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Using Data to Reach the Experience-Focused Traveler

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Using Data to Reach the Experience-Focused Traveler 

By Todd Schulte  

 Reach the

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

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

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

So how do you know what experiences people value most?

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

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

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

Read the full story here! 

The Best of the Season

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The Best of the Season

By Howard Nusbaum 

best of THE SEASON  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faces from the Frontline: Secondary Market Scams

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Faces from the Frontline: Secondary Market Scams 

2018 faces 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing…Mark Wang

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Introducing…Mark Wang 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARDA Spirit

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ARDA Spirit 

By Jenny Davlin

 2017 ty

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

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

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

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

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

Creating Luxury and Beauty

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Creating Luxury and Beauty 

Three Resorts Score Top Awards 

By: Kathryn Mullan 

luxury and beauty 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Getting It Right

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Getting It Right 

 getting it right 

By: Howard C. Nusbaum, President

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

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

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

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

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

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