There is a BUNCH of confusion, even among the most active and involved of owners, over who WorldMark, Wyndham, Cendant, and Trendwest are, and what the relationship is among all these entities. I am going to try to explain it. If anyone has corrections or additional FACTS, feel free to post them in the discussion thread or PM me. I am really trying to keep this to the historical FACTS without editorializing about the relationships between the different companies.
There are actually three separate entities involved in our vacation ownership program: the Developer, the Club, and the Manager.
The Developer builds or purchases the resorts and hands them over to the Club (more on that in a minute) debt-free. In exchange, the Club has given the Developer the exclusive right to market and sell the Vacation Credits that are generated by the new units. The Developer determines how many Vacation Credits are generated by each new unit by assigning Credit Values (how many credits required to stay in each unit) and Season Calendars (how many red, white, and blue weeks per year for the resort). So it would be more accurate to say that the Club "buys" the new resorts from the Developer by giving the Developer those Credits to sell.
WorldMark, the Club is the entity that owns all of the resorts/units, and the entity in which we as individuals hold ownership. We purchase WorldMark, the Club Vacation Credits. Yes, we buy them FROM the Developer, but it is like buying a Ford from ABC Car Dealership or from the guy around the block (if you buy resale). You are not buying the dealership, you are buying a Ford. Those Credits are the same as buying stock in a publicly traded Corporation. They give us partial ownership of the Club, and the Club owns the units.
The Club has no employees and no way to manage the units directly. So they hire a Manager to handle the physical management of the properties as well as the operations of the Club (reservation system, financial records, annual election, etc).
When WorldMark (then called Club Esprit) was initially conceived in 1989, it was created hand-in-hand with Trendwest Resorts. Trendwest was the Developer and the Manager, and WorldMark the owner. They were created together to support one another. As the Board has frequently pointed out, the two were inter-dependent; neither could survive without the other. And that was fine; it really was a case of "what is good for one is good for the other".
When Trendwest and WorldMark were created, Jeld-Wen (a window and door company) was the parent company of Trendwest. In 1997, Trendwest went public but Jeld-Wen maintained 51% of the stock.
Then in about 2002, Cendant purchased Trendwest. Cendant was a huge conglomerate that owned not only timeshare developers (formerly Fairfield and Trendwest, among others), but also real estate firms (Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA); hotels (Super 8, Days Inn, Ramada, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Baymont Inn & Suites, Wingate by Wyndham, Travelodge, Howard Johnson, AmeriHost Inn, Knights Inn); and travel and car rental companies (RCI, Orbitz, Galileo, Avis, Budget, and more).
In 2006, Cendant split itself up into four separate companies -- Realogy for the real estate firms, Wyndham Worldwide for the timeshare and hotel companies, Travelport for the travel distribution companies, and Avis Budget Group for the car rentals. The official line is that Cendant had become too big to be managed profitably. The scuttlebutt is that it may have had more to do with getting rid of the Cendant name and reputation after convictions of fraudulent accounting practices ( See CNN: Cendant settles for 2.93 BILLION
and USA Today: Cendant ex-chairman found guilty
So now Wyndham Resort Development Corporation (WRDC), a division of Wyndham Vacation Ownership which is a division of Wyndham Worldwide, is the Developer and Manager for WorldMark, the Club. It's also important to note that WRDC has a dba as "WorldMark by Wyndham" and is freely calling themselves that.
Edited 8/23/07 to correct inaccuracies regarding Jeld-Wen's involvement.