ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Expansion in Latin America

(International, Developments Magazine, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

Expansion in Latin America

By Matt McDaniel, Tourism and Travel Journalist
ARDA Guest Blogger
April 15, 2014 

Expansion in Latin America 

Of the 550 million people who reside in Latin America, an impressive one-third is part of the middle class. And this emerging group is expected to grow across the region—presenting substantial opportunities for the leisure industry. 

Interval International’s Marcos Agostini, senior vice president of resort sales and business development for the region, says that “both the overall economic health and its emerging middle class are a boon for shared ownership.”

The economic outlook for Latin America is encouraging for the remainder of 2014, with growth projected to be up nearly three percent. The global recovery and faster growth in the United States will also have a positive impact on the region’s expansion.

An article on this topic in the March issue of Developments magazine delves deeper into highlights from four key Latin American markets: Brazil, Columbia, Peru, and Mexico. Get all the details here! 

 

Millennials Weigh in on Vacations and Timeshare

(Research, Initiatives and Trends, Developments Magazine, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

Millennials Weigh in on Vacations and Timeshare 

By Rob Kaplan-Sherman, Senior Vice President of HSR Associates
ARDA Guest Blogger
April 2, 2014 

Millennials Weigh in on Vacations and Timeshare 

It seems that whenever I speak with someone in the industry about sales, the conversation quickly gravitates toward Millennials and the tremendous opportunity they provide for the timeshare industry. 

A quick Internet search supports why this group and timeshare may fit together so well:

--Millennials take more vacations per year (approximately 4 each year) than Gen Xers (approximately 3) and Baby Boomers (slightly more than 3 annually)

--Millennials rank vacations and travel as the most important reason to save money—even more important than saving for retirement!

If vacations play an integral role in Millennials’ lives, it is clear we should want to understand their values. 

In late 2013, the AIF and HSR Associates conducted a series of focus groups with Millennials to better understand how they shop for and purchase vacations, and to identify potential opportunities for the industry.

When planning a vacation, Millennials appear to have four core requirements: unfettered access (their planning is limited only by their inspiration, research skills, and budget), completely customizable, no restrictions, and excellent value. 

From this and other observations we are able to capture some significant insights.

--Millennials seem very apprehensive about commitment, so positioning timeshare as a life-long ownership product instead of an alternative to the next vacation can make the thought of timeshare a non-starter. Deliver a great vacation and create a relationship—and thus a credible, trustworthy source on the short-list for their next vacation.

--Leverage the superiority of timeshare lodging units over traditional hotel rooms. Focus group participants consistently expressed very positive reactions toward lodging units, and specifically enjoyed having a kitchen. In the absence of price, timeshare units generated greater preference than traditional hotel rooms. When learning of the similarity of price points between hotel rooms and timeshare units, participants appeared to view timeshare much more favorably.

--Promote flexibility and choice. While some Millennials may view these characteristics in almost unrealistic terms, it may be sufficient to start a conversation with them.

Read about all of the findings from the Millennial Focus Group in the March 2014 edition of Developments magazine. 

 

The Universal Appeal of Timeshare

(Meetings and Events, International, Developments Magazine, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

The Universal Appeal of Timeshare 

By Franz S. Hanning, RRP, Chairman of the ARDA Board of Directors
ARDA Guest Blogger

March 28, 2014
 

The Universal Appeal of Timeshare 

Vacations have a universal appeal—they’re a common interest that crosses cultures and borders, as evidenced by the expansive international presence timeshare already has today. 

From Finland to Thailand to South Africa, timeshare is not only breaking ground, but also breaking records around the world. Sales at the Anantara Vacation Club: Phuket in Mai Khao, Thailand, have increased 100 percent, year over year. Kodagu Valley Resort in Coorg, India, is now working on a sister property, thanks to overwhelming demand. And a full sell-out of Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is projected in the next two years.  

This indicates that demand for timeshare across the world is growing steadily—a trend we hope to see continue in the coming decade.  

But the real beauty of international expansion is that everyone benefits. Consumers abroad have access to the product in their local regions, owners have the opportunity to travel to new, exciting destinations through exchanges, and the communities in which we operate locally reap the rewards from the continued growth of international tourism to America. 

