It’s only a matter of time until more timeshare companies use sharing economy services like Airbnb to distribute their products.
But for now, Wyndham Worldwide’s Wyndham Destinations Network timeshare arm will stick to its mainstays of Booking.com and HomeAway, according to executives on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call.
“Airbnb’s systems do not accommodate our rental model as well as some of the others do,” said Wyndham Worldwide CEO Steve Holmes. “We’ve run some tests that require a lot of manual effort to try to use Airbnb as a distribution channel force, because that’s really what they are. But we have not been able to find an automated way to do it. So I think it’s unlikely that they will be a big distribution avenue for us, but HomeAway and Booking.com will continue to be.”
Timeshare buyers are also getting younger, according to Wyndham’s data. The average timeshare owner is now 51 years old, while the buyer is 39 years old.
“The age of the buyers of timeshare… [has] gotten younger over the last several years,” said Holmes. “The Gen-Xers are attracted to timeshare. The average household income is up fairly significantly. I remember when it used to be $80,000. It’s up like $95,000 now. There is a younger, more affluent person buying timeshare than there was historically.”
On the hotel front, Holmes said Wyndham’s hotel brands are now more focused on improving the quality its hotel portfolio inside particular brands than re-branding or re-positioning.
“The units that we are adding generally have a higher quality score, TripAdvisor score, QA scores, than the average [hotel], so the idea is to improve the overall quality,” said Holmes. “Do I see us taking Days Inn or Super 8 from a solid monster economy brand and moving it up to midscale? No… We are trying to make more of an evolutionary change versus a revolutionary change.”