Interesting dynamics and obfuscation of industries as the mega timeshare resort owner Wyndham Destinations announced this week that it has:
1) Acquired Travel + Leisure magazine, which was owned by publisher Meredith.
2) Will change the name of its business to Travel + Leisure Co.
The $100 million deal is fascinating, to say the least, inasmuch as the 230 resort and 18 travel club owner will operate the iconic T+L media business as an “enhancement” to its timeshare business. This is interesting and innovative if not somewhat discomforting to ponder. Will the magazine and editorial content become primarily a vehicle for positioning Wyndham properties, locations, and future businesses above others and disregard unbiased reporting. Unquestionably the answer is yes.
Wyndham appears to own/operate twenty-five Hawaii properties according to their website. Those include seven on the Big Island, three on Maui, eleven on Kauai and four in Honolulu.
We may cancel our Travel + Leisure subscription. Or wait and see. What about you?
The company said the media portion would be operated by Meredith for the next 30 years, in a royalty-free agreement, whatever that means. The current employees are expected to remain, as will the magazine’s editor.
As you may recall, Amex originated Travel + Leisure, which was previously operated by Time Magazine. It went to Meredith in 2018. Also in 2018, Wyndham hotels were spun off, although some relationship aspects still exist, including the hotel company’s rewards program.
Meredith is the No. 1 magazine operator in the U.S.A.
Its brands include People, Better Homes & Gardens, InStyle, Allrecipes, Real Simple, Shape, Southern Living, and Martha Stewart Living. So how did Wyndham get mixed up in all of this? Read below, and it is “real simple.”
Legacy media outlets are extremely challenged financially without any clear future.
Media outlets are becoming an interesting and relatively inexpensive marketing extension play for travel giants. As Wyndham said, it will use “The brand we acquired from Meredith to expand our addressable market.”
Now, this quote from Wyndham is clear as mud. See if you can get through it without skimming. It took effort. If this is an idea of their writing, the magazine is in trouble.
“Over the past 18 months, we have laid the foundation to expand our footprint beyond our core vacation ownership business, and today we add one of the most trusted and influential brands in travel through the acquisition of Travel + Leisure. This iconic brand, along with its authoritative content and wide audience, will help accelerate and amplify the growth of new capital-light travel businesses and services, as we take the next step in expanding our reach within the global leisure travel industry… People viewed us as tied directly only to Wyndham Hotels and, therefore, if we were to go speak to other hospitality companies or other companies within travel and tourism, the question becomes, ‘Do I want my brand and Wyndham; is it a good fit?’ — Michael Brown, president/CEO of Wyndham Destinations.
The times are changing. What do you make of this?