Skift Take

AccorHotels isn't the only big hospitality company that's involved in the sharing economy or alternative accommodations these days, just FYI.

Wyndham Worldwide’s RCI division, which covers vacation exchange, announced it has acquired London-based Love Home Swap, one of the world’s largest home exchange programs.

Media reports estimated the acquisition price at $44.6 million (40 million British pounds) although an RCI spokesperson said the  purchase price would not be disclosed. RCI had invested in the company in 2015.

Love Home Swap was founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow, who wanted to create a more robust home-exchange model. Today, the company has more than 100,000 homes in more than 140 countries. Wyndham said Love Home Swap will continue to run as an independent brand and will be marketed separately from RCI.

Wosskow will remain an advisor as the company is integrated into RCI, and Ben Wosskow, who formerly served as the company’s chief commercial officer, has been appointed managing director and will oversee the daily operations of the business.

“RCI saw a lot of growth potential in the alternative accommodations and sharing economy market, and there are a lot of similarities between RCI and Love Home Swap’s models,” said a spokesperson for RCI. “When we made the initial investment and strategic partnership in 2015, there were a number of ways we started to work together to grow Love Home Swap’s business. We worked with them on developing a point system, similar to how we do it in vacation exchange at RCI. We saw that a real opportunity for synergy and we’re expanding vacation exchange to a different market with this acquisition.”

RCI has more than 4,300 affiliated resorts in nearly 110 countries and developed the concept for vacation exchange using a global points-based exchange system. To date it has more than 3.8 million subscribing members, and it part of the Wyndham Destination Network.

In a statement, Wosskow said, “I’d like to thank the team and everyone involved in driving Love Home Swap forward. Dedication and hard work has yielded fantastic results in a short space of time and this is a real global success story for the U.K. sharing economy. We’re delighted to join the RCI family and are excited to work closely with them to help shape the future of the travel industry together.”

It’ll be interesting to see how Wyndham continues to leverage the strength and scale of its brands various sectors, ranging from home and vacation exchange to vacation rentals and hotels.

Wyndham Worldwide CEO Stephen P. Holmes has previously noted he wants to generate more business for all three of Wyndham’s core businesses using loyalty as a tool.

The company is hosting its second quarter earnings call on Thursday, so there’s a chance Holmes may elaborate on that particular strategy given this newest acquisition.

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Tags: wyndham, wyndham destination network

Photo credit: One of the homes available for exchange on Love Home Swap. The company was acquired by Wyndham's RCI division. Love Home Swap

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