An Interview with John Griffin

VP Sales and Marketing EMEA, Wyndham Hotel Group

… About Hotel 4.0, change management, the importance of the Wyndham Rewards program and "mobile, mobile, mobile – oh, and mobile"

He is a strategist, market specialist and plays a significant role in The Wyndham Hotel Group. John Griffin is Vice President Marketing EMEA and so successful that he now also takes over the sales department. For us he took the time and described the uniqueness of his job, how important change processes are today and the challenges a global enterprise is facing.

1. Tell us about your role at the Wyndham Group?

I look after Sales and Marketing for the group across Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa.  The team handles all aspects of Sales and the full Marketing mix, including PR, Communications, social media, offline and online marketing, the website and our loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards.

2. What is the most enjoyable part of your job, what is the most difficult one? 

The best part? Every day is different, the variety is enormous, and with over 470 hotels there’s always something new going on!  The most difficult?  Being able to meet with my management group – connecting across the region and across other continents is not so simple when you want to get a group of people together. 

3. What are the biggest challenges Marketing teams in the Hotel Business face today?

The pace of change, particularly in the digital space, means you have to be on top of how customers search for and consume information – but also how the playing field constantly changes your methods of engagement. 

4. Brand awareness is a cornerstone in hotel marketing – what is your strategy to differentiate yourself from your competitors and strengthen your brand awareness?  

The ability to travel is open to people more than ever before, and there is an endless range of choice out there.  With over 8,350 hotels across 20 brands, our strategy is to create a global customer base second to none via Wyndham Rewards – and through that grow not only awareness but sales of the individual brands in a way that lets customers travel the way they want, regardless of location or budget.  

5. How do you plan to further implement your brand in Europe? 

Our development teams are focused on growing the 12 brands that we offer in EMEA, not only firmly established brands like Ramada and Days Inn but also our cornerstone Wyndham brands and newer emerging brands like TRYP or Super 8, to name a few.  Because of our diversity of offering we see a tremendous growth rate in so many markets across the region. 

6. Wyndham Rewards is considered by many the top loyalty program in the world. How will you stay ahead of the competition in 2018? 

Keep giving customers what they really want in a loyalty programme – simplicity and generosity.  

7. How do you choose what works best for your brand and its market?

Despite being in a globalised world, customers are not homogenous – so our winning strategy comes from working with our partners to tailor their guest experiences to suit differing markets, whilst retaining the core threads of each brand to provide the consistent quality or services guests expect of that brand.

8. What new Marketing Technology trends you see in the near future for hospitality? 

The increasing trends of home assistants such as Alexa and Google combined with the ever-increasing use of mobile technology means marketers must find more ways of communicating travel products to suit these vehicles.   

9. What tech tools can’t you live without at the moment?

Mobile, mobile, mobile – oh, and mobile.

10. What is the best advice you have ever received?

Always ask, „is this the right thing for the customer?”

Thank you for your time, John and good luck for the many new challenges!

Editor: Christina Hahn