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Next Generation and Innovation Are Focus Of Vacation Ownership Industry Annual Convention April 20, 2014

Posted by Steve Luba in : ARDA, News & Events , add a comment

Nearly 3,000 timeshare professionals and vacation ownership industry leaders gathered for the 2014 American Resort Development Association (ARDA) World Convention and Exposition at the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from April 6-10. This year’s ARDA World Convention focused on “Next Gen”: the next generation of products, customers, business models, and distribution sources.

ARDA World

BuyaTimeshare.com CEO Wesley Kogelman and ARDA CEO Howard Nusbaum at ARDA World 2014

ARDA members were joined by hundreds of international colleagues from more than 35 countries for educational sessions on how innovation is paving the way to educate the next generation about timeshare, and how the industry is responding to meet the needs of all travelers in today’s mobile environment.

“We were excited to have so many people in our industry embrace this year’s theme and share their business approach about reaching the next generation,” said Howard Nusbaum, ARDA’s president and CEO. “Learning from the best and brightest makes our industry poised to move forward together to reach the Millennial generation and continue to share why timeshare is a better way to vacation for so many travelers.”

Keynote speaker Scott Klososky, a business leader and social technology and trends guru, shared his insights with attendees about how technology is changing the world. Formerly a CEO of three successful tech startup companies, Klososky has applied his creative approach to business to capture the power and creativity of technology and how to share it in today’s evolving mobile world. “People are inundated with content today, so yours must be compelling and provide value to the consumer, or they will just tune you out,” said Klososky.

Attendees also heard from timeshare CEOs representing Disney Vacation Club, Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, and Welk Resorts on how the industry is evolving to meet the next generation of customers, technology, products, employees, and distribution channels. “Our developers are meeting the demands of the Millennial generation by providing more variety and flexibility in the products, as well as new ways to enhance the vacation experience,” said Franz Hanning, president & CEO of Wyndham Vacation Ownership and ARDA Chairman.

“Next Gen travelers increasingly rely on vacation opportunities where they can co-create their own experiences,” said Jon Fredericks, president of Welk Resorts. Resorts everywhere have increased their presence on social media channels, and now communicate with consumers when they are planning their trip, during their vacation, and after they return through contests, promotions, and events.

From virtual tours and points-based products to more and more owners sharing their vacation stories across social platforms, the industry is welcoming the opportunity to directly reach the next generation traveler. “The oldest of the Millennial generation turns 35 this year and is entering their prime family vacation years,  making them an important audience to engage with about the benefits of traveling with timeshare,” said Steve Weisz, president & CEO of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation.

Seventy three percent of adults are active on social media today according to a Pew Research survey, and many use social media to share their vacation experiences. “Clearly, technology is becoming more and more important when people make decisions about their travel,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club. “As an industry, we must continually enhance our use of online and social media to help our members engage with us —and with each other—in new and meaningful ways.”

The Convention also honored industry stand-outs through the ARDA Awards program, recognizing the best and brightest in the industry. A complete list of winners is available on ARDA’s Awards website.

Interval International and Marriott Vacations Worldwide Renew Long-Term Relationship April 18, 2014

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Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group(Nasdaq: IILG), has announced the renewal of its affiliation agreement with Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, a leading global pure-play vacation ownership company (NYSE: VAC). The multi-year contract extends the relationship established in 1990 and includes 53 shared ownership properties, as well as future resorts.

Marriott timeshare“For more than 20 years, Interval has been proud to partner with such a well-respected industry leader,” said Craig M. Nash, chairman, president, and CEO of Interval Leisure Group. “We appreciate the ongoing opportunity to provide Marriott Vacation Club owners with our valuable benefits and innovative technology, and to further our longstanding corporate relationship.”

Marriott Vacation Club owners will continue to enjoy an array of leisure products and programs. These include internal and external vacation exchange services, offering the option of trading their accommodations for a resort within the Marriott Vacation Club portfolio or to one of hundreds of resorts in Interval’s worldwide network. In turn, other Interval members have the ability to exchange into Marriott Vacation Club’s beach, ski, golf, and spa resorts throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.

Stephen P. Weisz, president and CEO of Marriott Vacations Worldwide, added, “We know that we can count on Interval to continually enhance the high-quality services the company provides to our owners and members. Our mission is to consistently exceed expectations, and Interval’s commitment to achieving this is equally unmatched.”

Marriott Vacation Club has more than 415,000 owner families and its resort portfolio extends to 33 internationally recognized vacation destinations. From its beginning as the first hospitality firm to enter vacation ownership, Marriott’s innovations have had a tremendous impact on shaping the industry. This year, the company is celebrating its 30th anniversary of providing exceptional experiences to millions of vacationers.

RCI Green Awards Recognize Top Sustainable Affiliated Resorts April 16, 2014

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RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange and part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (NYSE: WYN), has announced the winners of its annual RCI Green Awards, with Grand Pacific Palisades Resort in Carlsbad, Calif. awarded the highest honor for the second year in a row. The third iteration of this competitive award program saw applications from many of RCI’s most environmentally-conscious affiliates, with the winners based on criteria set by third-party sustainability expert Green Key Global.

“Sustainable business practices are extremely important to all of us at RCI, our members and our affiliates, and we want to recognize our affiliates that make this a priority in their day-to-day hospitality practices,” said Gordon Gurnik, president, RCI. “Many of our affiliates have implemented substantial green initiatives that are having a positive impact on our earth, and we applaud their efforts. These awards recognize the top three RCI affiliated properties amongst a competitive group of applicants.”

Grand Pacific Palisades Resort

Grand Pacific Palisades Resort

Grand Pacific Palisades Resort, the winner of the Platinum RCI Green Award for the second consecutive year, exemplifies best-in-class practices for sustainability. Green policies and procedures are entrenched in day-to-day activities on site, and are an important factor in management’s planning. Examples of this resort’s sustainable actions include: using a green roof and high-albedo materials on more than 75 percent of the roof area; using high-efficiency lighting technology on more than 75 percent of light fixtures; installing high-efficiency windows in the majority of the building; providing bus passes to employees to promote public transportation use; and implementing a linen and towel reuse program for guests.

Peacock Suites in Anaheim, Calif. was awarded the Gold RCI Green Award this year. This property also demonstrates a range of green practices, including: participation in community and park clean ups, Earth Day and tree planting initiatives; providing employees with shuttle bus access, bike storage and parking for low-emission vehicles; utilizing renewable energy for some of the hotel’s energy needs; and rain sensors for irrigation to prevent over-watering.

Also based in Carlsbad, Calif., Hilton Grand Vacations Club at MarBrisa again took home the Silver RCI Green Award. This resort’s commendable sustainability initiatives include: assignment of a Green Team to coordinate environmental initiatives; using energy-efficient lighting in 90 percent of general areas; in-room recycling programs; and implementing annual audits of energy and water consumption.

“These three resorts clearly understand the positive effect that the hospitality industry can make when it comes to sustainability,” continued Gurnik. “With millions of vacation ownership travelers in the U.S. alone, even small acts can add up to a major impact on our environment. And, with consumers increasingly looking for green travel services, it also makes good business sense to take these actions.”

RCI collaborated with Green Key Global, a leader in eco-certification, to assess and rate all resort applicants. The results of the Green Key Eco-Rating Program assessments determined the winners of this year’s RCI Green Awards.

As an additional benefit to applying for the RCI Green Awards, all applicants received Green Key certification, earning one through five keys to reflect the extent of their sustainability efforts. The comprehensive Green Key Eco-Rating Program covers both operational areas and sustainable practices, which include energy conservation, indoor air quality, land use and much more.

Green Key certification has several benefits for affiliated resorts, including: personalized reports and recommendations on cost-saving measures; exclusive marketing collateral such as a branded plaque and the use of Green Key logos on resort collateral; and eco-recognition through other major brands such as Travelocity, Expedia and AAA.

