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What’s Next?

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What’s Next? 

By Steve Weisz    

There’s no doubt that the world of technology is extremely broad, and that it’s been woven into our day-to-day lives in countless ways. Consumers now have capabilities at their fingertips that not long ago would seem futuristic at best and something you would only see in the movies.

Therein lies a difficult challenge for our industry. Innovations in technology have created
a higher standard of expectation that you’re constantly measured by. I am sure that you have heard something like:

“Why don’t you have an app to do that?”

“How come I can’t just do that online?”

“I should just be able to do that on my phone.”

If your organization doesn’t address issues such as these, you run the risk of becoming irrelevant in the eyes of the everyday consumer.

But even if you do address today’s requests, you get into playing a game of catch-up. This is because customer needs evolve as quickly as technology develops new applications. Now, more than ever, companies need to invest an increasing amount of time and resources just to stay current and often have to forget about trying to be cutting edge.

From a business perspective, technology has been game-changer, where advancements have given us amazing capabilities and efficiencies that have allowed our industry to grow in vast and exciting ways. Inventory management, cost and performance tracking to complex databases where customer profiles, and vacation habits and preferences are at our fingertips. These have all moved us into a new generation that has created revenue channels and efficiencies that just 10 years ago would not have been possible.  

If you are like me, you may find that the notion of embracing technology can often be daunting, but there’s no turning back now. I encourage you to look for your own ways on how to leverage it in amazing new ways! 

The Umbrella Effect

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 The Umbrella Effect 

 By Peter Roth, ARDA 

  8 Tips to the resale market_large 

 

As our industry continues to develop solutions for owners who believe their vacation ownership does not match their present vacation plans, it is important to educate consumers about the exit process and provide them with the resources to make an informed decision. As we all can attest, the fraudulent misdeeds of companies targeting many owners—especially senior citizens—have added a layer of confusion with regard to our product.

While our industry leaders, ARDA-ROC, and ARDA State Affairs staff rigorously work with state and local law enforcement agencies to enact stricter consumer protections, it is virtually impossible to control the actions of all bad players scamming our owners. However, because those actions affect the entire industry, we can help share a consistent set of guiding principles for a safe resale process across the industry.

ARDA provides resale tips to help navigate consumers through the exit process, which can be found on ARDA-ROC.org. We also make the information available to owners who call our customer service portal directly with inquiries, to regulators, and to other state agencies—as well as the media.

To learn about the eight resale tips read this month’s issue of Developments magazine or to view the latest consumer advisories that include some of the most recent resale scams, visit our timeshare resales resource center

Allies in the Trenches

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Allies in the Trenches 

By Charlene Small
 
Each month, our government affairs team shares insightson the latest issues, their strategy for continued successful advocacy measures, and sometimes a glimpse into how they enjoy vacation. With this recent edition of “Faces from the Frontlines” in Developments, our team shared the spotlight with our advocacy allies across the United States that are working tirelessly on behalf of ARDA, ARDA-ROC, and the timeshare industry.

Many members might not realize that ARDA’s advocacy efforts are widely spread at the ground level in every state, as well as on Capitol Hill. How does ARDA reach all of these levels? By deploying strategic partnerships with legislative consultants, attorneys, and lobbyists in each state or jurisdiction.

In October, about 20 lobbyists from all over the United States and Hawaii travelled to Orlando, Florida, to meet with our federal and state government affairs team in a special two-day retreat, in order to revitalize our advocacy efforts for the quickly approaching 2017 legislative year. The retreat sought to reenergize our impact in each region, as well as reconnect with our advocates who are in the daily trenches of legislative issues on our behalf.

This retreat solidifies ARDA’s mission to promote the growth
and development of the timeshare industry by remaining actively involved in local, state and national governmental affairs through monitoring regulatory issues that affect timeshare. Read what members of our government affairs team had to say about this influential weekend in this month’s edition of Developments magazine. 

Continued Industry Growth, Despite Headwinds: Financial Performance Survey 2016

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 Continued Industry Growth, Despite Headwinds: Financial Performance Survey 2016  

By Phil Nix & Chris Folsom  

The vacation ownership industry continued to expand through 2015 with reported revenue growth of 8.2 percent, a higher rate than both 2013 and 2014.  In addition, Deloitte’s research for the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) indicates the U.S. vacation ownership industry has grown at a relatively strong pace, as it continues to withstand the turbulence observed in the broader economy.

The growth is a positive sign for the Timeshare Industry, but there are more numbers to dive into using AIF’s Financial Performance 2016: A Survey of Timeshare & Vacation Ownership Companies.   

The results of the Financial Performance survey are a measure of 2015 calendar year performance as reported
by timeshare company respondents. The results below are a summary of selected key metrics that AIF believes provide an overview of the vacation timeshare industry in the United States.


  • Timeshare sales reported in the 2016 Financial Performance survey continued to show signs of strong growth in the industry for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Respondents continued an emphasis on increased sales efforts in 2015, leading to the strong net originated sales results.
  • Average volume per guest increased from $2,705 in 2014 to $2,835 in 2015, and the average transaction value increased from $18,356 in 2014 to 19,225 in 2015. 

  • The industry survey also indicated continued increases in the weighted average yield per week. 

  • Rescissions, as a percentage of gross sales, decreased from 15.2 percent in 2014 to 14.4 percent in 2015 (representing a 5.3 percent decrease in the overall rescission rate). 

  • Respondents reported that payments for 91.4 percent of the dollar value
of their receivables portfolios were current (current or fewer than 31 days delinquent) at year-end 2015. 

  • Respondent companies began tightening their lending practices in 2009
as a result of the economic downturn and continued this trend through2015. 


For a more detailed look at this report be sure to visit or read about it in this month’s edition of Developments. 


 

Standing Together: ARDA & VRDA Join Forces

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 Standing Together: ARDA & VRDA Join Forces 

By Kathryn Mullan 

They say that you’re stronger together, and there’s power in numbers. This is a core principleof ARDA—how we have built our advocacy groups and likewise grown our entire membership base over the last 45 years. This is even truer at the state level, with various Committees doing awesome work around the country on behalf of the vacation ownership industry.

The state of Virginia is one of the best examples of this principle in action. A local group of developers and vendors came together in the early 1990s, as one of the earliest state group prototypes—banding together on common interests to help build a healthy environment for both development and owners. In 1994, they decidedto organize in a more official way and founded the Virginia Resort Development Association, Inc. (VRDA), a Virginia non- stock company.

During the 22 years of VRDAs existence, there have been many accomplishments and key points of work—namely, the writing and frequent updating of the Virginia Real Estate Time-share Act and its related regulations.

As with most things, there comes a point in time where trends in the industry— namely, consolidation—drive change, and the current VRDA is now considering a dissolution of the association and a shift to an ARDA-Virginia State Committee. If the VRDA Board approves this action at its upcoming December meeting, this change will take effect on January 1, 2017. ARDA State Affairs Director Justin Vermuth will become the lead contact for the Committee (as staff liaison)—working closely with local lobbyists, developer/management/ exchange companies, and vendor/owner groups with interests in this state.

Developments sat down with both Philip Richardson and Justin Vermuth to discuss these pending changes, as the VRDA turns the final page of its book and opens to new opportunities.  Pick up this month’s installment of Developments to find out what they had to say about VRDA’s lasting legacy and where they plan on taking VRDA next. 

