How Wyndham’s CMO and CFO joined forces to stay budget agile
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How Wyndham’s CMO and CFO joined forces to stay budget agileFebruary 2023
How do you set your business apart in today’s climate? According to a recent study, budget agile marketers are 25% more likely than non-agile marketers to report their performance as stronger than industry competitors. Lisa Checchio, CMO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and Michele Allen, CFO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, share how working closely together has allowed them to maintain budget agility and drive their business forward.
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Lisa Checchio: Hi, I’m Lisa Checchio, chief marketing officer of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.
Michele Allen: Hi, I’m Michele Allen, chief financial officer for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.
Checchio: Today, Michele and I are going to be talking about how the relationship between a CMO and a CFO helps us with budget agility and what that does to accelerate our business.
Allen: I would describe our relationship as one of partnership, trust, and inspiration — constant feedback to help move the business forward.
Checchio: Our relationship, I find it to be energizing. Energizing for me personally, and energizing, I think, for the business. Because one thing we are not is static or status quo.
Checchio: I feel like because the teams are constantly together — we’re together, our leaders are together, we’re together with each other’s leaders — we’re also looking forward. So we’re proactively almost changing our outcomes in real time versus waiting for us to look back and think of what we could have done.
Allen: We have a certain level of trust between us. I think part of what we do well is bringing different views together, whether it’s the views of the finance team or the marketing team or the operations team or even the IT team to help solve problems, to help look at current trends, and figure out how we can pivot our business.
Checchio: By working the way we do together, it permeates into the organization, and setting the expectations for our teams throughout makes us stronger at every single level.
Checchio: Because of our relationship, it drives quicker decision making that helps us to remain as flexible as we are, as nimble as we are.
Allen: The beauty of budget agility is in the reforecasting. It’s in the monthly view. It’s in the constant looking at real-time trends and then pivoting and saying, “OK, budget to me really is just an allocation of resources.”
And how we spend those resources is going to change based upon whatever the new dynamic in the market is today or tomorrow.
What we’re basically saying is: We don’t have all the answers in November when we set the budget, but things are going to come up in May or in July, and we want to have dollars allocated to whatever those new ideas are.
Checchio: That’s where our marketing strategy is going after the next-gen traveler. It’s wonderful to have the travelers that we have today, but as we think about driving success for our franchisees well into the future, we want to meet that next-gen traveler where they are.
Different preferences, different brands, different ways of booking and our campaigns: the way that we’re finding, the way that we’re deploying our marketing and media as nimbly as we are allows us to be as flexible as we can.
And we know it’s working. I mean, 2021 was the highest year on record for profitability for our franchisees.
Checchio: I mean, we share a responsibility as stewards of our business. We just come to it from different sides. And I think by understanding each other’s languages of what helps each other to have confidence in each other, in our teams, I think it does trickle down into the organization, and I do think helps us to run a better business together.
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