Summer Bay Resort To Add Adventure Park Amenity April 14, 2014

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Extreme Engineering has created an exciting new pirate-themed amenity for Summer Bay Resort. The adrenalin-inducing High-Action Adventures™ product will incorporate zip lining, rock climbing air jumping and a rope course element to provide endless fun for both children and adults.

Summer Bay Orlando Resort

Artist depiction of new adventure park amenity

“Summer Bay Resorts has partnered with Extreme Engineering as they can provide a turnkey product – from the initial concept and theming of the Adventure Park to the installation and on-going servicing of each interactive adventure feature, they do it all,” says Santiago Creus, director of business development, Summer Bay Resorts. “We look forward to the opening of this new resort attraction with great anticipation as it will provide another opportunity to bring families together to enjoy a shared experience while vacationing at our Summer Bay Orlando Resort.”

The aim of the High-Action Adventures™ product is to provide a themed, attraction-based amenity that provides countless hours of fun for current guests – and attracts new guests to the resort. “The goal is to attract millennial buyers and also provide an additional revenue stream to the facility,” notes Philip Wilson, Extreme Engineering’s vice president of marketing. “We are pleased to partner with Summer Bay Resorts to offer this enhancement to their popular Orlando location.”

Slated to open prior to this year’s summer season, the very popular “High-Action Adventures™” product is the perfect solution to resolve the pressing issue in the timeshare market – which is to attract youthful buyers. In fact, this concept is captured in the company’s slogan “Making Time Shares Grow Young With Fun.™”

Extreme Engineering uses co-creation as part of the process to allow both the resort client and Extreme Engineering’s expert team to create the perfect, themed adventure area for that particular resort. “Through our dynamic products we have been able to resolve multiple, current challenges such as selling to millennials,” Wilson adds. “Not only are we providing memorable experiences on-site at the resort, but we’re also enhancing the timeshare sales process by providing the opportunity for developers to upsell their clients through attraction-based amenities.”

The Summer Bay Orlando Resort installation comprises several award-winning elements to achieve these goals. The Fly Wire™ Zipline is the recent winner of “Best Major Theme Park Ride” at IAAPA, making this Extreme Engineering’s 8th consecutive industry award. What’s more, Extreme Engineering has been chosen as an American Resort Development Association (ARDA) finalist for the Best Resort Amenities award from among 400 nominations.

Combining safety and quality, Extreme Engineering is the world’s largest supplier in patented ziplines, climbing walls and adventure products for the amusement and resort industries.

Timeshare Resale Analysis Released by BuyaTimeshare.com April 12, 2014

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BuyaTimeshare.com has released the results of an evaluation of owner resale information based on the consumer advertisements placed on the resale leader’s website.

Timeshares for saleConducted by the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management at the University of South Carolina, the independent study measured information from over 18,000 advertisements placed by owners looking to sell their timeshares through BuyaTimeshare.com.

Among the findings:

“This is a significant sample size of actual timeshare owners participating in the secondary market,” said Wesley Kogelman, President and CEO, BuyaTimeshare.com. “This isn’t a theoretical discussion about possible trends, but actually where the rubber meets the road.”

“What strikes me is how closely aligned the advertised prices are compared to earlier resale research conducted by ARDA. For example, the ARDA resale study last year said that buyer intenders, either new buyers or current owners looking for more product, had an expectation of price between $10,000 and $12,000.

“The overall average maintenance fee charged per interval is $822 according to the 2013 ARDA State of the Industry report, so it is interesting that the maintenance fees included in our resale ads are so much lower,” added Kogelman. “Perhaps this shows that maintenance fees are not the primary resale motivator that many suggest.”

Resorts from 47 states were identified in the analysis, showing the national scope of the BuyaTimeshare.com site and how comprehensive the site is compared to many resale sites and companies which only serve specific resort brands or geographical areas of the United States.

