This excerpt taken from the WYN 8-K filed Jul 19, 2006.
Vacation Exchange and Rental Industry
The estimated $36 billion global vacation exchange and rental industry is a growing segment of the hospitality industry. Industry providers offer products and services to both leisure travelers and vacation property owners, including owners of second homes and vacation ownership interests. The vacation exchange and rental industry offers leisure travelers access to a range of fully-furnished vacation properties, which include privately- owned vacation homes, apartments and condominiums, vacation ownership resorts, inventory at hotels and resorts, villas, cottages, boats and yachts. Providers offer leisure travelers flexibility (subject to availability) as to time of travel and a choice of lodging options in regions to which such travelers may not typically have such ease of access. For vacation property owners, affiliations with vacation exchange companies or vacation rental companies allow such owners to transfer the ability to facilitate exchanges of interests in vacation properties or marketing and renting vacation properties, as applicable, and, with respect to vacation properties for rental, to transfer the responsibility of managing such properties.
The vacation exchange industry provides to owners of intervals flexibility with respect to vacations through vacation exchanges. Companies that offer vacation exchange services include, among others RCI (our global vacation exchange subsidiary and the worlds largest vacation exchange network), Interval International, Inc. (a third-party exchange company), and companies that develop vacation ownership resorts and market vacation ownership interests and offer exchanges through internal networks of properties. To participate in a vacation exchange, an owner generally contributes intervals to an exchange companys network and then indicates the particular resort or geographic area to which the owner would like to travel, the size of the unit desired and the period during which the owner would like to vacation. The exchange company then rates the owners contributed intervals based upon a number of factors, including the location and size of the unit or units, the quality of the resort or resorts and the time period or periods during which the intervals entitle the owner to vacation. The exchange company then generally offers the owner a vacation with a similar or better rating as the rating of the vacation that the owner contributed. Exchange companies generally derive revenues from owners of intervals by charging exchange fees for exchanges and through annual membership dues. In 2004, approximately 72% of owners of intervals were members of vacation exchange companies, and over two-thirds of such owners exchanged their intervals through such exchange companies.
The overall trend in the vacation exchange industry is growth in the number of members of vacation exchange companies. We believe that the vacation exchange industry will be favorably impacted by the growth in the premium and luxury segments of the vacation ownership industry through the increased sales of vacation ownership interests at high-end luxury resorts and the continued development of vacation ownership properties and products, including condominium hotels and destination clubs. The vacation exchange industry is expected to grow over the next few years with respect to members and with respect to exchanges by members. In 2004, there were approximately five million members who completed over 3.5 million exchanges.
The vacation rental industry offers vacation property owners the opportunity to rent their properties to leisure travelers for periods of time when the properties are unoccupied. The vacation rental industry is not as organized as the lodging industry in that the vacation rental industry, we believe, has no global companies and no international reservation systems or global brands. The global supply of vacation rental inventory is highly fragmented with much of it being made available by individual property owners (as contrasted with commercial hospitality providers). Although these owners sometimes rent their properties directly, with or without the assistance of property managers and brokers, vacation rental companies often assist in renting owners properties without the benefit of globally recognized brands or international marketing and reservation systems. Sales by vacation rental companies are growing more rapidly than sales by other suppliers of inventory in the vacation rental industry. Typically, vacation rental companies collect rent in advance and, after deducting the applicable commissions, remit the net amounts due to the property owners and/or property managers. In addition to commissions, vacation rental companies earn revenues from rental customers through fees that are incidental to the rental of the properties, such as fees for travel services, local transportation, on-site services and insurance.
We believe that as of December 31, 2005, there were approximately 1.1 million and 1.2 million vacation properties available for rental in the United States and Europe, respectively. In the United States, the vacation properties available for rental are primarily condominiums or stand-alone houses. In Europe, the vacation properties available for rental include individual homes and apartments, campsites and vacation parks. Individual owners of vacation properties in the United States and Europe principally own their properties as investments and often only use such properties for portions of the year.
We believe that the overall demand for vacation rentals has been growing for the following reasons: (i) the continuing growth of low-cost airline operations; (ii) the increased use of the Internet as a tool for facilitating vacation rental transactions; and (iii) the emergence of attractive, low-cost, warm-weather destinations, such as Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The demand per year for vacation rentals in Europe, the United States, South Africa and Australia is approximately 45 million vacation weeks, 30 million of which are rented by leisure travelers from Europe. Demand for vacation rental properties is often regional in that leisure travelers who rent properties often live relatively close to such properties. Many leisure travelers, however, travel relatively long distances from their homes to vacation properties in domestic or international destinations.
The destinations where leisure travelers from Europe, the United States, South Africa and Australia generally rent properties vary by country of origin of the leisure travelers. Leisure travelers from Europe generally rent properties in European destinations, including Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, which are the most popular destinations for European leisure travelers. Demand from European leisure travelers has recently been shifting beyond traditional Western Europe, based on political stability across Europe, increased accessibility of Eastern Europe, expansion of the European Union and expansion of tourism in southern Mediterranean destinations. Demand by leisure travelers from the United States is focused on rentals in traditional destinations, such as Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; San Francisco, California; and New York City.
We believe that the overall supply of vacation rental properties has been growing as a result of the growth in ownership of second homes. Growth in ownership of second homes, however, could adversely affect demand for vacation rental properties to the extent that owners of such homes no longer are as likely to rent vacation properties as such owners were before they bought second homes.
The overall trend in the vacation rental industry is growth in the number of vacation rentals due to the increased popularity of consumers renting non-hotel inventory. According to a recent Travel Industry Association report on domestic travel, sales of vacation rentals as measured by the number of rental weeks sold in the United States are expected to grow 67% over the next decade.