LAS VEGAS—Eric Danziger, president and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, got his start as a doorman. It is only fitting, then, that his opening address during Wyndham Hotel Group’s global brand conference was all about opening doors.
“It’s all about opening doors—engaging and achieving by opening doors, going through doors that are open for you, leading others through doors and remembering the people who have opened doors for you,” Danziger said of the company’s strategy moving forward.
Executives at Wyndham, which has 17 brands comprising approximately 7,210 hotels worldwide, have opened a number of them in the past year—each with the goal of driving revenue for owners and increasing direct bookings.
First, the company promised its owners new websites. Wyndham rolled them out for each brand throughout September 2011. A new WyndhamHotelGroup.com site launched earlier this year.
Then the company, along with five other major hotel chains, signed on for the launch of Room Key, which drives property-direct bookings via a multi-brand, metasearch engine.
And this past weekend, the company rolled out new mobile websites for each of its brands. Complementary apps will be launched within the next 30 days, said Flo Lugli, Wyndham’s executive VP of marketing.
“Opening doors is how we all find new opportunity,” Danziger said.
Microtel gets a new name
Danziger also announced the rebranding of Microtel to Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham.
Although the brand has delivered consistent levels of high quality within the economy segment—it’s been named the No. 1 economy brand in terms of guest satisfaction by J.D. Power & Associates for almost a decade now—the name lacks awareness, he said.
Putting the “by Wyndham” designation provides more clarity, Danziger said.
“It is a very consistent product. I felt comfortable in saying we will associate the parent brand’s name with it,” he said.
Wyndham is chipping in a $10,000 credit to help owners with the resigning efforts, which are expected to be complete by June 2013.
Managing reputations and driving revenue
Danziger highlighted two other “doors” Wyndham has opened.
First, Wyndham launched its WynReview platform, which is a proprietary system that allows owners to manage consumer reviews from TripAdvisor, Expedia, Orbtiz and Travelocity. After a successful test preview in mid-March, the platform is now officially up and running, said Lugli.
WynReview is powered by Revinate, which provides similar tracking services for third parties at a cost. Wyndham’s iteration is free of charge to owners and franchisees.
“We want to create a culture of ratings and reviews within the organization,” Lugli said during a break from the conference. “ We need to make sure our owners understand the importance of these … on the selection process.”
So ingrained are reviews in Wyndham’s culture that the company now features TripAdvisor reviews on its website and brand websites. The goal, Danziger said, is to create a one-stop shopping experience to prevent travelers from leaving Wyndham’s website to search for reviews.
Wyndham provides guidance for franchisees on how to respond to all reviews, she said.
“We’re encouraging them to respond to both positive and negative because we think consumers like to see that,” Lugli said.
The second announcement was the launch of MyRequest, which is a self-serve tool that allows operators to more effectively manage rates, inventory and content. The tool will roll out within the next few weeks, Danziger said during the opening session.