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Wyndham Destinations preps for record summer as US vacationers eye local travel

Summer holidays just around the corner and hotels are expecting record occupancy.

Despite the strong U.S. dollar, most Americans are planning to keep most of their travel domestic. In fact, according to Vacasa’s Summer Travel Trends report, 33% plan on traveling cross-country, 28% will explore their own region, and 22% will stay within their home state.

The number of people planning to stay within U.S. shores could mean big business for some domestic hotels — something some major operators are banking on as the summer travel season kicks off.

“We’re expecting extremely strong summer demand, in fact, the first quarter for Orlando was 5% up, and as we got into the 2nd quarter in April, it moved up 6%,” said Michael Brown, CEO of Wyndham Destinations (WYND) on Yahoo finance’s YFi PM.

“So we’re preparing for record occupancy for this upcoming summer for the leisure traveller,” he added.

Vacasa Summer Travel Trends report
Vacasa Summer Travel Trends report

Brown added that “90% of our owners are North American, and they’re choosing to stay domestically,” said Brown, adding that currency fluctuations aren’t playing a role in where people are choosing to vacation.

No fear of Airbnb

When Airbnb disrupted the hospitality market offering alternative home-share accommodation, hotels and booking sites scrambled looking for solutions to compete.

But a decade in, even Airbnb sees the need to move into the hotel space. Recently, the company announced its intention to acquire last-minute booking application HotelTonight.

“Airbnb is clearly a hot topic, it’s a great business, but it’s a different business than what we’re in and we’re not seeing a direct impact from it,” said Brown.

Las Vegas Desert Blue (Credit: Wyndham Destinations)
Las Vegas Desert Blue (Credit: Wyndham Destinations)

For hotels fearing the home-sharing company chipping away their revenue, Brown has advice for them: Just offer vacationers experience and space.

“What Wyndham offers and where our niche space is, we offer amenities at the resort, so feature pool, activities program for the family, fitness rooms, and also the consistency of traveling with the brand,” he added.

Trouble in the Caribbean

It’s possible that Americans may be choosing to stay home because of uncertainty abroad. In the Caribbean — a vacation hotspot — another U.S. tourist has died in the Dominican Republic, bringing the total deaths to nine over the past year.

Wyndham Destinations does not have resorts in Dominican Republic, but their properties in St. Thomas and Puerto Rico were devastated by the hurricanes last year.

Brown told Yahoo Finance that, from their experience, travelers will go back when the time is right.

General view of the beach at the Club Med Punta Cana vacation resort in the Dominican Republic, February 29, 2016.   REUTERS/Charles Platiau
General view of the beach at the Club Med Punta Cana vacation resort in the Dominican Republic, February 29, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

“What we’ve seen for our travelers is by having 220 different resorts to choose from, they simply tend to choose a different destination until the time is right to go back,” he said.

Last year, Wyndham Destinations spun off from Wyndham Worldwide (WH) and became an independent company listed on the stock exchange. The Orlando-based company announced its plan to invest more than $1 billion over the next five years on resort developments, upgrades, digital experience enhancements.

Grete Suarez is producer at Yahoo Finance for YFi PM and The Ticker. Follow her on Twitter: @GreteSuarez

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