The Power of Politics

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 The Power of Politics 

By Steve Weisz, President/CEO of Marriott Vacations Worldwide & Chairman of the Board of Directors, ARDA  

In what is surely considered one of the most unique (or bizarre) political seasons in some time, it serves to remind us just how much politics and the mechanisms of government can impact our timeshare industry.

The contributions that ARDA provides in the forming and managing of regulatory and legislation issues is a never-ending task. From taxation and consumer protection to state-by-state guidelines, the laws that are voted in place can have an enormous impact in our efforts to grow and thrive in development, management, and the sale and marketing of our products. Politics, politicians, and policy are a complicated and ever-changing landscape, to say the least.

Working on behalf of the millions of vacation owners is ARDA-ROC, which serves as the constant voice and first line of defense to the federal, state, and local legislative entities that could pass laws that may negatively impact ownership and the ability to enjoy the vacation time that they have purchased. ARDA-ROC also serves as a constant educational platform for policymakers, so they may better understand the uniqueness and complexities of timeshare.

Shaping the industry for a bright and prosperous future could simply not be done without the collaborative relationship we have with lawmakers and influencers that stand on both sides of the political aisle. From attorneys general, legislators, and even governors, it is extremely important to make sure we stay ahead of the issues and have the important cooperative relationships that benefit us as a whole.

As an industry, we must collectively continue to be consumer advocates against unfair taxation, resale scams, and other undermining factors that can affect our fiscal health—while, at the same time, embracing regulations that provide confidence to consumers that they can put their trust in the products we offer.

(Click here for this column and more content from the October 2016 Developments. ).

“Like a Rock”: Uniting Owners in One Strong Voice

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 “Like a Rock”: Uniting Owners in One Strong Voice 

By Charlene Small 

  ardaROC photo 

Timeshare owners get it. They know that owning a timeshare meansa guaranteed once-in-a-lifetime vacation at least once a year, every year for as long as they want to take it. Owners know that the experiences and memories they gain on these vacations with their families and loved ones far outweigh any negative perceptions or influences.

Ensuring that timeshare ownership continues to be preserved, protected and enhanced is a complex task that the American Resort Development Association Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC) is proud to take on.

Empowered by timeshare owners, ARDA- ROC effectively influences legislation that strengthens the timeshare industry, giving owners countless memorable experiences. In order to preserve and protect vacation ownership, ARDA-ROC focuses its advocacy on four main pillars of legislation. 

Resale and transfer legislation: ARDA-ROC helps protect owners from falling victim to scams by introducing or assisting in passing pro-consumer legislation, allowing owners to safely and gracefully exit their timeshare ownership. These legislative efforts continue to protect owners by holding accountable those companies that use deceptive business practices in an attempt to defraud owners.

Timeshare owner privacy laws: ARDA-ROC ensures that the owner’s privacy is always protected by enacting responsible privacy laws that withhold personal information from being shared with third parties for commercial purposes, unwanted solicitation, or fraudulent activity.

Transient accommodations tax (TAT): ARDA-ROC strongly opposes any effort to impose an accommodation tax on the use of a timeshare unit by an owner or exchange guest. Timeshare owners already pay a number of taxes and fees related to their purchase and ownership obligations. Adding an additional tax like TAT, when owners want to extend their vacation experience beyond their home resort, would ultimately put limits on the owner’s vacation ownership.

Non-judicial foreclosure: ARDA-ROC saves HOAs time and money by supporting non-judicial foreclosure laws that enable the trustee of a timeshare to conduct a foreclosure sale outsidethe court system.

Using these four main pillars, ARDA-ROChas championed owners’ interests fortheir timeshare on every regulatory and legislative level for more than 25 years!  As future generations begin to enjoy the sharing economy, timeshare ownership will continue to be a valued community that must remain preserved, protected and enhanced.

   

Radiating Positive Impact through Resort Sustainability

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Radiating Positive Impact through Resort Sustainability

By Jess Hoover, Sustainability Coordinator & Hilary Chu, HR Director (Breckenridge Grand Vacations)

We who work in the vacation industry are fortunate tohelp create memories and experiences that touch the lives of our owners, guests, employees, and communities. Because vacation ownership is frequently passed down through generations, we also have an incredible opportunity to showcase sustainable ideas and practices designed to ensure that these experiences continue well into the future.

The impacts of resort sustainabilityare far-reaching. Businesses with strong sustainability ethics set examples for other companies in their industries, their communities, their customers, and their employees. Sustainability makes business sense, too. Increasingly, consumers report supporting businesses with established sustainability programs.

Moreover, adopting environmentally friendly behaviors, such as recycling and decreasing energy usage, are often cost beneficial. These behaviors foster habitsthat employees can take from work to their communities and homes. And, of course, sustainability is important for maintaining the vitality of the local environment.

It is important to make sustainability fun and engaging by celebrating events like Bike to Work Day
and Earth Day with employees and guests
on property. Consider creating resort activities that relate to sustainability issues.

When starting your sustainability program, mapout how your efforts will fit in with your company’s larger mission, culture, resort, and community—aligning strategically along key paths of change. Your leadership team should understand not only how sustainability can be practiced at your resorts but also its role at the department level. Challenge your departments to think of what actions they can take to reduce their overall impact.

As with any new program or initiative, it is always good to walk before you run. And once you’ve made some impactful changes, be sure to share them! 

For the full article on this important topic, see this month’s Developments Magazine. 

Who Wouldn’t Want Some Time Off?

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 Who Wouldn’t Want Some Time Off? 

By: Steve Weisz, ARDA Chairman and President/CEO Marriott Vacations Worldwide

 

 blog picture 2016 

It’s a known fact that there are a lot of people out there that simply don’t use the paid time of from work that their jobs allow. It is estimated that an astounding 55 percent of Americans will not use approximately 658 million days annually, and of that, 222 million are forfeited. It’s crazy! 

We sadly have a society of “work martyrs” that rationalize that it isn’t practical, easy, or “safe” to take time off and enjoy it as we should. Some see it as a fear of being replaced, the thought of a mountain of work that will await their return, or even worse, that a company
or management culture doesn’t encourage it.  

ARDA has proudly partnered with the U.S. Travel Association and their PROJECT: TIME OFF initiative, and I think the findings are nothing short of staggering. On the bright side, imagine the untapped opportunities that are out there for all these people who are getting paid to go on vacation! Who better to help them get there than us—companies that are in the vacation business?

Unlocking this earned vacation time isn’t an easy task, and unfortunately, the trend is getting worse—with paid time of usage decreasing in the last 15 years from 20.3 days to 16.2 days.

While it may not be easy, it is possible. Changes in employee and employer mindsets are critical to reshape the perceptions and misconceptions as well as create and embrace a balance work-life culture where the reward for hard work is simply some “you” time.  PROJECT: TIME OFF has made some great strides to bring this issue to the forefront and created some amazing campaigns that I encourage you to check out. 

Changing with Aging Owners: Looking to the Future

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Changing with Aging Owners: Looking to the Future 

By Catherine Reynolds

Timeshare owners often chooseto vacation in their same “spot” year after year for good reason…they consider their resort a home away from home. For long-time owners, countless memories have been created on vacations over the years, creating a special bond between them and their home resort.

But what happens when it’s not as easy to handle the burdens of traveling and ownership? Time is inevitable and aging owners typically experience a change in circumstances over the years between likewise aging spouses, children and grandchildren, finances, health issues and other life changes.

In addition, the resort itself must stay healthy as it matures. A property that is struggling financially and becomes unable to maintain its quality can lead to owners becoming displeased with their experience and ultimately the resort.  

Thankfully, resorts can use several tools to help mitigate some of these “age old” issues.  

