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ARDA World: What's in it for You

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ARDA World: What's in it for You

Register before February 27th for a Discount!
 early bird 

Another ARDA World Convention is on the horizon – our first one in New Orleans!  Register for this March 26-30 event by February 27th to get a discount.  It will be a great opportunity to dive in head first and take advantage of everything our annual meeting has to offer.  Whether you are with an exchange company, a developer, a management company, a financial institution or a law firm, there is something for everyone during this great event!

What's Happening at ARDA World 2017 

Three innovative and engaging General Sessions

    • Keynote Speaker – Josh Linker: Monday, March 27, 4:00-5:00 pm  
    • Meet the Leaders - CEO Update Panel: Tuesday, March 28, 10:30-11:30 am  
    • Lion’s Den: Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 am-11:30 am 

Dedicated Marketplace hours: Tuesday, 11:30 am-2:30 pm and Wednesday, 11:30 am-2:00 pm 

Over 25 educational sessions covering the latest industry trends and best practices

Evening Sessions 

It just isn’t ARDA Convention without the signature events that make our annual gathering so legendary, it’s also the world-class parties!  Here are a few for you to start thinking about:

Poker Tournament, sponsored by TrackResults Software, with proceeds going to Send Me on Vacation: Sunday, March 26, 8:00-11:30 pm

All-attendee Welcome Party hosted by RCI: Monday, March 27, 7:00-10:00 pm

Interval International’s Party with a cause at The Saenger Theatre, $40 presale/$50 at the door: Tuesday, March 28, 9:00 pm

ARDA Awards Gala & Entertainment: Wednesday, March 29, 7:00-10:00 pm

Why should YOU be there? 

  • Key opportunities to connect with leaders from hundreds of companies
  • Most comprehensive way to stay up on trends and best practices – more than 25 educational sessions spanning the spectrum of our industry’s top products 
  • Because our past attendees from ARDA World 2016 say this: 
    • “There’s no gathering in the world like ARDA. It is the one place that anybody who is a power player in the industry gets together once a year.”  
    • “ARDA World 2016 was refreshingly new and motivating!” 
    • “It is a great opportunity to visit old friends, make new ones and see all of the changes and advancements in our industry.” 

So, make sure you are at ARDA World 2017 this year in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Register here.  

From Where I Sit: Perspectives on the Year Ahead

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From Where I Sit: Perspectives on the Year Ahead

By Geri Bain   

With change comes opportunity. That’s certainly the view of the six industry leaders that we had the chance to talk with for their perspectives on where vacation ownership is headed in 2017. These leaders were selected because of their innovation and ability to change with the times. With each industry titan we discussed successes, challenges and the overall outlook heading into 2017. Here are some key points from our interviews.

Jon P. Fredricks, president & CEO, Welk Resorts says consumer desires are changing more rapidly than ever. Fortunately, the timeshare industry thrives on change and has been meeting the new needs of consumers through diverse product options.

David C. Gilbert, president, Interval International has a positive outlook for the future, saying that the timeshare industry has seen increases in sales in the U.S. for the last several years and, with the addition of new resorts being built, he anticipates that will continue.


Mitchell Imanaka, managing principal, Imanaka Asato had similar sentiments as Gilbert, stating the slow and measured recovery of the economy, coupled with a low interest rate environment, has set the stage for greater demand, which will drive increased development activity.

Gordon Gurnik, president, RCI thinks that the timeshare industry will also grow internationally because, globally, the feeling that vacationing is essential to well-being and success is more pervasive than ever. And timeshare is well-positioned to provide that guaranteed vacation, year after year.

Ken Potrock, senior vice president and general manager, Disney Vacation Club believes the industry needs to continue to push for a higher standard of customer care so that the focus stays on the great benefits that vacation ownership provides.

 

Find out what else these insightful leaders had to say in our discussion about the upcoming year for the timeshare industry in the recent January edition of Developments

2017 Legislative Outlook

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 2017 Legislative Outlook

From the inauguration of our new president to welcoming a Republication majorityin the U.S. House and Senate, 2017 is set to be an extraordinary year—filled with potential of tremendous impact on not only our nation but also our industry.We spoke with our federal and state government affairs teams to get their take on how the recent historical elections may impact the timeshare industry, as well as any key advocacy efforts they plan to focus on in this new year.  

Let’s take a look at some snippets from what our legislative team had to say about how the timeshare industry as a whole and some of their new advocacy efforts.  

Robert Clements 

Last year I set out to build strong relationships with attorneys general, as well as other regulatory and enforcement agencies in our key states. This year, I intend to continue those outreach and relationship building efforts throughout the country. Through these relationships, I plan to provide these groups with a greater understanding of the current state of timeshare and the positive and negative issues that may affect the industry.  

With the 2017 legislative sessions about to start around the country, we’ll continue to monitor legislation and work with our members to advocate for their legislative needs.   

Chris Stewart 

The 2016 election results were surprising across the country, when compared to expectations set by the polls. Beyond the presidential level, many economists and politically-seasoned forecasters predicted gains by Democrats in several down-ticket races. Clearly, that didn’t happen. However, after the election, the new members of Congress will help to reduce the concerns regarding new taxes. 

