2018 insights logo                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Radiating Positive Impact through Resort Sustainability

 Permanent link

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?

 Permanent link

 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

 Permanent link

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”

 Permanent link

 “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

 Permanent link

Winning with Wellness 

By Sandra Guerra, Director of HR, Wyndham Vacation Ownership 


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! 

View Comments 

A Journey of Caring

 Permanent link

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.