From his base in Singapore, Barry Robinson leads Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific, a division of Travel + Leisure Co. TNL (NYSE), the world’s leading membership and leisure travel company. The company manages three vacation clubs across Asia Pacific: Club Wyndham South Pacific, Club Wyndham Asia and the recently launched Innovative Holiday Club.
After expanding into Japan in 2019, the company is the largest timeshare operation outside of North America with resorts in 10 countries, close to 71,000 vacation club members and some 3,000 associates. It has a consumer finance portfolio in excess of AU$230 million, a full-service travel agency and a member benefit program that offers vacation exchange, flights, car hire and more, plus
discounts on big brand purchases.
Under Barry’s leadership, the company has grown from 14 properties across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to an asset portfolio in excess of AUD $1 billion, with more than 70 resorts open or under development. Since joining the company in 2003, Barry has quadrupled EBITDA and has strategically led the company to withstand challenges experienced in the industry from the impacts of COVID-19.
At his 2019 Town Hall Associate Address, Barry’s central theme for the year ahead was AGILITY. Little did he know that just two months later, he would need to ask his associates to be more agile than ever before with the onset of a global pandemic.
It is this kind of intuition that Barry possesses as a business leader. Two years later, he has successfully led the company to not just withstand the pandemic but to make ground-breaking advancements throughout it.
As a leader, Barry is relatable and empowering. He is down to earth and connected with every level of his team. Known for his prank playing, he keeps his associates laughing, but it is his constant challenging of the norm, that sets Barry apart.
All who work with him know that he questions the ‘why’ of everything, which has in turn, instilled an entrepreneurial spirit among his team. Associates are encouraged to ask: ‘Why are things done this way?’ If the answer is ‘Because that is the way it has always been done,’ the expectation from Barry is to investigate how it could be done better.
Barry is a visionary who wanted to extend the club’s offerings to deliver much more than vacations. He wanted club membership to benefit owners in their everyday life. As such, he has led the team to develop the Lifestyle by Wyndham Offers program. Exclusive to Club Wyndham South Pacific members, this thriving e-commerce site, offers thousands of discounts on over 180 big brand brands with savings up to 63% off.
In 2021, the program made record transactions. As just one example, over $1.7 million was generated in the sale of discounted digital store cards alone. The saving passed on to owners on gift card purchases was close to $90,000 between Jan-Oct 21.
This year, the company also launched its revamped tiered membership benefits program including: A complete rebrand from Privileges to Lifestyle by Wyndham; tier name changes, standardization of fees; addition of five new benefits; plus a revamp of other benefits.
Barry’s motivation behind this was to provide greater value to owners. The result has seen owners save hundreds of thousands of dollars. Under the new fee structure, Platinum members can enjoy savings of up to $430 annually, coupled with an enhanced benefits program.
Barry has instilled a strong culture around the company’s service promise to Create personalised and memorable customer experiences.
During the first round of lockdowns, Barry encouraged his Customer Experience teams to set up regular live Zoom updates to connect with owners at home. Barry and other executives attended these sessions along with virtual owner trivia nights, cooking classes, Murder Mystery Nights and more.
When theme parks and attractions temporarily closed due to COVID-19, Barry suggested free activities be introduced at resorts. Now in 2021, over 100 free resort activities have been introduced across the Club Wyndham South Pacific resort collection. See video
From mountain bikes, stand-up paddleboards and boogie boards, activities are free for Club Wyndham members and available at a small fee to resort guests.
This program has seen resort satisfaction rates soar, in some cases seeing NPS rates jump 9 percent. The activities have been so popular in the South Pacific; Barry has now appointed a Chief Activities Officer to oversee the roll out of the activities program across Asia.
The pandemic has been an ultimate leadership test, and Barry has excelled in leading his team to not just survive the crisis, but innovate and excel through it. He has empowered his associates to see the pandemic as a catalyst for rapid and significant evolution, and the chance to implement projects that give Wyndham Destinations a market edge.