Hospitality and leisure
Redesigning the cloud-based ecosystem powering Wyndham Rewards
Amazon Web Services
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (Wyndham), a major hospitality chain spanning 90 countries with over 85 million loyalty members and 9,000 hotels, faced a challenge many other large-scale loyalty programs tend to experience. Its Wyndham Rewards program operated via various systems, which presented an opportunity to streamline its technology and reduce overall data processing time. In search of a solution to bring more real-time information to its loyalty members and franchisees, Wyndham approached PwC to help simplify and modernize its loyalty platform infrastructure.
The sheer amount of data involved in managing a chain of its size represented complexity in itself. But Wyndham faced a compounding factor: over 95 percent of its hotels are franchises, operating with a number of manual processes and data flows through multiple systems. This led to data issues that were costly to remediate, with a ripple effect into other areas of the business.
The complexities created by sourcing data from 22 different systems meant that loyalty members couldn’t always see their stays or point accruals in real-time. Wyndham sought a solution that could integrate its systems, reduce data lags, and improve loyalty processing, billing and reporting. By moving to a cloud-based infrastructure, liability management, revenue recognition, and customer and franchisee satisfaction would benefit as a result of more immediate access to the data.
Having previously worked with PwC to reimagine its data processing architecture, Wyndham now needed to enhance its data integrations within the cloud-based AWS platform for more real-time insight.
Wyndham set a goal to make the loyalty architecture completely cloud-native by 2022. This seemingly simple target required a full-scale modernization using Amazon Web Services (AWS). The first step PwC took to simplifying the loyalty technology ecosystem was understanding its challenges, both now and into the future.
PwC designed and deployed cloud-native architecture to consolidate and automate multiple different legacy systems, connecting the dots between reservations, enrollment, financials and everything in between. The architecture was built using over 170 user stories derived from the business’ operations — all which laddered up to six key themes for improvement across financial management, reporting and analytics, and program management. PwC helped Wyndham shape its vision and build requirements around a system that could solve current and future challenges and grow with the business as it evolved. This enhanced automation eliminated data inaccuracies, reduced manual efforts and helped unlock new business insights.
“Our operations before relied heavily on manual data processes, which created many opportunities for human error, delays, and inefficiency. Now, our loyalty ecosystem is powered by custom-designed automations, so we can be proactive, not reactive,” said Derek Barbara, Director of Data and Analytics at Wyndham.
Offering Wyndham a flexible menu of services, including fully-managed and self-managed options, PwC helped the hotel chain create a first-of-its-kind solution that re-architected the back-end of Wyndham Rewards. The automated structure provided more flexibility, agility, scalability and simplicity when processing and gathering insights on loyalty and financial data. Prior to the shift to the cloud, a single piece of data within Wyndham’s system would travel an average of nine steps from its point of creation to the company’s central database, a journey that could take up to two-and-a-half days to complete. Today, the same trip takes an average of four steps and as little as five minutes — enabling Wyndham to cut the amount of time it spends on managing its computing environment by an estimated 40 percent.
The second part of Wyndham’s plan flowed directly from the first: to improve customer and franchisee experiences, which would yield benefits both internally (for franchise operators) and externally (for loyalty plan members). New data-driven insights derived from the loyalty architecture allowed Wyndham to have more meaningful interactions — providing not only what customers and franchisees needed in real-time but also anticipating what they may be looking for next.
By creating a self-sufficient model and training staff in collaboration with AWS, PwC put the tools to help streamline operations and build trust with customers and franchisees in Wyndham’s hands. Satisfaction on both sides of the front desk increased dramatically as the automated platform yielded fewer issues and faster resolution.
Wyndham began seeing benefits within days of implementation. AWS automation enabled more accurate and timely loyalty processing. Customers could now view their point accruals within hours instead of days. Increased accuracy in financial reporting among franchises also saved Wyndham money and time by avoiding costly remediation, helping to strengthen its audit procedures. Data that was once segmented across systems is now readily-accessible and reveals valuable insights to help drive proactive business decisions.
The new system features fewer bottlenecks — four system integrations, down from 22 — simplifying the chain’s technology with a scalable, extensible platform that requires minimal infrastructure management. Going forward, the AWS cloud makes it easy to add new features like AI while maintaining a single source of truth.
Reduction in billing cycle processing time, from up to 48 hours down to less than seven
Fewer missed or adjusted guest stays within loyalty member billing compared to the same period of the previous year
Reduction in stays reprocessed within loyalty member billing
CIO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Principal, PwC US
Principal & AWS Practice Leader, PwC US