August 10, 2022


your small business advantage

it requires belief, resilience, and

it requires belief, resilience, and

The hospitality trade is people-first by nature. As the biggest lodge franchise firm on the earth, with roughly 9,000 motels in 95 nations, Wyndham Inns & Resorts has made this precept its North Star, guiding our total management crew.

Our “prospects” are twofold: We serve company from all walks of life, with 22 manufacturers spanning economic system to luxurious. Equally necessary is our relationship with our franchisees, and our inclusive and team-oriented mindset extends to them—whether or not they’re single-unit operators simply beginning out or skilled lodge homeowners with intensive portfolios.

Whereas we’ve at all times understood that prioritizing expertise, groups, and tradition is crucial to our success, we by no means knew simply how nicely that dedication would serve us till the COVID-19 pandemic upended our trade.

On March 13, 2020, we closed our company workplaces. Like many others, we naively believed we’d all be again in two weeks. As a substitute, because the lockdowns dragged on, we underwent a profound digital transformation and located ourselves navigating a sea of steady change.

What didn’t change was our people-first mindset, which helped us pivot beneath stress and stay steadfast throughout a time of uncertainty.

Listed below are three ways in which our core concentrate on groups and tradition has ready us for any additional adjustments forward.

1. Future-proof by way of belief

Lengthy earlier than COVID-19, we had constructed a financial institution of belief with key stakeholders by residing our core values of integrity, accountability, inclusivity, caring, and enjoyable. Nurturing expertise, each on the company and franchise ranges, instilled confidence in our crew members that we cared about their success. At a time when a lot was unsure, an act so simple as sending out present baskets let our individuals know that we appreciated their efforts. The energy of {our relationships} allowed us to attract on this belief financial institution within the pandemic’s early days when nobody might make heads or tails of what was occurring.

Amazingly, going digital has allowed us to replenish that belief financial institution as we discovered to speak in new methods. The digital surroundings has given us a extra holistic image of our crew members, past simply who they’re at work, which has additional humanized us all. We inevitably noticed the place and the way our crew members lived, what pets that they had, who their youngsters and spouses had been, and so forth. Somewhat than discourage these moments, and the blurring of strains between work and residential, we embraced them. This, in flip, strengthened our tradition and made our crew members really feel related. Our individuals and their work each thrived consequently.

We “meet” for drinks through videoconference often on Friday nights to take care of that social connection, and we’re capable of socialize as if we’re across the water cooler, bringing the core worth of enjoyable into the digital area.

2. Resilience by way of alignment

Forty-four % of senior entrepreneurs say that the position of the board of administrators is to assist organizations as a digital transformation chief, and entrepreneurs play an important position in representing the wants of shoppers within the boardroom. At Wyndham, which means breaking down silos to focus your complete management crew on the wants of our prospects, together with our franchisees. Digital readiness could also be constructed with technique, construction, and expertise, but it surely should be grounded in individuals to have any hope of tolerating.

With the understanding that our enterprise mannequin rests on the shoulders of our franchisees, we, together with our CEO Geoff Ballotti, spent the early days of the pandemic on the telephone with our homeowners to know their wants. We knew they would wish some monetary aid as journey slowed, however, as time handed, the conversations shifted from “What do it is advisable to survive?” to “What do it is advisable to thrive?” These conversations have helped us replace our street map and speed up initiatives, reminiscent of our new cellular app and new touchless fee options for company prospects.

All through the pandemic, the one journey we had completed was to go to and work together with our franchisees, and that speaks volumes about our alignment on key priorities.

None of that is to say that we’re at all times in settlement. To make sure alignment, we have now sincere and strong, but respectful, conversations when there’s a scarcity of consensus. Generally it requires a one-on-one telephone name to share divergent reasoning; at different instances, we convey collectively groups with totally different factors of view to collaborate and get everybody on the identical web page. We every convey our personal passions to the desk, however we’re all working towards a typical objective. Aligned management makes for a enterprise mannequin that’s resilient when the market is risky and one that’s greatest ready to determine and act on alternatives.

Fast adoption of recent expertise has helped our groups obtain this alignment. The power to drop in and discuss to somebody head to head, to share and edit paperwork in actual time with a number of groups, to sidebar with a colleague throughout a gathering with out disrupting the bigger dialog — this stuff all happen with little thought in an workplace surroundings. By adopting new collaboration instruments within the early days of the pandemic, Wyndham ensured that each one of these issues might nonetheless occur with the identical velocity and ease that that they had earlier than.

3. Innovation by way of variety

Inclusivity is one in every of Wyndham’s core values. It’s about being deliberate and asking ourselves, “Who’re we searching for? Do they carry variety to our crew, not simply in gender or race but additionally in expertise?”

Variety and inclusiveness might sound like buzzwords, however they’ve very actual advantages to our tradition and our enterprise. For one, franchisees need to do enterprise with individuals on the company stage to whom they’ll relate, and shoppers need to do enterprise with socially accountable firms. Finally, variety of expertise results in larger innovation and permits firms to realize digital readiness.

However whereas an inclusive hiring coverage is an efficient and essential first step, office tradition dictates whether or not expertise stays with you and thrives. Even with variety, individuals who don’t really feel valued or engaged can’t do their greatest work.

A method we’ve advocated for variety and inclusivity is thru our Affinity Enterprise Teams (ABGs), networks that assist underrepresented teams. Not solely do ABGs permit associates to assist one another, however they enhance visibility for every group’s wants. Establishing packages for mentoring, pay fairness, and inclusivity coaching assist to construct an surroundings the place workers can do their greatest work.


With a lot of the journey trade struggling, the pandemic might have been disastrous for us. As a substitute, we rallied round our core values to rise above. We began with actual, in-person conversations with our crew, moderately than having individuals on the prime design and implement expertise options and mandate their use all through the corporate. By focusing first on the wants of franchisees and, by extension, the wants of our prospects, we had been capable of design and ship digital options that maintain Wyndham shifting ahead.

Within the pandemic and post-pandemic period, profitable companies focus the efforts of numerous groups on the wants of their prospects to journey the digital transformation street collectively. Wyndham’s long-standing concentrate on our expertise, our groups, and our company tradition has allowed us to do exactly that.

Lisa Checchio is CMO at Wyndham Inns & Resorts. Michele Allen is CFO at Wyndham Inns & Resorts