Set the stage for the next generation - If your property is still offering the classic week-for-week exchange option to your guests, you likely aren’t offering the level of flexibility the next generation of owners’ want and need. A flexible points program offering nightly stays and reward benefits are a great way to it the needs of the next generation.  

Engage your owners - Keeping your owners engaged with the property is imperative to keeping them as owners. When owners only visit for a few days out of the year, it’s very easy for a resort to be out of sight and out of mind. Setting up a consistent communication with owners can help keep their attention. 

Make it easy and safe for your owners to pay their maintenance fees - There is a wide range of billing services available to assist a property with maintenance fee collections. Providing the ability to submit payments easily via your resort website is ideal.

Maintain and upkeep the property forfuture owners - Where possible, focus on updating the look and feel of the units and facilities. Even small improvements, like painting and keeping common areas clean, can make a world of difference. 

Provide a robust rental program - If annual travel and budgets are issues for your owners, then providing them with a successful and reliable rental program will allow them to keep their ownership and return to the resort when they are able.  

Have a collections solution in place that you can stand by - Many services, such as Blackwell Recovery, use a soft approach to collections and will work with owners to find a payment plan that its an owner’s needs.  

By keeping owners in the loop through communication and making the vacation ownership responsibilities simple, aging owners are more likely to keep up with their timeshare responsibilities. 

“Doing Good”

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 “Doing Good” 

 Timeshare Companies Demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility 

Many of the top timeshare industry leaders have impressive social responsibility programs –creating positive impacts on their communities, supporting diversity/inclusion and the various cultures in which they operate, which enhances the lives of their employees and protects the environment.  

These “doing good” initiatives are by no means unique in our industry, nor are the corporate social responsibility efforts limited to specific programs. In addition to providing great environments for owners, guests and employees, many timeshare companies have strong corporate cultures that support charitable works, environmental stewardship, and other positive efforts.  

By the very nature of the vacation business we are in, we make a positive impact on owners, members, and guests. In 2016, we are proud that so many are providing some of the most innovative and impactful programs around—all focused on ways to enhance the livesof their employees, families, and the communities and environment in which they live and work.   

This month’s Developments highlights WyndhamVacation Ownership and Holiday Inn Club Vacations for their ability to make an overall difference in the community.  Holiday Inn Vacations’ Heart Travels program shows a history of charitable giving, volunteering, and social responsibility that have been hallmarks of the company for decades.  While, Wyndham Vacation Ownership fosters a culture of wellness throughout the workplace. 

Take a few minutes to read about these two examples and then stay tuned to see which companies are profiled in next month’s issue of Developments. 

Winning with Wellness

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Winning with Wellness 

By Sandra Guerra, Director of HR, Wyndham Vacation Ownership 
wyndham 
 

 

The timeshare industry is perfectly positioned to be the MVPs of Wall Street through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies. One aspect of CSR that has the potential to drive results is having a wellness strategy that is aligned with the values of the organization, something Wyndham Vacation Ownership does exceptionally well. 

Organizations with a strong commitment to wellness promote greater employee productivity. The Integrated Benefits Institute found that when a company commits to wellness it had employees who were actively engaged in their work, spent greater time working, produced fewer errors, and greater concentration.

At Wyndham Vacation Ownership, for example, health coaches have been instrumental in establishing a wellness culture. According to Kristin Kubas, vice president of benefits at Wyndham Worldwide: “Health coaches are set up to have the same services across the business and are the best option when the population is not large enough for a full service clinic. In addition to the benefits of lifestyle coaching, these coaches have contributed to the overall wellness program through education and promotion, further fostering the culture of wellness within each location. The benefits of health coaches far exceed the cost savings by impacting our most valuable resource, our employees.”

The timeshare industry serves society by providing experiences that impact societal wellness. Embracing the purpose and potential of our business to positively impact the lives of our people and community creates shared values, and ultimately impacts organizational performance. By aligning our values with wellness, we are attracting and creating opportunities for our consumers, employees, and our companies to achieve its fullest potential. One might say that is a win-win-win situation! 

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A Journey of Caring

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A Journey of Caring 

By Steve Frazier 

holiday inn logo(1) 

Caring and giving back are part of the Holiday Inn Club Vacations culture. Today, it is symbolized by its new Heart Travels program.  

Holiday Inn Club Vacations launched its Heart Travels program companywide in 2016. This embodiment of the company’s ongoing journey features three corporate pillars chosen to fulfill a goal of “caring wholeheartedly.” These pillars are Children and Families, Environmental Causes, and Disaster Relief Efforts. Within each are corporate-level programs and charities the company has elected to emphasize. 

These renewed efforts have resulted in greater social responsibility awareness throughout the entire resort network. Plus, there has been a steady rise in volunteer hours and donations. However, none of this would have been possible without the passion of
its leaders and team members—and a culmination of a long journey—that began decades ago. 

Children and families have always been an important part of the culture of Holiday Inn Club Vacations.  In fact, having a greater purpose than simply business success is what drove Kemmons Wilson to open the first Holiday Inn hotel. Over 30 years agon, Wilson partnered with his friend, Henri Landwith, and Orange Lake Resort to help support children with life-threatening illnesses by founding Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida. And it is still operating today!

That close, 30-year partnership continues to weave into the fabric of Holiday Inn Club Vacations. More than $2 million of support has been given by the company. Plus, it remains a beloved cause among team members who have volunteered countless hours throughout the years. 

These many efforts and the rapid growth of Holiday Inn Club Vacations prompted the company to formalize its enduring culture of caring. The goal is to help drive new focus toward giving back while trying to exemplify always doing the right thing.  

 

The Power of Resort Activities

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The Power of Resort Activities

 By Dr. Amy Gregory, RRP 

Guests and owners alike are looking for things to do while they are on vacation, and our timeshare resorts are always looking for new ways to fill those needs. Activity programming is essential in providing a dynamic and fresh experience for guests—whether they are on a preview tour, visiting as an exchanger, or returning as an owner. In fact, recent research shows a direct and positive relationship between owner/guest satisfaction with on-site resort activities and overall timeshare vacation satisfaction. In other words, if those staying at the timeshare resort are satisfied with the activities, they are more likely to be satisfied with their overall vacation experience. Unfortunately, the reverse is true as well.

Students enrolled in the Masters of Hospitality Management program at the University of Central Florida set out on a quest to identify activities, preferences, and motivations of timeshare guests. In partnership with several area timeshare resorts, the students worked to identify unique, overarching themes related to activities programming, preferences, and motivations. Here were some of the key findings.

Of the nearly 400 timeshare guests participating in the survey, 72% reported being either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the activities programming offered at the resort. The results of the research reveal five predominant activities in which timeshare resort owners and guests typically participate: aquatics, relaxing, eating/dining, reading, and games.

With the activities they participated in ranked accordingly, the participants then shared their motivation for each activity. This was a critical research component, as understanding individuals’ motivation for the activity can help programming staff develop events that are truly satisfying. Motivations vary by the activity, with four main motivations: to feel good, get in shape, be entertained, and learn something.

Survey participants were also asked
to identify up to three activities they would like to see offered. The responses included live entertainment shows/ music, culinary instruction, and games (trivia, bingo, etc.). This study found that activities are not only an essential but critical componentfor timeshare resort vacations when looking at overall satisfaction. So planning around this factor is essential to meeting the needs of your guests. 

