2018 insights logo                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

The “Fine Print” is Indeed Fine

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The “Fine Print” is Indeed Fine  

By Howard C. Nusbaum, President  


Regulatory issues are directly tied our industry’s success. And while this side of the business may not seem as exciting or fun as sales and marketing or resort operations, I believe it truly is.

During a conference I recently attended in Spain, there were many discussions that mirrored the same challenges and opportunities that are shared at ARDA gatherings. However, due to the regulatory structure that has been in place in the United States for 35-plus years, I find that the U.S. industry has tools to better address some of these issues, with the fire-power of codified law. As such, our product structures, owners, and governing HOAs are protected – leading to a more vibrant marketplace conducive for growth.

Don’t get me wrong—not every regulation and rule makes sense, despite its original intention. But from a macro perspective of growth and paths of opportunity, our regulatory regime has done more for our consumers’ confidence and safety, which has fostered a more robust commercial enterprise for everyone in the business. And these laws and structures have become the hinge around which the industry has turned for the better.

You wouldn’t play a game that didn’t have rules, and you wouldn’t want to try to run a business without the certainty offered by these laws and regulations. ARDA and ARDA-ROC are committed to continuing to support good legislation and regulatory oversight. We will also oppose laws or any part of the rule-making process that we believe do not enhance our consumers’ experiences or our industry ability to flourish within that platform.

ARDA, through its awesome State & Federal Affairs teams and their partners, will continue to monitor activity at all levels of government to ensure that dangers are defeated and positive bills come to fruition as law.

So, as you can see, change is constant on these fronts. But we remain prepared, so each time that something new pops up for our teams to address, they handle it with the intentions of the owners in mind, keeping the life-blood pumping for success all around—both now and well into the future.

ARDA Fall Conference

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ARDA Fall Conference

Every autumn brings an air that is crisp and filled with a sense of change and each autumn the ARDA Fall Conference takes a look at the past year as it prepares for the upcoming new year. This year, industry leaders came together in positive synergy to look at 2018 and the endless possibilities that it holds. This air of positivity was strongly felt throughout the conference halls, in the courtyard, around dinner tables and even overflowing into the city streets of Washington DC. It helped to fuel our industry workshops and meetings during the conference, as we begin to develop key strategies that will lay the foundation for our industry’s continued growth. This year’s program took a deeper-dive into the economic and political environments that surround our business and the initiatives that help to drive our industry forward. Here are a few highlights:

Interval Intl reception Fall Conference 2017
Interval International kicked off Fall Conference with it’s opening night reception.

Kreeger Museum Fall Conference 2017
ARDA Trustees mingled during the Trustee Foundation Dinner at the Kreeger Museum hosted by First American Title Insurance Company.

AB Stoddard at ARDA-ROC luncheon Fall Conference 2017
ARDA-ROC Legislative Luncheon special guest speaker A.B. Stoddard shared insightful analysis of recent mid-term elections and key forces at work in the overall political landscape.

State of the Industry Discussion Fall Conference 2017
ARDA president and CEO, Howard Nusbaum gave the State of the Industry address, which included panelists (L-R) Robb Webb of Baker & Hostetler; Robert Spottswood of Spottswood Companies; Don Harrill of Holiday Inn Club Vacations; and Mark Wang of Hilton Grand Vacations.

Martin Regalia Keynote Fall Conference 2017
Keynote speaker former Chief Economist of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Martin Regalia dispelled some of the mysteries of the U.S. economy (sponsored by Fidelity National Timeshare).

RCI Afterglow Fall Conference
RCI hosted a luminous closing reception to celebrate another successful Fall Conference.

Charlie Cook Chairman's League Fall Conference 2017
Chairman's League Breakfast (sponsored by Resort Travel & Xchange) speaker Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report and Columnist for the National Journal, shared his thoughts on political pundits and what to expect for the 2020 election.

To see more photos from the event, view our Facebook Album. 

Check out all of ARDA’s upcoming events here. 

Four Essential Business Services for a Legacy Resort

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 Four Essential Business Services for a Legacy Resort

 4 essentials 

Legacy properties have very different needs than a resort that is in the active sales phase. Lead generation and sales tools are no longer the priority, but finding ways to drive rental revenue, make investments in the resort, and protect your property become the new focus areas.

To ensure the property continues to flourish, there are four key business services that should be in place. If the list looks overwhelming without the in-house expertise needed, there’s no reason to worry. There are plenty of companies that can provide these services.

#1 – Gain Control of Inventory 

One unique challenge facing legacy resorts is gaining control of inventory. Legacy resorts face common issues like aging owners, increasingly delinquent maintenance fees, and the “Sunset Clause” that will come into effect over the next few years. 

In these situations, it’s important for legacy properties to work with professionals who can handle these issues and obtain deeds back from delinquent owners.

#2 – Maintain Revenue Streams 

With timeshare sales no longer happening onsite at legacy resorts, maintaining cash flow requires rental revenue. To optimize the revenue your property can generate, it’s essential to make sure the right unit is reaching the right person at the right time—and most importantly, at the right price.

When this is done properly results include growing revenue and occupancy, increasing efficiencies, and enhanced reporting and forecasting. 

#3 – Invest in Your Property 

When investing in your property, a good starting point is gathering feedback from your owners and rental guests. That way, you know what will have the most significant impact on traveler experiences.

After reviewing feedback, it’s time to prioritize needed renovations and invest where you see fit. 

#4 – Protect Your Property 

While it’s never a happy exercise to imagine what could go wrong at your property, insurance is essential to keeping resorts running smoothly and mitigating risk. Legacy resorts need to be mindful of their insurance coverage while also being mindful of budget.



Your Future Board Leaders

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 Your Future Board Leaders 

By Sharon Scott, RRP  

 your future board leaders

It is probably going to be necessary for those of us currently in authority to break existing paradigms and restructure current procedures if we are to engage this generation. We need to rethink the way we do things currently. We need to deconstruct and then reconstruct our organizations to eliminate hierarchical, top down methods.

How then are we to recruit our resorts’ future leaders?

Do things “their way.” 

Engaging millennials in the leadership process begins with making the resort experience an important ingredient in their lives. Part of our resort’s ethos must be one of fun—supporting experiential travel younger owners can enjoy with their peers. Attract them with events and activities to which millennials can relate.

Do a little research to see what millennials are buying, using individual expenditure reports to follow their interests. The results may pleasantly surprise you, as there are beginning to be more and more millennials with money to spend on fun.

Give them connectivity. 

Once millennials begin vacationing at a timeshare resort, they will expect a level of service that, frankly, many of us just don’t offer. They want to stay connected to the internet at all times, but they also want to stay connected to the greater community.

Make them feel they’re part of it.  Solicit their opinions; seek their counsel. 

Leverage their sense of purpose. 

Those of us who have long retained the authority to operate our companies and associations in ways that have been proven successful in the past may feel resentful, as the “new kids” dispassionately dismiss time-honored processes.

Nationally-acclaimed political columnist and author of New York Times best-seller, Applebee’s America, Ron Fournier says “they are purpose-driven, having learned at an early age just how fragile life can be in the post-9/11 world.”  He argues they are impatient and demanding because they grew up with the Internet, which taught them they could command change and choice simply by typing.

If we want to attract millennials’ hearts and minds, HOAs need to first get them invested in the concept of being part of the resort’s family by providing vacations they will find desirable. After you earn their buy-in, then provide them with leadership opportunities.

Better, Stronger, Faster…

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 Better, Stronger, Faster…   

By Mark Wang, ARDA Chairman  

better faster stronger

Resort operations and HOAs are the proverbial yin and yang of our customers’ on-property experiences. Resort teams are focused on the qualitative vacation experience—delivering lifelong memories—while our HOA teams are focused on the quantitative, fiscal stewardship to ensure the properties meet or exceed our owners’ expectations in a sustainable way.

Fortunately, the people who make up our resort operations teams are nothing short of extraordinary. They know our owners and guests personally, care about their requests and concerns with passion and personalization, and treat them like friends and family. When we say timeshare is truly home away from home, it’s these special team members who walk the talk.

Our industry is all about memorable vacation experiences, and they make that concept a reality every day for thousands of people from all over the world, which is not easy.

To complement the passion and dedication of those who serve our owners during their vacations, it takes unwavering commitment to consistent, high-quality customer service from those who manage our homeowners’ associations—from annual meetings and ongoing Board Member relations to annual billing and all the hard work in between.

This area of our industry continues to evolve as we find new opportunities to keep owners aware and informed faster to increase engagement and satisfaction with their purchase.

Through the tremendous success of these two teams there are still challenges facing our industry, including getting board of directors’ participation from the Millennial generation.

