Wyndham Destinations CEO: People Vacation 'in Good Times and in Bad'

December 18, 2018

By Chloe Aiello

The markets may be shaky, but Wyndham Destinations CEO Michael Brown feels confident the timeshare spin-off can weather an economic downturn.

"People are going to vacation in good times and in bad. They will not give up their vacations ー they may change how they vacation," Brown told Cheddar on Tuesday.

In June, Wyndham Worldwide spun off Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and became Wyndham Destinations ($WYND). Since then, the stock has fallen more than 20 percent amid broader market weakness ー with the exception of a pop in value in November. But Brown said the company still managed to return over $200 million in dividends and share repurchases to its shareholders since then, and is concentrating on stockpiling cash, or "dry powder," in case of a recession.

"On the capital allocation and capital expenditures side, we continue to be thoughtful in looking forward to '19 and '20 on how much capital we have dedicated. In the last recession and the one before that, you wanted to have some dry powder in your company so that as real estate began to drop and [mergers and acquisitions] opportunities came forward you had the ability to take advantage of those," Brown said.

As far as demand goes, however, Brown said the market might experience some margin compression, but ultimately people will continue to want to escape. And that's good news for a timeshare company.

"Instead of taking a long haul trip to Hawaii, they may put some gas in their car, some groceries in their car, save a little money and go to a regional destination," Brown said. "And that's the beauty about vacation ownership. It's prepaid vacation, you've locked in their value, and you're going to enjoy your vacation in good times and in bad."

For full interview click here.