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Consumer Reports Looks at Timeshare

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Consumer Reports Looks at Timeshare 

“Is a Timeshare Vacation a Good Value?”

 Timeshare comes of age 

-- Peter Roth, ARDA Vice President, Marketing, Communications & Industry Relations 

The March 2016 issue of Consumer Reports delves into whether timeshare vacations are a good value.  They examine the costs of vacationing at the Disney World Polynesian Village Resort in Orlando, Florida from two perspectives: renting and owning.  They find that after a certain number of years, owning a timeshare pays off.

Read the full Consumer Reports article.

In a sister article, “The Timeshare Comes of Age,” Consumer Reports reviews the changes our industry has seen through the years, including becoming more consumer-friendly and transparent.  Looking at the demographic shift to younger families, the article quotes Howard Nusbaum and makes the case for what to consider when buying.

As you know, Consumer Reports serves consumers through unbiased product testing and ratings, research, journalism, public education, and advocacy.  This kind of unbiased assessment of timeshare is a testament to the product our industry already knows and loves for better vacationing.


Looking Back and to the Future

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Looking Back and to the Future 

by Steve Weisz, ARDA Chairman
January 13, 2016 

  Changing the Lens 

What a year it has been—with events and circumstances happening around the globe that truly left us speechless at times. We’ve witnessed the unimaginable peaks and valleys that often happened in just the blink of an eye. People showed us their character and some just showed us they’re characters. A memorable year with continuous hopes for promise as we start 2016.

As I look back, I think how recent announcements of acquisitions will have a profound effect on the growth and opportunities in hospitality for the next generation. Consolidation and strategic alliances certainly led the way with the industry showing a strong resurgence of performance and activity we haven’t seen in years.

These are a promising indictor of things to come. We’re in a financially healthy business environment, with great leaders and entrepreneurs that continue to show the spirit of what got us where we are today.

I encourage all of you to show your own spirit of enterprise and innovation and create a legacy that will be remembered by tomorrow’s leaders and redefine our industry for the future!

For more on what’s happening in 2016, please see the January Developments!  

Four Trends to Watch in 2016

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Four Trends to Watch in 2016 

By Kathryn Mullan, ARDA
December 21, 2015   

Expansion in Latin America

There are four trends for our industry to watch as we transition out of 2015 and enter the New Year. Identified as some of the biggest drivers of change in travel by Skift Megatrends, it’s clear that some key consumer and tech changes that are playing out in this space will be influencers on vacation ownership as well.

Trend #1: Hospitality Driving Innovation in Travel 

The hospitality industry—hotels, vacation rentals, and the sharing economy—is seeing the power of mobile as consumers self-serve their preferences, check-in models are re-tooled, and the experience of the resort/hotel extends beyond the physical and into the natural and cultural surroundings.

Trend #2: The Rise of the Boutique Destination 

Local and authentic resorts that are based on unique and niche experiences are growing. Smaller destinations are finding ways to market their unique attributes to today’s traveler.

Trend #3: Mobile Pay and Wearable Technology 

It’s all about reaching consumers where they are—and they are with their mobile devices! The entire process of travel as a journey requires technology to support it.

Trend #4: Travel Brands Reimagined as Lifestyle Connoisseurs 

Millennials and Gen Xers are looking for deeper connections and a way to fit into the overall lifestyle a brand offers. Creating that lifestyle is becoming more and more important.

Read more about these trends and more in the November/December 2015 issue of ARDA’s Developments magazine!


Curating Vacations for Today’s Savvy Traveler

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Curating Vacations for Today’s Savvy Traveler 

by Kathryn Mullan 

Couple in Greece

In this month’s Developments, we explore key concepts and new initiatives on the front lines of vacation ownership: sales and marketing. We know that understanding your target audience and finding the best approach to reach them has been an established practice by the best of our industry’s teams for years.

But in today’s world of savvy travelers, we must also look for innovative ways to help future guests along the path of discovering their preferences and how vacation ownership can fit into that journey. 

For ARDA, we have utilized and implemented a sophisticated online listening initiative as a platform for finding out what motivates today’s travelers and prospective timeshare owners. We ask consumers “What kind of traveler are you?” in an online quiz to better understand their travel preferences but also to help them understand what they want from the perfect vacation. Today, it’s increasingly about choices and options and gathering information before making a travel decision—or purchase!

Many developers are customizing their sales and marketing approaches to co-create a vacation experience with the owner-guest that continues well beyond the sales table to check-in and during the on-site stay. Helping future guests understand their vacation preferences helps customize a vacation product that meets their needs. And developers must create experiences at resorts—amenities, programs, activities—that enhance the vacation for the owner based on their preferences. 

Read more about specific consumer data pointsfrom ARDA and innovative programs that developers are undertaking.



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.