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August 18, 2010

Stephen Holmes


ROB GOODMAN: We have Steve Holmes, Chairman and CEO of Wyndham Worldwide. Steve wanted to talk about a few things that are new with Wyndham this year.
STEPHEN HOLMES: Thanks, Rob. There's a few things that are new. One, we announced an extension of our sponsorship of this tournament and it's a great tournament and look forward to it moving forward for another two years beyond this year so at least through 2012, and we've also expanded our charity involvement both globally but also locally.
In fact, this afternoon we're headed over to NC Brenner's Children's Hospital to donate a Fun Center unit that the kids can use in the Pediatric Center.
But this is an important event for us. Everybody in the company gets behind it. I just had the pleasure of playing with Ryan, shot a 66. Not bad. That will work Thursday through Sunday. So he looks like he's in good shape.
ROB GOODMAN: Did you want to talk about the Key to Wyn?
STEPHEN HOLMES: Absolutely. The Key to Wyn expo tent will be opening tomorrow here at the course. All spectators will be given a hotel room key that they will receive on the shuttle bus or when they get on site.
Our tent is set up like a hotel lobby and guests will use their key to try to open the door in the tent.
If the key opens the door, they win a prize, anywhere from a prize worth $25 to $2,500. It's anything from gift certificates, golf packages, to bedding, to a whole bunch of different things, a mattress set, everything. It should be a lot of fun. People will enjoy it.
It's also an info center. As people walk in they can pick up information about the tournament and enter for the daily Grand Prize - a Wyndham vacations. It should create a little more excitement.
ROB GOODMAN: Questions?

Q. Will we get a key?
ROB GOODMAN: We're going to make sure yours doesn't open anything.
STEPHEN HOLMES: Actually we may make sure yours opens it.

Q. In your discussions with the PGA TOUR about the extension, was there any talk or do you feel like you would like to have earlier dates on the Tour saying a year or two from now?
STEPHEN HOLMES: Yeah, we've discussed that with the Tour for sometime now. This course would probably play a little bit different in the spring than it does in the late summer but we love this time as well. Obviously we extended it so this is a great time, too. But we have discussed that with them. If something happens, it happens but our decision was not dependent upon that, obviously.
The thing that really drives our decision is our ability to have a platform to tell the world about Wyndham Worldwide, the hospitality company, and also to connect by giving back to the community which is one of our core values.
So the charitable side of it is very big for us and the fact that we can bring our customers in here and everybody can learn about Wyndham.

Q. Was there ever a time where it was in doubt that you might not be able to sign the extension?
STEPHEN HOLMES: Yeah. I think that whenever you're in a discussion or negotiation to do something like this, this is a very big decision for us. We do not take this lightly. We think about it at the highest levels, including with our Board. So, was there ever a doubt that we were going to do it?
I don't know in my heart if there was a doubt because I think we've connected very well in this market but everything had to be right and everything was right and we're very, very happy and I'll tell you, the Foundation and the group and Rob and Mark Brazil, these guys put on an event, and I have the pleasure of going to a lot of other events, and this is really is a terrific event and as Jim Melvin, who you may know from the Foundation said when I arrived down here, "Welcome home."
That's the way he treats all of our people from Wyndham. It's like we're coming home when we come here. It's really a very special feeling and this has a special place in our heart.

Q. Maybe I should have phrased it a little bit differently. Would you prefer to have the spring dates rather than summer dates?
STEPHEN HOLMES: Yes. We've talked about doing that if it's possible to do it but we also understand the restrictions that the Tour has with the various sponsors that they already have in place, obviously, but if something became available, we'd be happy to sit down and talk to them about it.

Q. I know Wyndham does a lot with charities locally. There are a lot of charities out there. How do y'all go about choosing which ones benefit?
STEPHEN HOLMES: It's a great question. There's somebody right behind you spends a lot of time working on that. We have a foundation called Wishes by Wyndham. Within Wishes by Wyndham, we set about a mission plan of what do we want to do and accomplish?
We decided that really the focal point of our charities is to focus on children and so if you look at the three signature charities that we have: the Association of Hole In The Wall Camps, like the local Victory Junction, Starlight Children's Foundation, which helps kids who are in hospitals or who are chronically ill and the third is Christel House International, which helps children who are to break the cycle of poverty, whether it's in India or Mexico or here in the U.S.
So they're all children-focused. Those are three signature charities. Then we have a number of other charities that we support locally through our properties as well, not nearly to the extent that we support those three, and almost exclusively, they all relate to children's issues.
ROB GOODMAN: Anything else?
STEPHEN HOLMES: We're donating a Fun Center on behalf of Starlight Children's Foundation at 3:00. We're making a donation tonight as well to Victory Junction.
Then we were also over at Furniture Land South this morning. But the Fun Center, if y'all have a chance to go over there, it's at the hospital. The Fun Center is basically a cart that has a DVD player, the latest Nintendo Wii games on it, video games that kids can play who are in the hospital and it's a really neat thing - and having had kids who have been in the hospital and spent time around kids there, it really breaks the monotony of spending time in the hospital.
So very meaningful for kids in the pediatric area. It's a big help. We're very proud to be part of that program.
ROB GOODMAN: You'll get a release on that later this afternoon. Anything else? All right. Steve, thank you very much.

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