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RCI Signs Premium Vacation Club, Pioneer of Tourism in Turkey, To Multi-Year Affiliation Agreement July 27, 2014

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RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange and one of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands, announced a new multi-year affiliation agreement with Premium Vacation Club, part of Gezenay Tourism Inc’s Premium Group, a pioneer of the tourism industry in Turkey

Through the group’s affiliation with RCI, its Premium Vacation Club 5* Hotel in Istanbul has joined the exchange network. Close to the city centre, the luxurious RCI Gold Crown resort comprises 305 elegant hotel rooms – 50 of which will be vacation ownership units. All rooms benefit from views over Istanbul or the sea, and feature spacious living arrangements as well as modern appliances and amenities.

RCI timeshare exchangeThe hotel’s wellness and spa centre has an indoor swimming pool with 11 massage rooms, offering an extensive selection of treatments, including two saunas, two Turkish baths, two steam rooms, snow fountains, relaxation rooms and the largest Jacuzzi in Istanbul. Guests can dine in one of three on-resort restaurant/lounges and have use of a range of sports facilities.

Cenk Kinay, president at Premium Vacation Club, said: “Hotel proprietors and investors need new sales channels in Turkey and the Premium Vacation Club is an innovative programme that will fill the sales and timeshare gap we have identified in the country. Based on our group’s 25 years of experience in Turkey’s tourism industry, we see a gap in the luxury resort sector of the country’s timeshare market. We aim to provide a unique experience exclusively for upscale travellers.

“The Club’s model is an easy-to-use, flexible weeks based approach to vacation ownership to generate new sales in our luxury resort for the discerning traveller. We have a similar mission to RCI in wanting to provide holidaymakers with the greatest flexibility and choice. We look forward to working with RCI to deliver on this with our first signing, the five-star Hotel Istanbul, ensuring RCI and our club members receive the quality holidays they deserve.”

Through this affiliation, Premium Vacation Club can offer its members access to RCI’s exchange holiday programme, comprising nearly 4,500 resort properties in more than 100 countries. Under the new agreement, buyers at Premium Vacation Club receive a complimentary two-year RCI membership. The timeshare accommodation is in deluxe rooms with the option of one extra guest staying for free. There is also a dedicated check-in and check-out for Club members and discounts on additional services.

“We warmly welcome Premium Vacation Club 5* Hotel in Istanbul into the RCI network,” said Sean Lowe, managing director, RCI Europe, Middle East, Africa & India. “This being our first resort affiliation in this iconic Turkish city, it is exciting for us to be able to offer our members such a different holiday experience. Istanbul is a new entrant to the timeshare market and we are pleased to be working with Premium Vacation Club in breaking new ground.”

A thriving city, Istanbul attracted over 10 million visitors in 2013 according to the Culture & Tourism Istanbul Regional Directorate. Voted the number one choice for travellers in the TripAdvisor’s sixth annual Traveler’s Choice Awards, Istanbul is famed for its culture, architecture and shopping opportunities.

Holiday Inn Club Vacations Resorts Receive TripAdvisor Awards July 24, 2014

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Nine Holiday Inn Club Vacations resorts have been awarded 2014 Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site. The awards celebrate hospitality excellence and are awarded annually to resorts that consistently achieve outstanding travel reviews on the site.

Holiday Inn vacation clubThe winners from the Holiday Inn Club Vacations brand are located in:

- Florida: Cape Canaveral Beach; Panama City Beach Resort; Sunset Cove, Marco Island;

- Nevada: Desert Club, Las Vegas;

- South Carolina: South Beach, Myrtle Beach;

- Tennessee: Smoky Mountain, Gatlinburg;

- Texas: Galveston Beach;

- Virginia: Williamsburg; and

- Wisconsin: Lake Geneva.

“We are extremely proud of our dedicated resort employees who strive to create memorable guest experiences, and we are pleased to have those reflected through positive reviews – the foundation of the annual Certificate of Excellence awards,” says Don Harrill, CEO Holiday Inn Club Vacations.


Interval International Mobile App Now Includes Customized Getaway Alerts July 20, 2014

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Timeshare exchange provider Interval International announced that the latest version of the Interval International app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices gives members the ability to create customized Getaway Alerts to notify them as soon as their desired vacations become available.

