As a member of the Global Brand Strategy Team at Wyndham Destinations, we’ve evolved. We’re now a full-service, in-house agency focused on revolutionizing the timeshare industry with the help of creative storytelling inspired by our travel magazines.
Here, There, And Everywhere
Our team as well as my role as Content Marketing & Editorial Director evolved over the last two years, aligning with the rebrand of our flagship clubs, Club Wyndham and WorldMark by Wyndham. I’m fortunate to lead an insanely talented group of content strategists, editorial storytellers, and copywriters who work lock-step with brand marketers, creative designers, and digital strategists ─ some of the best this industry has ever seen.
Our editorial limelight, Destinations magazine, is a springboard in telling our brands’ story across multiple channels. Today the award-winning magazine, a travel guide for Club Wyndham and WorldMark by Wyndham, has expanded our narratives on owner websites, email marketing, social media, interactive platforms, and the sales experience. It’s currently one of the largest distributed travel magazines in the country.
As publisher of Destinations, leading its influence in our resorts’ in-room TV channel and the inspiration behind a new online travel series is pretty remarkable. So why lean into a traditional medium to help elevate our brands’ story and shape omnichannel campaigns?
We Were Here
On face value, a magazine may not appear as a forward-thinking solution for brand storytelling or expanding our presence in the digital space … but it absolutely is! It didn’t happen with the snap of a finger. First, we took stock of where we were to get to where we thought we wanted to be, and ultimately, where our owners and guests expected us to be.
When I joined the company 8 years ago, I infused the spirit of my previous TV news experience … which was storytelling. Over the years Destinations magazine has morphed from telling a singular narrative around our clubs’ spacious, home-like accommodations to a more complete one, showcasing how we stand out from competitors.
That started with feedback! We introduced surveys rolled out in emails, on our websites, and social channels to gain insight around what owners wanted to see. The results called for showcasing our actual resort locations, recommending activities and excursions, easy food and drink recipes to make in the suite’s kitchen, and owners asked to see more of themselves. It was important for them to learn about how to best experience their vacations with us by hearing it from their travel community. So, we upped the presence of UGC through photos and testimonials. We also increased our digital publishing with content that presented all aspects of traveling by echoing our brand stories — Club Wyndham’s “Live Your Bucket List” and WorldMark by Wyndham’s “More Time to Share.”
Now We’re There
Just about every person over the age of 18 has an email and at least one social media account. While timeshare may skew toward an older demographic, buyers who are Gen-Xers or Millennials are emerging! They may not be reading a printed magazine regularly, but they’re consuming multiple pieces of digital content rooted in storytelling every single day. From my end, that meant stronger collaboration with team members outside of my content group. We needed to grow our editorial space beyond print and online flipbooks in order to share our story across all customer touchpoints.
We relaunched the editorial section of the Club Wyndham website ─ evolving it from a repository of old editions of the magazine to an epicenter for travel itineraries, vacation blogs, owner stories, and creative videos that explained the nuances of our product and programs. In email marketing, we revamped our monthly Insider newsletter to serve as a complement to the magazine by telling our story in a shorter, more impactful way ─ using gamification like vacation personality quizzes, featuring our owner programs, and emerging travel trends. Our websites and emails have been crucial during COVID-19 in keeping owners up-to-speed about our enhanced safety standards, amenity openings, nearby attraction closings, and ideas around road trips. In social, we cross-promote our owner contests, which were previously only featured in the magazines … as well as collaborate on action-driven integrated campaigns.
We work in tandem with our sales partners to leverage our clubs and utilize content from Destinations magazine to tell our brands’ story to attract new owners. A number of our sales centers evolved from transactional real estate spaces to vibrant travel hubs filled with inspiring imagery and fascinating videos that further help to engage, disarm, and reinforce the power of vacationing with us.
Getting Everywhere (Our Customers Are)
Our evolution continues. This year we reintroduced our in-room TV channel, Destinations Station, taking a cue from the magazine content. Its focus is around building brand equity by leveraging storytelling to present the personality of our timeshare clubs through travel-obsessed stories.
This summer we launched Vacations Unpacked, a video series that I host which is also inspired by our magazine. It’s focused on showing how vacations with us are easy, affordable, and enjoyable. Even during the pandemic, our Club Wyndham and WorldMark by Wyndham owners and guests are craving information about how to stay in the vacation state of mind and plan for safe getaways.
The pages of Destinations magazine resonates in our integrated channels and influences emerging touchpoints. Our team’s transformation continues and I’m thankful to be a member of a Global Brand Strategy group that strategizes and delivers beyond what’s expected.
While the execution of editorial in a timeshare is changing, storytelling isn’t going anywhere. I wholeheartedly believe brand storytelling is the cornerstone in creating trust, connection, conversion, and loyalty with our customers.
Melody Bostic Brown leads the Global Brand Strategy Team at Wyndham Destinations, and has increased the company’s digital publishing with content that presents all aspects of traveling by echoing brand stories — Club Wyndham’s “Live Your Bucket List” and WorldMark by Wyndham’s “More Time to Share.”