Going forward, I challenge us all to consider how we can take engagement to the next level and elevate our appeal to younger generations, as we work to make our industry as great as possible.

Developing the Future of Industry Leadership

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 Developing the Future of Industry Leadership 

By Nicole Beal  

 Developing the Future of Industry Leadership.png

In just four short years, ARDA LEAPS has built a reputation for being the industry’s top leadership development program. The mission statement of LEAPS is: “To develop and educate through a well-rounded and multi-faceted curriculum, future leaders committed to serving ARDA and the shared vacation ownership industry.”

The program has evolved through each year of its existence, and the possibilities for what a participant can do with the experience are endless.  A variety of skill-building activities and experiences offer mutually beneficial rewards to both the individual and his/her organization and then the industry overall.

Graduates of the program have created results that speak for themselves, using their unique projects, fresh ideas and inspiration to fuel change in a variety of sectors throughout vacation ownership.

An individual’s leadership attributes are developed and enhanced in this program through working with other industry up-and-comers to create the future of ARDA. While everyone comes to the program with their own expertise, working together provides a glimpse into each division of timeshare and vacation ownership. At every turn, the LEAPS program immerses the participant in thoughtful and rich representations of the industry.

With this knowledge and leadership comes progression from the LEAPS participants. They are given tools that allow them to unleash previously untapped potential within their organizations and throughout the broader industry. Participants have secured elevated positions and promotions as a result of their participation, while their organizations have realized the benefit of expanded education and training, fresh ideas, and renewed motivation as an outcome of the program. Progression as an after-effect of LEAPS is felt at an individual, organizational and even industry-wide level.

Serving on committees, speaking at ARDA World and regional conferences, contributing to industry publications, hosting webinars, and promoting groups such as WIN and TIYP are just some of the ways that LEAPS participants and graduates can serve.

For more information about the program, please contact Darla Zanini, RRP, EVP of the AIF (dzanini@arda.org) or see www.arda.org/leaps. Perhaps you could be selected for next year’s class!

See the full story here


Looking to the Future of Travel

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 Looking to the Future of Travel 

By Mark Wang

 looking ot he future 

Experiential Travel is a hot topic, not just in the timeshare industry, but across all segments of travel and tourism.  Consumers today are focusing a good portion of their discretionary income to focus on experiences instead of material possessions, which is great news for our industry.

Consumers no longer want to simply travel to a location and stay put, but would rather create memories through experiences no matter where they vacation.  In my opinion, we have many opportunities to make the most of this growing interest.

Our communities of owners can refer and recommend to each other activities, restaurants, and so much more, which emphasizes the inherent value of being a timeshare owner versus a rental guest. They enjoy belonging to a group with others of similar interests and sharing their experiences, including their photos and videos, with one another. Part of their overall travel experience includes the enjoyment of the peer-to-peer sharing and excitement of planning their vacations with the help of other owners.

This also creates a great opportunity for the timeshare industry.  We can use this to grow the overall digital experience of travel planning and sharing of experiences and memories during and after the vacation itself, which actually prolongs the feelings of excitement and overall satisfaction

Our resorts also create a ton of added value when we consider the many potential partnerships with other providers that can add to a holistic experience for our owners—from jeep rentals and hiking guides to white-water rafting hosts and tasting tours (to name a few). We have endless possibilities when we consider all the ways we can increase the breadth of our owners’ experiences!

With this in mind, I challenge us all to never stop learning and to stay laser-focused on the continual discovery of what makes our customers love our product and maximize their ownership.

Creating Meaning

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Creating Meaning 

By Howard Nusbaum 

 creating meaning

Creating a great vacation experience goes beyond just the sticks and bricks of our timeshare resorts, especially when it comes to our next generation of consumers: millennials. 

The interesting trend I’m seeing with millennials is that they are becoming cultural trailblazers for older and newer generations. Consumers today are broadly catching on to the notion that experiences make you happier and are as valuable—if not more—than buying fancy things.

So how can operators of timeshare resorts and clubs capitalize on this trend as they interface with owners, exchangers, and renters? According to the professional ad/marketing industry, here are three tips for creating meaningful experiences:

Tip #1: You don’t need to create large-scale, complex experiences to get add to your marketing and delivery of experiences. Keep it simple and real; talk less about the facility and more about the benefits of the overall resort experience.

Tip #2: Don’t overuse technology. Most people are only interested in sharing their vacation through social media—they have the tools, all you have to do is offer an experience worth sharing.

Tip #3: Don’t hide behind the “they won’t want to spend their dollars on that” mentality. Study after study shows people are ready and able to pay for enhanced experiences and if it is free, they won’t value it as much. 

We are in the business of creating memories, so offering an array of experiences is a natural fit for our consumers. Once that is in place, then let them also organically share and market it for you.

And don’t forget to share them with the ARDA communications team and VacationBetter.org. 

Using Data to Reach the Experience-Focused Traveler

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Using Data to Reach the Experience-Focused Traveler 

By Todd Schulte  

 Reach the

Marketing of timeshares performs best when it is closely aligned with the unique interests, preferences, and needs of prospects. That means that the unique array of experiences your timeshare property offers—whether on-site or nearby—can be the basis for improved focus in your marketing.

By doing this you’ll know who to market to and what to emphasize. And equally important, you’ll know who not to market to and what not to emphasize. Great brands understand that they can’t be everything to everybody.

Applying this to timeshare, it’s highly unlikely that any given property is the best for golfing, and watersports, and culinary activities, and ecotourism, and extreme adventures, and…well, the list goes on. But if you determine what your strongest attractions and amenities are and then concentrate and customize your marketing to prospects who truly value those experiences, you will improve your odds of moving them to the next step on the path to purchase.

So how do you know what experiences people value most?

The best way is to work with a third-party data partner, who can reveal what your sales leads (as well as thousands of other prospects) actually spend their money on year after year, across a wide range of consumer spending categories.

Partnering with a third-party data provider offers clear insight into the priorities, spending patterns, and loyalty patterns of your prospects in ways that your own in-house data likely can’t reveal.

There is currently more data available to marketers to use in their promotions than ever before. With so much data available to timeshare marketers, there’s no reason not to become a truly data-empowered one. With the right partner and a willingness to invest in some testing and validating, the return on investment for every marketing dollar can be substantially better, resulting in closing more sales and booking more guests.

Read the full story here! 

The Best of the Season

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The Best of the Season

By Howard Nusbaum 

best of THE SEASON  

It’s summer time, which for millions of Americans means vacations. And for our industry, this means show-time as we deliver on the dream of better vacationing for our consumers. That is if they take their earned vacation time. 

There is good news on that front. Project: Time Off found that Americans are now using more vacation time than they have in the past decade, according to their latest report The State of American Vacation 2017. This is, of course, great news for our industry.

Even with American travel being up, our ARDA advocates have remained busy this past legislative season trying to ensure this trend continues. I’d like to share some State Affairs advocacy successes and recognize the achievements and progress our advocates have made on your behalf.

It was a busy year around the country, with bills and issues in dozens of states and jurisdictions, which tallied up an impressive list of successes. For example, in a recent Florida win, legacy resorts will now have more tools at their disposal, such as more achievable extensions to timeshare plans and important product definitions now memorialized in state law.

In South Carolina, we passed a successful piece of legislation that helps timeshare owners and their HOAs stay safe from transfer and resale scams. And in Hawaii, we were able to protect consumer privacy by protecting the integrity of timeshare owners’ lists.

Looking to the Caribbean region, we mitigated onerous tax issues on behalf of timeshare owners in the USVI, while also working diligently on behalf our owners and industry in Puerto Rico and St. Marten. These are just a few of the successes that our State Affairs team have accomplished in the past year.

With these successes, we hope to make vacationing with timeshare better for each and every one of our consumers. We want to make sure that vacation usage continues to rise, while preventing any obstacles that could interfere with your vacations. So, go take your vacation this summer, I know I am looking forward to soaking up a wonderful summer right alongside our consumers!

Faces from the Frontline: Secondary Market Scams

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Faces from the Frontline: Secondary Market Scams 

2018 faces 

Since its inception, ARDA has been well-known for tremendous advocacy efforts for the timeshare industry and consumers, stemming from ARDA’s foundation of legislative and regulatory procedures.

To provide even more consumer focus, the ARDA-Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC)—an alliance of more than 1.6 million timeshare owners, developers, and resort managers—works to advocate for public policy positions that protect the interests of individual timeshare owners, preserve the integrity of vacation products, and enhance the vacation purchase.

Unfortunately, wherever a market exists, deceptive or fraudulent activity can also be present. The same is true for the timeshare resale or secondary market – but our team is working endlessly to protect our owners.

