estimated 40 percent decrease in the time spent on managing its computing environment, thanks to being able to fully leverage the serverless architecture enabled through AWS. This in turn has helped reduce cost for the company, while now allowing Wyndham’s properties and corporate team to develop a fuller, more accurate understanding of its guests and their needs.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the travel industry in general, Wyndham is well-positioned for the impending recovery, thanks to a more efficient and accurate data architecture, rewarding the hotelier to help its owners spend more time focusing on their guests and less time investigating root causes behind data anomalies or inconsistencies.

“From better error handling to improved performance, we’re seeing a huge improvement in our technological capabilities which is positively impacting numerous areas of our business - and allowing us to focus on what matters most: our guests.”

Scott Strickland
CIO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

“The underpinnings Wyndham had in place helped us redesign their data landscape to use AWS to its fullest potential - with a lens on protecting the integrity of Wyndham’s information and improving the accuracy of their guest data.”

Ali Abidi
Principal, PwC

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Ali Abidi

Principal, PwC US

John Simmons

Principal, Data & Analytics Technologies, PwC US

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