RCI president addresses top UK business conference
RCI president Gordon Gurnik was among the speakers at the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in London earlier this month.
Gurnik joined Debbie Wosskow OBE, founder of Love Home Swap, to discuss RCI’s purchase of the company earlier this year, a deal that raised eyebrows, as well as awareness of both companies, among the UK business community.
The pair discussed how Love Home Swap had been an interesting lesson in how to start, grow, scale and sell a business. They also spoke about how Love Home Swap straddles two markets – being a major player in the growing sharing economy, as well as a good fit with the established timeshare holiday exchange market.
Wosskow spoke about how she got to know Gurnik’s team before selling Love Home Swap to RCI. Wosskow said she had found much common ground, as well as the opportunity to reach new audiences, by coming together with a different ‘family’. Gurnik and Wosskow also discussed the synergies between the two companies – despite operating in different spaces – and how productive and easy their collaboration had been.
In an interview with the CBI’s Business Voice publication, Wosskow, who remains as an advisor during the transition, further explained her rationale for selling the business.
“We created swap points to expand how people could swap their properties,” she said. “It became clear we were developing timeshare 2.0 and for that reason Wyndham, specifically its RCI business, was a great investor and eventual acquirer of Love Home Swap.”
Wosskow also shared how RCI had invested in Love Home Swap before purchasing the business, highlighting how important that partnership had been, and how the companies complemented each other.
“What we brought to the table was the ability to run at speed, innovate, fail fast and to deploy a team that would have been quite difficult for a big corporate to find and hire,” she said. “What RCI brought to us were some very practical things around reach and scale.
“We were the first early stage investment the group had ever made, and I think that it will continue to make more because it’s a model that’s worked well.”
Appearing at such a high profile event – conference speakers also included the UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – will undoubtedly have raised the profile of both companies and the timeshare industry in general. The topic aired by Gurnik and Wosskow perfectly mirrored the event’s theme ‘A world of opportunities’.