ARDA and ARDA-ROC consistently work to ensure that the vacation ownership experience remains preserved and protected through robust advocacy efforts with state and federal governments, as well as providing industry education to the media, financial advisors, members, owners, other associations, and consumers across the globe. 

While ARDA and ARDA-ROC continuously work with legislative and regulatory agencies to protect against frauds and scams, it is important to remind our consumers to be equally as vigilant. This means researching any company in the secondary market and being on the lookout for these six red flags:  

  1. Being contacted unsolicited by a company regarding the sale of your timeshare or the elimination of maintenance fees; 
  2.  Receiving an offer that sounds too good to be true (it likely is); 
  3. Getting asked to pay a large up-front fee for a future “service”; 
  4.  Learning of any promises to modify or cancel your timeshare contractual obligations; 
  5. Receiving any call or mailing offer to transfer your paid-off ownership to another party; and 
  6. Receiving a call or letter from someone claiming to be a representative of ARDA or ARDA-ROC (ARDA and ARDA-ROC don’t contact owners unless first requested by the owner to do so; ARDA and ARDA-ROC do not perform any resale services).  

For more information on ARDA and ARDA-ROC efforts in resale legislation, owner protections and ways to stay vigilant against fraud, visit www.arda-roc.org.  

Introducing…Mark Wang

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Introducing…Mark Wang 


Every two years, we have the unique opportunity to welcome a new ARDA chair, a leader with fresh perspective and guidance to the strategic direction of the Association and the core nature of our work.

Change brings so many components to it: expectation, excitement, a sense of adventure, questions and perhaps uncertainty. Developments Magazine sat down with our new ARDA Chair, Mark Wang, president & CEO of Hilton Grand Vacations, to get a sense of his vision and plans for these next two years.  Here are some of the key things discussed during that sit down:

Mark has been an entrepreneur from a young age, building companies and developing teams with this inspiring sense of the possible.  He spent 26 years in Hawaii selling vacations, stating, “I started several companies and helped struggling resorts succeed. I learned all aspects of this business—sales and marketing, management, finance and operations.”

He’s used these lessons from his past to rise to his current role where he leads over 8,000 exceptional team members for a company that is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

As for what his top priorities are as Chairman, Mark says:

“There are three top objectives I want to focus on, especially in the first year. First and foremost, continue to support advocacy as the number-one core strength of ARDA. I’ve been involved with ARDA for almost 35 years, and at the state level in Hawaii I saw how strong ARDA could be, protecting both developers and owners. As a second priority, I see great opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, so I want to explore how to bring best practices and perhaps our AIF research tools to strengthen that region for growth. And my final priority would be to address exit programs and public perception, which are often inter-connected. First, we should consider owners who enjoyed the product for many years but now have a need for a soft landing. We can also enhance the overall image of timeshare, which is currently being tarnished by the tremendous activity targeting owners to ‘get out of their timeshare.’ We know owners love our product, and we need to protect our owners and our industry’s reputation.”

Overall, Mark adds, he is grateful to Howard Nusbaum and the entire team at ARDA for this opportunity to collaborate on the goals and objectives outlined in ARDA’s Strategic Plan.

Here’s to ARDA’s new Chair and the success of our industry—the best is yet to come!

To learn more about Mark, read his full sit down in this month’s issue of Developments.  

ARDA Spirit

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ARDA Spirit 

By Jenny Davlin

 2017 ty

One of the best parts about being a member of ARDA is our community. Whether you focus on the regulatory and advocacy aspect or find value through AIF research and education, the ARDA community belongs to all members. And there was no better sense of this community spirit than at this year’s ARDA World 2017. 

Everywhere you looked, there was greatness being shown by our members. 

They tirelessly volunteered, attended meetings, and contributed to the core work of task forces, committees, and councils. The Awards Gala recognized and celebrated many of the exceptional people, products, and passion in the industry. And the remarkable speakers and top-notch parties created an environment where every ARDA member in attendance benefited, learned, and laughed.

There is a common belief among our members that change brings positive opportunities for our timeshare owners and our businesses, and there were some significant changes during this ARDA World. We said good-bye to the outstanding leadership of past Chairman Weisz and welcomed Chairman Wang who will guide us for the next two years. Our foundations are strong and growth continues—all positive signs for our members.

We want to thank you for your membership and continued support! Our team continues to value your feedback and appreciates your contributions. We look forward to seeing many of you at our regional meetings, Fall Conference and other events.

Creating Luxury and Beauty

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Creating Luxury and Beauty 

Three Resorts Score Top Awards 

By: Kathryn Mullan 

luxury and beauty 

At this year’s ARDA Awards Gala, three different resorts won the ACE Project of Excellence Award, which recognize some of the front-runners in today’s vacation ownership resorts. Broken into three distinct categories—Domestic, International Large Developer and International Small Developer—each winning resort is truly one of a kind.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these three winners:

Domestic Project Winner: RiverWalk Resort on Loon Mountain (InnSeason Resorts) 

RiverWalk Resort on Loon Mountain sits at the edge of a mountain river, settled around an old New Hampshire paper mill. The land it was developed on encompasses a rich part of the Loon Mountain community history. What has emerged on this land is a luxuriant resort with fractional suites, a penthouse level, a full-service spa, state-of-the-art game room, luxury owners’ club, a shuttle to Loon Mountain, and a short drive to many of White Mountain’s natural wonders and attractions. Every unit features spectacular mountain views. The resort also features several amenities that are firsts in the area: a commercial winery called “7 Birches” on premises, and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool that is engineered to convert to an ice skating rink during the winter. RiverWalk Resort on Loon Mountain is an award-winning lodge that blends history, natural beauty and a vacation experience into one.

International Large Developer Winner: Marriott Vacation Club at Surfer’s Paradise—Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. 

Located in Queensland, on the Gold Coast of Australia, Marriott Vacation Club at Surfer’s Paradise has quite the story to tell. To start, the developer acquired a hotel that was not having much success and turned the top eight floors into exquisite timeshare villas—all in only nine months (from conception to opening day). The game plan was simple: to retain eight floors of this beautiful, yet somewhat tired property and convert to 88 Vacation Ownership Villas with top-notch amenities. They re-landscaped the exterior and installed a saltwater lagoon pool that has friendly fish that hang around with the swimmers. They put in floor-to-ceiling glass so the guests may fully view the mountains, the Nerang River, and the Pacific Ocean. The décor throughout reflects the history of the region, while still being simple, crisp, light and playful. They even redesigned the lounge and made it open air. Overall, this Surfer’s Paradise is a true project home-run and has been successful among owners, guests, and shareholders alike.

International Small Developer Winner: Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma, A Beachfront Resort by Karisma 

Located on one of the world’s top 10 beaches, Riviera Maya’s Maroma Beach, Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma offers both beautiful accommodations and innovative touches. These bungalows are Mexico’s first over-the-ocean suites, featuring glass floors over the bright turquoise water. With these 30 bungalows, guests create memories that feel more like dreams. Inside each of these huts is their own private infinity pool, indoor Jacuzzi, glass bottom floors, and a personal ladder right into the Pacific Ocean for when they want to go for a dip. Each guest is also pampered with an on-site spa, world class restaurant, and customized beach picnics creating what feels like a utopia. Personalized services run the gamut from 24-hour room service, exclusive beach beds, customized beach picnics, and full butler service on-demand. The core beauty of this resort is also in its sustainability and eco-friendliness. During development, they used all native materials to construct the units, and the base of each bungalow serves also as an artificial reef to encourage activity and growth of marine life. Overall, it is truly a remarkably beautiful and eco-friendly resort that is well deserving of this ACE Award. Each of these winners have truly remarkable resorts that are bringing new innovations and ideas into the timeshare industry. May they inspire many more great works that we will celebrate at next year’s awards night!


Getting It Right

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Getting It Right 

 getting it right 

By: Howard C. Nusbaum, President

A favorite quote of mine comes from famed management consultant, educator and author Peter Drucker, who said “management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” And ARDA has been blessed with a continuing line of leaders who are all about “doing the right thing.”

Using the excitement and high energy from this year’s ARDA World, we are excited to keep the momentum of strong leadership going with the torch passing to Mark Wang (President and CEO of Hilton Grand Vacation) as our new Chair. One of the great benefits of this rotation of leaders every two years is the ability to bring fresh perspectives while maintaining important continuity—keeping our association and mission lean and relevant for today’s world. 

Mark is the latest in a line of impressive leaders who have held this role, and I am looking forward to working with him as we jump into the various programs and work initiatives.