Over the years, we’ve broken down borders to the point where vacations are now a global enterprise. It’s safe to say the world is now more interconnected than ever—and when it comes to timeshare, the sky is truly the limit. 

Read more about the universal appeal of timeshare in this month’s Developments magazine. And I’ll see you soon at ARDA World in Las Vegas! 

 

Introducing the New VacationBetter.org

(Initiatives and Trends) Permanent link

Introducing the New VacationBetter.org

By Peter Roth, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
March 12, 2014 

Introducing the New VacationBetter.org

Our industry is in a very exciting place—high customer satisfaction rates, new product offerings, and a positive financial outlook. 

To reflect this, ARDA has re-energized its consumer website, VacationBetter.org, to embody this new energy and vibrancy. We created this site as a trustworthy resource for consumers to turn to for timeshare information and resources—with the main goal of reinforcing the positive experiences of owning and vacationing with timeshare.

With this goal in mind, we took several steps in revamping the new VacationBetter.org site, including:

  • Worked closely with members of the Communications Committee to help determine how to better engage the industry and provide a valuable tool for our developers and others in the industry.
  • Conducted a competitive search for an agency to help us develop a world-class website to accurately reflect the excitement, beauty, and fun of timeshare vacations.
  • Hired the same firm that helped the U.S. Travel Association create their high-impact Travel Effect website and campaign. NJI Media is an interactive design firm with significant travel and association experience.
  • Conducted primary research with a variety of ARDA members and constituents to learn how they would leverage VacationBetter.org and what they wanted to see from the site. Based on this input, we developed a strategic framework—along with a new logo, design, and content elements.

The overall tone of VacationBetter.org is consumer-friendly, reliable, trustworthy, and conversational. Through more interactive content, it provides helpful information without being sales-focused, serving as a neutral go-to source for two key audiences: would-be owners and new owners. Key highlights of the site are:

Content for Audiences New to Timeshare 

For first-timers, we provide compelling content that educates them on what timeshare is and how it works. On the homepage, they start with a “What Kind of Traveler Are You?” quiz that identifies their travel type as: Adventurer, Relaxer, Family Member, or Urban Explorer.

Content for New Owners 

Content for the “new owners” audience is framed to help reaffirm their decision during the critical rescission period, so they remain confident that their timeshare purchase was a great decision. The site includes a Timeshare Owners’ Guide with “hidden tips” for owners that tell them how to best use and enjoy their timeshare. We also have a section on understanding and using exchange programs. Finally, there will be a place for owners to share their own vacation stories or tips with other site visitors. The “What’s New” section offers visitors a reason to return, with frequent posts discussing the benefits of travel and timeshare.

How to Use VacationBetter.org 

The new site will be a terrific resource for consumers—owners and non-owners alike—and will gain traction via wide industry support. It is designed for ARDA members to use through their various communications channels—and when their owners also use it, we will be able to truly develop an “echo chamber” of support.

There are many ways that we can collectively encourage use of the site like (1) direct linking to VacationBetter.org, using our logo or “bug”; (2) provide information in the sales room and directly after the sale; (3) promote the site on social media and in owner communications; and (4) send people to the site when they book a tour or sales visit.

We encourage you to visit VacationBetter.org and to use it with your owners and future owners. It’s a credible resource that can provide third-party information to educate your prospects and make your owners smarter and more loyal vacationers. Check out the all new VacationBetter.org site today!  

 

What Lies in Wait for You in Vegas!

(Meetings and Events, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

What Lies in Wait for You in Vegas! 

By Georgie Bohrod, RRP
ARDA Guest Blogger

February 26, 2014 

What Lies in Wait for You in Vegas!

With ARDA World right around the corner, it’s not too early to start planning for the industry’s biggest gathering. In addition to all the networking, festivities, and renewed connections that surround the event, ARDA offers the most comprehensive educational sessions to help newcomers and seasoned professionals stay current and informed. 

