Skift Take

The move may reflect a rising trend among hotel groups as tech beats traditional marketing in priority.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts said on Tuesday it had created a new role, chief commercial officer, and had appointed its chief information and distribution officer, Scott Strickland, to fill it.

“In this new role, Scott and his expanded team will continue to build our brands, drive direct revenue, and advance our value proposition through a newly combined, tech-forward commercial organization,” said Geoff Ballotti, the company’s president and CEO.

Scott Strickland, speaking at an AWS event in his role as Wyndham’s chief information officer. Source: AWS.

The rising value of hotel tech

Wyndham’s decision to move a chief information officer into a chief commercial officer role underscores the growing importance of tech knowledge to hotel groups. It represents a vote of confidence in the power of technology to drive business results. Since 2018, Strickland has led the hotel group’s $275 million tech overhaul. (Wyndham recruited Strickland from a private equity firm seven years ago.)

Strickland will continue to oversee the group’s technology and distribution strategy. He will now also manage global sales, revenue generation, marketing, communications, and loyalty.

lisa Checchio cmo wyndham skift megatrends january 2024 new york source skift
Lisa Checchio, the chief marketing officer of Wyndham, speaking at Skift’s 2024 Megatrends event in January 2024 in New York City. Source: Skift.

Hotel CMOs endangered?

Wyndham said that Lisa Checchio, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, would leave the company.

During her tenure, Checchio added the label “by Wyndham” to all of the company’s major brands to help build awareness of the company’s loyalty program, which doubled in size in five years to more than 100 million members.

Checchio also led the invention of a pioneering program to advance the number of women who own hotel franchises. That program, Women Own the Room, recently celebrated 15 open hotels, more than 50 signings, and a community of more than 550 members.

Several of his Strickland’s duties had until now been under the purview of Checchio. The new chief commercial officer role will also bring a re-organization at Wyndham, with tech, marketing, sales, and loyalty teams all reporting to the same leader, Strickland

Wyndham’s elimination of the chief marketing officer role suggests there may be a sector trend of combining the commercial and marketing officer roles.

On the one hand, Hilton has a dedicated chief marketing officer, Mark Weinstein, and Choice Hotels has Noha Abdalla as its chief marketing officer.

IHG has Heather Balsley in a combined chief commercial and marketing officer role.

Marriott, Accor, and Hyatt have assigned marketing oversight to the chief commercial officer position.

Accommodations Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date

What am I looking at? The performance of hotels and short-term rental sector stocks within the ST200. The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets, including international and regional hotel brands, hotel REITs, hotel management companies, alternative accommodations, and timeshares.

The Skift Travel 200 (ST200) combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more hotels and short-term rental financial sector performance.

Read the full methodology behind the Skift Travel 200.

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Tags: future of lodging, reorganization, wyndham, wyndham hotel group

Photo credit: The lobby at the Wyndham Ankara in Turkey. Source: Wyndham.

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