Interval International“Interval’s Getaway program — weeklong vacations priced affordably, without the need to exchange — is one of our most popular benefits,” said Madeline Berges, Interval’s vice president of e-commerce and digital marketing. “Now, members can use the Interval International app to conduct an ongoing search for their preferred Getaways, without having to re-enter selection criteria. Adding the alerts lets members receive timely notifications, so they won’t miss an opportunity.”

Getaways are offered in every season in destinations around the globe, including the Caribbean, Florida, Hawaii, Mexico, and Europe. Members can lounge on a tropical island, find thrills at a theme park, or enjoy a romantic escape from just US$224 a week. To create a Getaway Alert with the Interval International app, users select destinations or resorts, travel dates, and the desired number of bedrooms, then name their alert. Members can have up to 15 alerts active at one time and must act fast once notified as inventory is booked on a first-come, first-served basis.

Since its 2010 debut, the app has been downloaded more than 280,000 times. Other app features include the informative Interval HD videos; Interval World magazine filled with destination articles, travel tips, and more; and the Resort Directory with detailed descriptions and photos. Users can also share resort and travel information with family and friends on social media.

“Consumers have integrated all the great features of the Interval International app into their lives,” Berges added. “The alerts make the app an even more valuable membership benefit.”

To download the free app, visit The App Store or the Google Play store.

Mexico Timeshare Operator Palace Resorts Joins Interval International Exchange Network July 17, 2014

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Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group (Nasdaq: IILG), and Mexico timeshare operator Palace Resorts have entered into a multi-year, multi-site affiliation agreement. This encompasses Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Nizuc, Cozumel Palace, and Isla Mujeres Palace, three upscale all-inclusive, beachfront shared ownership resorts in the Mexican Caribbean.

Moon Palace timeshare

Moon Palace Resort

“We are thrilled that Palace Resorts, an industry leader for nearly 30 years, has chosen to affiliate these award-winning properties with our quality network,” said Marcos Agostini, Interval’s senior vice president of resort sales and business development for Latin America. “They are an important addition as they offer the all-inclusive experience that is increasingly popular with our members.”

“Interval understands our company’s unique needs and has the innovative technology to support our operations,” said Gibrán Chapur, executive vice president of Palace Resorts. “We look forward to working with this new partner, who will deliver the high-level of service that we are committed to providing our owners.”

Located in Cancun, Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Nizuc is set on 55 acres and features 731 spacious units with views of the Caribbean Sea, lush gardens, or the Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. All have a sophisticated decor with dark-wood furniture and colorful accents, marble bathroom with glass-enclosed shower, iPod docking stations, and furnished balconies. On-site amenities and activities include numerous restaurants, 650-foot beach, lagoon-style swimming pools, fully equipped fitness centers, dolphinarium, children’s splash zone waterpark, teen lounge, kid’s club, and water-sports marina. Moon Palace was honored with the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award in 2014 for the second consecutive year, based on its impeccable standard of hospitality, service, and amenities.

The Cozumel Palace has 175 units and provides an ideal island setting for families seeking sun, sand, and surf in a tranquil atmosphere. Each is decorated in a soft palate with wood furniture, marble floors, and includes a living room, modern electronics, and private balcony.

Guests can enjoy restaurants with a variety of cuisines, spa, outdoor infinity and splash pools, kid’s club with supervised activities, nightly entertainment, complimentary Wi-Fi, and 24-hour room service. Visitors can also explore the Mayan ruins, take the ferry to Playa del Carmen, or go scuba diving along the Great Maya Reef.

Situated eight miles east of Cancun, Isla Mujeres Palace is a boutique resort for adults with 62 beautifully appointed units. Among the amenities and services are a restaurant, swimming pool, complimentary Wi-Fi, and 24-hour room service.

RCI Network Now Offering Ramada Resorts in Australia July 14, 2014

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RCI, the worldwide leader in vacation exchange, announced the addition of four affiliated Ramada resorts, part of the WorldMark South Pacific Club by Wyndham. These resorts are available for exchange exclusively through RCI.