This year, under the umbrella of the Resort Operations Council, Suppliers Council, and Construction & Design Council, members have the opportunity to help educate attendees about two important topics:

The new generation of owners – As we see an increase in ARDA members who represent mature resorts, it is clear that operations are just as important as a component of timesharing as sales and marketing. The session Generation Transition: How to Keep Your Resort’s Product Relevant is directed at resorts whose aging owner base may be looking for a way to leave. The session will explore ways to physically improve the product to better appeal to a younger buyer, including what interior designs and components will best attract this segment and what technologies and amenities could be implemented to stay current.

The conversion of existing properties to timeshare products – On the flip side, a session called Everything That’s Old is Renewed Again will discuss relevant issues pertaining to conversion. They will examine important topics such as the best ways to assess which hotels and condominiums are candidates to be converted to timeshare. The panel will also look into risks and rewards in making this change. Converting condos and hotels into timeshares delves deep into the history of our industry, and this new spin on the historically successful concept is bound to offer innovative insights.

Educational sessions are only one aspect of ARDA World. The Expo Hall is another excellent place to learn more about what’s going on with members of the Suppliers Council, as well as scores of other vendors. Whether it is textiles, patio furniture, homeowner’s kits, cleaning supplies, or insurance—this is where you will be able to talk with experts first hand.

So mark your calendars and prepare yourself for ARDA World. Las Vegas is waiting for you! 

 

ARDA World 2014 – Where Everybody Knows Your Name

(Meetings and Events, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

ARDA World 2014 – Where Everybody Knows Your Name 

By Franz S. Hanning, RRP, Chairman of the ARDA Board of Directors
ARDA Guest Blogger

February 19, 2014 

ARDA World 2014 

 

Ask any ARDA Convention veteran (that’s most of us), and they’ll agree—arriving at ARDA World is like stepping into an episode of the 80’s sitcom “Cheers.” Everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. It’s a beautiful thing, really. 

What’s remarkable about Convention is that it removes us from our silos and reminds us that we’re all a part of something bigger than just individual companies. Once there, we reflect on the challenges and opportunities we face collectively, consider where we’re heading as an industry, and brainstorm ideas to take us to the next level. We work together (regardless of being competitors outside the conference halls) to benefit the industry as a whole.

For those of you who haven’t yet had the chance to attend, I’m telling you now, you won’t want to miss this premier gathering for our industry. Convention is the place to be!

Expand your industry knowledge at ARDA World through:

Networking – Unique opportunities to meet face-to-face with your peers from across the world and expand your network to learn from one another, share best practices, forge new business relationships, and celebrate successes.

Education – With more than 40 exciting sessions running the gamut, from recruiting top talent and attracting the next generation of buyers, to navigating consumer protection laws and structuring deals in the new world order, this Convention has it all.

Trend Setting – ARDA maintains its status as the leading resource on the latest trends including IBM’s annual “5 in 5” predictions list naming big data at the center of the new era in computing. So don’t miss the chance to learn more about what it is, how to use it, and why you should care, at one (or both) of the big data sessions.

So come on down, where everybody knows your name! ARDA World 2014 promises to be another unforgettable occasion, and I look forward to seeing you there! 

 

Gear Up for ARDA World With Your Creative Energy

(Meetings and Events, Developments Magazine) Permanent link

Gear Up for ARDA World With Your Creative Energy 

By Kathryn Mullan, Editor of Developments Magazine

February 6, 2014 

Gear Up for ARDA World with Your Creative Energy

With ARDA World 2014 right around the corner, all of us at ARDA are thinking about the value of bringing our industry together. It seems that ARDA World serves its greatest purpose as a “connector” and a “collective”—otherwise known as a “collective connection!”  

A recent article in Developments magazine discussed this very issue. It stated, “Collective progress comes from the application of collective intelligence: putting more minds to work on a problem…makes the discovery of new and better solutions much more likely.” 

Isn’t that what ARDA World is all about? Innovation that becomes progress and then best practices…it’s been woven into the very fabric of our industry for 45 years. This energetic force field of new ideas dwells at the core of ARDA World. 

We look forward to another year of bringing our industry together to create a mash-up of ideas, best practices, and brainstorm to fuel our own “collective creativity” engine to push forward in new ways.

Early-bird registration deadline is February 7, so sign up now—can’t wait to see you there!