Read the entire article in this month’s Developments magazine

Timeshare Industry Working for U.S. Economy

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Timeshare Industry Working for U.S. Economy

By Darla Zanini
Executive VP, ARDA International Foundation (AIF)
August 9, 2016


 aif eco impact 

Timeshare, once again, has made a significant impact on the U.S. economy. A few key highlights are as follows:

• $79.5 billion in consumer and business spending

• 511,000+ full- and part-time jobs

• $28.1 billion in salaries and wages

• $10.2 billion in tax revenue

Spending by timeshare owners and guests during timeshare stays was estimated at $10 billion in 2015—with $3.4 billion spent onsite at resorts, and $6.6 billion spent offsite in communities where timeshare resorts are located.

This data is based on the AIF 2016 Economic Impact study conducted for us by Ernst & Young.  For more details, check out our infographic and for a full copy of the Economic Impact Study, please contact me at dzanini@arda.org.


 

Providing a Safe Summer for Christel House Kids

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 Providing a Safe Summer for Christel House Kids 

ChristelHouse Photo1.JPG 

 

As an industry, timeshare companies collectively send millions of people on incredible vacations every year. They can recharge their batteries, spend quality time with family and friends, and just relax and have fun. 

But for the kids who attend Christel House, “summer vacation” has a completely different meaning. It means the possibility of not having enough to eat, staying home alone and unsupervised while their parents work, and being exposed to drugs and violence in unsafe neighborhoods. It’s a far cry from the holidays that timeshare owners are accustomed to, but with the help of our industry friends and supporters, Christel House students were provided a safe alternative this year.  

While we all know the importance of this for the kids, it is not cheap. This summer, with the help of the timeshare industry, $22,000 was raised for this year’s program through e-mail and text donation campaigns. This generosity will truly make a difference in the lives of many children! 

Christel House is a global charity that transforms the lives of impoverished children around the world—breaking the cycle of poverty and building self-sufficient, contributing members of society. This is accomplished through robust K-12 education and a strong character development program, complemented with regular health care, nutritious meals, guidance counseling, career planning, family assistance, and college/career support.  

For more information, please visit www.christelhouse.org  

The Caribbean and Brexit: Potential Implications

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The Caribbean and Brexit: Potential Implications 

By Charlene Small

 

brexit 
 

On June 23 2016, the world watched with wide-eyes as British voters gave a referendum that would result in Britain’s exit from the European Union (hence, the term “Brexit”), catapulting the world into a new era. Now as Brexit starts to unfold, only one thing is certain – uncertainty.

Brexit will be a long process, with experts stating that it will not be for several years before the effects of this movement is truly felt. But this unprecedented event does have a lot of industries wondering what comes next and how to prepare for it. Particularly, the travel and tourism industries are beginning to prepare for a significant change. With close ties to Britain and tourism making up the bulk of its income, the Caribbean is one region that is weighing its options, as it will undoubtedly feel the effects of Brexit.

In fact, the Caribbean, particularly Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Caicos Islands, must consider a bevy of potential outcomes. Brexit could create possible complications on the flow of trade and development. It will greatly reduce the region’s ability to influence policy issues in Europe, which was traditionally dependent on Britain’s seat at the “European table”. It will create a range of new obstacles for the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) territories and former dependencies overseas. Finally, Brexit will mean a tremendously long period of uncertainty as Britain’s foreign, trade and development policy begins to reshape.

One immediate impact of Brexit is the value of the British Pound. Since the vote, it has become twelve percent less valuable, a 31-year low. This will limit the purchasing power of the U.K.’s middle class, which will ultimately result in a much slower growth rate for the Caribbean region. The decreased value of the Pound has also impacted travel in the U.K., slowing down tremendously in what is typically the busiest season of the year.

Understandably travel from the U.K., especially to regions overseas, will be hit hard and many of the freedoms British travelers have enjoyed could be under scrutiny. One such freedom to be tested is the European Open Skies agreement, which saw the introduction of low-cost airlines to Britain’s repertoire of jet-setting world travel. Travel regulations will indeed need to be examined, to determine which laws will remain and which will be phased out.

Perhaps one of the Caribbean’s largest concerns (especially for the English-speaking nations and territories) is the loss of their biggest advocate in the European Union. Without the British voice, the Caribbean may face a long road to regain the political position they currently have.

As more of the terms of Brexit are revealed, focus is again brought to the need for the Caribbean to increase economic resiliency in tourism by focusing their efforts on long-term, sustainable planning and investment positions. The Tourism industry in the region must assess how much the U.K. is involved currently, get to know the individuals that are involved, continue to diversify their economies, and ensure collaboration between industry and governments are restored in order to preserve their economic well-being.

Nothing is certain as this movement begins. In fact, Brexit terms include a two-year window of leaving conditions, which doesn’t begin to touch on rebuilding conditions. The Caribbean, just like a large portion of the world, must begin to weigh all of its options, as well as start to make new connections in the European Union in order to monitor legislative activities and ensure its interests are protected.

Millennials Most Likely to Feel Guilt for Taking Time Off Work

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Millennials Most Likely to Feel Guilt for Taking Time Off Work

But “GVS” Affects Every Worker, Not Just Millennials

 GVS 2016 image 

What is GVS?

Guilty Vacation Syndrome, or GVS, now affects a growing percentage of the American population. GVS is the nagging urge to cancel or delay vacation, due to guilt.  With vacation-shaming growing in offices across the world, there has been a surge in diagnoses of GVS. Workers feel that despite wanting a vacation, they shouldn’t take one.

In fact, findings from the 2016 Alamo Family Vacation Survey show 59 percent of Millennials reported feeling a sense of shame for taking or planning a vacation, while 41 percent those 35 or older felt those same symptoms of GVS. Nearly half (47 percent) of all workers surveyed said they felt a sense of shame or guilt at their workplace for taking time off to go on a vacation. What’s more, two-fifths (42 percent) of those think their co-workers are seriously shaming them – not just joking. And nearly half (47 percent) said they’ve felt the need to justify to their employer why they’re using their vacation days. 

Of those who reported having unused paid vacation days, two-fifths (40 percent) said they left five or more vacation days unused in 2015! A full week of work left on the table simply because workers do not want to deal with the guilt associated with taking a vacation. Recent research from Project: Time Off shows that an astounding fifty-five percent of Americans didn’t use all of their time off in 2015 and sixty-five percent say that their company discourages, sends mixed messages, or says nothing about taking personal time off. 

Vacations are supposed to be a source of relaxation and family bonding, yet people still feel like a vacation will hurt their work-life. It’s time to change that mentality and cure Americans of their GVS ailment.

We believe that everyone needs to learn to shed the guilt of taken well-earned time off. We all know the benefits of regular vacationing. And being able to prepay for a vacation should help people ignore that nagging pain that tries to tell them not to go on vacation.

 

2015 Shows Another Year of Substantial Growth for Our Industry

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2015 Shows Another Year of Substantial Growth for Our Industry

By Darla Zanini, Executive VP, ARDA International Foundation (AIF)

July 6, 2016

 

We are happy to share the latest research from our State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry: United States Study 2016.  It shows that the timeshare industry enjoyed substantial growth in 2015.  Here are a few of the highlights.

When comparing 2015 to 2014:

Sales volume increased by nine percent, to $8.6 billion, the second largest increase since the recession – our sixth straight year of growth!

1,547 timeshare resorts in the United States, representing about 200,720 units

Average resort size was 130 units

The average sales price was $22,240

Occupancy increased two percent, up to almost 80 percent (compared to a 66* percent hotel occupancy rate).

