- Wyndham Hotels & Resorts updated its mobile app to provide mobile check-in and checkout, a "Lightning Book" feature to reserve a room quickly and keyless room entry at select locations, among other features. Mobile check-in and checkout are now available at 300 hotels in the U.S., and will be expanded to 6,000 hotels this year, per an announcement.
- The Wyndham app has an "in-stay mode" that lets guests see the most important information about their hotel within three days of their stay, including mobile check-in, text messaging with the front desk and local attractions. The "my app passport" is a gamified feature to track in-app actions like booking a stay or redeeming points from the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program.
- While upscale hotel chains have led the way in investing in mobile capabilities, the move by the parent of brands like La Quinta, Days Inn and Super 8 suggests such features are a must-have for all hospitality marketers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Wyndham's updated app is notable for providing services that have been available at upscale hospitality brands to a broader group of economy and midscale hotels. Mobile check-in and checkout and keyless room entry have become more important as travelers seek to limit physical contact with others during the pandemic.
While Wyndham's rollout of digital room keys in its app is currently limited to a handful of resorts, it expects more properties to offer the service in the next 12 months. Only 31% of U.S. adults feel comfortable going on vacation at the moment, a tracking survey by researcher Morning Consult found. Wyndham might give travelers more peace of mind with its new contactless features.
Wyndham brands such as La Quinta, Days Inn and Super 8 primarily serve road travelers and have held up comparably well as vacationers take car trips instead of traveling by air. While the revenue per available room, a key metric for the hotel industry, fell 81% at luxury hotels in the U.S. in the second quarter, budget hotels experienced only a 44% decline over the period, according to data from analytics firm STR cited by The Wall Street Journal. Wyndham reported signs of recovering demand as declines in revenue per available room improved from a 71% drop in early April to a 39% decline by mid-July, per a quarterly announcement.
Wyndham's app update follows efforts by more upscale hotel brands to integrate mobile technology with the guest experience. Hilton three years ago started letting people book rooms and manage their loyalty reward points in its Hilton Honors mobile app, in addition to adding keyless room entry with the quick swipe of a smartphone. The hotel brand later introduced features to let guests use their smartphones as a remote control for the TV, lighting and thermostat as part of the hotel chain’s rollout of its Connected Room technology.
With its refurbished app, Wyndham can help to differentiate its services from rivals, while also fostering longer-term loyalty by giving customers a way to track their loyalty points and see their progress toward earning rewards. Wyndham will show loyalty points, a search feature and the latest offers to customers who open the app when they don't have an upcoming stay planned or who are currently checked in at one of its hotels. The app's account management feature lets users update their Wyndham Rewards profiles, preferences for hotel amenities and payment methods. They also can see previous and upcoming stays, personalized offers and buy loyalty points, among other options.
The gamification strategy couldhelp to keep loyal customers more engaged with its brand, and has become popular in app-based loyalty programs. CVS Pharmacy, El Pollo Loco, Mastercard, 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Taco Bell, White Castle and Wendy's are among the brands that have recently gamified aspects of their loyalty programs.