RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange and part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (NYSE: WYN), turns 40 years old today, marking a significant milestone for the company and the vacation ownership industry as a whole.
“When Christel and Jon DeHaan founded RCI on Feb. 4, 1974, they invented the concept of vacation exchange and forever changed the shape of the timeshare industry by adding an entirely new level of flexibility and choice to travelers,” said Gordon Gurnik, president, RCI. “Since then, RCI has partnered with some of the most respected companies in the hospitality sector to continue moving the industry forward. Today, we celebrate the achievements of each of our affiliates as we look ahead to the next 40 years.”
What began four decades ago as a stack of index cards housed in a shoe box has grown into an unparalleled vacation exchange network of more than 4,000 affiliated properties in approximately 100 countries – the largest in the world. RCI’s approximately 3.7 million subscribing members have access to this vast network, and have created countless memories traveling to these quality affiliated resorts.
“Our members share our passion for travel, culture and adventure,” said Gurnik. “As we celebrate 40 years together, we want to thank each of our members for their enthusiasm for travel and their choice to see the world through vacation exchange. And as a token of our gratitude to them, we will be releasing several exciting member and consumer promotions throughout the year.”
Since RCI brought the flexibility and choice of vacation exchange to timeshare, the industry has grown rapidly. In the early 1970s there were 45 timeshare resorts around the world; today, the number tops 5,000. The types of products and services available to timeshare owners have also increased significantly, and the concept has grown and flourished around the world.
Over the years, RCI has continued to transform the industry, leading the way with first-to-market innovations that have given its affiliates a competitive edge while delivering a richer experience to owners and RCI members. Some examples include:
• the launch of RCI Resort Recognition program, which helped set the standard for quality in vacation exchange in 1991;
• the creation of the first global points-based exchange program, RCI Points, in 2000;
• the world’s first (and now largest) luxury exchange program, The Registry Collection, in 2002;
• the launch of the first online video network for the industry, RCI TV, in 2009;
• the unveiling of trading power transparency, which revolutionized vacation exchange with added flexibility and choice in 2010;
• and the first mobile version of an exchange website in 2012.
“We have some of the best and brightest minds working at RCI, who are constantly looking for ways to improve on an already celebrated vacation exchange system,” Gurnik continued. “Our reputation and track record of being an innovator in the industry is only possible thanks to the spirit and dedication our associates have for delivering the best experience to RCI members and affiliates.”
As RCI celebrates its 40th anniversary, it continues to look ahead for new ways to bolster the future of the vacation ownership industry. In 2014, RCI has plans to improve its online experience and content with the goal of furthering positive messages about vacation ownership while improving the exchange experience for members.
For more information, visit RCI.com or RCIAffiliates.com.
RCI is the worldwide leader in vacation exchange with more than 4,000 affiliated resorts in approximately 100 countries. RCI pioneered the concept of vacation exchange in 1974, offering members increased flexibility and versatility with their vacation ownership experience. Today, through RCI® Weeks, the traditional week-for-week exchange system, and RCI Points®, the industry’s first global points-based exchange system, RCI provides flexible vacation options to its approximately 3.7 million RCI subscribing members each year. RCI’s luxury exchange program, The Registry Collection®, is the world’s largest program of its kind with more than 200 affiliated properties either accessible for exchange or under development on six continents. RCI is part of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals and the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (NYSE: WYN). For additional information visit our media center, rciaffiliates.com or The RCI Blog. RCI also can be found on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.