The most popular states represented were:

“The top five states in our data mirror the states with the largest percentage of timeshare units as identified by ARDA in the State of the Industry report, so we are pleased to see that our information is in line with those findings,” added Kogelman.

To find out more about BuyaTimeshare.com, please visit http://buyatimeshare.com.

Holiday Inn Club Vacations Debuts First Williamsburg Property April 10, 2014

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Together with Orange Lake Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group has announced its Holiday Inn Club Vacations brand has added an 11th location to its portfolio of vacation resorts, a 130-unit resort located near historic Colonial Williamsburg, Va. Guests can now enjoy local attractions in Williamsburg including art museums, tours, golf, shopping and dining.

Holiday Inn vacation club“Families are always on the lookout for vacation destinations where they can spend time together experiencing interesting and fun places that build lasting memories,” said Don Harrill, CEO of Orange Lake Resorts, home to Holiday Inn Club Vacations. “All the villas have been redesigned and we have added upscale accommodations and new amenities at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Williamsburg Resort to deliver exactly what our owners and guests are looking for when it comes to a family-friendly resort offering.”

As with all Holiday Inn Club Vacations resorts, the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Williamsburg Resort offers one and two-bedroom villas ranging from 704 square feet to 1,100 square feet. The resort will offer many amenities for guests including: an activity center, game room, indoor pool, two outdoor pools, patio area with grills, bowling lanes, mini golf course, and a fitness center. There will also be a market offering grab-and-go food choices as well as Starbucks coffee.

“The leisure market continues to grow twice as fast as the business market, and we’re able to capitalize on this by further expanding the Holiday Inn Club Vacations brand in top leisure destinations across the U.S.,” said Heather Balsley, senior vice president, Americas Holiday Inn Brand Family. “The Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Williamsburg Resort property offers spacious villa accommodations with access to many local attractions making it a strong addition to the growing Holiday Inn Club Vacations brand portfolio.”

Travelers can book vacation villas at all eleven Holiday Inn Club Vacations resorts, just as they would any Holiday Inn brand hotel room. Properties include the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort in Orlando, Fla. which offers seven pools, nine restaurants and four golf courses all in the theme park capital of the world; and the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Desert Club Resort in Las Vegas, Nev. which is located only one block from the famous Vegas Strip where countless restaurants and entertainment venues can be found.

The Holiday Inn Club Vacations brand participates in IHG’s guest loyalty program, IHG Rewards Club, the industry’s first and largest hotel rewards program. With over 77 million members, IHG Rewards Club is free and guests can enroll at IHGRewardsClub.com, by downloading the IHG app, by calling 1-888-211-9874 or by inquiring at the front desk of any of IHG’s more than 4,700 hotels worldwide. IHG Rewards Club has industry-leading benefits including no blackout dates for Reward Nights, fast-track to Elite status when guests explore Holiday Inn Brand Family properties as well as the entire IHG portfolio and points that never expire.

RCI Returns as Title Sponsor of 12th Annual Christel House Open April 8, 2014

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RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange and part of the Wyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN) family of brands, has announced that it will return as the title sponsor of the RCI Christel House Open International Charity Golf Tournament in 2014. This marks the eighth consecutive year that RCI has served as the title sponsor.

RCI Christel House Open

The 2013 Christel House event in Orlando raised $125,000 for the charity

“The RCI Christel House Open has become a beacon of hope for people throughout our industry who support Christel House’s mission to provide education, nutrition and care programs for some of the world’s most impoverished children,” said Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI. “Last year’s tournament raised more than $550,000,all of whichgoes directly to those who need it most. With the help of our colleagues in the timeshare and hospitality industry, we hope to exceed that amount in 2014 and help provide even more children with the services and care they deserve.”

The 2014 RCI Christel House Open kicks off on Saturday, May 17 in Palm Beach, Fla., and continues at 12 additional sites across North America, Europe and Africa. The event, which is celebrating its 12th year, welcomes thousands of golfers, sponsors and volunteers from around the world to raise funds and awareness for Christel House International. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the event directly benefit children involved with the nonprofit organization.

