Like many who spend their careers in hospitality, Tammy Peter fell into the industry, then fell in love with it. Now senior vice president of global distribution at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Peter was introduced to the industry through a summer job at a reservation center in Dallas while attending the University of Michigan. “I found I just loved the service culture, the concept of being genuinely hospitable, and getting to help people go on vacations,” she says. Now at Wyndham for 18 years, she recently shared with LODGING her path to her current job and some of the changes she witnessed during this period.
Peter says she’s received wide professional exposure during her years at Wyndham—all leading to her current position. “I’ve gotten to experience operations, marketing, channel management, and am now running the distribution group.” Although the roles were varied, she says what they had in common was what she loved about the field: “being genuinely hospitable.”
“I love to watch a team full of motivated and intellectually curious people grow
—finding their own place, making their own decisions, and getting results.”
Peter enjoys her leadership role and, although she chose a career in hospitality over the one in human resources for which she prepared in college, she has a clear sense of the type of talent she prefers—people who are smart and curious. “I love to watch a team full of motivated and intellectually curious people grow—finding their own place, making their own decisions, and getting results.” She says she encourages employees to try new things, and although no one sets out to make mistakes, she welcomes the learning that often comes from it.
Peter says she prefers to guide, not micromanage, her team members. “I believe that leaders should set the direction and get out of the way. I strive to make sure they understand what our objectives are and provide guidance in overcoming hurdles, but I let them find their own way towards reaching those goals.”
Reflecting on how distribution has changed in recent years, Peter says, “In the last 2 years, there’s been a lot of focus on trying to book direct. We definitely focus on our loyalty members—the 58 million members enrolled in our Wyndham Rewards program, plus about 13 million La Quinta Returns members who will join it following our purchase of La Quinta. We make sure that we provide them with the best opportunities, but we also know some folks are just going to book with us through OTAs, so we also make sure that we’re competitively aligned there.”
Title: Senior Vice President, Global Distribution, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
First hotel industry job: Reservation center
Hotel must-haves: A good blow dryer
Favorite destination: Phoenix, Ariz.
What she doesn’t leave the house without: “My cell phone.”
Peter notes the impact on sales of Wyndham’s new cloud-based Sabre SynXis central reservation system, which is now handling bookings for 19 brands, and in 2019, will include a 20th, La Quinta. “Migrating more than 8,000 hotels globally so far has been a huge undertaking, but is really affording us a great opportunity for efficiencies to sell our brands across the platform. It has more partner connections and really provides us with first-in-class technology to drive revenue to our hotels.”
Although Peter says she has had only a few female mentors, entering the industry as she did when leadership was largely male-dominated, she relishes the opportunity to serve as a mentor to women building careers in hospitality today. “We have a group here at Wyndham called ‘Women on Their Way’ whose goal is to support and encourage the women at Wyndham. This is an approach I’d like to see throughout the industry, one that provides role models as well as mentorship and encouragement along the way to clear the path for them.”