ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

The Caribbean and Brexit: Potential Implications

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The Caribbean and Brexit: Potential Implications 

By Charlene Small



On June 23 2016, the world watched with wide-eyes as British voters gave a referendum that would result in Britain’s exit from the European Union (hence, the term “Brexit”), catapulting the world into a new era. Now as Brexit starts to unfold, only one thing is certain – uncertainty.

Brexit will be a long process, with experts stating that it will not be for several years before the effects of this movement is truly felt. But this unprecedented event does have a lot of industries wondering what comes next and how to prepare for it. Particularly, the travel and tourism industries are beginning to prepare for a significant change. With close ties to Britain and tourism making up the bulk of its income, the Caribbean is one region that is weighing its options, as it will undoubtedly feel the effects of Brexit.

In fact, the Caribbean, particularly Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Caicos Islands, must consider a bevy of potential outcomes. Brexit could create possible complications on the flow of trade and development. It will greatly reduce the region’s ability to influence policy issues in Europe, which was traditionally dependent on Britain’s seat at the “European table”. It will create a range of new obstacles for the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) territories and former dependencies overseas. Finally, Brexit will mean a tremendously long period of uncertainty as Britain’s foreign, trade and development policy begins to reshape.

One immediate impact of Brexit is the value of the British Pound. Since the vote, it has become twelve percent less valuable, a 31-year low. This will limit the purchasing power of the U.K.’s middle class, which will ultimately result in a much slower growth rate for the Caribbean region. The decreased value of the Pound has also impacted travel in the U.K., slowing down tremendously in what is typically the busiest season of the year.

Understandably travel from the U.K., especially to regions overseas, will be hit hard and many of the freedoms British travelers have enjoyed could be under scrutiny. One such freedom to be tested is the European Open Skies agreement, which saw the introduction of low-cost airlines to Britain’s repertoire of jet-setting world travel. Travel regulations will indeed need to be examined, to determine which laws will remain and which will be phased out.

Perhaps one of the Caribbean’s largest concerns (especially for the English-speaking nations and territories) is the loss of their biggest advocate in the European Union. Without the British voice, the Caribbean may face a long road to regain the political position they currently have.

As more of the terms of Brexit are revealed, focus is again brought to the need for the Caribbean to increase economic resiliency in tourism by focusing their efforts on long-term, sustainable planning and investment positions. The Tourism industry in the region must assess how much the U.K. is involved currently, get to know the individuals that are involved, continue to diversify their economies, and ensure collaboration between industry and governments are restored in order to preserve their economic well-being.

Nothing is certain as this movement begins. In fact, Brexit terms include a two-year window of leaving conditions, which doesn’t begin to touch on rebuilding conditions. The Caribbean, just like a large portion of the world, must begin to weigh all of its options, as well as start to make new connections in the European Union in order to monitor legislative activities and ensure its interests are protected.

Millennials Most Likely to Feel Guilt for Taking Time Off Work

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Millennials Most Likely to Feel Guilt for Taking Time Off Work

But “GVS” Affects Every Worker, Not Just Millennials

 GVS 2016 image 

What is GVS?

Guilty Vacation Syndrome, or GVS, now affects a growing percentage of the American population. GVS is the nagging urge to cancel or delay vacation, due to guilt.  With vacation-shaming growing in offices across the world, there has been a surge in diagnoses of GVS. Workers feel that despite wanting a vacation, they shouldn’t take one.

In fact, findings from the 2016 Alamo Family Vacation Survey show 59 percent of Millennials reported feeling a sense of shame for taking or planning a vacation, while 41 percent those 35 or older felt those same symptoms of GVS. Nearly half (47 percent) of all workers surveyed said they felt a sense of shame or guilt at their workplace for taking time off to go on a vacation. What’s more, two-fifths (42 percent) of those think their co-workers are seriously shaming them – not just joking. And nearly half (47 percent) said they’ve felt the need to justify to their employer why they’re using their vacation days. 

Of those who reported having unused paid vacation days, two-fifths (40 percent) said they left five or more vacation days unused in 2015! A full week of work left on the table simply because workers do not want to deal with the guilt associated with taking a vacation. Recent research from Project: Time Off shows that an astounding fifty-five percent of Americans didn’t use all of their time off in 2015 and sixty-five percent say that their company discourages, sends mixed messages, or says nothing about taking personal time off. 

