Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Gaston

Gareth Gaston

Senior Vice President Global eCommerce, Wyndham Hotel Group

An experienced and accomplished e-commerce executive, Gareth Gaston has spent over 16 years in the hospitality industry and currently serves as senior vice president, Global e-Commerce for Wyndham Hotel Group and its portfolio of more than 7,260 hotels. In that role, he serves as the architect and driver for the company's overall online strategy and presence, including oversight for Wyndham's involvement in RoomKey.com Since joining Wyndham in late 2010, Mr. Gaston has led a complete transformation of how the company conducts its business online and established the organization as a leader in the space. Among his most recent accomplishments: launching new websites, mobile sites and select apps for the company's 15 brand portfolio; creating a revolutionary partnership between TripAdvisor and Wyndham to display trusted, independent ratings and reviews directly on all of Wyndham's consumer facing sites; and the launch of WynReview, a ground breaking tool that feeds Wyndham-solicited guest feedback into the TripAdvisor ecosystem while providing owners with an easier way to manage their hotel's online reputation. Prior to Wyndham, Mr. Gaston served as managing director and CEO for OctopusTravel.com, an online hotel retailer owned by Travelport, operating businesses in over 20 countries in Europe & Asia. Gaston successfully turned the company around through an extensive global reorganization and delivery of a new multi-million dollar technology platform, while transitioning to a business-to-consumer offering resulting in growth for the company for the first time in several years. Prior to Travelport, Mr. Gaston served in distribution and marketing roles for various hospitality and travel companies including long-time Wyndham Hotel Group franchisee Ramada Jarvis Hotels as well as Hilton Worldwide and Stakis Hotels. Always at the cutting edge, Gaston built his first hotel chain website in 1996 and then led Hilton to be the first global chain to establish local language booking engines across Europe and in Japan. Mr. Gaston is currently studying for an executive MBA through the TRIUM program and is a graduate of the University of West of Scotland where he received his bachelor's degree in Marketing. In 2000, he was honored by Hotel and Catering magazine with the prestigious Acorn award, which recognizes the U.K. hotel industry's top 30 individuals under 30. He is a regular guest speaker at industry conferences and has recently spoken at events for organizations such as the United Nations Tourism Council, PhoCusWright, EyeForTravel, eTail and AdTech. In addition, he also serves on industry advisory boards for Jet Blue and TripAdvisor, as well as LocalBigWig.com, an internet start-up specializing in corporate housing and extended stay home rentals. He is based in Wyndham Hotel Group's Parsippany, N.J., offices.

Mr. Gaston can be contacted at 44-0-20-7383-2335 or gareth.gaston@wyndhamworldwide.com

Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.