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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

A people-first approach to save time and money, and boost the client experience

We began our digital transformation in 2016 by examining PwC Business Services, our back office and shared services center and functions, located primarily in Tampa, Florida. We identified operational improvements that could reduce costs and reinvested some of those savings into a transformation, based on PwC’s Fit for Growth methodology. We committed to “leave no one behind” with a firm-wide Digital Fitness program that would help both accelerate adoption and upskill employees. 

Bringing together people with business strategy focus (B), human-centered experience design experience (X), along with the right technologies (T), we used our BXT approach to plan, develop and implement solutions together.

The only way we could transform our back office was to put the experience of our people first. We needed to know exactly where the pain points were in Business Services. First, we sent a survey to our 3,500 partners, asking what slowed down their work and the work of the people who worked for them. By tapping into the entire community, we quickly identified 25 processes that had to change, including human resources, learning and development, finance, IT, real estate and administrative services. Everyone had something to address to help transform our process and our people, especially since our processes impact multiple activities. 

We also asked leaders of our individual Business Services functions to help us figure out how to use that information to create more value from our transformation for the people who do the work day to day. And that also had to create a better user experience for their people. They identified approximately $100 million in cost savings, largely from eliminating manual and repetitive activities that took up employee time. As importantly, these leaders, with the help of their teams, identified areas that would benefit from investments in automation as well as other types of service delivery. Every leader and staffer also thought about what new skills were needed to help our people deliver greater value. 

Ultimately, all of this would bring our back office talents to the “front office” to help our client service teams develop products and services that benefit our clients and society.

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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