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Economic Momentum

(Initiatives and Trends, Developments Magazine, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

Economic Momentum

By Kevin Hassett, American Enterprise Institute
ARDA Guest Blogger

January 29, 2014

Economic Momentum

The last quarter of 2013 was filled with all kinds of economic uncertainty—budget gridlock, labor market challenges, international disruptions, and the Washington shutdown. But many “dashboard indicators” give me optimism about our economic future.    

There are four metrics that I watch to track a return of economic growth:

1. The deficit has been reduced enough that uncertainty is no longer a drag.

2. American wealth has gone back up to pre-crisis levels.

3. Bank balance sheets are now looking healthy and profits are back, with the disposal of bad assets. The crisis in lending also seems to be behind us.

4. Long-term unemployment will be a very serious challenge for 2014.

Looking ahead to 2014, there are a few trends you should keep your eye on. On the economic front, I think we’re going to have a relatively uninteresting policy year, due to where we are right now and how corporate tax reform has died again in Congress.

This means politics will be front and center. What I see happening this year is Republicans will go into the election talking only about the Affordable Care Act. On the flip side, Democrats have an advantage this year, as a rebounding economy always helps the party in the White House. Interesting things will happen at the crossroads between the economy and politics this year. 

As for what’s happening on the world stage and international economic factors, I see these more of a sideshow at the moment. There aren’t strong enough pockets in the world that they’re driving activity here nor are there pockets of weakness that are so awful they are upsetting our activity.

In terms of real estate, the leisure real estate market and housing in general are all experiencing significant recovery points. But I would use caution moving forward in this in terms of the future for interest rates—the risks are balanced unevenly right now so it’s best to be cautious.

For timeshare developers specifically, I’d encourage expanding operations because the economy looks good—but I’d be sure to lock in financing before interest rates rise. Odds are pointing in that direction and the risks are higher than they’ve been in a long time, so I’d act accordingly.

For much more from Kevin Hassett, please see the interview in the next Developments magazine, available digitally and in print in February.

Kevin Hassett is a senior fellow and the director of Economic Policy Studies for the American Enterprise Institute.



Vacations Make for Happier People

(Research, Initiatives and Trends) Permanent link

Vacations Make for Happier People 

By Peter Roth, Vice President of Marketing and Communications

January 15, 2014 

Vacations Make for Happier People

We often communicate to prospective owners the value of vacation ownership comes from knowing that you’ve already pre-paid for your vacation.

The guarantee of a vacation at least once a year is a commitment to vacationing better. And that the benefits of vacationing are many: lifetime memories, more spacious accommodations, no stress from planning, and more! That’s part of why timeshare occupancy (76%) continues to outpace traditional hotel stays (56.6%).

Helpful to the larger travel industry in general is that each year there is more research conducted about the benefits of vacationing—a fact that our industry has utilized for years. In fact, Expedia conducted a survey this past year that evaluated the link between personal happiness and vacations. They learned that 61% of people who vacation at least three times annually are satisfied with life—and that vacations boost job satisfaction, marriage happiness, and even intimacy.

With those statistics in mind, here’s to hoping 2014 is the year of the vacation! Do your vacations make you happier? Let us know in the comments. 


American Vacation Statistics Are Depressing

(Research, Initiatives and Trends) Permanent link

American Vacation Statistics Are Depressing 

By Peter Roth, Vice President of Marketing and Communications

January 9, 2014 

American Vacation Statistics Are Depressing 

An annual study by Expedia® about vacation habits revealed that Americans earn among the fewest vacation days (14) in the world each year and also leave among the most (4) unused days on the table. On average, about 10 out of every 14 days are left—more than 500 million days each year!  

While we know our owners love and continue to use their timeshare product, there is still a mindset that vacations are a luxury, not a necessity. How do we change this? By encouraging our own employees to utilize their vacation days so that they return refreshed, relaxed, and ready to work.

We can also make strides by sharing the benefits that vacations provide through owner stories, pictures, and videos that show the positive effects of vacationing. In the coming months, ARDA’s newly refreshed consumer website, VacationBetter.org, will be posting fresh owner content, promoting third party data, and publicizing the positive attributes of timeshare vacations. We will need the help of the entire industry to expand the reach of the website and become a valuable resource to owners and developers alike.

In the meantime, you can read about resolving to take a timeshare vacation in the New Year. And share your vacation habits in the comments!


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