The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted and, in many cases,accelerated evolving trends. Once past the initial shocks, we have seen in a resilience in our industry that has surprised many. And adapting with agility to pre-existing needs as well as new demands have been key to this.

With consumer behaviour and business imperatives being key drivers for technology deployment and adoption, here are four themes that heavily influencea hotel’s commercial success - and thereby also theevolution of technology to support it.

1 - Need for Actionable Intelligence

As an industry, we have never been short of data, but actionable information and utilisation across organisations at all levels have been limited. The shocks of the pandemic and its after-effects accelerated the need for quicker and more impactful decisions – and for use of data to be democratized and more accessible.

At Wyndham, we hadimplemented a structure that drives a holistic omni-channel approach to maximise commercial impact. And within this structure, a dedicated commercial planning team unifies and helps accelerate the efforts of the sales, marketing, revenue and distribution teams.

This allowed us to introduce a range of tools that not only provided this intelligence but also to help drive adoption at all levels. We used Tableau to develop targeted reporting to identify opportunities within specific hotels and regions. A strategic partnership with OTA Insight for their BI tool allowed both central teams and property level teams to have more granular insights on booking patterns, lead times and source markets.

Although initially almost all travel was domestic leisure, we have been able to use these tools to identify changes in source markets that have been continually shifting due to travel restrictions and geo-political issues – to create approaches that work for specific markets.

Across the broader industry, companies like Juyo Analytics and others have been working on providing this type of intelligence as well as information that helps improve the bottom line – eg: view of net (or net net) distribution cost of sale by channel.

2 –Need for Distribution and Revenue optimisation

Another area that we have seen fast paced change is within Revenue Management and Distribution. As demand started returning in peaks and troughs, hotels have found it challenging to forecast demand and occupancy rates – especially with an increased need to minimise costs and maximise profit.

And the data suggested the need for flexibility and to merchandise hotel products better. This in turn guided us to drive improvements to rate plans, packaging and promotions.

Revenue Management solution providers have also been adapting to these enhanced needs by offering flexibility in their products and solutions. At Wyndham, we have been able to bundle products from companies like Ideas, TravelClick, STR and others into our revenue management services offering for hotels and make them more effective and affordable.

Across the broader industry, we see lean stand-alone RM solutions like Atomize addressing the need for agility and flexibility while industry giants like IdeaShave introduced product variations to meet the evolving needs.

In Distribution we have also seen traction in small group booking tools from companies like Meeting Package and Groups 360 which enhances the booking process for small meeting groups. Connectivity continues to be a major area of opportunity with new 3rd party intermediaries like Hotel Trader and open distribution platforms like Impala emerging.

3 –Need for Enhanced Mobile Experience

We have seen further acceleration in mobile adoption and usage especially in the booking journey. While this varies widely across regions, booking via mobile has shown massive increases. According to Booking.com, over 50 percent of the bookings made with them are made on a mobile device – and in their recent Click industry conference stated their vision of being “app first” versus “mobile first”

"There appears to be once again a bright horizon for travel and our industry in general."

This clearly has added complexity but also has allowed us additional opportunities to reach bookers.

At Wyndham, we launched our new mobile app with Lightning Book functionality allowing bookers to potentially complete a booking in 3 clicks. This has helped leverage the ability for hotels to launch mobile promotions and last-minute deals quicker to meet the evolving needs of travellers.

4 –Need to be Sustainable

Sustainability has always been an important theme for our industry. However, the need for taking more tangible actions has never been higher with so much evidence demanding urgent action – and equally it is being increasingly demanded by bookers who are looking to make better choices. This has accelerated the need for programmes that make effective improvements.

Our Wyndham Green program has just been made mandatory for all our hotels globally from next year.Technology choices are a key component of this – the Wyndham Green Toolbox helps hotels automatically analyse utility consumption and identify improvements. Equally the procurement teams work closely with technology companies that offer clear measurable impact on a hotel’s sustainability - whether they are lighting occupancy controls, energy efficiency monitors or renewable energy sources to name just a few.

Whilst the pandemic has caused immense damage to our industry with all its ups and downs, 2022 so far has been remarkably promising. International travel and demand over summer is beginning to exceed 2019 levels. Business travel is returning far quicker than many anticipated. Groups understandably will be the last to return at scales we were used to. There appears to be once again a bright horizon for travel and our industry in general.

To summarise, the following actions are vital to make the most of the opportunities

• keep a close tab on travel trends and performance whilst moving quickly with the right business intelligence tools to generate actionable intelligence

• use the intelligence to maximise reach through the most relevant and cost-effective distribution channels and tools

• continue to optimise revenue through evolving revenue management tools, solutions and ideas

• integrate mobile into the booking journey as well as during and after stay

• integrate sustainability actions into everyday life and work. Use technology to impact and measure progress - and share with wider teams, communities and bookers