There were some other interesting tidbits as well: 

Beach resorts are the most common type of resort

Theme park resorts have the highest occupancy

Florida has the most resorts—24% of the national total

Nevada has the largest average resort size—230 units on average

Hawaii has the highest occupancy rate for a region, at 86.7%

For more details, check out our infographic and for a full copy of the State of the Industry Study, please contact me at dzanini@arda.org.

*STR Monthly Hotel Review: December 2014, Smith Travel Research. 


 

Giving Trends

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 Giving Trends 

by Geri Bain

 the giving tree cover 

Some innovations are so quickly adapted that it’s hard to imagine they weren’t always part of our lives— and like the popular children’s book, The Giving Tree, they keep finding new ways to serve.

Here are three driving trends that promise to keep morphing, offering new and unimagined benefits for years to come. 

1) Tapping Consumer Analytics. Customers increasingly expect companies to “know” them as individuals with unique preferences and provide them with highly specific services and offerings. There are many ways to gain this information, including predictive analysis (PA) and other services through online travel-booking services. Ultimately, businesses can no longer afford to market to consumers on a “mass market, one message fits all” basis. It’s critical to learn each customer’s wants, needs, lifestyle, and more—including where they vacation and what activities they want to pursue—to serve them the way they expect.

2) Going Green. Sustainable practices are good for the bottom line and the environment. They also add a feel-good factor for guests, employees, and the community. In a recent TripAdvisor survey, 85 percent of travelers said that traveling green made them feel more positive about their trips. This shows green practices are the new normal, and travelers expect suppliers to embrace sustainable practices that minimize their impact on the environment. In addition to cost savings, sustainable practices can provide authentic connections to the destination.

3) Marketing Branded Lifestyles. Some brands convey an image that resonates deeply with travelers. Armani hotels in Dubai and Milan invite guests to live the life of understated elegance that is a signature of the Armani brand. And Hard Rock Hotels extend the hip, music-themed restaurants into a vacation (and vacation club) experience. This is critical because aligning with the right brand can be a great way to tap into its followers and its image and create a focal point for everything from design and amenities to marketing.

These three trends promise to remain important in the timeshare industry for many years to come. Keeping up with how each will be vital for timeshares in order to meet the changing needs of the consumers. Read the entire article about driving trends in this month's Developments. 

2016: Time to Celebrate!

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2016: Time to Celebrate! 

 By Howard Nusbaum, President and CEO, ARDA  

Anniversary Article
 

This year marks two huge anniversaries for two companies that have made an outstanding impact in the timeshare industry. There are a few milestone markers around the industry this year but none as auspicious as that of Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) marking its 50th anniversary and Interval International, celebrating its 40th anniversary.

WVO is a company that truly represents the pioneer spirit of the early days. WVO’s President & CEO, Franz Hanning says: “Anytime you look back over 50 years, you’re going to see peaks and valleys—it’s not always been a smooth path or an easy road. But to be where we are now looking back from this vantage point, it’s pretty overwhelming. Our company
has changed people’s lives—the lives of our owners, our associates, and probably my life more than anyone else’s. It’s been a total rewarding career for me, built on relationships and friends—core people who have been critical to our overall success.”


But WVO isn’t the only one celebrating this year…so is Interval International. The Miami, Florida-based industry pioneer remains an innovator in serving the vacation ownership market, and today its exchange network comprises approximately 3,000 resorts in more than 80 nations. Through offices in 16 countries, Interval offers high-quality products and benefits to resort clients and approximately two million families who are enrolled in its membership programs. That’s quite an achievement for a company that started with just three employees and one affiliated resort.

The timeshare industry would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for these two different companies and what they each have done over the previous decades. We want to be one of the first to wish each of these two companies a happy anniversary this year—thank you for building our industry into what it is today! To learn more about them, read our entire articles about Interval International and Wyndham Vacation Ownership in this month's Developments magazine.

What Next-Gen Wants

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What Next-Gen Wants 

By: Simon Jaworski and Lance Henik of Leger 

You are never going to be able to design one ideal timeshare that meets the needs of everyone. However, with the help of the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) and utilizing the insights garnered from its recent Next Generation research, you might be able to move a little closer to this goal. With this research, it has been found that four core factors account for more than half of all decisions made among both Millennials and Generation X’ers when it comes to purchasing a timeshare property. Let’s take a look at these factors.

Factor #1: Commitment/Cost Balance.  

The most important features, accounting for one-third of all decisions, are related to commitment. Both current timeshare owners and non-owners alike mentioned that the “length of contract” (the number of years they were willing to use the property) and the “interest rate” (a long term financial cost commitment implication) attached to this purchase were the two most significant factors.

In spite of the importance of the length
of contract and interest rate, there are, of course, two core cost factors for purchasing a timeshare that cannot be overlooked. When these traditional barriers to entry, the “overall price” and “annual fees,” are added into the equation, these four features collectively account for the majority of a potential timeshare owner’s decision-making process.

Factor #2: Sleeping Capacity.  

After the key financial aspects, the size of the lodging is also an important factor, with “sleeping capacity” as a key feature. This has increased relevancy and appeal with the younger age groups, specifically Millennials, who want to vacation with larger groups of friends—more so than any of the previous generations of vacationers.

Factor #3: Exchange.  

Next on the list of priorities is exchange. The positive impression and need for a product that allows both options for an internal and external exchange is definitely held in greater need by older Gen X’ers, especially when compared to Millennials who may not be fully aware of the benefits of exchanging their timeshare (a clear educational opportunity!).

Factor #4: Exit Strategies.  

Although a hot topic within timeshare right now, “Exit Strategy” showed slightly lower importance when compared to the exchange feature. The discussion of this topic is not only relevant but it also has merit— particularly to potential new entrants, as non-owners are definitely more intrigued by the potential for a buy-back option. If positioned correctly, the option to buy back a timeshare could lead to an extra layer of security that potential buyers often crave before signing any legal documents.

So, what key conclusions can we draw from this study? Non-owners tend to be more sensitive to price than owners, flexibility is key in the sales process, and those who sell timeshare should strongly consider a wide product portfolio. Read more about this study in the May/June 2016 issue of Developments magazine  

Content is King: A Few Words from the ARDAWorld Keynote Speaker

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 Content is King: A Few Words from the ARDAWorld Keynote Speaker 

 new perelman blog pic 

How do you stand out, rise above the noise, and get your organization’s voice heard online? Having successfully guided the growth of digital businesses his entire career, Jonathan Perelman - the head of digital initiatives at ICM Partners and a former executive at BuzzFeed and Google – knows how to do it right. And as the keynote speaker, he shared his words of wisdom with every attendee at the opening General Session at ARDA World 2016 sponsored by RCI.

Perelman believes that “content is king but distribution is queen – and she wears the pants.” Pulling from his extensive experience at some of the world’s most successful and influential brands, he showed the audience how to tell their story in a genuine, authentic, and meaningful way that generates word of mouth marketing at Internet scale. With great energy and stage presence, he broke down the tactics and mindset that propelled Buzzfeed from a small blog to a cultural phenomenon read by millions of people the world over.

Perelman not only addressed how to create shareable, social content but also offered insights into how to maximize reach and impact. By respecting the platform you’re using (Twitter is about timelines, Facebook is about feelings) and creating content that appeals to emotion, he offered great tips for creating content that people want to consume and share.

Ultimately, we were able to all learn from Perelman’s talk that day, specifically regarding creating and sharing content in today’s modern age of social media.  And if there was one thing Perelman wanted the audience to take away from his speech it was that in regards to content, ‘if it doesn’t spread it’s dead’.

