Parent of the world’s largest hotel operator, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, intends to introduce its timeshare business in southeast Asia by the end of this year.
Wyndham is in negotiations to buy properties in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The company expects to close at least one deal by Christmas, according to Barry Robinson, managing director for southeast Asia and the Pacific rim at Wyndham’s vacation resorts and hotel divisions. The Parsippany, New Jersey-based company will also open an office in Singapore to headquarter its southeast Asian timeshare and hotels businesses by the end of the year, Robinson said.
“There’s a huge opportunity in Asia for the vacation ownership business, which hasn’t really been tapped yet,” Robinson, who is based in Gold Coast, Queensland, said on the phone. He noted that with nearly a billion people in southeast Asia and the Pacific rim, excluding China, “the opportunity is probably two to three times the size of the U.S., where we have over a million owners.”
The number of international visitors rose 8 percent for Indonesia over the first nine months of 2014 from a year earlier, and 10 percent for Malaysia in January through July from the previous corresponding period. According to an October report by broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., although political unrest took a toll on Thai tourism this year, the number of international visitors is expected to rise as stability returns. Growth of low-cost airlines and tourist destinations like Bali and Phuket will also support hotel and resort occupancies, the report stated.
There are currently about 185 Wyndham timeshare properties worldwide, 26 of which are located in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, according to company figures. Wyndham Vacation Ownership provides owners with an annual number of credits allowing them to stay at any Wyndham resorts in the region.
Wyndham is the world’s biggest hotel group by number of properties, according to a June ranking by industry analysis firm MKG Group. Wyndham’s hotels division, separate from its timeshare business, owns, manages, or franchises 109 properties across the Asia-Pacific region, with the exception of China. In China, the company operates 929 hotels, with brands including Wyndham, Ramada, and Days Inn.
“I see huge opportunity for the mid- to upper-market hotel sector in Indonesia, Malaysia, where we’ve already got quite a bit of traction, and Thailand,” Robinson said.
Learn more about Wyndham timeshares.