Vacations are supposed to be a source of relaxation and family bonding, yet people still feel like a vacation will hurt their work-life. It’s time to change that mentality and cure Americans of their GVS ailment.

We believe that everyone needs to learn to shed the guilt of taken well-earned time off. We all know the benefits of regular vacationing. And being able to prepay for a vacation should help people ignore that nagging pain that tries to tell them not to go on vacation.


2015 Shows Another Year of Substantial Growth for Our Industry

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2015 Shows Another Year of Substantial Growth for Our Industry

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

July 6, 2016


We are happy to share the latest research from our State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry: United States Study 2016.  It shows that the timeshare industry enjoyed substantial growth in 2015.  Here are a few of the highlights.

When comparing 2015 to 2014:

Sales volume increased by nine percent, to $8.6 billion, the second largest increase since the recession – our sixth straight year of growth!

1,547 timeshare resorts in the United States, representing about 200,720 units

Average resort size was 130 units

The average sales price was $22,240

Occupancy increased two percent, up to almost 80 percent (compared to a 66* 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—24% of the national total

Nevada has the largest average resort size—230 units on average

Hawaii has the highest occupancy rate for a region, at 86.7%

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

*STR Monthly Hotel Review: December 2014, Smith Travel Research. 


Giving Trends

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 Giving Trends 

by Geri Bain

 the giving tree cover 

Some innovations are so quickly adapted that it’s hard to imagine they weren’t always part of our lives— and like the popular children’s book, The Giving Tree, they keep finding new ways to serve.

Here are three driving trends that promise to keep morphing, offering new and unimagined benefits for years to come. 

1) Tapping Consumer Analytics. Customers increasingly expect companies to “know” them as individuals with unique preferences and provide them with highly specific services and offerings. There are many ways to gain this information, including predictive analysis (PA) and other services through online travel-booking services. Ultimately, businesses can no longer afford to market to consumers on a “mass market, one message fits all” basis. It’s critical to learn each customer’s wants, needs, lifestyle, and more—including where they vacation and what activities they want to pursue—to serve them the way they expect.

2) Going Green. Sustainable practices are good for the bottom line and the environment. They also add a feel-good factor for guests, employees, and the community. In a recent TripAdvisor survey, 85 percent of travelers said that traveling green made them feel more positive about their trips. This shows green practices are the new normal, and travelers expect suppliers to embrace sustainable practices that minimize their impact on the environment. In addition to cost savings, sustainable practices can provide authentic connections to the destination.

3) Marketing Branded Lifestyles. Some brands convey an image that resonates deeply with travelers. Armani hotels in Dubai and Milan invite guests to live the life of understated elegance that is a signature of the Armani brand. And Hard Rock Hotels extend the hip, music-themed restaurants into a vacation (and vacation club) experience. This is critical because aligning with the right brand can be a great way to tap into its followers and its image and create a focal point for everything from design and amenities to marketing.

These three trends promise to remain important in the timeshare industry for many years to come. Keeping up with how each will be vital for timeshares in order to meet the changing needs of the consumers. Read the entire article about driving trends in this month's Developments. 

2016: Time to Celebrate!

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2016: Time to Celebrate! 

 By Howard Nusbaum, President and CEO, ARDA  

Anniversary Article

This year marks two huge anniversaries for two companies that have made an outstanding impact in the timeshare industry. There are a few milestone markers around the industry this year but none as auspicious as that of Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) marking its 50th anniversary and Interval International, celebrating its 40th anniversary.

WVO is a company that truly represents the pioneer spirit of the early days. WVO’s President & CEO, Franz Hanning says: “Anytime you look back over 50 years, you’re going to see peaks and valleys—it’s not always been a smooth path or an easy road. But to be where we are now looking back from this vantage point, it’s pretty overwhelming. Our company
has changed people’s lives—the lives of our owners, our associates, and probably my life more than anyone else’s. It’s been a total rewarding career for me, built on relationships and friends—core people who have been critical to our overall success.”

But WVO isn’t the only one celebrating this year…so is Interval International. The Miami, Florida-based industry pioneer remains an innovator in serving the vacation ownership market, and today its exchange network comprises approximately 3,000 resorts in more than 80 nations. Through offices in 16 countries, Interval offers high-quality products and benefits to resort clients and approximately two million families who are enrolled in its membership programs. That’s quite an achievement for a company that started with just three employees and one affiliated resort.