ARDA’S Exciting New Event, The Lion’s Den, Crowns Two Winners

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 ARDA’S Exciting New Event, The Lion’s Den, Crowns Two 

lions den winner plus judges 

Winners 

One of the most exciting, and well-received sessions of this year’s ARDA World was the new Lion’s Den Session sponsored by Crystal Lagoons.  Modeled after Shark Tank, The Lion’s Den was an interactive pitch competition where six bold start-ups present their digital innovations and business plans to our well-credentialed panel of judges -- the Lions of the timeshare industry —including four high profile CEOs and executives of Disney, Marriott, Wyndham and Crystal Lagoons.  The criteria for the judges were based on five different areas: technical innovation, business model innovation, potential market impact, competitive advantage and the quality of the presentation.  

The six confident contestants that took on our panel of judges included: 

Proxce – A secure and seamless hotel check-in experience.

Rented - A world-class marketplace for competitive short-term rentals.

Tansler – A reverse auction, one round of bids approach to home rentals.

Trekkable – A booking solution for the 30 million people with mobility challenges.

Alice - Guest experience and operational management on one platform.

Voyat - Hotel guest connection via the most effective retention engine.

These six contestants were each given six minutes to present in front of the judges and audience and then four minutes to respond to the Lions’ questions.  These ten minutes on the stage by each company was used to determine a People’s Choice award winner voted on by the audience and an Innovator of the Year award determined by the four judges.   

The Innovator of The Year Award Winner: Trekkable 

The first Innovator of the Year Award winner, as voted on by the panel of judges, was Trekkable and its founder and presenter Benedict Jones.  During the presentation Jones’ spoke about Trekkable’s main goal, which is to help create a booking solution for the 30 million people with mobility challenges.  Jones is one of the 30 million people with mobility challenges which allowed him to communicate the struggles he goes through every single time he travels.  Through his personal stories he was able to convey the difficulty each and every one of those 30 million people go through when trying to book a room when it is time for them to travel.  Jones talked about how “Trekkable exists to change this situation” through capturing ratings of specific properties through the lens of accessibility…enable anyone with mobility concerns to know what kind of experience they can expect up-front. No longer will a person be ‘booking blindfolded’ not knowing what to encounter when arriving.  Because securing a room that fits their needs should not cost extra time, effort, and expense.  Trekkable is an amazing story looking to fix a problem that currently exists in the travel industry and their founder Benedict Jones was extremely excited to win the first ever Innovator of the Year Award. 

The People’s Choice Award Winner: Rented 

Rented.com’s CEO Andrew McConnell took the stage of the Lion’s Den to discuss the company’s goals and objectives and how Rented is trying to redefine rentals, by building a world-class marketplace for competitive short-term rentals, while also repositioning today’s ideas on property management contracts and fees. All with an innovative and hungry team.  He stated that because of Rented, thousands of homeowners are renting their homes “the smarter way” and demonstrated this by having customers across 17 countries, 38 states, and 312 cities.  McConnell’s presentation about a new short-term competitive rentals website was enough to earn him and his company, Rented, the first People’s Choice Award. Hear from Andrew McConnell after learning of his win. 

“Meet the Leaders” at ARDA World

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 “Meet the Leaders” at ARDA World 

 CEO PANEL 

ARDA World is quickly approaching, and with so many great opportunities and experiences offered it is time to decide which of these are the “can’t miss” events.  One of the most popular sessions from previous years, the CEO Session, will be making its highly anticipated return again this year.  In this session our CEO panel will be addressing topical industry issues ranging from the impact of industry consolidation, the secondary market and generational demographics on our business through a robust discussion regarding managing and enhancing digital relationships. 

ARDA World is quickly approaching, and with so many great opportunities and experiences offered it is time to decide which of these are the “can’t miss” events.  One of the most popular sessions from previous years, the CEO Session, will be making its highly anticipated return again this year.  In this session our CEO panel will be addressing topical industry issues ranging from the impact of industry consolidation, the secondary market and generational demographics on our business through a robust discussion regarding managing and enhancing digital relationships. 

Let’s meet this year’s panel: 

Jon Fredricks 

Fredricks has been the President of the Welk Resort Group since 1999 and CEO since 2014.  The company has more than 1,600 employees and 1,077 vacation units across its portfolio. Fredricks has led the award-winning hospitality company during its greatest period of growth and expansion. 

Franz Hanning 

As President and Chief Executive Officer of Wyndham Vacation Ownership, He is responsible for the world’s largest developer and marketer of flexible, points-based vacation ownership products.  He oversees all management, operations, strategic planning and growth initiatives, and leads a worldwide staff of more than 17,000 employees. 

Don Harrill 

 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. Don 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. 

Ken Potrock 

Potrock began his career with Disney as VP of Marketing for Disney Cruise Lines in 1995 and has taken on various roles in the company since. He is currently Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Vacation Club & Adventures by Disney since 2013.  

 Mark Wang

Wang is President of Hilton Grand Vacations. Prior to joining the company, Mr. 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. 

With this great group of leaders, you do not want to miss this session!  Be sure to put it in your schedule of events for 4:00-5:00 pm on Tuesday, May 3rd 

Educational Sessions at The ARDA Convention

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Educational Sessions at The ARDA Convention

Education Sessions AW16 

As you probably know, ARDA’s annual convention is quickly approaching.  This year we have a great mix of informative sessions with fun activities, like the annual golf tournament. It is important to partake in some of the extracurricular activities, but one of the main reasons you are coming is for the informative, educational sessions. 

The Educational Sessions offer a large range of information on industry and business topics.  They begin on Monday and then run in waves through Tuesday and Wednesday.  There are a lot of options to choose from.  Here’s a sampling of a few you may want to check out:

  • Keep Calm and Carry On – Understanding the Next Generation, Monday 9:00-10:00 am
  • A 360 Degree View of Social Media Success, Tuesday 9:00-10:15 am
  • Resort Technology – What’s Hot and What’s Not, Tuesday 2:45-4:00 pm
  • Welcome to Timeshare in the Caribbean (Including Cuba), Wednesday 1:30-3:00 pm
  • Brilliance of Brand – Creating Differential Advantage through Social Media for Recruiting, Engagement and Retention, Wednesday 3:15-4:30 pm

With 35 different Educational sessions, it is important to find and plan which ones are best for you.  Check out the full schedule here. 

 

Meet The Speakers of the 2016 ARDA Convention

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Meet The Speakers of the 2016 ARDA Convention 

This year we have two exciting and educational speakers, Jonathan Perelman and Curt Cronin. They come from different backgrounds but both have helpful insights for our industry.  

Jonathan Perelman will be the keynote speaker for the opening general session taking place Tuesday, May 3rd between 10:30 am – 12 pm, while Curt Cronin will be speaking at the Breakfast of Champions Thursday, May 5th beginning at 8 am.  You won’t want to miss them!

Jonathan Perelman

 Perelman 

Perelman was Former Vice President of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures and Former Global Lead for Industry Relations at Google.  Currently, he is the head of digital initiatives at ICM Partners.  He knows how to stand out, rise above the noise, and get your organization’s voice heard online.  Pulling from his extensive experience at some of the world’s most successful and influential brands, he shows audiences how to tell their story in a genuine, authentic, and meaningful way that generates word of mouth marketing at Internet scale.  With great energy and stage presence, he breaks down the tactics and mindset that propelled Buzzfeed from a small blog to a cultural phenomenon read by millions of people.  Read more about Jonathan Perelman here 

Curt Cronin

Curt Cronin 

Cronin spent over 16 years as a Navy SEAL where he was deployed thirteen times and spent more than four years overseas.  In that time, living and working in an environment where milliseconds made the difference between life and death and winning and losing, he honed his talent as a catalyst for transformation and rose to lead the nation’s premier SEAL assault force. Curt’s experiences as a SEAL reinforced his fundamental belief that the competitive edge for any organization in the information age is neither technology nor information, but the unparalleled power of an aligned team.