Ramada Resort Port Douglas

Ramada Resort Port Douglas

The new affiliated resorts include the Ramada Resort Port Douglas in tropical North Queensland; Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre Marcoola Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast; Ramada Resort Phillip Island in Victoria and Ramada Resort Shoal Bay in Port Stephens, New South Wales.

“We are excited to offer these four great properties for exchange,” said Andrew Heslehurst, RCI Pacific Director. “Ramada is a well known global hospitality brand and we are proud to welcome its resorts to our portfolio. This affiliation is a testament to our commitment to widen the choice of holiday experiences we offer our members in the Pacific region.”

These additions add to RCI’s growing portfolio of exchange options in the Pacific region, which are nearing 150 properties available to RCI exchange members. The properties come from well-known and renowned brands in the hospitality industry, including the WorldMark South Pacific Club, which now has 112 properties affiliated with RCI including these four new Ramada properties.

Ramada Resort Port Douglas, with its sprawling grounds, offers guests beautiful rainforest gardens and a luxurious lagoon style swimming pool. Guests can relax by the pool with a refreshing cocktail or walk along the nearby picture perfect Four Mile Beach. The resort is an ideal base for those wanting to experience the Great Barrier Reef via luxury yachts, high tech catamarans or through the comfort of a glass bottom boat.

With a beachfront location, Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre Marcoola Beach offers superb Sunshine Coast accommodation with spectacular 180-degree views of the coastline. Enjoy a pre-dinner drink at the bar followed by delicious meal at the poolside restaurant. The property has a 60 metre lagoon style pool, a resort shop, a restaurant and a multitude of attractions nearby.

Ramada Resort Phillip Island is surrounded by several acres of bush land and provides a natural and intimate setting for its guests. Relax by the pool or recharge indoors at the health centre and spa. There are seven kilometres of walking and cycling tracks around the resort, in addition to two tennis courts and a children’s playground. The resort has an onsite restaurant as well as a wood-fired pizzeria and barbecue areas.

The Ramada Resort Shoal Bay is the ultimate beachfront resort perfect for family holidays, beach getaways and special events. The resort lies at the entrance to Port Stephens, overlooking the white sands and the magnificent volcanic Tomaree Headlands. The resort features four restaurants, five bars, the iconic Country Club Hotel, a conference centre and an outdoor heated pool.

“The rapid expansion of Wyndham Hotel Group brands across the South Pacific, such as Ramada, has presented us with great opportunities to also grow our vacation club portfolio. We are proud to offer our WorldMark South Pacific Club owners RCI membership options for exchange holidays all over the globe,” said CEO and managing director of Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific, Barry Robinson.

BuyaTimeshare.com CEO Wesley Kogelman Becomes ARDA Trustee July 12, 2014

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Wesley Kogelman, President and CEO of online timeshare resale and rental advertising company BuyaTimeshare.com (http://buyatimeshare.com), has been included into the exclusive Trustee membership category of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA).

Wesley Kogelman, BuyaTimeshare.com

BuyaTimeshare.com CEO Wesley Kogelman

Kogelman’s inclusion as an ARDA Trustee was confirmed during the annual ARDA Trustee Retreat, which was held at The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, MA.

“I am honored to have been accepted as an ARDA Trustee and will do everything I can to promote the benefits of timeshare and vacation ownership as a truly enjoyable and cost-effective way to vacation,” said Kogelman.

ARDA Trustee member companies represent the resort industry’s premier leadership. These companies, through their industry stewardship, are committed to vacation ownership industry growth through excellence. ARDA Trustee member companies are recognized for their exemplary leadership in developing and delivering world-class vacation experiences for consumers around the globe.

“We see buyers and renters coming to our website every day and they are intentionally seeking information about the product. They know what they are looking for and are excited about the resorts we promote, so we want to continue improving the open and interactive platform that has successfully connected timeshare owners with buyers and renters since 2000,” added Kogelman.

For information about ARDA VIP Membership, please visit http://arda.org/vip and to review the inventory available for sale or rent at BuyaTimeshare.com, please go to http://buyatimeshare.com .

