ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

What Is “Expensive?”

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 What Is “Expensive?” 

By Odilia Guiant, Senior Vice President, ResortCom International  

If you are like most developers today, your goal is to deliver on the promise of your product, provide great vacation experiences, and create brand loyalty. Your success is based on and measuredby customer satisfaction. A major factor in delivering and staying competitive in the industry is the ability to handle your customers with ease throughout their entire membership lifecycle. Your infrastructure of systems and people is paramount in the daily execution of every touch-point.  

So, what system should you choose? With so many software options in the marketplace, the decision becomes a difficult one. What about servicing companies—do you use them or not?  

Many developers task their executives with finding a cost-effective solution that covers the majority of the business needs today. More than a solution, however, the focus should be geared toward finding
a “strategic partner” that can scale your business growth plans, who understands your priorities and the demands of the vacation industry.  

Mega-hospitality giants may rely on in-house IT departments to develop and maintain customer engagement systems, while small- and mid-size companies often reach out to third party providers to shore up portions of their platform. A viable vendor should be able to provide a suite of components and/or the entire system as a solution.  

Ultimately, great emphasis should be placed on finding a partnership and collaboration rather than engaging a third party vendor who simply provides the services requested. And sometimes, cheaper is not always better.  

To gain more knowledge on making the right expense choices and to learn about choosing the right partner and building and maintaining relationships with them be sure to read the full article in the November/December 2016 edition of Developments.

What’s Next?

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What’s Next? 

By Steve Weisz    

There’s no doubt that the world of technology is extremely broad, and that it’s been woven into our day-to-day lives in countless ways. Consumers now have capabilities at their fingertips that not long ago would seem futuristic at best and something you would only see in the movies.

Therein lies a difficult challenge for our industry. Innovations in technology have created
a higher standard of expectation that you’re constantly measured by. I am sure that you have heard something like:

“Why don’t you have an app to do that?”

“How come I can’t just do that online?”

“I should just be able to do that on my phone.”

If your organization doesn’t address issues such as these, you run the risk of becoming irrelevant in the eyes of the everyday consumer.

But even if you do address today’s requests, you get into playing a game of catch-up. This is because customer needs evolve as quickly as technology develops new applications. Now, more than ever, companies need to invest an increasing amount of time and resources just to stay current and often have to forget about trying to be cutting edge.

From a business perspective, technology has been game-changer, where advancements have given us amazing capabilities and efficiencies that have allowed our industry to grow in vast and exciting ways. Inventory management, cost and performance tracking to complex databases where customer profiles, and vacation habits and preferences are at our fingertips. These have all moved us into a new generation that has created revenue channels and efficiencies that just 10 years ago would not have been possible.  

If you are like me, you may find that the notion of embracing technology can often be daunting, but there’s no turning back now. I encourage you to look for your own ways on how to leverage it in amazing new ways! 

The Umbrella Effect

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 The Umbrella Effect 

 By Peter Roth, ARDA 

  8 Tips to the resale market_large 

 

As our industry continues to develop solutions for owners who believe their vacation ownership does not match their present vacation plans, it is important to educate consumers about the exit process and provide them with the resources to make an informed decision. As we all can attest, the fraudulent misdeeds of companies targeting many owners—especially senior citizens—have added a layer of confusion with regard to our product.

While our industry leaders, ARDA-ROC, and ARDA State Affairs staff rigorously work with state and local law enforcement agencies to enact stricter consumer protections, it is virtually impossible to control the actions of all bad players scamming our owners. However, because those actions affect the entire industry, we can help share a consistent set of guiding principles for a safe resale process across the industry.

ARDA provides resale tips to help navigate consumers through the exit process, which can be found on ARDA-ROC.org. We also make the information available to owners who call our customer service portal directly with inquiries, to regulators, and to other state agencies—as well as the media.

To learn about the eight resale tips read this month’s issue of Developments magazine or to view the latest consumer advisories that include some of the most recent resale scams, visit our timeshare resales resource center

Allies in the Trenches

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Allies in the Trenches 

By Charlene Small
 
Each month, our government affairs team shares insightson the latest issues, their strategy for continued successful advocacy measures, and sometimes a glimpse into how they enjoy vacation. With this recent edition of “Faces from the Frontlines” in Developments, our team shared the spotlight with our advocacy allies across the United States that are working tirelessly on behalf of ARDA, ARDA-ROC, and the timeshare industry.

Many members might not realize that ARDA’s advocacy efforts are widely spread at the ground level in every state, as well as on Capitol Hill. How does ARDA reach all of these levels? By deploying strategic partnerships with legislative consultants, attorneys, and lobbyists in each state or jurisdiction.

In October, about 20 lobbyists from all over the United States and Hawaii travelled to Orlando, Florida, to meet with our federal and state government affairs team in a special two-day retreat, in order to revitalize our advocacy efforts for the quickly approaching 2017 legislative year. The retreat sought to reenergize our impact in each region, as well as reconnect with our advocates who are in the daily trenches of legislative issues on our behalf.

This retreat solidifies ARDA’s mission to promote the growth
and development of the timeshare industry by remaining actively involved in local, state and national governmental affairs through monitoring regulatory issues that affect timeshare. Read what members of our government affairs team had to say about this influential weekend in this month’s edition of Developments magazine. 