The timeshare industry would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for these two different companies and what they each have done over the previous decades. We want to be one of the first to wish each of these two companies a happy anniversary this year—thank you for building our industry into what it is today! To learn more about them, read our entire articles about Interval International and Wyndham Vacation Ownership in this month's Developments magazine.

What Next-Gen Wants

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What Next-Gen Wants 

By: Simon Jaworski and Lance Henik of Leger 

You are never going to be able to design one ideal timeshare that meets the needs of everyone. However, with the help of the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) and utilizing the insights garnered from its recent Next Generation research, you might be able to move a little closer to this goal. With this research, it has been found that four core factors account for more than half of all decisions made among both Millennials and Generation X’ers when it comes to purchasing a timeshare property. Let’s take a look at these factors.

Factor #1: Commitment/Cost Balance.  

The most important features, accounting for one-third of all decisions, are related to commitment. Both current timeshare owners and non-owners alike mentioned that the “length of contract” (the number of years they were willing to use the property) and the “interest rate” (a long term financial cost commitment implication) attached to this purchase were the two most significant factors.

In spite of the importance of the length
of contract and interest rate, there are, of course, two core cost factors for purchasing a timeshare that cannot be overlooked. When these traditional barriers to entry, the “overall price” and “annual fees,” are added into the equation, these four features collectively account for the majority of a potential timeshare owner’s decision-making process.

Factor #2: Sleeping Capacity.  

After the key financial aspects, the size of the lodging is also an important factor, with “sleeping capacity” as a key feature. This has increased relevancy and appeal with the younger age groups, specifically Millennials, who want to vacation with larger groups of friends—more so than any of the previous generations of vacationers.

Factor #3: Exchange.  

Next on the list of priorities is exchange. The positive impression and need for a product that allows both options for an internal and external exchange is definitely held in greater need by older Gen X’ers, especially when compared to Millennials who may not be fully aware of the benefits of exchanging their timeshare (a clear educational opportunity!).

Factor #4: Exit Strategies.  

Although a hot topic within timeshare right now, “Exit Strategy” showed slightly lower importance when compared to the exchange feature. The discussion of this topic is not only relevant but it also has merit— particularly to potential new entrants, as non-owners are definitely more intrigued by the potential for a buy-back option. If positioned correctly, the option to buy back a timeshare could lead to an extra layer of security that potential buyers often crave before signing any legal documents.

So, what key conclusions can we draw from this study? Non-owners tend to be more sensitive to price than owners, flexibility is key in the sales process, and those who sell timeshare should strongly consider a wide product portfolio. Read more about this study in the May/June 2016 issue of Developments magazine  

Content is King: A Few Words from the ARDAWorld Keynote Speaker

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 Content is King: A Few Words from the ARDAWorld Keynote Speaker 

 new perelman blog pic 

How do you stand out, rise above the noise, and get your organization’s voice heard online? Having successfully guided the growth of digital businesses his entire career, Jonathan Perelman - the head of digital initiatives at ICM Partners and a former executive at BuzzFeed and Google – knows how to do it right. And as the keynote speaker, he shared his words of wisdom with every attendee at the opening General Session at ARDA World 2016 sponsored by RCI.

Perelman believes that “content is king but distribution is queen – and she wears the pants.” Pulling from his extensive experience at some of the world’s most successful and influential brands, he showed the audience how to tell their story in a genuine, authentic, and meaningful way that generates word of mouth marketing at Internet scale. With great energy and stage presence, he broke down the tactics and mindset that propelled Buzzfeed from a small blog to a cultural phenomenon read by millions of people the world over.

Perelman not only addressed how to create shareable, social content but also offered insights into how to maximize reach and impact. By respecting the platform you’re using (Twitter is about timelines, Facebook is about feelings) and creating content that appeals to emotion, he offered great tips for creating content that people want to consume and share.

Ultimately, we were able to all learn from Perelman’s talk that day, specifically regarding creating and sharing content in today’s modern age of social media.  And if there was one thing Perelman wanted the audience to take away from his speech it was that in regards to content, ‘if it doesn’t spread it’s dead’.