Westgate Park City Resort And Spa Receives 2014 TripAdvisor Recognition July 10, 2014

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TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel and review site, has awarded multiple Certificates of Excellence to Westgate Resorts Park City Resort & Spa. TripAdvisor has recognized Edge Steakhouse, Serenity Spa by Westgate, Drafts’ Sports Bar and Grill, and Westgate Park City Resort & Spa with their highest awards for excellence based on outstanding reviews from customers. These prestigious recognitions add to a long list of awards for Westgate Park City Resort & Spa.

Westgate Park City

Westgate Park City

The Certificate of Excellence award is now in its fourth year and celebrates excellence in the hospitality industry by recognizing establishments that consistently achieve outstanding reviews on the TripAdvisor website. To qualify for the award, recipients must consistently maintain at least a four out of five rating from its customers. TripAdvisor uses a mathematical formula to consider the volume and recency of reviews as well as the restaurant’s tenure and popularity.

Marc Charron, President of TripAdvisor’s business division stated, “TripAdvisor is pleased to honor exceptional hospitality businesses for consistent excellence”.

“This is a tremendous honor,” stated COO Mark Waltrip, “TripAdvisor is the recognized leader of travel-related reviews and critiques and we are proud of our team at Edge Steakhouse for delivering a consistently excellent dining experience.”

Westgate Park City Resort and Spa is no stranger to accolades. OpenTable, a renowned phone app that allows users to book reservations at their favorite restaurants on the fly, also honored Westgate Park City with a “Top 100 Restaurants” distinction. Westgate Park City has also been recipient of six of Utah’s Best of State Awards including: Best Ski Resort, Best American Pub, Best Steakhouse, Best Gourmet Burger, Best Destination Spa, and Best Fitness Camp. Lastly, Westgate Park City is a back-to-back winner of the Perspective Awards “Best Timeshare Resort in North America”.

Westgate Park City Resort & Spa will receive a plaque for each of its winning entrants that it can proudly display on-site to show guests of the high acclaim it has received from TripAdvisor.

Interval International Adds Buenos Aires Argentina Resorts To Network July 6, 2014

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Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group (Nasdaq: IILG), announced the addition of OWN Palermo Hollywood and Pop Villa Crespo by OWN, boutique condo-hotels located in the heart of Buenos Aires. These properties are part of the OWN Hotels Group and join OWN Montevideo that was affiliated last year.

“As we add more shared ownership properties to our portfolio, we are pleased to extend our relationship with Interval,” said Nicolas Bonta, president of Hoteles Urbanos and Fondok, developer companies of the hotels. “We are always working to enrich our owners’ experiences by offering new locations, fresh designs, and excellent service. Interval’s leisure benefits are a valuable complement to our product.”

OWN Palermo Hollywood

OWN Palermo Hollywood

“Shared ownership can offer developers many advantages, including enhancing profitability through more stable year-round occupancy rates and higher consumer expenditures,” noted Marcos Agostini, Interval’s senior vice president of resort sales and business development for Latin America. “Owners and guests tend to generate incremental revenue streams by their use of onsite amenities and services.”

OWN Palermo Hollywood features 16 units decorated in a chic, modern style, with 21 additional units expected to be completed next year. Each has high-tech perks such as complimentary Wi-Fi and cable Internet, LCD TV with DVD, CD player, home theater and surround sound system, and iPod docking station. Guests also can enjoy on-site amenities and services, including complimentary breakfast in the lounge area, room service, concierge, personal trainer, New York-style cocktail bar, and a contemporary art gallery.

Pop Villa Crespo by OWN consists of 44 units with a contemporary décor, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi access, and iPod docking stations. Hotel amenities and services include a lounge on each of the four floors, library, and 24-hour front desk.

OWN Palermo Hollywood and Pop Villa Crespo by OWN were both awarded the TripAdvisor® 2014 Certificate of Excellence.

Buenos Aires, the most visited city in South America, is known for its European-style architecture and rich cultural life. The city offers visitors numerous museums, landscaped parks, and live, renowned theatre productions. The OWN properties are located near many top attractions, as well as San Telmo, the oldest neighborhood in the city.

New purchasers at OWN Palermo Hollywood and Pop Villa Crespo by OWN will be enrolled as individual members ofInterval International and will also become Interval Gold® members, entitling them to a number of flexible exchange opportunities and upgraded benefits and services. These include discounts on Getaway vacation rentals, ShortStay Exchange®, a concierge service available 24/7 via phone and email, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® membership, and special offers at hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets worldwide.

Westgate Resorts Purchases The Las Vegas Hotel and Casino July 3, 2014

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Westgate Resorts has announced the acquisition of the LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino as the newest addition to its portfolio of 28 resorts.  Westgate LVH, LLC, which is wholly-owned by Westgate Resorts, Ltd., has acquired 100% of the membership interests in 3000 Paradise Road, LLC, the owner of the LVH – Las Vegas Hotel (“LVH”) & Casino.

Las Vegas Hotel and CasinoThe property was formerly known as the Las Vegas Hilton and will be renamed Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.  The LVH is a landmark property that, at one time, was the largest hotel in the world and was home to such legendary greats as Elvis Presley and Liberace during Vegas’s golden age.  The new Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is located just one block off the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, is adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center, and is one of seven stations on the Las Vegas Monorail.

David Siegel, Founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, proudly announced, “Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino will set the standard for service in Las Vegas.” Siegel adds, “We are very excited to be taking this important part of Vegas history and reinventing it for the next generation of Las Vegas visitors.”

This iconic resort is 30 stories tall and is home to the largest freestanding sign in the world at 279 feet.  With nearly 3,000 rooms, including 300 opulent suites, Westgate will convert some of the rooms to luxury timeshare villas while still operating the resort hotel rooms and suites. Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino features a 95,000 square foot casino with a wide array of table games and the hottest slot machines on the market, 200,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, incredible restaurants – including the largest Benihana restaurant in the United States, endless entertainment, a spa and fitness center, expansive pool with luxurious cabanas, access to golf at the exclusive Las Vegas Country Club, and the world’s largest race and sports SuperBook.

“Although a selection of our rooms will be converted into timeshare villas, it is important to know that our resort hotel and legendary luxury suites will remain open to Las Vegas visitors and tourists, for vacations and conventions,” explained Siegel.  “We will be providing the best of both worlds on our resort property,” said Siegel.  Siegel further added, “Las Vegas is the center of the universe for luxury destination resorts and the new Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is at the center of the Las Vegas renaissance.”

Financing is being provided by Western Alliance Resort Finance, a division of Western Alliance Bank. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to begin this relationship with Westgate as one of the premier developers in the industry and to provide the financing for this exciting project,” said Robert Sarver, Western Alliance President and CEO. Added Tom Dugan, CFO of Westgate Resorts, “It was a pleasure working with the Western Alliance Resort Finance team on this transaction.”

Westgate Resorts closed on the property on June 30, 2014, and will retain Navegante Group, a well-known casino management company that has been managing the property since October 2012, to continue to operate the property.

ARDA Says 2013 Was A Banner Year for the U.S. Timeshare Industry July 1, 2014

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The U.S. timeshare industry enjoyed significant growth in 2013, according to the State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry: United States Study 2014 Edition conducted by Ernst & Young. Compared to 2012, sales volume increased nearly 11 percent, average sales price rose nine percent, and there are 29 percent more resorts planned for the upcoming year.

ARDA timeshare association“With 8.5 million intervals owned and a substantial increase in our key metrics, it’s clear that timeshare growth is back,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). “The results of this study are further proof that the incremental growth that we have been witnessing over the last 18 months is sustainable.”

There were 1,540 timeshare resorts in the United States in 2013, representing about 192,420 units for an average resort size of 125 units. The sales volume rose from $6.9 billion in 2012 to $7.6 billion in 2013, an 11 percent increase. The average sales price increased/climbed nine percent to $20,460. Occupancy remained steady at around 76 percent, compared to a 62 percent hotel occupancy rate.

Other interesting findings from the study include: beach resorts are the most common type of resort, with urban resorts claiming the highest occupancy. Island resorts have the highest average sales price and Florida has the most resorts (23% of the national total) and highest total sales volume ($2.3 billion). Nevada has the largest average resort size (283 units on average), and Hawaii has the highest average sales price ($27,712) and occupancy rate (85.2%).

The report was conducted by Ernst & Young and commissioned by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) International Foundation. For more details, see ARDA’s State of the Industry infographic and for a copy of the full State of the Industry Study, visit www.arda.org/foundation.