How Wyndham's timeshare business worked with PwC to revamp its old 'band-aided together' software with Salesforce to make booking 70% faster for customers

  • The timeshare business of hotel franchiser Wyndham worked with professional services firm PwC to revamp its bookings software. 
  • Wyndham Destinations previously used outdated software that was built in-house along with paper records, but transitioned to using Salesforce tools.
  • The change cut the booking time for customers down by 70%.
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When people used to book vacation getaways through the timeshare business of hotel franchiser Wyndham, they'd either deal with sluggish software or have to sign up with a physical form that would be handed off to an agent.

Wyndham Destinations — which has vacation clubs in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and more — would, until recently, record its bookings data through "20 to 25-plus year-old, band-aided together" software that the company built itself, along with old-fashioned paper records too, says Wyndham senior vice president Kathy Kilmer. The software hadn't changed since 1984, the year Apple's first Macintosh computer came out. 

As a result of that slow, manual back-end procedure, customers on the front-end suffered, too, dealing with a choppy, disorganized process. Meanwhile, Wyndham wasn't analyzing any of its manually-entered customer data for insights, either. 

The firm realized that something needed to change so it decided about three years ago to move the entire booking process onto Salesforce's software. Because the team had no Salesforce expertise, it worked with the professional services firm PwC to implement the new system. 

To better understand the customer experience, PwC recruited a team of ambassadors, salespeople, and marketing leaders to speak with customers and help Wyndham Destinations figure out how to build a better booking system. 

In total, the entire process took about a year and a half but the completed system shortened booking times to just a few minutes – a whopping 70% quicker – for customers. Once customers are actually on a vacation through Wyndham Destinations, they can book tours with tablets provided at their property, rather than only through paper forms.

Also, Wyndham Destinations can finally track valuable information that it would previously have lost from customers or potential customers who spoke to a company agent in person. 

"They couldn't keep up a relationship with them, the data and insights of people walking in, so it's really difficult to get the sales you want," PwC's digital products and consumer markets advisory leader, Tom Puthiyamadam, told Business Insider.

Wyndham Destinations can now easily look up customer information and history, rather than manually flipping through pages and pages of paper records. Metrics are contained in one system, so the company can analyze how customers are choosing to spend their money.

While PwC and Wyndham Destinations worked together in the first phase, Wyndham now continues to refine and build the system on its own. 

"[PwC] did really set us up to be successful after they left," Kilmer told Business Insider. "Now we're able to do everything independently."

"Our customer experience is far better than it had been," Kilmer said. "We'll be able to know our customers much better in the future. We can continue to build upon it. We're very excited about the potential for the future."

Read more: How Intuit slashed costs and saved time by moving its TurboTax software to Kubernetes, a popular open source project started at Google

Although the coronavirus pandemic hit the hospitality industry hard, PwC plans to work on new projects with Wyndham's hotel business that it can ramp into high gear once it's safer for people to take vacations.

"Right now, we're helping our clients get serious about digital transformation," Puthiyamadam said. "Every board is putting pressure on their C-suite. Digital needs to happen. If you're dragging your feet, we don't have time anymore."

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