Posted on April 15, 2021
As the largest timeshare provider in the world, you would expect Wyndham Destinations to be making news as it recovers from the impact of COVID. From resort reopenings and name changes to restructured departments and new products, it has been quite a time for the Wyndham timeshare operator.
Wyndham has done a remarkable job of pivoting its resources in response to the COVID crisis. The company created a detailed program of enhanced hygiene called Vacation Ready, which lists its COVID protocols affecting its resort properties, timeshare suites and even check-in procedures. This allowed resorts to reopen sooner than expected, with occupancy rates rebounding close to pre-pandemic levels over holiday periods.
Currently, all Wyndham-branded timeshare resorts in the U.S. are open for business apart from restrictions placed on resorts based in Princeville on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. International destinations are unavailable for obvious reasons due to COVID-related travel restrictions.
Wyndham continued work on restoring two St Thomas resorts, Limetree Beach Resort by Club Wyndham and Club Wyndham Elysian Beach Resort, which recently reopened following the impacts of hurricanes hitting the island in 2017. Even in the midst of the pandemic, Wyndham continued the restoration efforts to bring the resorts back online as travel resumed to the island.
Timeshare suites were fully refurbished in both resorts and, in the case of Limetree, adding new suites and amenities such as a new restaurant, beach cabanas, renovated swimming pool and swim-up bar.
Wyndham decided to buy travel behemoth Travel + Leisure, which is one of the largest and most recognizable travel brands in the world. This led to Wyndham transitioning its corporate identity on the New York Stock Exchange, moving its operation under the Travel + Leisure moniker and making the Wyndham Destinations name subservient to the new structure. Wyndham Destinations now looks after the company’s timeshare resorts while the rest of the company grows its travel media, travel club membership and technology platforms.
This change isn’t expected to initially impact Wyndham timeshare owners, as the nearly 900,000 owners will continue to enjoy 230 vacation ownership resorts around the world. If anything, as more programs are launched, owners should have more ancillary benefits as the programs grow.
Wyndham introduced a new division under the name Panorama, which now oversees the operation of the company’s exchange, rental and booking technology platforms.
As the world emerges from COVID restrictions in line with vaccination rates, this looks to be a real growth area for Wyndham as high demand for vacations is expected to explode over the summer. Exchanges and rentals are set to take off as consumer confidence returns and Wyndham improves its booking platforms.
One of those new platforms involves a site called BookTandL.com, which stands for Book Travel + Leisure and allows visitors to book hotel stays, activities, flights and rental cars. This is one area that Wyndham is looking to expand beyond its timeshare products, even though the Wyndham timeshare operation remains its core competency.
Expanding its timeshare exchange business is also a priority, which is why Wyndham bought exchange company Dial an Exchange and has since renamed it 7Across. The former DAE operated an exchange platform without membership fees, only charging a fee when an exchange is processed. The newly minted 7Across is continuing the policy, operating without membership fees as a way to complement the big brother of timeshare exchange, RCI.
The major thorn in the side of every timeshare operator are the timeshare exit companies – which claim to offer owners a way out of their ownership for a high upfront fee. Across the industry, exit companies have parted owners from their cash and Wyndham timeshare owners are no exception.
This is why Wyndham launched Certified Exit – backed by Wyndham, a customer service program built on the earlier Wyndham Cares concept. Wyndham wants their owners to know that they can contact Wyndham directly if they are thinking of an exit strategy for their timeshare. This is a program at no cost to the owner, compared to the $5,000 - $10,000 fees charged by exit companies to essentially do the same thing that an owner can do themselves by reaching out to Wyndham.
The program is primarily designed for long term owners with no mortgages or outstanding fees attached to their timeshare or club points and are looking to give back their ownership.
For those owners looking to sell their Wyndham timeshare and recoup some of the costs, Wyndham will refer them to their featured reseller program. Timeshare Broker Associates is one of only two timeshare brokerage firms in the country to be part of their program, so you are already in the best place possible to learn how to sell your timeshare. As always, there is no cost to consult with one of our licensed agents.
Even during the downturn with international boarders closed, Wyndham has been working to advance its overseas products.
Yesterday, Wyndham Asia Pacific broke ground for construction on a new 205-unit hotel in Adelaide, Australia. The $70million AUD project, to be named Ramada by Wyndham Playford, will be one of 52 hotel and resort properties across the Asia Pacific region managed under the Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific umbrella. When completed in late 2022, the hotel will also be included in the Wyndham Rewards program and is expected to be an option with other Club Wyndham resorts in the region.
Wyndham has also expanded its programs and services across its Club Wyndham portfolio of resorts across the region. Over 100 activities have been added as Wyndham seeks to include more onsite, family-friendly activities as a result of pandemic-induced restrictions.
Activities range from offering more boogie boards and surf boards at their Gold Coast timeshare resorts to more elaborate offerings such as gold panning in Ballarat and an outdoor movie theater at the Phillip Island resort.
Club Wyndham Seven Mile Beach in Hobart even went as far as to build a hobby farm with chickens, goats and alpacas. Other destinations are offering fishing rods and mountain bikes, while yoga sessions are on offer in Bali.
All resorts continue to operate under COVID health protocols relevant to their unique destination.