Justin Vermuth 

While our 2017 goals are still being finalized, they can fit in two general buckets. Thefirst bucket looks at breaking down the impediments that members have while attempting to do business in a timely and efficient manner. For example, if registration approvals are taking too long in a state, then we brainstorm on what can be done to get the agency the right tools or resources to help expedite the process.  

The second bucket concentrates on timeshare owner protection. This includes utilizing our new staff resources to consult with enforcement officials on implementing some of the great consumer protection tools we have already passed in Massachusetts, Florida, Colorado, to name a few. Also, dealing with the termination dates that are approaching for legacy resorts. And of course, thereare always tax issues to contend with. 

Kevin Riley 

With regard to ARDA’s key legislative priorities in 2017, there is reason to be fairly optimistic that the composition of the incoming administration—as wellas Congress—will be more receptive to the issues plaguing businesses across our nation, including those that affect our industry and its members.  

The ARDA Federal Affairs team will continue its efforts with the new Congress to support legislation that will better align this agency with its governmental counterparts and install much-needed oversight and transparency.   

ARDA’s outreach to legislators will continue in 2017, and we are hopeful that this administration will not hinder our efforts, as we are joined by a broad coalition of businesses from across the nation    

Find out what else our legislative team had to say about how the recent election will impact our industry in this month’s Developments Magazine. 

Planning: The One Simple Step in Ensuring Your Yearly Vacation

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Planning: The One Simple Step in Ensuring Your Yearly Vacation
pto plan for vacation

On January 31st Project:Time Off is hosting its first national “Plan for Vacation Day” encouraging Americans to declare their vacation days for the rest of the year…at the start of the year. National Plan for Vacation Day encourages families to sit down together and map out their vacation plans for the coming year.  This is a great concept that we believe many timeshare owners embrace already.

Why is planning so important? 

In our culture of packed schedules, hyper-connectivity and work martyrdom, American workers are in serious need of a break.  But as a whole, Americans leave 658 million vacation days unused each year!

We understand the value of vacation time for our relationships, personal well-being, and professional success. Yet, 51% of Americans skip out on planning, which is the single-most important step workers can take to ensure they are using their vacation time each year. 

The power of planning is evident. Individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once and report greater levels of happiness in every category measured. In-depth research proves that the Americans who take time to plan ahead are happier with their health and well-being, their financial situation, their marriage, and even their overall mood. Research also shows that simply having something to look forward to—like a vacation—improves happiness.  

Why don’t workers take time off? 

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of employees report that they hear nothing, mixed messages, or discouraging messages about taking time off, which leads to them choose not taking any vacation. Yet, 80 percent of employees said if they felt fully supported and encouraged by their boss, they would be likely to take more time off. 

It is clear that workers who plan reap the rewards:

  • 51% of planners took all of their vacation time vs. 39% of non-planners.
  • 69% of planners were more likely to take a full week of vacation time or more at a time vs. 46% of non-planners.
  • 85% of planners report they are happier with their relationships with their significant other, compared to 72% of non-planners.
  • 69% of planners, compared to 60% of non-planners, report being happy with their relationships with their children.
  • 81% of planners say they are happy with their financial situation, compared to 71% of non-planners.
  • 90% of planners are happy with their professional success, compared to 82% of non-planners.
 

It's time to start being intentional about how we spend our days. Americans need a wake-up call to take back their calendars and #PlanForVacation. 

ARDA has supported, and will continue to support, this initiative – I encourage you to ask yourselves how you can engage with your owners to assist them with planning for their time off. Remember that happy owners are our industries best advocates.


 

Real ROI

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Real ROI 

 arda proud ad

 

By Howard C. Nusbaum, RRP, President & CEO ARDA 

It’s already mid-January – how are your resolutions coming along? If you’re anything like me, it may be better to take on a resolution that won’t be painful and offers a big ROI: becoming more engaged in ARDA and your industry.

Hopefully, you have seen the ARDA “Proud” ad, featuring three strong actions: “Protect, Connect, and Affect.” These three simple words stand for various ways ARDA can enhance both the overall industry community and your personal career and business at the same time.

ARDA works to help enhance and protect our industry through government affairs at the local, state, and federal level. As a member, you participate in this important work through one of the many ARDA advocacy-related committees.

Another key mission of ARDA is connecting each of you through meetings and events. Helping us plan an educational forum or participating in a networking event at Convention, Fall Conference, or a regional meeting are easy ways to dive into a community of resources. It may be a journey that leads to a new business partner or just the chance to share a best practice or even solve a problem.

And finally, get your hands in the clay with us and actually affect the industry you work within. Again, committees are a great starting place, as are various volunteer opportunities with the AIF or a similar outreach program. I encourage you to be selfish and have a vested interest—be involved in a way that helps your business, fills a need, plugs a hole, or just rounds out your career.

So, in 2017 become more involved in ARDA and see a great return on your investment of time. Start today by registering for ARDA World in New Orleans registration opened December 1. Happy New Year!  

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!