Continued Industry Growth, Despite Headwinds: Financial Performance Survey 2016

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 Continued Industry Growth, Despite Headwinds: Financial Performance Survey 2016  

By Phil Nix & Chris Folsom  

The vacation ownership industry continued to expand through 2015 with reported revenue growth of 8.2 percent, a higher rate than both 2013 and 2014.  In addition, Deloitte’s research for the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) indicates the U.S. vacation ownership industry has grown at a relatively strong pace, as it continues to withstand the turbulence observed in the broader economy.

The growth is a positive sign for the Timeshare Industry, but there are more numbers to dive into using AIF’s Financial Performance 2016: A Survey of Timeshare & Vacation Ownership Companies.   

The results of the Financial Performance survey are a measure of 2015 calendar year performance as reported
by timeshare company respondents. The results below are a summary of selected key metrics that AIF believes provide an overview of the vacation timeshare industry in the United States.


  • Timeshare sales reported in the 2016 Financial Performance survey continued to show signs of strong growth in the industry for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Respondents continued an emphasis on increased sales efforts in 2015, leading to the strong net originated sales results.
  • Average volume per guest increased from $2,705 in 2014 to $2,835 in 2015, and the average transaction value increased from $18,356 in 2014 to 19,225 in 2015. 

  • The industry survey also indicated continued increases in the weighted average yield per week. 

  • Rescissions, as a percentage of gross sales, decreased from 15.2 percent in 2014 to 14.4 percent in 2015 (representing a 5.3 percent decrease in the overall rescission rate). 

  • Respondents reported that payments for 91.4 percent of the dollar value
of their receivables portfolios were current (current or fewer than 31 days delinquent) at year-end 2015. 

  • Respondent companies began tightening their lending practices in 2009
as a result of the economic downturn and continued this trend through2015. 


For a more detailed look at this report be sure to visit or read about it in this month’s edition of Developments. 


 

Standing Together: ARDA & VRDA Join Forces

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 Standing Together: ARDA & VRDA Join Forces 

By Kathryn Mullan 

They say that you’re stronger together, and there’s power in numbers. This is a core principleof ARDA—how we have built our advocacy groups and likewise grown our entire membership base over the last 45 years. This is even truer at the state level, with various Committees doing awesome work around the country on behalf of the vacation ownership industry.

The state of Virginia is one of the best examples of this principle in action. A local group of developers and vendors came together in the early 1990s, as one of the earliest state group prototypes—banding together on common interests to help build a healthy environment for both development and owners. In 1994, they decidedto organize in a more official way and founded the Virginia Resort Development Association, Inc. (VRDA), a Virginia non- stock company.

During the 22 years of VRDAs existence, there have been many accomplishments and key points of work—namely, the writing and frequent updating of the Virginia Real Estate Time-share Act and its related regulations.

As with most things, there comes a point in time where trends in the industry— namely, consolidation—drive change, and the current VRDA is now considering a dissolution of the association and a shift to an ARDA-Virginia State Committee. If the VRDA Board approves this action at its upcoming December meeting, this change will take effect on January 1, 2017. ARDA State Affairs Director Justin Vermuth will become the lead contact for the Committee (as staff liaison)—working closely with local lobbyists, developer/management/ exchange companies, and vendor/owner groups with interests in this state.

Developments sat down with both Philip Richardson and Justin Vermuth to discuss these pending changes, as the VRDA turns the final page of its book and opens to new opportunities.  Pick up this month’s installment of Developments to find out what they had to say about VRDA’s lasting legacy and where they plan on taking VRDA next. 

The Power of Politics

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 The Power of Politics 

By Steve Weisz, President/CEO of Marriott Vacations Worldwide & Chairman of the Board of Directors, ARDA  

In what is surely considered one of the most unique (or bizarre) political seasons in some time, it serves to remind us just how much politics and the mechanisms of government can impact our timeshare industry.

The contributions that ARDA provides in the forming and managing of regulatory and legislation issues is a never-ending task. From taxation and consumer protection to state-by-state guidelines, the laws that are voted in place can have an enormous impact in our efforts to grow and thrive in development, management, and the sale and marketing of our products. Politics, politicians, and policy are a complicated and ever-changing landscape, to say the least.

Working on behalf of the millions of vacation owners is ARDA-ROC, which serves as the constant voice and first line of defense to the federal, state, and local legislative entities that could pass laws that may negatively impact ownership and the ability to enjoy the vacation time that they have purchased. ARDA-ROC also serves as a constant educational platform for policymakers, so they may better understand the uniqueness and complexities of timeshare.

Shaping the industry for a bright and prosperous future could simply not be done without the collaborative relationship we have with lawmakers and influencers that stand on both sides of the political aisle. From attorneys general, legislators, and even governors, it is extremely important to make sure we stay ahead of the issues and have the important cooperative relationships that benefit us as a whole.

As an industry, we must collectively continue to be consumer advocates against unfair taxation, resale scams, and other undermining factors that can affect our fiscal health—while, at the same time, embracing regulations that provide confidence to consumers that they can put their trust in the products we offer.

(Click here for this column and more content from the October 2016 Developments. ).