There will not be one beat missed during this transition time as Mark has already had a head start on several of these programs. In fact, he helped lay the groundwork for many of our programs as the Chair of the ARDA Strategic Taskforce—a group of industry leaders who created our association’s roadmap and plan for the next three years. 

Mark was instrumental in shaping the vision for that group and has a great energy and enthusiasm for the task ahead. I’ve also personally had the privilege of working with Mark for nearly two decades, as he was active in ARDA-Hawaii when I first came to ARDA. His experience at this state committee level (along with his role in a global company) makes Mark the right leader for this crucial time at ARDA.

He has already begun to make his imprint in ARDA under his new role, spending the day with our team in DC in late May. With his drive and leadership, I’d say we are off to an awesome start!

2016 Marks Seventh Straight Year of Growth for the Industry

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 2016 Marks Seventh Straight Year of Growth for the Industry 

2017 SOI 

We are happy to share the latest research from our State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry: United States Study 2017 Edition. It shows the strength and resiliency of the timeshare industry after another year of growth in 2016. Here are a few of the highlights.   

In 2016: 


  •  Sales volume increased nearly seven percent, from $8.6 billion in 2015 to $9.2 billion; 
  •  Rental revenue increased by five percent, going from $1.8 billion in 2015 to $1.9 billion; 
  •  There were 1,558 timeshare resorts in the United States, representing about 206,080 units;  
  •  About 70 percent of these units feature two or more bedrooms; 
  •  Average unit size was over 1,000 square feet; 
  •  The average sales price was $20,940; and 
  •  Average occupancy was about 79 percent (compared to a 65.51 percent hotel occupancy rate).  


There were some other interesting facts as well:  


  •  Beach resorts are the most common type of resort; 
  •  Island resorts have the highest occupancy; 
  •  Florida has the most resorts of any region in the country; 
  •  Nevada has the largest average resort size—230 units on average; and 
  •  35 percent of resorts are now offering a mobile application to resort owners, up from just 12 percent last year.  


For more details, check out our infographic and for a copy of the full State of the Industry Study, visit www.arda.org/foundation

The International Timeshare Industry Has Steady Rising Ownership and an Optimistic Future

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 The International Timeshare Industry Has Steady Rising Ownership and an Optimistic Future 

 2016 World Wide Study 

According to the newly released 2016 Worldwide Shared Vacation Ownership Report from the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) conducted by Oxford Economics and Leger, the international timeshare industry is a dynamic industry that spans the globe, and this extensive survey of shared vacation ownership resorts worldwide has once again revealed the industry to be formidable in size, diverse in makeup and optimistic about its future.

With over 5,300 shared vacation ownership resorts in 121 different countries around the world and comprised of more than 527,000 units, the global timeshare industry has become an economic force that is diverse and steadily rising in ownership:

An Economic Force: 


  • Supports nearly 1.3 million jobs; 577,000 direct and 702,000 indirect 
  • Generates $146 billion in economic output; $57 billion directly and $89 billion indirectly 
  • Generates almost $17 billion in taxes 


Steadily Rising Ownership: 


  • Between 2014 and 2015, global sales increased 11.5% from $17.7 billion to $19.7 billion.
  • Average worldwide shared vacation ownership sales price was $18,626 per interval in 2015, representing a 0.5% compound annual worldwide growth rate between 2013 and 2015
  • Global shared vacation ownership occupancy registered 79.4% in 2015, up from 76.4% in 2014


The success of the shared vacation ownership resorts around the world have led to an even more promising future.  The shared vacation industry is on pace to add 91 new properties in 2017 and beyond, which will add nearly 7,300 total units for new investors to enjoy the timeshare industry, no matter where they are located.

 For more details, see ARDA’s infographic and for a copy of the full study, visit www.arda.org/foundation.


ARDA and ARDA-ROC Celebrate Victories in Florida and South Carolina

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ARDA and ARDA-ROC Celebrate Victories in Florida and South Carolina 


Since its inception, ARDA has been well-known for its tremendous advocacy efforts for the timeshare industry and consumers. These efforts stem from ARDA’s foundation of legislative and regulatory procedures that protect consumers, which were established in the early 1980s. Even before those laws and regulations took effect, the industry saw the importance of having rules and standards to govern themselves by, and took appropriate steps to regulate their own business endeavors. By laying that groundwork, the industry created a product in which consumers are protected and a competitive industry platform was established. This consumer-led approach has built a loyal customer base of more than nine million timeshare owners in the United States alone.

To provide even more consumer focus, the ARDA-Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC) – an alliance of more than 1.6 million timeshare owners, developers and resort managers – was established to advocate for public policy positions that protect the interests of individual timeshare owners, preserve the integrity of vacation products, and enhance the vacation purchase. This alliance has enabled ARDA-ROC to unite owners in support of legislative and regulatory policies that empower the timeshare industry to continue to provide high-quality vacation products that remain accessible and affordable to consumers.

Over the years, ARDA and ARDA-ROC have worked together on numerous pieces of legislation that help protect the consumer, as well as allow the vacation ownership industry to flourish. Recently, the ARDA and ARDA-ROC Government Affairs team has experienced a couple of “big wins” with Florida and South Carolina legislation.


Florida has been a leader in the development of timeshare as a vacation option since the industry’s earliest days. The state has been a bellwether for advancements to the industry’s product, structure and regulation, especially when dealing with lifecycle issues for older resorts.

Dozens of legacy resorts in Florida, and a corresponding estimated 300,000 owners, have timeshare plans that are set to expire within the next few years. In many cases, little or no guidance has been made available to these resorts to continue operation, or simply transition into the next phase of their lifecycle.

The ARDA and ARDA-ROC Government Affairs team worked with government leaders in the state to provide legislation that supports sustainable tools for legacy resorts and their owners. Signed into law on May 23, 2017, the new legislation will allow timeshare Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) to effectively manage terminated resorts, provide reasonable processes for older resorts to continue to thrive, and clarify the property rights of timeshare owners.

South Carolina 

Timeshare owners in South Carolina felt the need for better consumer protections against deceptive companies, especially within the secondary market. Owners that have fallen victim to these companies are defrauded out of thousands of dollars for services that were never completed. Scams in the timeshare secondary market not only hurt owners, but owners’ associations and damage the credibility of the entire industry as well.

The ARDA-ROC Government Affairs team won the battle for greater protections for South Carolina timeshare owners on May 22, 2017. The new law addresses the deceptive business practices of fraudulent companies by creating a clear standard of business conduct for resale companies in the state, as well as establishing increased contract requirements, escrow protections, and enforcement provisions for offenders.

This win adds to ARDA-ROC’s history of success in resale and transfer legislation. ARDA-ROC has also introduced, passed, or supported resale and transfer company legislation in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Continued Advocacy 

ARDA and ARDA-ROC continue to make advocacy for owners and the industry a top priority and work tirelessly to ensure that the vacation ownership product and the competitive landscape it is within remain protected.

For more information on ARDA and ARDA-ROC’s Government Affairs wins, visit www.arda.org/government-affairs

The Timeshare Industry: Sharing Economy Trendsetter

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 The Timeshare Industry: Sharing Economy Trendsetter 

 In the quest for younger buyers, let’s remind them that timeshare was the original sharing economy product.  

sharing economy blog image 

As the market opportunity for new buyers shifts to younger millennials, it may be time to capitalize on what they already know and embrace: the sharing economy. Timeshare is the original product in today’s popular sharing economy. This phenomenon is defined as an economic model in which individuals are able to borrow or rent assets owned by someone else. Some of the sharing economy brands that might pop into your head right away are Uber, Lyft or Airbnb – but none of these businesses can say they were the first.

Not only was the timeshare industry the first but it also remains the best shared economy product in the hospitality industry. According to Gail Mandel, president and CEO of Wyndham Destination Network, “Travelers booking through peer-to-peer listing sites (like Airbnb or HomeAway) have virtually no guarantees about what they will find upon arrival, who their hosts are, and if the properties meet safety and cleanliness standards”

In fact, a recent study by Hotel News Now revealed that 67.6% of users don't trust renting a room in someone else's house. Of course, this isn’t the case with timeshare—our resorts pride themselves on providing guests the highest quality services and luxurious amenities. Timeshare brands have built strong reputations through reviews, photos, complete information, responsive platforms and a coherent and steady on-line presence.

And now with timeshare owners becoming younger (30% of new owners are millennials), a sharing economy is something they can relate to, helping change the perception of what a “normal” timeshare owner may look like. The timeshare and exchange model is actually quite appealing to millennials, which makes sense when you think about the fact that they are more interested in travel and experiences than past generations and are already so comfortable with different sharing economy businesses, according to Mandel.

