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speed dating jersey city February 11, 2014

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El Cid Vacations Club is known throughout the industry for being a leading vacation provider. ECVC continuously strives to improve its travel services through offering luxurious accommodations and incredible vacations at unbeatable prices. Recently, El Cid Vacations Club was once again awarded with RCI’s most coveted and prestigious award, the President’s Club Award.

El Cid Vacations ClubRCI’s President’s Club Award is an annual award that is presented to RCI’s top-performing affiliates across the globe. The award recognizes affiliates that are growth-oriented and committed to expanding their business as well as transforming and improving guests’ and members’ vacation experiences.

El Cid Vacations Club has been presented with the President’s Club Award on more than one occasion. This award is testament to the fact that ECVC focuses on constantly improving member experiences while offering some of the best vacation experiences in the world. In 2014, El Cid will be renovating several of its properties as well as upgrading the units therein. El Cid believes in constant progress, and these additions and upgrades shed light on ECVC’s dedication to quality vacations.

El Cid Vacations Club provides members the opportunity to travel the world and vacation at some of the top resorts in Mexico, Europe, Asia and more. Some of these resorts include: El Cid Marina Beach Hotel & Yacht Club, El Cid Granada Hotel & Country Club, El Cid Resorts at Vera Beach Club and many more. No matter where ECVC members choose to stay, they are sure to have a luxurious and relaxing vacation experience.

El Cid Vacation Club Raises Prices December 31, 2013

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At least you have to give them credit for being bold.

El Cid Vacation Club, based in Mazatlan, Mexico, sent out a press release announcing to the world that they are raising their membership prices 6.5% next year. Their release states that:

El Cid“El Cid Vacations Club is announcing a 6.5% price increase across the board on all ECVC memberships. Existing members are pleased to learn about the price increase, as it adds even more value to their incredible memberships with El Cid Vacations Club.”

First time I’ve heard of a timeshare club member happy about a price increase. Oops, I forgot, they don’t like to use the “T” word. In case you haven’t noticed, they are all vacation clubs or vacation ownership destinations now – not timeshares.


Whatever they call themselves, I wonder how they know that their existing members are “pleased to learn about the price increase.” Did they conduct a survey asking them their views on this? Plus, the language seems a bit vague about exactly who will be seeing the increase – new customers or all members, including existing members. I assume that this is just for new members purchasing in 2014 and the message is that, because the product costs more, it holds more value and, thus, is why existing members would be pleased. However, you know what happens when you assume …..

El Cid has six resorts in Mexico spread across Mazatlan, Cancun/Riveria Maya and Cozumel, plus resorts in the U.K., Spain and Portugal, and has plans for expansion. To be fair, they do have a very good product and these are excellent vacation destinations. Plus, timeshare (or however they want to brand the product), is an excellent vacation accommodation option.

However, they said that the reason for their price hike was “due to the high demand experienced at the sales centers for the El Cid Vacations Club memberships.” Really? Is Mexico doing that much better than the U.S., which has its average timeshare interval price essentially at 2006 levels and which grew only 1.7% on average last year.

I had to laugh when I wondered if all those extra members mean that they’ll lower their maintenance fees. With all those added members, of course they could spread the annual maintenance costs of the resorts across everyone and bring down the per-member fees.

Not likely.

But members can rest assured that they “are more satisfied than ever before with the vacation opportunities they have through this incredible vacation club.”

After all, “there is no better place to vacation in Mazatlán, Cancún/Riviera Maya or Cozumel than at El Cid Resorts.”

Even if they do say so themselves.

Interval International Adds Two Mexico Timeshare Resorts to Exchange Options November 27, 2013

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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 The Grand Bliss Riviera Maya and The Bliss Nuevo Vallarta, luxury timeshare resorts in Mexico. Developed by Grupo Vidanta, these properties follow Grand Luxxe Residence Club Riviera Maya, which joined Interval’s global network in 2011.

“We’re delighted to expand our partnership with Grupo Vidanta, a company that has been recognized for building award-winning resorts since its entry into the industry,” said Marcos Agostini, Interval’s senior vice president of resort sales and business development for Latin America. “These spectacular properties offer visitors a host of upscale, family-friendly amenities in two of Mexico’s top vacation destinations.”

Grand Bliss Riviera Maya

Grand Bliss Riviera Maya

Situated north of Playa del Carmen, The Grand Bliss Riviera Maya has 96 suites with unparalleled views of the ocean and jungle. The open-air concept of the resort blends in with the lush vegetation and Mayan architecture. Its casual yet elegant décor features a palette of warm colors combined with wood tones and natural textures that provide a sense of tranquility. Each beautifully appointed suite includes a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances, spacious living room and dining area, plunge pool on the terrace, and state-of-the-art electronics.

