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5 Ways to Sync Your Team Approach & Improve Owner Satisfaction

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5 Ways to Sync Your Team Approach & Improve Owner Satisfaction

By Judy Kenninger

 Team Conference

In an article for this month’s Developments, I talked to three timeshare developers about how their companies work to improve owner satisfaction. One common theme I heard was examples of departments and business units working seamlessly together as a team. In a comparison to how a crew team must work together to move the boat as one body (and thus win the race), departments in our industry that serve as touch-points to owners also must utilize a shared approach to engage owners from the sales room to a lifetime of vacations. 

Following conversations with Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV), Holiday Inn Club Vacations (HCV), and Welk Resorts (Welk), here are five ways to ensure that the consumer’s experience is consistent in every owner interaction. They are parallel to key training components of successful rowing teams.

  1. “Goal-Setting”:  Begin Together 
    From the outset of developing a new property, it’s important to have teams collaborate on ways to make vacations more memorable.  Hearing from the customer service team is just as important as hearing from the resort operations team.
  1. “Rigorous Training”:  Make Expectations Clear 
    Make sure the information given to owners upfront matches the experience they’ll receive—including tour offers, product details, and booking reservations.
  1. “Weight Program”:  Offer Active On-Boarding 
    Be proactive with new owners and contact them early and often to help ensure they get the most from their vacation purchase by understanding the product.
  1. “Team-Building”:  Visit One Another’s Worlds 
    Encouraging a cooperative environment between sales and owner services ensures a better understanding of the different perspectives on the owner lifecycle and how to better serve the needs of the owner. 
  1. “Testing”:  Listen, Measure, Survey & Educate 
    Many resorts survey their owners annually on their ownership experience but utilizing those results need to go further than an end-of-year report.  At BGV, for example, several different departments use the data to gauge their success and identify areas for improvement; reports on programs also are reviewed during sales meetings and feedback is answered.

At the end of the day, our industry is always striving to make the owner experience better.  And sharing best practices, lessons learned, and different perspectives across different departments will ensure success along the various points of an owner lifecycle.


The Dog Days of Summer

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The Dog Days of Summer 

By Howard Nusbaum, President, ARDA

Beach Boy

For many traveling families, summer vacations have a lasting impact on childhood memories. For parents, building vacation memories with our kids is an important touchstone – it is shared family time that creates emotional bonds and special memories for the entire family. And most adults look back on their earliest vacation memories with affection.  To get the other side of the story, U.S. Travel’s Project: Time Off Coalition recently held a few focus groups that poll kids, asking what they think about their parent’s travel habits.

This comes on the heels of multiple surveys and research indicating that many Americans don’t use all of their vacation days each year—that’s 429 million people, to be exact! It is a trend that has put up alarming numbers over the past decade despite evidence proving that vacations are good for your relationships, job performance, mental stamina and overall health. The Project: Time Off Coalition has launched several initiatives to buck this trend, and we’re hopeful the focus groups will lead to better understanding the disconnect between needing a vacation and actually taking one.

With only two weeks left of the official summer season, many of you are either stealing away to enjoy the last few precious days or are already looking back on your vacation with fondness and longing. I invite you to take the #vacationpledge and share a favorite memory about what keeps you traveling every year!


Timeshare Owners Buck Vacation Deprivation Trend

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Timeshare Owners Buck Vacation Deprivation Trend 

Sunset Dock

"Who Killed Summer Vacation?”  

“Life In A No-Vacation Nation.”  

“Americans Leave Paid Vacation Days on the Table Each Year.” 

These are headlines that have dominated news coverage over the last several months. And the statistics are just as depressing: 429 million vacation days unused, $224 billion in unused vacation liability on the U.S. private sector, the average U.S. worker takes almost a week less vacation per year today than they did between 1976 and 2000. However, we are also seeing what our industry and others in the broader travel industry are doing to change the American mindset that vacations aren’t just a luxury but a necessity. From commissioning research and studies to launching advertising campaigns and program initiatives, hospitality leaders everywhere are making the commitment to help change the way vacation is viewed in this country.

In the August feature story of Developments, Geri Bain explores what timeshare owners have known for years: vacations are good for you. “Vacation On My Mind” shares some of the quantifying research illustrating the various benefits of vacationing—including the role that timeshare owners are playing to help buck the vacation deprivation trend. While we’ve known for years that the pre-paid nature of our products ensure that owners actually take their vacations, we are now learning that the benefits owners gain from vacationing far outweigh the price paid for a vacation. Slowly but surely we are starting to see other leisure-impacted industries taking note of the effect vacationing has on lifestyle, productivity, relationships and health.

Read the full article here and take the #VacationPledge with us.


Sustainability & High-Tech Design: A Leading Development Trend in our Industry

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Sustainability & High-Tech Design: A Leading Development Trend in our Industry 

by Kathryn Mullan
Senior Editor, Developments Magazine
July 20, 2015

 Ice Break

After seven long years of absorbing existing inventory, the industry is seeing a substantial up-tick in new construction. That is why this month’s Developments issue on Construction & Design is such a welcomed topic!

This month’s magazine explores design trends for the hospitality industry, as well as resort amenities and services that travelers have come to expect and use to measure their vacation. These trends and travel preferences have grown at lightning speed over the past several years. As a result, timeshare developers are making more frequent investments in resort design that incorporate sustainability features and high-tech amenities than just a few short years ago. And the additional investment is paying off.