Curt’s passion is to engage each person, team, or organization’s highest aspirations, and help them connect to the “hero within.” He has counseled organizations including AIG, Disney, HP, and the Miami Dolphins, and is an expert at maximizing human potential and synthesizing the strengths of a team to create unprecedented results in any context.  This is a ticketed event so make sure to get your tickets ahead of time, and you can read more about Curt Cronin here.

 

ARDA World 2016 Presents: The Lion’s Den

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2016 ARDA World Banner Logo 

In partnership with Phocuswright, ARDA presents: 

The Lion’s Den 

 An Interactive ‘Digital Meets Travel’ Pitch Competition 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 from 9:30-11 am
Grand Ballroom, The Diplomat Hotel
Open to all ARDA World attendees. 

This year, ARDA is bringing a new, exciting and interactive pitch competition to its general session! Modeled after Shark Tank, you'll watch as a select group of 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, Marriott and Wyndham.

Our brave contestants include:

  • Proxce – A secure and seamless hotel check-in experience.
  • Rented - A world-class marketplace for competitive short-term rentals.
  • Suiteness – Exclusive online bookings of lesser-known luxury hotel suites.
  • Tansler – A reverse auction, one round of bids approach to home rentals.
  • Trekkable – A booking solution for the 30 million people with mobility challenges.
  • Alice - Guest experience and operational management on one platform.
  • Voyat - Hotel guest connection via the most effective retention engine.

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 2016!

Join us and cast your vote live alongside the judges! 


Not registered for ARDA World? 

Click here to register for the not-to-miss Global Timeshare Event. A key opportunity to network with friends and also build new business relationships—plus, get first-hand access to market intelligence and industry trends… 
 

Limited lodging is still available, reserve your hotel room before the group rate ends on April 11th.

We hope to see you there!

 

 

Spotlight: Brazil & Colombia

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Spotlight: Brazil & Colombia

BY JUDY KENNINGER, RRP  

 Brazil Blog Image 

Brazil 

Just a couple of years ago, Brazil was the darling of the global economy.  Today, Brazil is facing some tougher times through political turmoil, a high inflation rate and a high unemployment rate.   Marcos Agostini, Interval International’s senior vice president of resort sales and business development for Latin America, has confidence that what has come down will eventually go back up, saying he is “positive the tourism sector will expand in 2016.”

There are many factors contributing to Brazil’s rebound.  First, there’s the drop in value of the Real—Brazil’s currency—which is less expensive for in-bound international visitors. It also makes Brazilian real estate more attractive to investors. Brazil is also set to host the 2016 summer Olympics, providing positive exposure to the country.  With a population of more than 200 million and an important middle class, there’s widespread opportunity for development.

Colombia 

Considered one of the world’s most bio diverse places, Colombia has a lot to offer—with Caribbean and Pacific beaches, scenic Andean mountains, and cosmopolitan cities for shopping and dining. However, Colombia is often generalized as an unsafe travel destination due to its past, but improved security has already resulted in a boom in tourism, and continuing this could clear the way for the industry to grow exponentially.

In 2010, just 2.6 million travelers visited Colombia, but in 2014, that figure almost doubled to 4.9 million, according to ProColombia, the government’s tourism promotion agency. It hopes to welcome 6 million visitors ready to spend $6 billion by 2018. Timesharing is poised to attract its share of travelers, both domestic and international, says Agostini. “We’re very excited about Colombia. The infrastructure has improved, and we’re finally seeing investments come to fruition.”

Read more in Developments. 

Market Watch: Cuba on the Rise

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Market Watch: Cuba on the Rise  

By Tomas Acevedo, ARDA State Affairs

Cuba Cup 

It’s been more than a year since the Obama administration announced new rules easing trade and travel restrictions against Cuba, as part of the move toward normalizing relations with the country. Since that time, Americans have been able to travel to the island, provided the trip serves a religious, educational, humanitarian, journalistic, or other approved purpose. In fact, U.S. airlines are now allowed to fly scheduled routes to Cuba for the first time in decades, yet Americans still can’t travel to Cuba purely for travel’s sake.

It’s clear that Americans want to visit Cuba now—with its still frozen-in-time culture—before it loses its old-world charm. According to the travelhorizons survey released by marketing services firm MMGY Global, 46 percent
of travelers from the United States who
are likely to visit a Caribbean destination during the next two years would be willing to change their vacation plans to go to Cuba instead. And 19 percent of U.S. adults said they would consider taking a vacation to Cuba during the next two years.

Further, the American Society of Travel Agents estimates that more than 500,000 American cruise travelers would visit Cuba within the first two years—with another one million leisure travelers coming by air. Cuba is ready for business to increase in their travel and tourism space, where they see a lot of opportunity for growth. 

And with all the buzz around this island, it’s only a matter of time before we’re talking timeshare there, too.  Cuba doesn’t currently have timeshare legislation in the country, but with Meliá Vacation Club selling a travel club-type product in the country, it demonstrates they’re open to this new form of business in the travel sector. It’ll likely still take some years—and fully lifted sanctions—before the timeshare sector starts to build a footprint in Cuba, but for those with interest in the area, now is probably a good time to start registering company trademarks and logos, to be at the ready when the time comes. To learn more about the potential of timeshares in Cuba, read the full article in the February Developments.

 

ARDA World – We’ve Got a Great Schedule!

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ARDA World – We’ve Got a Great Schedule!  

 2016 ARDA World Banner Logo 

Don’t miss our jam-packed schedule of events while you are attending ARDA World this May 1-5, 2016 in Hollywood, Florida. Mark your calendars for these important events:

KEY EVENTS  

• Sunday, May 1: AIF Open Golf Tournament 
 
• Monday night, May 2: Opening reception in the Exhibit Hall 
 
• Monday night: All Attendee Welcome Party, sponsored by RCI 
 
• Tuesday morning, May 3: Keynote speaker, sponsored by RCI 

• Tuesday night: Interval International’s Party with a Cause (at LIV nightclub, Fontainebleau hotel) 

• Wednesday night, May 4: Awards Gala with presenting sponsor, American Express  
• Thursday morning, May 5: Breakfast of Champions, sponsored by Hilton Grand Vacations 


SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS 

• Monday is Key Constituent Day again! This is the day for ARDA’s most engaged and involved members—don’t miss important Committee, Council, Taskforce, and Forum meetings.

Monday also features two targeted educational programming tracks: HR and Fundamentals sessions.

• Our keynote speaker is on Tuesday morning (10:30 am-12:00 pm). It’s Jonathan Perelman, former Vice President of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures & former Global Lead for Industry Relations at GoogleHe will discuss the future of digital marketing. 

• “Meet the Leaders” General Session is on Tuesday (4:00pm-5:00pm).

Get all the very latest at www.arda.org/convention, and see you soon in sunny south Florida! 

 

ARDA World – Are You Ready?

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ARDA World – Are You Ready? 

 Hollywood, FL
 

ARDA World 2016, ARDA’s annual convention, is just over a month away.  Now’s the time to make sure you are registered and your travel arrangements and hotel are set.  Taking place May 1-5, 2016, in Hollywood, Florida, this year’s event will be held at the prestigious Diplomat Golf Resort & Spa.  This area offers some great things to do!

