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Wyndham leverages mobile to bridge customer journey gap

During the session Disruption and Innovation in 2015, the executive detailed how mobile has clearly been the biggest shift in consumer and retailer relations, but the chain realized that it can be more helpful than hurtful. Wyndham is leveraging mobile to bridge a former gap within the customer journey.

“For Wyndham Hotels, we focus on the travel customer’s journey,” said Amy Labroo, senior director of emerging technology at Wyndham Hotel Group. “There is the dreaming phase when you are thinking about vacationing and you begin to research and plan, then you start to book your vacation, then you stay at the property, and then you share your story.

“We have had a great disconnect during the stay period,” she said. “It is not just about the brand, it is not just about the Web site experience, a large part of how our customer remembers us is created during the stay portion of the journey.

“The future is really that the consumer is mobile, not the device, wherever they go, whatever they do we have to follow them. So we have been taking the mobile device to the consumer, and making sure that their stay portion is apart of the consumer journey and that our brand is represented. The biggest thing right now is that we are trying to make sure that the consumer feels a part of our brand while they are at the hotel.”

Customer journey
For the hotel and resort chain, the customer journey was lacking in one area and had a gap within its customer’s stay portion of their experience. Its digital efforts were able to ensure an optimized research, booking and sharing experience, but while consumers were staying at its locations there was a lack in communication.

Many of Wyndham’s locations are franchised, which means the brand as whole cannot control interaction with the customer.

With the introduction of mobile the retail industry made huge shifts in consumer interaction and behavior. Consumers expect a different experience compared to years prior.

Wyndham took advantage of this and is using it to bridge this gap during their customer’s stays. In the future, when consumers arrive at hotel locations, many notifications will assist them with their journey while on the premises.

For instance, the hotel brand will offer mobile services such as checking-in through devices and directions to locations from airports. Ms. Labroo is hoping that one day Wyndham and mobile in general will reach a stage in which customers can control their experiences completely through their devices.

In the future consumers may be able to control the lighting in their rooms, and stream their own Netflix on hotel televisions all via mobile. Consumers are more interested in services that remove the human interaction with staff, and would rather be able to complete these tasks themselves through their mobile devices.

This is the place that the retail and mobile industry is likely moving towards. It is important to give customers options, those that want a face-to-face experience have that available to them, but those that would rather use their devices are able to as well.

Consumer behavior is constantly evolving and changing, and wherever or however the customer is looking to connect with a brand, they need to be there.

Individualized experience
Mobile has created an individualized marketing and retail experience, and consumers now come to expect a journey that is geared toward them as person. Looking at demographic information such age, ethnicity, income, martial status and location is imperative to serve accurate services and content to customers, and mobile technology is how retailers are able to complete that.

“Customer journey mapping and just understanding the customer journey is really important for us to identify the gaps between following someone through different channels,” Ms. Laboo said. “I think the biggest thing is using data to understand the consumer.

“The world has changed so much before we were building personas and models to understand our customer behavior,” she said. “But the industry has changed so much it has become a one-to-one marketing atmosphere.

“It so unique now, and is about targeting the actual person. Marketing has changed so much we really need to understand not just the consumers demographics, but individually who they are.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily