Over the past several months, timeshare companies have likely been scrambling to find a way to acquire new vacation owners. With the vacation market at a standstill, they’ve been unable to pitch their product to easy-going, loose-spending tourists. In fact, travel restrictions are also affecting current owners that have already paid for their 2020 interval – causing millions of people to second guess the major purchase. Despite the industry’s ability to profit billions of dollars every year, 116 Wyndham timeshare employees have been laid off in their San Antonio office since the COVID outbreak.
A barren sales pipeline and a steady increase in complaints have unsurprisingly resulted in further cost-cutting decisions by timeshare companies. While some decided to terminate or furlough “unnecessary” workers right away, others waited to see how the pandemic would play out. Now that major hotel chains are forced to deal with cancellations and mismanaged inconvenience, it appears they’re slowly shifting from offense to defense. At the same time, it also appears they’re more interested in defending their wealth than the effect of the virus on their employees.
The Gradual Decrease of Wyndham’s Working Class.
“The lodging industry in San Antonio is one of the hardest hit in the state,” said Paul Vaughn, the senior V.P. at Source Strategies (local hotel consulting firm). While it’s easy to criticise Wyndham based on earnings, we will commend them for spreading out the reduction of their working class. The 116 layoffs at their San Antonio locations (Club Wyndham Riverside Suites and La Cascada) strategically began after travel bans started to chip away at Wyndham’s revenue projections.
96 members of Wyndham’s marketing and sales team were already laid off at both resorts prior to their recent COVID update. On July 27th, a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) stated that on August 7th and 8th, 20 more Wyndham timeshare employees were let go. Although the “depressed hospitality industry” is certainly impacting the business, timeshare operations are still collecting payments from owners. So why are timeshare companies wasting more time explaining staff reduction reasoning when they could be focusing on retention?
Wyndham’s human resource director in Virginia, Dan Williams, seems to seek pity in the company’s letter to the TWC. “The workforce reduction is a result of new unforeseen business circumstances resulting from the sudden and unprecedented effects of the coronavirus outbreak on our business,” he said. After reviewing the company’s quarterly financial report, 7K Wyndham timeshare employees have been laid off due to COVID-19. To give you a perspective, they employ 9K across the globe according to the San Antonio Express News article.
Justifying The Cuts of Wyndham Timeshare Employees.
According to Vaughn, San Antonio is struggling more than other popular cities in Texas because of conservative marketing budgets and a lack of “tourist attractions to entice visitors.” He went on to say, “When you have a crisis hit like this, it exacerbates the underlying problem.” But what exactly is the major problem here? Is it not that paying consumers don’t have access to the product they paid tens of thousands of dollars for?
“San Antonio is particularly affected with hotel occupancy rates overall currently in the low 30 percent range, half the level of a year ago,” said Vaughn. Wyndham officials also seem to be focused on altering sales to replace losses. “We expect to continue to see U.S. consumers shift from international to domestic travel and also to destinations that require driving versus flying. We believe these shifts may be favorable to the timeshare industry.”
The officials at Visit San Antonio, a public-private partnership that manages tourism marketing for San Antonio, have yet to provide a public statement. Although timeshare employees and owners may be left on the backburner for a few months, at least the timeshare industry is optimistic about their ability to rebound. Let’s hope some of these cost-cutting measures are used to reward the patience of vacation owners.
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