TRAVEL AND HOTELS 

Hollywood, Florida, is served directly by Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), 20 minutes from the host hotel.  In addition, Miami International Airport (MIA) is also a great option, only 30 miles away from the Diplomat…and it suits more international arrivals.

The Diplomat Resort & Spa is the event host hotel.  You can make your reservation by calling the hotel directly at (954) 602-6000.  To obtain the group room rate of $249 per night, please reference ARDA World. 

Hotel accommodations are also available at the Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach Hotel, located just a short two-block walk from the Diplomat Resort and Spa. To make your room reservations, please call (954) 454-4334 ext. 208 to obtain the group room rate of $209 per night.

Registration for ARDA World 2016 has been going fast, so make sure to book your spot now by visiting www.arda.org/convention for details.

WHILE YOU ARE IN TOWN 

Of course, we’d love for you to attend every ARDA event, but we can’t expect you not to enjoy the beautiful town of Hollywood, Florida as well.  Known for its beautiful stretch of sandy paradise nestled between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, Hollywood, FL has a little something for everyone.

Hollywood’s Beach features a one-of-a-kind oceanfront promenade called the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, which stretches nearly two and a half miles along the Atlantic. If the beach isn’t your place, historic downtown Hollywood offers shopping with quaint sidewalk cafés, brick-lined walks, and six blocks of unique boutiques, shops, art galleries, and dozens of excellent restaurants.

Get all the very latest at www.arda.org/convention, and see you soon in sunny south Florida! 

 

Freedom of Travel, U.S. Border Control Issues

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Freedom of Travel, U.S. Border Control Issue

by Kevin Riley, ARDA Federal Affairs 

   The Universal Appeal of Timeshare 

Every year, more than 20 million foreign visitors travel to the United States through the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows for citizens of 28 program-partner countries to visit for up to 90 days without having to obtain visas. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 40 percent of foreign visitors to the US come via the VWP each year. This is clearly an important program to our industry and the broader travel industry, and ARDA has fought hard to defend its integrity over the years while also supporting legislation that would strengthen national security requirements.

Bipartisan legislation introduced last year called the Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act of 2015 would reform the VWP’s participation criteria to reinstate the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authority to waive the visa refusal requirement if a country meets all other VWP requirements. The legislation would also enhance security measures, increase the number of participating countries, and allow Canadian citizens over 50 years old to remain in the US for up to 240 days a year. The JOLT Act estimates it would boost the US economy by $100 billion over the next decade and create 700,000 jobs.

However, this program has received increased Congressional scrutiny following the terrorist attacks in Paris. In a preemptive move, the White House announced changes to the VWP to immediately enact a number of security enhancements. Despite these changes, legislation was introduced called the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 to help DHS identify and stop terrorists with Western passports from entering the US. The bill incorporated many of the security parameters that ARDA advocated be included in the JOLT Act. The bill passed and was included in the end-of-year omnibus package.

While ARDA applauds Congress for passing such reform measures, we are still working to address components that would disrupt travel to the US and have a detrimental economic impact. To learn more about these efforts and more details on the legislation, read the full article

 

International Focus: All Eyes on China

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International Focus: All Eyes on China 

by Catherine Reynolds, RCI

In terms of travel and tourism, China is leading the race! Over the last two decades, the volume of international trips by Chinese travelers grew from 10 million (in 2000) to 83 million (in 2012), and domestic tourism reported 3.3 billion trips in 2013, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). When you consider that travelers from China are the top source of tourism spending in the world, it’s no wonder that travel industry leaders are focused on this hotspot.

Several factors have fueled this significant growth: rapid urbanization, rising disposable incomes, and the relaxation of government restrictions on foreign travel. In fact, the Chinese government has a five-year plan focused on the travel and tourism market and aims to double leisure spending to $886 billion (5.5 trillion yuan) by 2020.

This is all excellent news for the vacation ownership industry! The percentage of qualified households that own a timeshare rests at less than 0.3 percent, making for a nearly 20 million household opportunity (ARDA’s International Foundation 2013 World Wide Shared Vacation Ownership Report). Timeshare development in the region is growing and poised for a supportive business environment—given the government’s direction to develop new business models for the travel industry.

The only challenge continues to be China’s few vacation days offered to workers. However, that, too, is slowly changing. The government adopted new regulations in 2008 offering more public holidays and paid annual leave. And, as the needs of China’s travelers are growing, the vacation ownership industry stands ready to create luxurious vacation experiences for a new class of world travelers. 

ARDA World Early-Bird Registration Ends Today!

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ARDA World Early-Bird Registration Ends Today! 

By Kathyrn Mullan, ARDA
February 19, 2016 

 2016 ARDA World Banner Logo
 

ARDA World 2016 is going to be chock full of informative sessions, networking activities and personal growth opportunities. We hope you are planning to join us from May 1-5 in Hollywood, Florida, for what’s sure to be another big, exciting convention for our industry!

There are a few important deadlines we want to be sure are on your calendar:

February 19, 2016
Early-bird registration ends today!  You can save $400 simply by signing up early.
 

March 4, 2016
Deadline for attendee list inclusion; Last day to cancel registration

April 11, 2016
Hotel cut-off for discount room rate (Diplomat $249/night; Crowne Plaza $209/night)

Register today!  

And read about all of the 2016 ARDA World events and activities in the February issue of Developments Magazine!

 

 

Consumer Reports Looks at Timeshare

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Consumer Reports Looks at Timeshare 

“Is a Timeshare Vacation a Good Value?”

 Timeshare comes of age 

-- Peter Roth, ARDA Vice President, Marketing, Communications & Industry Relations 

The March 2016 issue of Consumer Reports delves into whether timeshare vacations are a good value.  They examine the costs of vacationing at the Disney World Polynesian Village Resort in Orlando, Florida from two perspectives: renting and owning.  They find that after a certain number of years, owning a timeshare pays off.

Read the full Consumer Reports article.

In a sister article, “The Timeshare Comes of Age,” Consumer Reports reviews the changes our industry has seen through the years, including becoming more consumer-friendly and transparent.  Looking at the demographic shift to younger families, the article quotes Howard Nusbaum and makes the case for what to consider when buying.

As you know, Consumer Reports serves consumers through unbiased product testing and ratings, research, journalism, public education, and advocacy.  This kind of unbiased assessment of timeshare is a testament to the product our industry already knows and loves for better vacationing.

 

Looking Back and to the Future

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Looking Back and to the Future 

by Steve Weisz, ARDA Chairman
January 13, 2016 

  Changing the Lens 

What a year it has been—with events and circumstances happening around the globe that truly left us speechless at times. We’ve witnessed the unimaginable peaks and valleys that often happened in just the blink of an eye. People showed us their character and some just showed us they’re characters. A memorable year with continuous hopes for promise as we start 2016.

As I look back, I think how recent announcements of acquisitions will have a profound effect on the growth and opportunities in hospitality for the next generation. Consolidation and strategic alliances certainly led the way with the industry showing a strong resurgence of performance and activity we haven’t seen in years.

These are a promising indictor of things to come. We’re in a financially healthy business environment, with great leaders and entrepreneurs that continue to show the spirit of what got us where we are today.

I encourage all of you to show your own spirit of enterprise and innovation and create a legacy that will be remembered by tomorrow’s leaders and redefine our industry for the future!

For more on what’s happening in 2016, please see the January Developments!