Focusing on the new generation of timeshare owners through something that they are already very familiar with can help to attract new, younger families to invest in timeshare. And with using the clear advantages the industry has over peer-to-peer rentals timeshare can capitalize even further on being in the shared economy – which it has been doing ever since the beginning.


Shifting Historic Industry Perception with Owner Data

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Shifting Historic Industry Perception with Owner Data 

By Peter Roth

myths busted

Data is an essential ingredient in any intelligent discussion, and thanks to the work of the ARDA International Foundation (AIF), I believe our industry has the right data to continue to shift away from old industry perceptions and tell our real story. 

The Shared Vacation Ownership U.S. Report: 2016 Edition was a study conducted by AIF that gave us a compelling set of data that allows us to tell our story through the experiences of more than 9.2 million owners. Using the data found in this study we can counter many “myths” our industry might carry from its past. Let’s take a look at six different “myths” we were able to debunk with this research:

Myth #1: Timeshare owners are mostly from an older generation.

Fact: 67% of timeshare owners are between the ages of 18 and 54, and 41% are ages 35-54. Only 33% of owners are over 55, and only 3% are older than 75. 

Myth #2: Timeshare owners are from lower income brackets.

Fact: In general, the incidence of timeshare ownership increases with household income. Approximately 6.9% of the U.S. population owns timeshare, and 10.9% of those owners have $100K+ of annual household income (compared to 5.3% earning under $50K annually).

Myth #3: Retirees make up the largest group of timeshare owners.

Fact: Only 19% of timeshare owners are retired as compared to 67% either hold a fulltime job or are self-employed.

Myth #4: Timeshare owners are not highly educated.

Fact: This could not be further from the truth. 42% of timeshare owners have a college degree and 21% hold a graduate degree—with only 12% having a high school degree or less.

Myth #5: Most timeshare owners want to get out of their contract.

Fact: 70% of owners would recommend timeshare ownership, and nearly three quarters would recommend their home resort to others, based upon their experience.

Myth #6: All timeshare owners disliked the buying experience.

Fact: More than seven out of 10 recent purchasers (71%) found their buying experience to be excellent or good.

It is important for individual brands and industry members to weave these facts into their stories to discredit the old “myths” of our industry.


Travel and Tourism Week is a Reminder for the Importance of Vacations

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Travel and Tourism Week is a Reminder for the Importance of Vacations 

Facts About a Leading American Industry That’s More Than Just Fun   

 NTTW 2017 

According to the 2017 Alamo Rent A Car Family Vacation Survey, U.S. workers are feeling more guilt than ever before about planning and taking their vacations. It seems as if the health benefits associated with vacations aren’t enough to get people vacationing -- but what if vacations we a part of something bigger, like helping sustain the U.S. economy?

This is what the 34th annual National Travel and Tourism Week (May 7-13) hopes to accomplish through uniting communities nationwide to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being, while also showcasing the impact of travel to policymakers, business leaders and local media. 

Let’s take a closer look at just what the travel industry supports:

The travel industry is an indispensable source of American jobs—jobs that cannot be outsourced. 

  • The travel industry supports 15.3 million American workers—8.6 million directly and 6.7 million indirectly.
  • One in every nine American jobs depends on travel.
  • Travel is one of the top 10 employers of American workers in 49 of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. 

Travel workers have helped shape travel to be one of America’s strongest industries. 

  • Travel generates $2.3 trillion for the U.S. economy. 
  • Direct travel spending in the U.S. totaled $990.3 billion by domestic and international travelers in 2016. 
  • International travel spending directly supported about 1.2 million U.S. jobs and $32.4 billion in wages. 

Vacations (or leisure travel) plays a huge in making up the travel industry as a whole. 

  • Direct spending on leisure travel by domestic and international travelers totaled $683.1 billion in 2016.
  • Spending on leisure travel generated $106.4 billion in tax revenue.
  • Nearly four out of five domestic trips taken are for leisure purposes (79%).

And we know that timeshare is an important component of these numbers!

Be sure to take part in this year’s Travel and Tourism Week, so that you can be a part of the celebration for what this means to our industry.  Encourage your followers and owners to participate by calling on elected officials and supporting travel-friendly legislation that impacts our local, state and national economies.  


It Has Been an Honor…

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It Has Been an Honor… 

mark wang and steve weiss 

Two years can go by in a blink of an eye, but I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed every moment of serving as your Chairman. Through that relatively short period of time, our industry has grown, prospered, changed, and weathered some interesting times. All in all, it has been an amazing period of unprecedented evolution and growth.

 As an industry, we have truly come of age over the past two years and are now being seen as a significant player not just in the hospitality world but also as a business that offers a diverse portfolio of services and revenue streams. We are a unique industry with passionate owners and associates who are extremely engaged in making the most out of enjoyable vacations around the world.

The quality of our physical products has never been better, and the level of amenities and services are amazing too. And what we are doing collectively to drive innovation and create unique owner and guest experiences is pretty astounding—this is why our owners love us!

And as we look to the next two years, I am so pleased that Mark Wang will now assume this honored position and create his own legacy that will only build on this tremendous momentum. I rest easily, knowing that the organization is in good hands with his capable leadership!

Thank you all for your amazing support during my term—it truly has been an honor to serve you.

-- Steve Weisz


Timeshare Industry Continues to Grow and Attract New Buyers

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 Timeshare Industry Continues to Grow and Attract New Buyers 

 infographic title 

According to the newly released 2016 U.S. Shared Vacation Ownership Consolidated Owners Report from the ARDA International Foundation (AIF), the timeshare industry remains healthy, showing that owners have become increasingly engaged with their timeshare and the timeshare lifestyle, while the industry continues to attract new buyers.

With 9.2 million households in America already owning a timeshare, the timeshare industry still continues to attract new owners for three core reasons:

  • People love the locations of our resorts
  • To save money on future vacation costs
  • To ensure they take a vacation every year

The current make up of timeshare owners also revealed how diverse owners are:

  • The average timeshare owner is just under 47 years old
  • 60% of timeshare owners are white; 20% are African-American; 14% Asian American
  • 68% are married; 17% are single, never married
  • 84% own their own home 
  • 44% have children under the age of 18 living with them at home 

Owners are also highly educated, with about 63% having at least a four-year college degree. The median household income for timeshare owners is $81,311, much higher than the median household income of $54,000 for the U.S. on average. With this higher income, owners are spending a varying amount of money to purchase their timeshares:

  • 47% spent under $10,000
  • 26% spent between $10,000-$20,000
  • 27% spent over $20,000

Once purchased, owners are loving their properties, with seven out of 10 owners saying they would recommend timeshare ownership based upon their experience. In addition, a large majority (77%) of timeshare owners took a vacation at a timeshare resort during 2015, a very promising sign headed into the future. 

The report was conducted by Leger and commissioned by the ARDA International Foundation.  For more details, see ARDA’s infographic and for a copy of the full study, visit www.arda.org/foundation.


A Journey and Friend

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 A Journey and Friend 


 At ARDA World 2017, we passed the torch of leadership from Steve Weisz, who just finished his stellar two-year term as ARDA Chairman, to the new Chairman Mark Wang. During this period of transition, I want to take the time to share the heartfelt appreciation we are all feeling for everything Steve Weisz has done for ARDA and our members in his impressive turn as leader.

In the last two years under his very capable hands, ARDA faced head-on all the challenges of a consolidating industry with a disciplined strategy to navigate the shifting components and implement key changes to remain nimble. And with his focused leadership, we have developed a new strategic plan that will guide our association through the rest of this decade.

In short, he has left your association stronger and on a more sustainable path, in light of the changes that consolidation and new business models have meant for ARDA and vacation ownership as a whole.

On a personal note, it has been an honor and a pleasure to work with Steve—I truly feel I am a better executive for the experience. I look forward to seamlessly moving forward with Mark Wang in our strategic plan process, as Steve also had a hand in making sure that succession plan would be smooth and ready to deploy.

So we say a heartfelt thank-you to Steve for all that he has given to our association – we are grateful, and I am proud of all we have achieved together during this time and that I can truly call you a friend.

-- Howard C. Nusbaum

The Don’t Miss Sessions for ARDA World

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The Don’t Miss Sessions for ARDA World 

ARDA World 2017 is quickly approaching, so it is time to decide what sessions you are going to attend while in New Orleans.  As it is every year, there will be plenty of sessions that are informative, educational and even fun.

