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 4402073832335 or gareth.gaston@wyndhamworldwide.com

Coming up in December 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.