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Here’s why one hotel chain is investing in summer road trippers with this new app feature

May 23, 2022
5 min read
WHR Road Trip Planner - Image 1
Here’s why one hotel chain is investing in summer road trippers with this new app feature
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Hotel companies that displayed the most financial resilience during the worst months of the pandemic — like Wyndham Hotels & Resorts — often chalked up their situation to the nature of their respective businesses.

Their mix of brand offerings, such as Microtel and La Quinta, may not conjure up images of romantic dream vacations like a St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort or the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel in the south of France.

But the fact remains that some of these more affordable brands were the only option for road warriors, those who still needed to travel for work even during the early months of the pandemic, and domestic travelers looking to take a small trip or two over the last two years.

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With domestic travel often the leading option for travelers in light of pandemic-related travel restrictions abroad, road trips became a durable line of business for many hotel owners. Recognizing this, Wyndham launched a feature on its mobile app on Monday that allows users to map a road trip and have the company offer up suggestions for stops and hotels to reserve along the way.

Road Trip Planner may be a Wyndham-led tech offering, but it goes to show the hotel industry continues to see domestic travel as a winning formula for long-term business performance.

“This, to us, was an inherent thing we had to do,” Jessica Davidson, senior vice president of digital at Wyndham, said in an interview with The Points Guy ahead of the launch.

Users can log into the Wyndham mobile app and put where they’re originating and their destination. They can then add various parameters, like how long they want to drive each day, as well as preferred brands. The app will then offer up recommended routes, stops and hotel availability as they go.

Users can pay with cash, Wyndham Rewards points or a mix of the two for their hotel stays booked through the platform.

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(Photo courtesy of Travel Lodge Yellowstone/Wyndham Hotels)

The road trip feature comes nearly two years after Wyndham debuted Lightning Book, an earlier tech feature geared toward drive-to travel. That offering would display what Wyndham hotels were available in the area, enabling users to quickly book. But Lighting Book was for last-minute bookers, while the Road Trip Planner function is suited for those who like to plan.

This next iteration of targeting drive-to travel also indicates hotel companies want to continue courting road trippers. These kinds of guests were a financial life raft during the worst crisis to face the hotel industry in its entire history.

“People are already traveling to our hotels by car,” Davidson said. “This amplifies the ease of being able to do it.”

Of Wyndham’s more than 6,000 U.S. hotels, Davidson noted roughly 90% of the portfolio was well suited for road trippers in suburban and small metropolitan areas, as well as near interstate highways.

“We are on the highways and byways, and we’re ready to go,” she added.

When asked what Wyndham’s most popular brand was for road trippers, Davidson said the budget-friendly Super 8 leads the pack. But Wyndham’s other mix of brands like Microtel, Days Inn, La Quinta and Ramada are also popular and frequently found off highway exit ramps.

Road trip bonanza

Wyndham’s mobile app may be one hotel company’s widening embrace on road trips, but it is only the latest in the broader industry’s recognition that this kind of travel isn’t anything to thumb one’s nose at.

Luxury hotels will obviously always bring in higher profit margins because these properties can charge more on everything from rates to services offered at amenities like bars, restaurants and spas. But the pandemic showed just how important reliable streams of business, no matter where guests were checking in, can be.

Hilton even made plans to put more of an emphasis on small- and medium-size companies when it came to business travel demand, as these types of companies typically still needed their workers on the road instead of working remotely.

Executives at Choice Hotels, seen as Wyndham’s direct competitor, frequently tout how the company has more than 4,000 of its hotels within a mile of an interstate highway exit and 2,000-plus hotels near beaches and national parks.

Locations like that, coupled with increasingly flexible work arrangements, can help hotel companies throttle forward in their recovery from the pandemic.

“Consumer trends such as remote work, rising wages, retirements and road trips are all expected to fuel future demand,” Choice Hotels CEO Patrick Pacious said on a recent investor call when discussing the company’s growth outlook.

Featured image by Courtesy of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more