In the vacation accommodation industry, Windham Worldwide Corp. is considered a big player. It is one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, with more than 20 brands and operations in over 100 countries around the world. Recently, its unit Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific plans to spend at least $18.5 million this year in Australia and New Zealand to buy properties and introduce its Days Inn and Super 8 brands in the region.
According to Wyndham VRAP Chief Executive Officer Barry Robinson, the company may announce an acquisition as early as next month. Wyndham club owners pay an up-front fee and annual levy for holiday credits issued each year and these will be used to buy time at any of the resorts in Wyndham’s and its affiliates’ networks. Robinson added that they have to buy assets to sustain the business and they have to buy something before the end of the year or they’ll run out of units to sell.
As the global financial crisis curbed demand for new timeshares, Wyndham VRAP with a first-quarter profit of $50 million cut about 300 jobs and shifted its focus to controlling costs rather than increasing sales. The Asia Pacific unit’s 2009 profit surged 69% to A$49 million even as sales dropped as its timeshare members continued to use the units they’d already purchased.
Meanwhile, Wyndham is now seeking to increase its customer base from the 43,000 timeshare owners in Australia and New Zealand without identifying a target. The company may have withstood the recent economic meltdown and the challenge brought by the number of owners trying to get out of their timeshares. Now, it plans to create mixed-use developments, i.e. part resort and part hotel, by seeking out distressed assets in the south Pacific region.