TechnologyWyndham Launches New In-App Planning and Booking Tool: Road Trip Planner

Wyndham Launches New In-App Planning and Booking Tool: Road Trip Planner

At the height of the pandemic in September 2020, Wyndham introduced its Wyndham Hotels & Resorts mobile app to serve as a foundation for a streamlined and personalized booking experience. Today, the company is launching its latest digital innovation within that app: an interactive Road Trip Planner. Jessica Davidson, senior vice president, digital, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, shares with LODGING that this discovery, planning, and booking tool has been in the cards since the mobile app launch in 2020. “Our guests are mainly leisure travelers (70 percent) and our hotels are roughly 90 percent suburban interstate and small metro properties. This was the perfect feature for our company.”

The Road Trip Planner helps guests plan their travels, including booking lodging, in minutes. Travelers can discover recommended directions from points A to B or customize their routes with stops in-between. They can tailor their itineraries with filters for driving time or distance, preferred brands, amenities, pet-friendly locations, truck parking, and more. Guests can book stays at multiple locations at once, view and edit multiple reservations, share on-property requests, and pay with cash, Wyndham Rewards points, or a mix of the two.

The rollout of this tool comes just ahead of a summer travel season that is expected to bring a surge of road trippers. A recent poll by AAA predicts that more than 600 million U.S. travelers will be hitting the road this summer. Wyndham also commissioned a study by Wakefield Research for its American Road Trip Index, showing that while more than 80 percent of travelers plan to take a road trip this summer, 66 percent feel overwhelmed by trying to figure out where to stay.

“This latest digital innovation is the first-of-its-kind offering from a major hotel company where we’re able to seamlessly put the planning and booking process altogether. It really takes the stress out of travel planning,” Davidson shares, adding that the Road Trip Planner complements the app’s existing Lightning Book feature for last-minute bookers and non-planners. Davidson expects that the use cases for these tools will be “quite situational.” She explains, “There are times when you’ll use Lightning Book because you’re in the mindset that you want to make a game-time decision: You might want to just drive and see how far it is until you get tired. There are times when you want that ultimate road trip, and that’s where this Road Trip Planner comes in. We’re addressing different customer needs at different times.”

For the company and its franchisees, Davidson points out that this new tool “amplifies the power of our app as a direct booking channel because guests can do multiple transactions all in one place.” She adds, “Our owner-first value proposition is at the center of everything that we do… The idea that you can transact multiple stays at once is very different. I love the idea that we can drive those direct bookings to owners, and encourage it through our brands.”

Davidson says that the company will continue to focus on delivering a guest experience that promotes loyalty. “Mobile-first and digital-first is our north star. This is a very significant feature that we’ve added to the app, but we won’t stop here… we are focused on a more extensive rollout of digital key and on-property features—that lower-touch experience.”