Guests want—and rely on—connectivity while on vacation. And while resorts now offer Wi-Fi capability throughout properties, resorts are also looking for ways to offset energy consumption and employ more energy efficiencies through sustainable measures, such as more efficient lighting sensors, multiple-unit charging stations, and multi-media viewing capabilities through smartphone devices (among other offerings). Additionally, indoor and outdoor design and resort construction features more recyclable and sustainable materials than ever before and from manufacturers and businesses that are eco-friendly themselves—a factor that is important to many owners and prospects. Today, more resorts are committed to sourcing sustainable materials for new build and renovation projects. Read more in Christine Blank’s feature article.

Sustainability measures are also being undertaken by resorts through programs and initiatives that inspire owners and guests to take active part. Wyndham Vacation Ownership, for instance, has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation for the last five years via a planting-tree program that invites owners to offset their carbon emissions when traveling on vacation. From as little as $2 a day (tax-deductible) during their stay, owners and guests can have a donated tree planted in one of the nation’s state or national forests; these trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide, as well as purify the air and clean the Earth’s water supply. WVO has already received positive feedback from participating owners, who are passionate about green programs. See full details in Lesley Harris’s July article.

If you haven’t had a chance, explore the latest issue of Developments!


2014 Shows Steady Growth for Our Industry

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2014 Shows Steady Growth for Our Industry 

By Darla Zanini,
Executive VP, ARDA International Foundation (AIF)

July 15, 2015 

SOI infographic piece 

We are happy to share the latest research from our State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry: United States Study 2015.  It shows that the timeshare industry enjoyed steady growth in 2014.  Here are a few of the highlights.

When comparing 2014 to 2013:

  • Sales volume increased more than four percent, to $7.9 billion;
  • 1,555 timeshare resorts in the United States, representing about 198,490 units;
  • Average resort size was 128 units;
  • The average sales price was $20,020; and
  • Occupancy increased two percent, up to 78 percent (compared to a 641 percent hotel occupancy rate).

There were some other interesting tidbits as well:

  • Beach resorts are the most common type of resort;
  • Theme park resorts have the highest occupancy;
  • Florida has the most resorts—23% of the national total;
  • Nevada has the largest average resort size—182 units on average; and
  • Hawaii has the highest occupancy rate for a region, at 85.3%.

For more details, check out our infographic and for a full copy of the State of the Industry Study, please contact me at 

[1] STR Monthly Hotel Review: December 2013, Smith Travel Research.

From Bobsledding to Bedding

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From Bobsledding to Bedding


 Our industry attracts some of the brightest talent and passionate workers who choose this business because they love it—and it shows!  One such example is Brittany Reinbolt. During the summer months, she provides housekeeping services on MasterCorp’s elite A-Team, earning her enough money to train and compete on the U.S. national bobsled team during the winter. 

Brittany’s dedication and work ethic as an athlete carries over into her work for MasterCorp. And in return for her hard work and passion, the company supports her pursuits toward an Olympic dream by allowing her the flexible schedule she needs to train. Resorts rely on hardworking and outstanding individuals to ensure the best vacation experience for guests, and many of our resorts turn to MasterCorp’s A-Team when clients require extra personnel for resort openings, management transitions, and training missions. 

Brittany’s story is one of many exceptional employees in this industry, and we are lucky to have them!  Read Brittany’s full story.



Top Resorts Earn Highest Industry Honor

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Top Resorts Earn Highest Industry Honor

By Kathryn Mullan, ARDA
June 24, 2015 

 Hyatt Ka'anapali Beach 

“ARDA awards its highest honor to both a domestic and an international resort.” 

The ACE Project of Excellence Award is ARDA’s most prestigious award, honoring resorts that are leading examples of vacation amenities and the ultimate owner experience. The award has gotten so competitive that this year, ARDA awarded this accolade to both a domestic and an international resort.

On April 15, ARDA was proud to award the domestic ACE Project of Excellence Award to Hyatt Ka’anapali Beach, a Hyatt Residence Club Resort, and the international ACE to Novaispania Los Cabos (an RCI affiliate, developed by the Pueblo Bonito Resort Group). “We are proud to present these ACE Project of Excellence Awards to two truly deserving winners, as great examples of amazing development throughout the world,” said Catherine Lacey, RRP, vice president of meetings and member administration, ARDA.

There are some key similarities between this year’s winners; both offer a slice of ocean- front paradise, stunning views and design elements, as well as exquisite concierge service. Here’s a glimpse into these award-winning properties.

Hyatt Ka’anapali Beach 

Almost every one of the 131 units looks out on Hawaii’s spectacular Ka’anapali Beach. The others? They have to settle for a view of the mountains of Maui. The grounds are lush with native plants. The outdoor dining offers views of both the ocean and the infinity pool. And in every direction, the grounds unfold as an exotic adventure. Of course, the story of Maui itself is a magical one. And it’s told throughout the property in the handiwork and craftsmanship of many local artists. With all the amenities and attention to detail, it’s easy to see why this Hyatt resort was a deserving winner of this ACE award!

Novaispania Los Cabos 

The world of this resort invites you to step away from the bustle of nearby Cabo San Lucas and everyday reality to rest and relax—rest the spirit, body, and mind and take in the beauty of enchanted gardens under waterfalls, all in Old World comfort. From the resort’s villas, there is the option for an indoor/outdoor kitchen, a private infinity pool, and a master bedroom that overlooks the ocean. A personal chef prepares your evening meal or you may have cocktails and dine at one of the many fine restaurants on property. This resort is proof that the market for luxury and world-class amenities is not endangered but growing, just like the resort itself and the employment it is bringing to the Cabo residents and the region as a whole.

These two resorts exemplified what it means to be an ACE award winner, and have set the bar high for future winners. Read the full story in the latest June issue of Developments.