Let’s take a look at a few:

  • Around the World in 90 Minutes: Developing in International Markets -- Learn about what's new in markets outside the United States and the unique challenges that they face—from labor to construction to implications from political unrest in regions such as BREXIT. Hear how these developers from around the world handle unique challenges they face. What opportunities exist for them ahead and are there opportunities for your company?
  • Are You Overwhelmed? Tune-Up Time -- Are you getting the right stuff done in your workplace environment? How do you focus with so much going on? Do you often feel burned out & disengaged from your teams? Learn the tips, techniques, and strategies for getting more accomplished faster— and with better results. Tune-up and be extraordinary!
  • Disabled Doesn't Mean “Not Able” -- An estimate of more than 19% of people in the United States have a disability. In fact, according to the 2008 U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation, people living with disabilities represented approximately $1 trillion in aggregate income, which translates into more than $220 billion in discretionary consumer spending power. Hear from experts on how to make diversity and inclusion a cornerstone of your corporate infrastructure—from a customer and employee perspective.
  • Human Service Interaction in the Age of Technology -- Technology is trending toward mobile and online registrations and perhaps making the guest experience less personal. But for timeshare resorts, it’s all about human interaction, making a great first (and last) impression and creating a lasting bond with owners and potential owners, not only to generate tour flow for the sales department but also to encourage great reviews. Making a guest feel welcome starts with training and with hiring the right people.

These are just some of the many sessions happening at this year’s ARDA World Convention, and to make things easier for attendees we have the ARDA World App., which allows you to set-up your own schedule, read more about every session and receive the latest updates before and during convention.  So, download the ARDA World App for your iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone to stay up on the very latest, and be sure to visit www.arda.org/convention. We’ll see you next week!

Meet the Leaders for This Year’s Session at ARDAWorld

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Meet the Leaders for This Year’s Session at ARDAWorld 

ARDA World is quickly approaching, so it’s time to for you to decide what events, sessions and meetings you want to attend.  One of the most popular and informative sessions from previous years will be returning this year -- the Meet the Leaders general session, sponsored by Baker & Hostetler LLP.  This is open to all attendees.  Our panel of industry leaders will address topical issues ranging from the impact of industry consolidation to the secondary market – in what will surely be a robust discussion. 

Let’s meet this year’s panel: 

Don Harrill, CEO - Holiday Inn Vacations Club 

Mr. Harrill has been Chief Executive Officer of Holiday Inn Club Vacations since 2005, leading the organization to years of consecutive record growth and becoming a key voice within the timeshare industry. He arrived to Holiday Inn Club Vacations with more than three decades of experience in the hospitality industry, eight of those at the helm of industry-leading timeshare organizations Trendwest Resorts and Hilton Grand Vacations Company. 

Serge Rivera, President & CEO - ILG Vacation Ownership 

Mr. Rivera was just named President & CEO of ILG Vacation Ownership in November 2016.  As President & CEO his responsibilities include leading the vacation ownership development, marketing, sales, and resort operations for the recently acquired Vistana Signature Experiences, as well as for Hyatt Vacation Ownership. Prior to joining ILG, Rivera was most recently president of The Americas for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Robert Spottswood, President - Spottswood Companies, Inc. 

Mr. Spottswood is president and founder of Spottswood Companies, Inc., which has grown to become one of the leading real estate development, property management and hospitality businesses in the Florida Keys. Since 1992 Spottswood Companies has been responsible for the development of the Hyatt Vacation Club, Hyatt Sunset Harbor Resort, Hyatt Beach House Resort, Hyatt Windward Pointe Resort and many other hotels and resorts in the area. Today, Spottswood has grown his company to be one of the Keys' largest private employers.

Mark Wang, President & CEO - Hilton Grand Vacations 

Mr. Wang is President of Hilton Grand Vacations. Prior to joining the company, Wang co-founded PAHIO Resorts in Hawaii and served as its president for six years. He later formed Grand Ownership Resorts, Ltd., a consulting company that developed a successful vacation ownership program at The Bay Club on the Big Island of Hawaii, a resort now managed by Hilton Grand Vacations. 

Steve Weisz, President & CEO - Marriott Vacations Worldwide 

Mr. Weisz is President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation. As president of Marriott Vacation Club International, he has led the vacation ownership division and oversaw three brands under the Marriott Vacation Club International umbrella, including: Marriott Vacation Club, Grand Residences by Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club.  He has over 39 years of experience in the industry with Marriott.

With all of these great, knowledgeable leaders, The Meet the Leaders general session is something you do not want to miss! Be sure to put it in your schedule of events for 10:30-11:30 am Tuesday, March 28.



AIF Convention Preview

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AIF Convention Preview 

 As an integral part of the industry, the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) has a full slate of activities planned for the 2017 ARDA World Convention.  With a new location, this year in New Orleans, Louisiana, it is the perfect time for AIF to try some new and exciting ideas at convention.

First, we’ll be recording
the Fundamental Timeshare Sessions to refresh the on-line “Timeshare 101” education offering now available at www. aifeducates.org. So, for the industry professionals who can’t attend Convention, they will now have access to this great information that will aid in their professional development and career advancement.

In addition, we have a few events planned:

        On Sunday, March 26, the current LEAPS (Leadership Education Action Progression and Service) class will graduate at an invitation-only reception. The incoming LEAPS class members will also make their debut at this reception and ARDA LEAPS alumni, who now number more than 60, are also invited. The 2016-2017 LEAPS class will be presented during one of the general sessions, and their class project was also a new idea: a video showcasing the vacation ownership industry as a great place to begin and spend a career

         An important area of focus for the AIF is education, and at the Reimagining the Sales Process Forum on Monday, March 27 (9:30am-11:00am), students from
the University of Central Florida who received scholarships to attend convention will present their research on the topic to attendees.
    Begun just a few years ago, the Leadership Luncheon—open only to those who have earned ARP or RRP status—has quickly become an ARDA World favorite. Each year an industry leader, sponsored by Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp, inspires attendees to remain leaders and grow in their careers. This year, the Luncheon will feature travel powerhouse Roger Dow (president of U.S. Travel), and will take place on Monday March 27, 11:30am-1:00pm. A can't-miss!
    One event that’s not new (but very popular) is Interval International’s Party with a Cause (PWAC), a ticketed event to be held Tuesday,
March 28 at 9:00pm. Featuring top-name entertainment (it’s always a welcome surprise), the event is a benefit for the AIF and has helped raise nearly $425,000 over the years. 

Make sure to plan to attend as many AIF events as possible at this year’s ARDA World Convention, you’ll get to experience some new things while also participating in some of your old favorites.




The Lion’s Den

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 In partnership with Phocuswright, ARDA presents:   

The Lion’s Den   

An Interactive ‘Digital Meets Travel’ Pitch Competition   

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 from 10-11:30 am
Celestin Ballroom, The Hyatt Regency
Open to all ARDA World attendees. 


This year, ARDA World will be bringing back one of its most popular events from last year, The Lion’s Den, sponsored by Vacatia. Modeled after Shark Tank, you'll watch as a select group of six bold start-ups present their digital innovations and business plans to our panel of judges—the Lions of the timeshare industry—including three high profile CEOs and executives of Disney, Welk Resorts and Vacatia.

Our contestants include: 

  • Dayuse.com – Dayuse.com strives to make daytime hotel bookings available to more people by giving its customers the opportunity to enjoy a hotel room, as well as other services traditionally available to overnight guests only, in the daytime.
  • Hello Scout – A chat-based travel assistant that allows guests at boutique and lifestyle hotels to message on-demand with local assistants.  Even when they aren’t in the hotel, guests can message with their team of trained locals who respond instantly to help with anything from dinner reservations to tour bookings.
  • Suiteness – Their goal is to let anyone book exclusive luxury hotel suites they never knew existed, online. Suiteness has access to the most luxurious suites in the world, allowing you to experience amenities like private entrances, personal butlers, and even private pools. Never before have these suites been available for booking online, but with their help customers are able to get easy access to the perfect luxury suite tailored specifically to their every desire.
  • Transparent Intelligence - A data intelligence company that builds and maintains data analytics products for companies seeking a better understanding of the short term rental industry. Their technology is able to crunch huge amounts of data into information for many different uses and users in the hospitality industry.
  • Travelsify - Travelsify created the world’s first Hotel DNA content platform that characterizes every hotel by a unique weighted sequence of experience-defining metadata. By analyzing more than 100 million traveler and expert reviews, Travelsify has extracted 30 key Hotel DNA attributes that matter to travelers when booking hotels so that travelers can now reliably search and compare hotels worldwide to find the experience they want.
  • WayBlazer - The world’s first cognitive recommendation engine focused on delivering artificial intelligence to the travel industry. Bringing together IBM Watson and proprietary cognitive computing technology, WayBlazer’s AI analyzes cues and triggers from the traveler’s search to yield personalized hotel recommendations.