Guests at the resort have access to numerous upscale amenities and services available onsite and at the adjacent Grupo Vidanta resorts. They include a variety of gourmet restaurants, Brio Spa and Fitness Center, several extensive, free-form swimming pools, tennis courts, and an 18-hole Nicklaus-designed golf course.

Among the services created to pamper visitors are the Kid’s Club with supervised activities, babysitting services, 24-hour room service, an Internet Café, and a concierge service to assist guests with everything from unpacking luggage to making reservations for dinner, golf, private jet charters, and the extensive menu of spa treatments.

“We’re committed to providing our members with the best possible vacation experiences and meeting their needs through deluxe accommodations, modern amenities, and personalized service,” commented Eric DuBaele, director of Hotel Operations for Grupo Vidanta. “Our affiliation with Interval will help us achieve that objective by offering them access to the same caliber properties around the world.”

The Bliss Nuevo Vallarta is located north of Puerto Vallarta in the heart of Banderas Bay. The property will be comprised of 240 suites decorated in refreshing pastel colors with kitchens, living and dining areas, and private terraces. Onsite amenities and activities that will appeal to all members of the family include several swimming pools, multiple restaurants and bars, Brio Spa and Fitness Center, a Nicklaus-designed golf course, tennis, shopping, the Kids Club, nature treks, arts and crafts, and more.

Currently under construction, the Bliss Nuevo Vallarta is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Grand Solmar Timeshare Rated by Readers of Condé Nast Traveler as One of the Top 10 Resorts in Baja, Mexico October 26, 2013

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Grand Solmar Timeshare has announced that Condé Nast Traveler readers recently rated this luxurious resort as one of the top resorts in Mexico’s Baja region. The resort ranked sixth on the top 10 list with an impressive score of 91.5 out of a possible 100 points.

Grand Solmar Timeshare has always been dedicated to several key aspects, which make this resort such an incredible vacation destination: customer service, luxury and growth. With unbeatable prices and a location that simply can’t be beat, it’s no wonder that this award-winning resort could be found on this top 10 readers’ choice list.

Grand SolmarThe first key to Grand Solmar’s success is this resort’s unwavering dedication to customer service and guest experiences. Grand Solmar strives to provide the ultimate getaway experience every time a guest walks through its doors. All of the staff at this top luxury resort are kind, courteous and do everything in their power to accommodate each and every guest’s needs, concerns and wishes.

Grand Solmar Timeshare is equally as dedicated to luxury. The resort itself is one of the most luxurious in the area with beautifully kept grounds, exquisite rooms and breathtaking views. In fact, TripAdvisor ranked it as one of the top 25 most luxurious resorts in all of Mexico. From a 737 square-foot grand studio to the incredible 6,232 square-foot Four Bedroom Penthouse that includes a private terrace with a pool and Jacuzzi, there is a distinct level of luxury that can be attained by any guest no matter what their budget is.

Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa invites guests from around the world to come experience all the splendor and luxury that this top-rated resort has to offer. With the high season fast approaching, Grand Solmar Timeshare is looking forward to welcoming vacationers and providing them with the vacation of a lifetime.

Timeshare Exchange Company RCI Welcomes New Affiliates In Mexico July 11, 2013

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Timeshare exchange provider RCI has enhanced its portfolio of more than 4,000 affiliated resorts in more than 100 countries with the additions of  Emporio Hotels & Resorts, Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Spa and Aak-Bal to the company’s exchange options.

“It is with great pride that we welcome Emporio Hotels & Resorts, Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Spa and Aak-Bal to our network of affiliated resorts,” said Ricardo Montaudon, president, RCI Latin America. “We are committed to forming new alliances with resorts to offer the best options to all our members. Creating dream vacation experiences is one of our primary goals, as is supporting and promoting tourism.”

Known for service and elegant accommodations, the Emporio hotels are located in several popular Mexican tourist destinations. These additions to the list of RCI affiliates cater to business professionals and group travelers with a taste for exquisite cuisine. Several Emporio resorts are now accessible for exchange through RCI in destinations including: Acapulco, Mexico City, Ixtapa, Veracruz, Zacatecas and Nayarit Riviera.

Buenaventura Grand Hotel & SPA is a perfect option for family trips. This newly affiliated resort is located in the popular tourist destination of Puerto Vallarta, a location chosen for its beautiful beaches and historic downtown area. This all-inclusive resort offers recreation for all ages. Guests can enjoy a variety of classes including diving, aqua aerobics, dance, and cooking, or enjoy kayak tours, water polo, or themed nights. In addition, the newly renovated CANDU Kid’s Club acts as a perfect spot for children ages 4 to 12 to participate in a wide variety of activities, from playing soccer to building sand castles on the beach.

