Josh Lesnick, chief marketing officer at Wyndham Hotel Group, spoke today at the Skift Global Forum.

In his role as chief marketing officer at Wyndham Hotel Group, Lesnick, who joined the team in July 2014, is responsible for the company’s marketing at 15 brands around the world, including more than 7,600 hotels. AAEAAQAAAAAAAAScAAAAJGNjMDdlYzM5LWUzZDMtNDk1OC04YzQzLTNiM2ZmMzMxZTMzOQ

Lesnick’s talk on “The Importance of Middle America That Travel Brands Ignore” explored opportunities in the economy hotel sector. Here are six things we learned:

  • Experts say there are currently 2 billion people in the middle class, but in the next 15 years, that number will grow to 4.9 billion, and many will  travel but have limited economics to do so.
  • Millennials outside of New York earn less than $40,000 per year. The convergence of millennials and the middle class sector of the economy will drive a lot of focus around economy hotels.
  • The industry can learn from Ikea, Target and Jet Blue, three brands that value the delivery of value to their customers, and they have done it well.
  • There is tremendous opportunity to innovate around the economy space, and there is a huge amount of demographic data to focus on.
  • Economy travelers have huge travel aspirations, but their loyalty programs are not really working hard enough for them. They need to spend a lot of money or work really hard to get redemptions.
  • All economy hotels are not created equal. Customers believe there are multiple categories within the economy space, a notion that helps create great growth potential for hotels looking to explore the economy space.

Keep track of all the activity at this year’s Global Forum by bookmarking our #skiftforum tag.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAS-AAAAJDdhNDBmODBmLTBhZjQtNGIwYi1iYTY3LTYwMjliZmI4Mzk5NA

And thanks to all the sponsors that made Skift Global Forum 2015 possible: Adobe, Amadeus, American Express, Boxever, Big Bus Tours, CendyneOne, Cheapoair, Criteo, Gogo, HelloGbye, Hornblower Cruises, MasterCard, Mindtree, National Geographic, NewsCred, Sabre, SiteMinder, Travel Channel, TurkeyHome, Uber, Underline, Virtuoso, and Yahoo.

Photo Credit: Josh Lesnick, chief marketing officer at Wyndham Hotels Group, speaking at the Skift Global Forum in Brooklyn, New York on October 15, 2015. Skift