Our judges will evaluate the companies and, following a live audience vote, a winner will be announced! They'll gain massive exposure to members of the timeshare industry, feedback on their innovations, and it's all happening live at ARDA World 2017! 

Join us and cast your vote live alongside the judges! 


New Orleans: “What Awaits” with New Orleans CVB

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New Orleans: “What Awaits” with New Orleans CVB 

 By Kathryn Mullan  

I was fortunate enough to sit-down with Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB), to discuss what the attendees of ARDA World 2017 can expect from the great city of New Orleans, as well as what the city has to offer to the timeshare industry.

 Here’s part of our interview:

Is there anything special you’d like to say to the attendees at ARDA World 2017? 

Stephen Perry: Whether this is your first time to New Orleans or you’re a regular visitor, be sure to bring your sense of adventure and get ready to explore our historic, culturally rich and truly authentic city.

And while there are endless things to do in ourrenowned French Quarter, I encourage you to exploreour other unique neighborhoods—from the Bywaterto the Garden District, the Warehouse District toUptown, every neighborhood has a story to tell. TheCrescent City is not only the birthplace of jazz, it’s a one-of-a-kind destination, with award-winning cuisine in our 1,400+ restaurants, a rich history seen in our architecture, world-class museums, neighborhood tours, steamboat rides, and other memorable attractions and experiences.

What role does timeshare play in the New Orleans hospitality industry? 

SP: Every visitor has a valued impact on our economyand helps support the nearly 80,000 New Orleanians directly employed by the hospitality industry. The options presented through vacation rentals, timeshares and other diverse accommodations make New Orleans even more appealing for families, groups and extended stay visitors. A timeshare is a great way to get to know the city and experience it like a local. As New Orleans continues to attract more visitors each year, alternative accommodations have become an increasing segment of the hospitality industry.

 What, if anything, does New Orleans do to work with and support new timeshare projects? 

SP: The NOCVB works closely with hotel and vacation properties to continue developing the best accommodations and offerings for our visitors.As visitation continues to grow—particularlyfrom international markets—we will continue to support new projects that expand our inventory of available accommodations.

There has never been a better time than now to visit and discover the sights, sounds and flavors that make New Orleans so unique!  

 You can read the full interview in the recent February Developments Magazine – see it here. 

Advocating for Timeshare Across the Globe

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 Advocating for Timeshare Across the Globe 

By Charlene Small, ARDA 

 By definition advocacy means fervently supporting or recommending something—an organization, idea, industry—you name it. ARDA has not only embodied advocacy through countless legislative and regulatory successes for years but has also taken its advocacy efforts beyond state governments and Capitol Hill to the media, financial advisors, members, owners, other associations and consumers across the globe.

 This full-bodied advocacy method is needed more than ever, as we build a robust industry in today’s global economy.

Planting the Seeds 

ARDA’s advocacy efforts stem from the foundation of legislative and regulatory procedures that protect consumers, which were established in the early 1980s. Even before those laws and regulations took effect, the industry saw the importance of having rules and standards to govern themselves by and took appropriate steps to regulate their own business endeavors. By laying that groundwork, the industry created a product in which consumersare protected, and a competitive industry platform was established.

Building Relationships 

Creating strategic partners is a key advocacy tool to building a prosperous industry. Associations like ARDA create the platform that brings the right people together to solve problems and develop innovations.

Whether it is helping to establish a regional timeshare association in Asia, collaborating with TATOC on best practices in Europe, working alongside government officials and developers in St. Maarten on timeshare legislation, or simply acting asan ambassador for the industry, ARDA’s diverse advocacy efforts impact many constituencies around the world.

Global Insight: Local Impact 

Today’s global economy urges the removal of geographic borders, making the barriers to business relatively limitless. In fact, ARDA’s vision for the future of the timeshare industry concentrates on doing just that. ARDA aims to take the global insights we gain from our strategic partners, such as sister organization the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) and other organizations around the globe, to create even more advocacy efforts at local levels—wherever “local” may be.

Timeshare’s Bright Future 

Our industry provides the chance to experience a different culture, learn a little bit more about the world, and come back refreshed and enriched from the experience. And the greatest part about using timeshare for these experiences is that our products offer enough space for everyone in the family to comfortably enjoy the trip, a world of options for destinations to travel, and the value of knowing that they have a pre-paid vacation every year.

Especially now, with nearly $20 billion in total sales worldwide and timeshare in 121 countries, it’s an exciting time to be advocating for the industry on a global scale. 

Ready to Roll: ARDA-WIN to Focus on People with Disabilities in 2017

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 Ready to Roll 

ARDA-WIN to Focus on People with Disabilities in 2017   

By Judy Kenninger 

 benedict of trekkable

Rarely has an ARDA World session stirred its audience like the 2016 Lion’s Den program, when representatives from tech start-ups pitched their ideas a la Shark Tank. One of the entrepreneurs featured, Benedict Jones, was developing a website with property ratings for an audience he’s a part of: travelers with disabilities.

The inspiration for Trekkable.co, Jones’ company, was in the difficulties Jones faced travelling in a wheelchair. At times, he has had to switch properties because the only accessible room was already sold to another guest.

Jones’ story resonated with Sarah King, executive vice president, human resources, Wyndham Vacation Ownership.  “As leader of the ARDA-WIN Committee’s Diversity and Inclusion Content Group, I saw this as an important constituency for our group to reachout to,” said King. “After getting the group’s buy-in, we’ve made this our focus area for 2017.” 

Jones was the keynote speaker at ARDA-WIN’s  Orlando regional meeting (Thursday and Friday, January 26-27, 2017), where the group assisted with a forum on the topic at the upcoming ARDA World convention in New Orleans.

According to King, opening our hearts and doors to people with disabilities is not just the right thing to do from a moral perspective; it’s also the right idea for our businesses.

To learn more about Jones and strategies to help with the inclusion of travelers with disabilities be sure to check out the January edition of Developments Magazine and join us at this year’s ARDA World to learn more about this topic and much more!


ARDA World: What's in it for You

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ARDA World: What's in it for You

Register before February 27th for a Discount!
 early bird 

Another ARDA World Convention is on the horizon – our first one in New Orleans!  Register for this March 26-30 event by February 27th to get a discount.  It will be a great opportunity to dive in head first and take advantage of everything our annual meeting has to offer.  Whether you are with an exchange company, a developer, a management company, a financial institution or a law firm, there is something for everyone during this great event!

What's Happening at ARDA World 2017 

Three innovative and engaging General Sessions

    • Keynote Speaker – Josh Linker: Monday, March 27, 4:00-5:00 pm  
    • Meet the Leaders - CEO Update Panel: Tuesday, March 28, 10:30-11:30 am  
    • Lion’s Den: Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 am-11:30 am 

Dedicated Marketplace hours: Tuesday, 11:30 am-2:30 pm and Wednesday, 11:30 am-2:00 pm 

Over 25 educational sessions covering the latest industry trends and best practices

Evening Sessions 

It just isn’t ARDA Convention without the signature events that make our annual gathering so legendary, it’s also the world-class parties!  Here are a few for you to start thinking about:

Poker Tournament, sponsored by TrackResults Software, with proceeds going to Send Me on Vacation: Sunday, March 26, 8:00-11:30 pm

All-attendee Welcome Party hosted by RCI: Monday, March 27, 7:00-10:00 pm

Interval International’s Party with a cause at The Saenger Theatre, $40 presale/$50 at the door: Tuesday, March 28, 9:00 pm

ARDA Awards Gala & Entertainment: Wednesday, March 29, 7:00-10:00 pm

Why should YOU be there? 

  • Key opportunities to connect with leaders from hundreds of companies
  • Most comprehensive way to stay up on trends and best practices – more than 25 educational sessions spanning the spectrum of our industry’s top products 
  • Because our past attendees from ARDA World 2016 say this: 
    • “There’s no gathering in the world like ARDA. It is the one place that anybody who is a power player in the industry gets together once a year.”  
    • “ARDA World 2016 was refreshingly new and motivating!” 
    • “It is a great opportunity to visit old friends, make new ones and see all of the changes and advancements in our industry.” 

So, make sure you are at ARDA World 2017 this year in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Register here.  

From Where I Sit: Perspectives on the Year Ahead

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From Where I Sit: Perspectives on the Year Ahead

By Geri Bain   

With change comes opportunity. That’s certainly the view of the six industry leaders that we had the chance to talk with for their perspectives on where vacation ownership is headed in 2017. These leaders were selected because of their innovation and ability to change with the times. With each industry titan we discussed successes, challenges and the overall outlook heading into 2017. Here are some key points from our interviews.