Another addition to RCI’s portfolio is the Aak-Bal resort in Campeche. The term aak-bal is Mayan for “the source of all things new,” a name standing for the resort’s vision of creating a sustainable future built on a deep respect for the past. The emphasis on preserving ancestral Mayan culture makes this resort as unique as the environment it seeks to protect.

For more information, visit


Conversation At Mexico Timeshare Conference Highlights Disconnect Within Industry July 2, 2013

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While attending the annual Mexico timeshare industry conference known as AMDETUR recently, I watched a very interesting exchange take place between one of the keynote speakers and a timeshare developer in attendance which highlights the vast disconnect between timeshare marketers and the philosophical changes taking place among the travelling public.

In this new age of social media which has engulfed the timeshare industry, nowhere was this disconnect more apparent than during a question and answer session between speaker Juliette Powell and Erika Garcia from Cancun’s Sunset World Resorts.

Juliette Powell at the recent AMDETUR Conference

Juliette Powell at the recent AMDETUR Conference

Powell is a 30-something Gen Xer, author and consultant on social media technology trends – having worked with such groups as the United Nations, Warner Brothers, Microsoft, Nokia, The Red Cross and Cirque du Soleil. She was invited to speak about the impact of social media and attempted to tailor it to the timeshare industry. Her presentation was fabulous, which was followed by her on-stage Q&A.

Garcia took the audience microphone and invited Powell to come to Cancun and go through a timeshare tour at one of her resorts so Powell would have a better idea about the sales process and what a great product they have. To be fair, this type of offer is commonly extended to travel journalists on a regular basis. And their new Hacienda Tres Rios resort is beautiful.

Powell’s response, from the stage with about 150 timeshare industry executives watching: Thanks, but no thanks.

Garcia persisted, but to no avail. She couldn’t understand why Powell would turn down such an offer.

Powell countered with a suggestion that Garcia invite her and several other social media bloggers and influencers to Cancun, go through the process and then they could blog/tweet/post about their experiences, unfiltered, to the great unknown of the Internet.

Talk about opening up Pandora’s Box. Fat chance of that happening.

Powell went on to say that her generation does not want to be “sold” anything or marketed to. They, along with the Gen Yers and generations to follow, are the new “co-creator” generations that want to do their own research and make their own purchasing decisions without someone telling them what they have to buy.

The chill in the air was frigid. The message was clear. And I don’t think Powell had any idea what the impact of her words was really having on the audience. You know, those executives in the room that have devoted their professional existence to aggressively selling the product to vacationers.

This is the quandary facing the timeshare industry. Maybe not as troublesome at present, but without question a significant problem going forward as the transparency of the Internet becomes the calling card of millions of consumers looking for vacations. Already, 90 percent of people planning a vacation begin their research on the Internet, and that’s not going away.

The trend is beginning to show up in industry research, as the 2012 State of the Industry report filed by the American Resort Development Association stated 32 percent of all timeshares sold were done through the resale channel – up from 17 percent in 2010. That’s partly because the Internet has exposed developer timeshare sales as carrying a 40-50 percent markup to cover sales and marketing expenses – costs that don’t exist on the resale market. Plus, timeshare is a great product and people looking to buy without going through the hassle of a resort tour can do so online.

And those are some of the reasons that you are reading this and perusing and other websites on the secondary market. Because you know the drill.

Maybe, one day, the resorts will get it as well.

Mexico Timeshare Leaders Set To Meet in Mexico City for AMDETUR June 19, 2013

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Online timeshare advertising company will be one of nearly 100 timeshare industry companies represented at the 27th annual AMDETUR convention, scheduled for June 19-21, 2013 at the Hilton Mexico City Reforma Hotel in Mexico City, Mexico.

logo_amdeturAMDETUR is the Mexican Resort Development Association and the most influential annual gathering of timeshare industry executives in the country. Delegates will hear from Federal Tourism Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas in addition to Keynote Speakers Juliette Powell, discussing social media strategies, and Romero Rattinger Álvaro, who founded advertising, marketing and media company Merca2.0.

Panelists will touch on key topics such as political support for tourism in Mexico, marketing and branding, timeshare resort development, emerging markets, sales trends and analytics tracking.

“AMDETUR is the most important industry event in Mexico and anyone looking to do business in the country needs to be there,” said Steve Luba, Chief Communications Officer,, who will be attending the event. “Growth trends, industry statistics and key leaders will all be available, so I am very much looking forward to attending and renewing acquaintances.”

“We find that Americans often come to our website looking for great deals on Mexico timeshare products, so we look forward to sharing how the internet can add to the bottom line of resorts in Mexico. We currently rank on Google on page 1 for search terms such as ‘Buy Mexico Timeshare’ and ‘Timeshares for sale in Mexico’, so we want to help resorts draw these potential buyers to their products,” Luba added.

