ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Getting Back to a New Normal

(Meetings and Events, Research, Initiatives and Trends) Permanent link

Getting Back to a New Normal

By Don Harrill, Chairman of ARDA

November 12, 2012 

New Normal

Good news! There is again investor competition for our business. This is bidding down the cost of bonds and opening new avenues for developer capital. The Q2 2012 ARDA International Foundation Pulse Survey also indicated that sales volume increased between 9.5% and 11.7% from Q2 2011. In the same timeframe, delinquencies dropped 2.7 percentage points, maintenance fee payments are stable, and after a slight 0.5% increase, resort occupancy remains a very strong 81%.

Many developers are also in the lending business, an industry that has come under intense government scrutiny. New federal lending regulations were introduced that, in their original form, would have damaged our industry. Fortunately, the work of ARDA staff prompted changes to protect the interests of timeshare lenders and continues to ensure our industry can work without unwarranted constraints due to unintended consequences.

I’m very proud of how everyone—united as an association—has responded in this difficult time, and the positive energy I see is a welcome change. However, I also know some members are still struggling to get their businesses back on track. I believe as an industry we have a renewed optimism that these positive timeshare market trends will continue, and these “tides” will eventually lift all boats.

Members: don’t forget ARDA’s Fall Conference is coming up this week: join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #fallconference! 

Note: This blog post is based on an October 2012 Developments magazine article.  

 

Happy Veterans Day!

(Initiatives and Trends) Permanent link

Happy Veterans Day! 

By Lou Ann Burney

November 9, 2012 

Veteran's Day

Veterans Day is such an important holiday for families across our country, and ARDA is proud to share some of the highlights of our members supporting vets through our November “Faces of Timeshare” efforts.

Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) supports military reservists across the company, and recently received the “Above and Beyond” Award for their efforts from the Missouri Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Committee (ESGR), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. The nomination for this award came directly from a WVO employee who is in the National Guard after they held her position while she was deployed with her platoon serving our country for 12 months.

For the second consecutive year, Interval International’s Miami-based employees raised nearly $4,000 through a series of bake sales to benefit the “Operation Any Soldier” program.  And four “Treats for Troops” events, held at Interval’s corporate headquarters and member-services center, generated funds used to ship custom care packages year-round to wounded and deployed service members of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

Grand Pacific Resort Management is one of the driving forces behind non-profit organization San Clemente Military Family Outreach, which provides emergency and morale services to the 1000+ families who are stationed in the north Camp Pendleton Marine and Navy base area.  Each year this organization raises thousands of dollars for meaningful support of military families.

RCI’s Armed Forces Vacation Club® (AFVC), one of the largest military vacation clubs in the world, is holding its Great Appreciation Vacation Giveaway. Members can enter the Great Appreciation Vacation Giveaway every day from now through December 14, 2012 for their chance to win a vacation for themselves, along with one for a friend or family member that they think deserves a hard-earned break: http://www.afvclub.com/special_offers.  

International Cruise and Excursions, through its travel program for military and veterans, Government Vacation Rewards, founded the Vacations For Vets Program. This program was sponsored by the Walter Reed Medical Center’s “In Honor Of the Troops” Foundation. Over the past seven years, more than 2,000 wounded personnel and their caregivers have vacationed while on rehabilitation leave. Additionally, Government Vacation Rewards (GVR) has donated over $10,000 and 200 resort stays through joint promotions with their military partners, such as the Military Officers Association of America and the Air Force Association.

Read the full press release for more details. And, check out our new Veterans’ Day Pinterest board for some great photos. 

 

ARDA Working Hard to Mitigate the Effect of Agency Cutbacks on Timeshare

(Legislation) Permanent link

ARDA Working Hard to Mitigate the Effect of Agency Cutbacks on Timeshare

By Jason Gamel, ARDA State Affairs

November 6, 2012 

 ARDA Legislation

Timeshare is highly regulated in most states, and is feeling the brunt of recent state agency staff cutbacks. Timeshares usually have to file new projects as well as renew their existing developments every year in order to continue to sell units and vacation packages within that state. For states with many timeshare registrations, this can mean a lot of paperwork. With less government employees fielding this paperwork, backups can occur. In most cases it is against the law for timeshares to sell their product without receiving these reviews and approvals. These backups can be detrimental to the developer, industry, and the economy of tourism. While some states have crafted their own ways to address this issue already, ARDA is stepping in to help do what they can for other states that could be facing this problem now or in the near future.

A handful of states have solved this problem by deregulating. When a state deregulates, it no longer requires the same strict policies of registration, review, and renewals. For example, in 2010, Michigan ruled that timeshare resorts were no longer required to register in the state. This freed up the burden on both timeshare resorts and the state government who had to process each registration.

Arizona also realized it had a problem with managing the filing buildup due to the regulatory requirements. Thus, with ARDA’s help, Arizona legislature passed legislation that included “deemed approved” language, ruling that renewal filings not manually reviewed within 15 days would be automatically accepted in the system. If the state agency finds an error after the filing was accepted, they are authorized to have the developer fix the error.

Nevada retained all current regulation requirements even after experiencing severe cutbacks in staff and budget. Being a popular destination for timeshare sales, and with new projects being completed in Las Vegas, the build-up of un-reviewed timeshare filings began to severely affect the industry. There are initial filings, amendments, and renewals that have been yet to be reviewed dating from six months to two years.

ARDA and its members have been eagerly working with the Nevada Real Estate Division (NRED) and Department of Business and Industry, as well as the Governor and the State Attorney General’s offices, to solve this regulatory dilemma. ARDA plans on working with NRED to introduce legislation that would simplify regulatory procedures and restructure NRED’s budget, allowing for an adequate number of reviewers at all times so that filings will not be delayed in the future.

ARDA is aware of several states that will be experience turnover, staff and budget cutbacks, and trained reviewer retirement. While ARDA has always supported reasonable regulation, the coming years may prove challenging. ARDA is looking into ways to best address these challenges and recreate the balance of good business and consumer protection through sufficient regulation.