Christel DeHaan, the co-founder of RCI, founded Christel House in 1998. The nonprofit aims to help its more than 4,000 children around the world break the cycle of poverty, realize their hopes and dreams, and become self-sufficient, contributing members of society. The organization operates Learning Centers in the U.S., India, Mexico and South Africa, and funds outreach programs in Serbia and Venezuela.

“When RCI was started 40 years ago, it operated with a business philosophy that emphasized innovation, creativity and the importance of customers and employees,” said DeHaan. “RCI was known as an employer of choice and as a good corporate citizen. Today, RCI still reflects these cornerstone philosophies. As we prepare for our 12th annual Christel House Open, we express our heartfelt thanks to RCI as a generous and committed Title Sponsor.”

Christel House and the RCI Christel House Open are strongly supported by developers, resorts and vendors in the timeshare industry, with worldwide proceeds exceeding $8.5 million since the tournament’s inception. Christel House is also one of the three signature charities of Wishes by Wyndham, the philanthropic program of Wyndham Worldwide.

For more information on the RCI Christel House Open, please visit www.chopen.org.

Canadian Timeshare Resale Buyers Now Have Financing Option Through Crelogix April 6, 2014

Posted by Steve Luba in : Canadian timeshare, New Features, News & Events, Timeshare Resale, Timeshare Resource , add a comment

Crelogix Acceptance Corporation, a leading Canadian consumer financing provider, is pleased to announce it has partnered with BuyaTimeshare.com, a US-based online platform specializing in re-selling timeshares across the world. As part of the partnership, Crelogix will provide direct consumer financing for Canadian timeshare buyers interested in accessing the timeshare re-sale market offered online by BuyaTimeshare.com.

crelogix_medium_red_3This affiliate partnership will enable BuyaTimeshare.com’s Canadian customers to finance their timeshare purchases through Crelogix’s online application form or by contacting Crelogix directly. BuyaTimeshare.com customers can begin the application process through a dedicated link on the company website at http://www.buyatimeshare.com/canadian-timeshare-financing.asp .

“We are excited to be a reliable financing provider for vacation ownership customers, and we are sure they will benefit from our expert knowledge of the timeshare industry,” said Nicholas Carter, Vice President of Quality Assurance for Crelogix. “We share BuyaTimeshare.com’s enthusiasm for helping facilitate a growing market for Canadians interested in owning a timeshare. Our loans are convenient and competitive, making them a perfect match for BuyaTimeshare.com’s straightforward re-sale market.”

“The timeshare re-sale market continues to grow as a significant generator of sales for the overall timeshare industry, providing nearly one out of every three new buyers to the U.S. market alone,” said Wesley Kogelman, President and CEO, BuyaTimeshare.com. “With Canadians accounting for nearly $2 million USD in confirmed offers to purchase timeshares on our website, our relationship with Crelogix will give us the opportunity to offer financing to those Canadians and let them enjoy the significant savings available on the re-sale market.”

Margaritaville Vacation Club Celebrates Groundbreaking Ceremony with the Governor of St. Thomas April 4, 2014

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Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO), the world’s largest vacation ownership company and a member of the Wyndham Worldwide family of companies (NYSE:WYN), and Margaritaville Hospitality Group, celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony of the first-ever Margaritaville Vacation Club resort in St. Thomas.

The event took place at the future home of Wyndham St. Thomas, located on the northeast side of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Wyndham Vacation Ownership leaders including Gary Hyde, senior vice president, resort operations and Rob Landry, vice president, project management, development planning and construction, joined St. Thomas Governor, John P. de Jongh, Jr., and commissioners and staff from St. Thomas EDA, DPNR and Tourism to mark this exciting event.

Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. (center with purple tie) joins Wyndham  executives and contractors at groundbreaking ceremony

Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. (center with purple tie) joins Wyndham executives and contractors at groundbreaking ceremony

“We’re thrilled to see construction begin at Margaritaville Vacation Club,” said Governor de Jongh. “Hospitality is the livelihood of our island and this new resort will open up so many opportunities for the people of St. Thomas.”

In 2013, Wyndham Vacation Ownership and Margaritaville Hospitality Group announced their plans to redevelop the former Grand Beach Palace Resort. Wyndham St. Thomas, a Margaritaville Vacation Club resort, is anticipated to open in early 2015 and will be the first resort of its kind in the world.

Construction will take place in two phases over the next three years, including the conversion of its 290 existing hotel rooms into 262 fully furnished condominium-style timeshare units. The renovation will begin with the seven beachfront buildings and common areas including reception, pool area and 5 O’clock Somewhere bar. A Margaritaville restaurant, dive shop with water activities and venues for live music are also included in the plan at this time.

Wyndham Vacation Ownership has hired J. Benton Construction of St. Croix in a joint venture with Moss & Associates of Florida to complete the renovation and construction. The Company will be looking for local craftsman to work on the renovation of the former Grand Beach Palace Resort. Interested parties can contact jbmossjobs@mossemail.com. The design team for the resort includes L2 Studios architecture and Harris Civil Engineers, who have been involved with other USVI projects, as well as Design Poole interiors and McBride Company designers.

Upon the completion of the full opening of the resort, approximately 125 full-time jobs ranging from front-desk clerks to sales associates will have been created. As an employer of choice, full time associates will receive comprehensive health and welfare benefit packages. Wyndham Vacation Ownership anticipates that hiring for these positions will begin later this year and interested applicants will be able to apply online at: WVOJobs.com.

The Company also recently began sales of Margaritaville Vacation Club. To learn more visit http://www.margaritavillevacationclub.com.

ARDA Resale Forum To Include BuyaTimeshare.com CEO Wesley Kogelman April 2, 2014

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BuyaTimeshare.com President and CEO Wesley Kogelman has been asked to participate as a table discussion facilitator during the Resale Forum as part of the ARDA World Convention.

Wesley Kogelman, BuyaTimeshare.com

BuyaTimeshare.com CEO Wesley Kogelman

Set to begin at 8:00am on Monday, April 7, 2014, the Resale Forum will be the first scheduled business session of the Convention, to be held April 7-10 at The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The ARDA World Convention is the world’s largest gathering of timeshare industry executives, with nearly 3,000 participants expected to attend and discuss trends and strategies important to the growth of the industry.

The theme of the Resale Forum is “Resale Best Practices Workshop” and is structured to identify best practices for the development of a comprehensive resale program at so-called legacy resorts, the vacation ownership resorts which are traditionally under the control of a home owners association and are no longer in active sales.

“ARDA statistics show that only 24 percent of these resorts have a resale program for owner inventory. Such a low percentage is not only detrimental to owners looking to sell their timeshare but also to a resort’s ability to attract new owners to the resort,” said Kogelman.

“We have been operating in the online resale space for 14 years and understand what it takes to market to today’s Internet-based consumer, so I look forward to participating in the discussion,” Kogelman added.

In 2013, BuyaTimeshare.com directed $103 million in confirmed buyer and rental offers to advertisers looking to sell and rent their units. The success of the company is directly related to online marketing strategies which position BuyaTimeshare.com to the forefront of searches for buyer-related terms that potential owners will enter when looking for vacation ownership products.

“The resale market is only getting stronger, with ARDA’s own statistics showing that resales jumped from 17 percent to 32 percent of overall sales from 2010 to 2012. With many of these buyers using online outlets such as ours, we want to help develop a program that will be beneficial for these resorts in need of a resale solution,” stated Kogelman.

For more information about the ARDA World Convention, please visit http://www.arda.org/convention/ and to review the timeshare inventory available for sale or rent at BuyaTimeshare.com, please go to http://buyatimeshare.com .