Translation services will be available as speakers will be addressing the audience with a mixture of Spanish and English. For more information about the upcoming conference, please visit find out more about the significant savings on timeshare products on the secondary market, please visit

Club Melia Donates $10,000 to Christel House International April 24, 2013

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Club Melia by Melia Hotels International, a leading international vacation membership club with locations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Europe, has presented a check for $10,000 to Christel House International (CHI), the Indianapolis-based charity started in 1998 by Christel DeHaan, the co-founder of Resort Condominiums International (RCI).

Christel House tackles poverty and leads the effort to transform generations of at-risk communities. The charity currently serves over 4,000 impoverished children around the world. By providing high quality education, nutritious meals, regular health care, character guidance, life skills development and career counseling, CHI helps students grow into confident, competent young adults. Family and community workshops also help to improve children’s home environments. CHI currently has learning centers in the U.S.A., Mexico, Venezuela, South Africa and India.

“We are thrilled to help Christel House continue their mission of helping children all over the world,” said Onofre Servera, Executive Vice President of Club Meliá. “We conducted a two-month sales contest across all our sales sites in Cancun, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey, Playa Del Carmen, Puerto Rico, Puerto Vallarta Punta Cana, Madrid, Marbella and Tenerife. The sales staff all selflessly volunteered to donate the winnings from the competition to Christel House instead of receiving the cash incentive for themselves. The winning sales team in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic won, surpassing the total budget by the largest amount.”

Club Meliá is an internationally-branded membership club with more than 27,000 members, 15 member resorts and 27 associated resorts, focusing on leisure lifestyle experiences that include exotic destinations, designer-appointed luxury suites, exclusive services and unforgettable amenities. The Miami, Florida based company is part of Spain-based Meliá Hotels International, a 55-year-old international hospitality company with over 350 hotels in 35 countries on five continents. Featured Club Meliá locations include Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico; Puerto Rico and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in the Caribbean; Panama in Central America; and the Canary Islands, Spain, in Europe.

Occidental Vacation Club Receives RCI Gold Crown Ratings April 22, 2013

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When Occidental Vacation Club (OVC), a division of Occidental Hotels and Resorts (Madrid), received the coveted RCI Gold Crown rating for 10 of its resorts, they decided to celebrate. And celebrate they have. During the past month, vacation club members and staff have been treated to festivities as RCI has bestowed the official recognition to highly touted properties in the OVC group.

The term Gold Crown resort is reserved for the highest standard vacation / timeshare resorts within the Resort Condominiums International (RCI) exchange network. In most cases the RCI Gold Crown Resorts benefit members the highest trading power within the RCI exchange network. In addition to other ranking qualities, the final Gold Crown designation is achieved only through actual Guest Comments with point ratings that must be higher than 4.4 out of 5.

RCI is a global provider of leisure travel services to businesses and consumers, and the global leader in vacation exchange. Today, RCI has approximately 3.8 million members worldwide, who enjoy dream vacations at RCI’s more than 4000 affiliated resorts.

Those inclusive vacation resorts designated by RCI for this highest designation were: Occidental Grand Flamenco Punta Cana, Occidental Allegro Playacar, Occidental Allegro Cozumel, Occidental Grand Cozumel, Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret, Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta, Occidental Grand Aruba, Occidental Grand Papagayo, Occidental First Club Allegro Playacar, and Occidental First Club Allegro Cozumel.

Luis Namnum, President of Occidental Vacation Club, was on hand along with RCI and other Club Executives to share the joy most recently at Occidental Grand Flamenco Punta Cana and Occidental Grand Flamenco Ixcaret. He said “receiving this award is a great honor. We are proud to be affiliated with RCI and glad to welcome the thousands of members who exchange their time to discover our resorts in paradise. The award also benefits OUR members as the recognition puts our members in an even better position to exchange, should they want to leave our all-inclusive paradise for some reason!”

In addition to the opportunity to mingle with high level executives, the member’s celebratory parties were filled with music, dancing, non-stop tropical adult beverages and top notch entertainment.

“Not only are we located in spectacular tropical areas with plenty of sun and fun, we also work hard to make every aspect of our all-inclusive vacations enjoyable for visitors from around the world,” said Namnum.

The club has 11 resorts located in Aruba, Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, and Mexico. It has recently affiliated 18 Club La Cala properties in Europe to enhance the vacation experiences of its more than 23,000 members. The all-inclusive clubs feature limitless meals and snacks, á la carte dining in specialty restaurants including unlimited alcoholic beverages; sports (including tennis on a lighted court, water polo, aqua aerobics, and kayaking where available), use of the fitness center and more. Daily entertainment and a supervised Kids Club (ages 4 – 12) are also part of the package, as well as nightly shows and live entertainment and all taxes and gratuities.