Jon P. Fredricks, president & CEO, Welk Resorts says consumer desires are changing more rapidly than ever. Fortunately, the timeshare industry thrives on change and has been meeting the new needs of consumers through diverse product options.

David C. Gilbert, president, Interval International has a positive outlook for the future, saying that the timeshare industry has seen increases in sales in the U.S. for the last several years and, with the addition of new resorts being built, he anticipates that will continue.

Mitchell Imanaka, managing principal, Imanaka Asato had similar sentiments as Gilbert, stating the slow and measured recovery of the economy, coupled with a low interest rate environment, has set the stage for greater demand, which will drive increased development activity.

Gordon Gurnik, president, RCI thinks that the timeshare industry will also grow internationally because, globally, the feeling that vacationing is essential to well-being and success is more pervasive than ever. And timeshare is well-positioned to provide that guaranteed vacation, year after year.

Ken Potrock, senior vice president and general manager, Disney Vacation Club believes the industry needs to continue to push for a higher standard of customer care so that the focus stays on the great benefits that vacation ownership provides.


Find out what else these insightful leaders had to say in our discussion about the upcoming year for the timeshare industry in the recent January edition of Developments

2017 Legislative Outlook

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 2017 Legislative Outlook

From the inauguration of our new president to welcoming a Republication majorityin the U.S. House and Senate, 2017 is set to be an extraordinary year—filled with potential of tremendous impact on not only our nation but also our industry.We spoke with our federal and state government affairs teams to get their take on how the recent historical elections may impact the timeshare industry, as well as any key advocacy efforts they plan to focus on in this new year.  

Let’s take a look at some snippets from what our legislative team had to say about how the timeshare industry as a whole and some of their new advocacy efforts.  

Robert Clements 

Last year I set out to build strong relationships with attorneys general, as well as other regulatory and enforcement agencies in our key states. This year, I intend to continue those outreach and relationship building efforts throughout the country. Through these relationships, I plan to provide these groups with a greater understanding of the current state of timeshare and the positive and negative issues that may affect the industry.  

With the 2017 legislative sessions about to start around the country, we’ll continue to monitor legislation and work with our members to advocate for their legislative needs.   

Chris Stewart 

The 2016 election results were surprising across the country, when compared to expectations set by the polls. Beyond the presidential level, many economists and politically-seasoned forecasters predicted gains by Democrats in several down-ticket races. Clearly, that didn’t happen. However, after the election, the new members of Congress will help to reduce the concerns regarding new taxes. 

Justin Vermuth 

While our 2017 goals are still being finalized, they can fit in two general buckets. Thefirst bucket looks at breaking down the impediments that members have while attempting to do business in a timely and efficient manner. For example, if registration approvals are taking too long in a state, then we brainstorm on what can be done to get the agency the right tools or resources to help expedite the process.  

The second bucket concentrates on timeshare owner protection. This includes utilizing our new staff resources to consult with enforcement officials on implementing some of the great consumer protection tools we have already passed in Massachusetts, Florida, Colorado, to name a few. Also, dealing with the termination dates that are approaching for legacy resorts. And of course, thereare always tax issues to contend with. 

Kevin Riley 

With regard to ARDA’s key legislative priorities in 2017, there is reason to be fairly optimistic that the composition of the incoming administration—as wellas Congress—will be more receptive to the issues plaguing businesses across our nation, including those that affect our industry and its members.  

The ARDA Federal Affairs team will continue its efforts with the new Congress to support legislation that will better align this agency with its governmental counterparts and install much-needed oversight and transparency.   

ARDA’s outreach to legislators will continue in 2017, and we are hopeful that this administration will not hinder our efforts, as we are joined by a broad coalition of businesses from across the nation    

Find out what else our legislative team had to say about how the recent election will impact our industry in this month’s Developments Magazine. 

Planning: The One Simple Step in Ensuring Your Yearly Vacation

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Planning: The One Simple Step in Ensuring Your Yearly Vacation
pto plan for vacation

On January 31st Project:Time Off is hosting its first national “Plan for Vacation Day” encouraging Americans to declare their vacation days for the rest of the year…at the start of the year. National Plan for Vacation Day encourages families to sit down together and map out their vacation plans for the coming year.  This is a great concept that we believe many timeshare owners embrace already.

Why is planning so important? 

In our culture of packed schedules, hyper-connectivity and work martyrdom, American workers are in serious need of a break.  But as a whole, Americans leave 658 million vacation days unused each year!

We understand the value of vacation time for our relationships, personal well-being, and professional success. Yet, 51% of Americans skip out on planning, which is the single-most important step workers can take to ensure they are using their vacation time each year. 

The power of planning is evident. Individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once and report greater levels of happiness in every category measured. In-depth research proves that the Americans who take time to plan ahead are happier with their health and well-being, their financial situation, their marriage, and even their overall mood. Research also shows that simply having something to look forward to—like a vacation—improves happiness.  

Why don’t workers take time off? 

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of employees report that they hear nothing, mixed messages, or discouraging messages about taking time off, which leads to them choose not taking any vacation. Yet, 80 percent of employees said if they felt fully supported and encouraged by their boss, they would be likely to take more time off. 

It is clear that workers who plan reap the rewards:

  • 51% of planners took all of their vacation time vs. 39% of non-planners.
  • 69% of planners were more likely to take a full week of vacation time or more at a time vs. 46% of non-planners.
  • 85% of planners report they are happier with their relationships with their significant other, compared to 72% of non-planners.
  • 69% of planners, compared to 60% of non-planners, report being happy with their relationships with their children.
  • 81% of planners say they are happy with their financial situation, compared to 71% of non-planners.
  • 90% of planners are happy with their professional success, compared to 82% of non-planners.

It's time to start being intentional about how we spend our days. Americans need a wake-up call to take back their calendars and #PlanForVacation. 

ARDA has supported, and will continue to support, this initiative – I encourage you to ask yourselves how you can engage with your owners to assist them with planning for their time off. Remember that happy owners are our industries best advocates.


Real ROI

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Real ROI 

 arda proud ad


By Howard C. Nusbaum, RRP, President & CEO ARDA 

It’s already mid-January – how are your resolutions coming along? If you’re anything like me, it may be better to take on a resolution that won’t be painful and offers a big ROI: becoming more engaged in ARDA and your industry.

Hopefully, you have seen the ARDA “Proud” ad, featuring three strong actions: “Protect, Connect, and Affect.” These three simple words stand for various ways ARDA can enhance both the overall industry community and your personal career and business at the same time.

ARDA works to help enhance and protect our industry through government affairs at the local, state, and federal level. As a member, you participate in this important work through one of the many ARDA advocacy-related committees.

Another key mission of ARDA is connecting each of you through meetings and events. Helping us plan an educational forum or participating in a networking event at Convention, Fall Conference, or a regional meeting are easy ways to dive into a community of resources. It may be a journey that leads to a new business partner or just the chance to share a best practice or even solve a problem.

And finally, get your hands in the clay with us and actually affect the industry you work within. Again, committees are a great starting place, as are various volunteer opportunities with the AIF or a similar outreach program. I encourage you to be selfish and have a vested interest—be involved in a way that helps your business, fills a need, plugs a hole, or just rounds out your career.

So, in 2017 become more involved in ARDA and see a great return on your investment of time. Start today by registering for ARDA World in New Orleans registration opened December 1. Happy New Year!  

What Is “Expensive?”

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 What Is “Expensive?” 

By Odilia Guiant, Senior Vice President, ResortCom International  

If you are like most developers today, your goal is to deliver on the promise of your product, provide great vacation experiences, and create brand loyalty. Your success is based on and measuredby customer satisfaction. A major factor in delivering and staying competitive in the industry is the ability to handle your customers with ease throughout their entire membership lifecycle. Your infrastructure of systems and people is paramount in the daily execution of every touch-point.  

So, what system should you choose? With so many software options in the marketplace, the decision becomes a difficult one. What about servicing companies—do you use them or not?  

Many developers task their executives with finding a cost-effective solution that covers the majority of the business needs today. More than a solution, however, the focus should be geared toward finding
a “strategic partner” that can scale your business growth plans, who understands your priorities and the demands of the vacation industry.  

Mega-hospitality giants may rely on in-house IT departments to develop and maintain customer engagement systems, while small- and mid-size companies often reach out to third party providers to shore up portions of their platform. A viable vendor should be able to provide a suite of components and/or the entire system as a solution.  

Ultimately, great emphasis should be placed on finding a partnership and collaboration rather than engaging a third party vendor who simply provides the services requested. And sometimes, cheaper is not always better.  

To gain more knowledge on making the right expense choices and to learn about choosing the right partner and building and maintaining relationships with them be sure to read the full article in the November/December 2016 edition of Developments.