ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Winning with Wellness

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Winning with Wellness 

By Sandra Guerra, Director of HR, Wyndham Vacation Ownership 
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The timeshare industry is perfectly positioned to be the MVPs of Wall Street through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies. One aspect of CSR that has the potential to drive results is having a wellness strategy that is aligned with the values of the organization, something Wyndham Vacation Ownership does exceptionally well. 

Organizations with a strong commitment to wellness promote greater employee productivity. The Integrated Benefits Institute found that when a company commits to wellness it had employees who were actively engaged in their work, spent greater time working, produced fewer errors, and greater concentration.

At Wyndham Vacation Ownership, for example, health coaches have been instrumental in establishing a wellness culture. According to Kristin Kubas, vice president of benefits at Wyndham Worldwide: “Health coaches are set up to have the same services across the business and are the best option when the population is not large enough for a full service clinic. In addition to the benefits of lifestyle coaching, these coaches have contributed to the overall wellness program through education and promotion, further fostering the culture of wellness within each location. The benefits of health coaches far exceed the cost savings by impacting our most valuable resource, our employees.”

The timeshare industry serves society by providing experiences that impact societal wellness. Embracing the purpose and potential of our business to positively impact the lives of our people and community creates shared values, and ultimately impacts organizational performance. By aligning our values with wellness, we are attracting and creating opportunities for our consumers, employees, and our companies to achieve its fullest potential. One might say that is a win-win-win situation! 

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A Journey of Caring

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A Journey of Caring 

By Steve Frazier 

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Caring and giving back are part of the Holiday Inn Club Vacations culture. Today, it is symbolized by its new Heart Travels program.  

Holiday Inn Club Vacations launched its Heart Travels program companywide in 2016. This embodiment of the company’s ongoing journey features three corporate pillars chosen to fulfill a goal of “caring wholeheartedly.” These pillars are Children and Families, Environmental Causes, and Disaster Relief Efforts. Within each are corporate-level programs and charities the company has elected to emphasize. 

These renewed efforts have resulted in greater social responsibility awareness throughout the entire resort network. Plus, there has been a steady rise in volunteer hours and donations. However, none of this would have been possible without the passion of
its leaders and team members—and a culmination of a long journey—that began decades ago. 

Children and families have always been an important part of the culture of Holiday Inn Club Vacations.  In fact, having a greater purpose than simply business success is what drove Kemmons Wilson to open the first Holiday Inn hotel. Over 30 years agon, Wilson partnered with his friend, Henri Landwith, and Orange Lake Resort to help support children with life-threatening illnesses by founding Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida. And it is still operating today!

That close, 30-year partnership continues to weave into the fabric of Holiday Inn Club Vacations. More than $2 million of support has been given by the company. Plus, it remains a beloved cause among team members who have volunteered countless hours throughout the years. 

These many efforts and the rapid growth of Holiday Inn Club Vacations prompted the company to formalize its enduring culture of caring. The goal is to help drive new focus toward giving back while trying to exemplify always doing the right thing.  

 

The Power of Resort Activities

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The Power of Resort Activities

 By Dr. Amy Gregory, RRP 

Guests and owners alike are looking for things to do while they are on vacation, and our timeshare resorts are always looking for new ways to fill those needs. Activity programming is essential in providing a dynamic and fresh experience for guests—whether they are on a preview tour, visiting as an exchanger, or returning as an owner. In fact, recent research shows a direct and positive relationship between owner/guest satisfaction with on-site resort activities and overall timeshare vacation satisfaction. In other words, if those staying at the timeshare resort are satisfied with the activities, they are more likely to be satisfied with their overall vacation experience. Unfortunately, the reverse is true as well.

Students enrolled in the Masters of Hospitality Management program at the University of Central Florida set out on a quest to identify activities, preferences, and motivations of timeshare guests. In partnership with several area timeshare resorts, the students worked to identify unique, overarching themes related to activities programming, preferences, and motivations. Here were some of the key findings.

Of the nearly 400 timeshare guests participating in the survey, 72% reported being either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the activities programming offered at the resort. The results of the research reveal five predominant activities in which timeshare resort owners and guests typically participate: aquatics, relaxing, eating/dining, reading, and games.

With the activities they participated in ranked accordingly, the participants then shared their motivation for each activity. This was a critical research component, as understanding individuals’ motivation for the activity can help programming staff develop events that are truly satisfying. Motivations vary by the activity, with four main motivations: to feel good, get in shape, be entertained, and learn something.

Survey participants were also asked
to identify up to three activities they would like to see offered. The responses included live entertainment shows/ music, culinary instruction, and games (trivia, bingo, etc.). This study found that activities are not only an essential but critical componentfor timeshare resort vacations when looking at overall satisfaction. So planning around this factor is essential to meeting the needs of your guests. 

Read the entire article in this month’s Developments magazine

Timeshare Industry Working for U.S. Economy

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Timeshare Industry Working for U.S. Economy

By Darla Zanini
Executive VP, ARDA International Foundation (AIF)
August 9, 2016


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Timeshare, once again, has made a significant impact on the U.S. economy. A few key highlights are as follows:

• $79.5 billion in consumer and business spending

• 511,000+ full- and part-time jobs

• $28.1 billion in salaries and wages

• $10.2 billion in tax revenue

Spending by timeshare owners and guests during timeshare stays was estimated at $10 billion in 2015—with $3.4 billion spent onsite at resorts, and $6.6 billion spent offsite in communities where timeshare resorts are located.

This data is based on the AIF 2016 Economic Impact study conducted for us by Ernst & Young.  For more details, check out our infographic and for a full copy of the Economic Impact Study, please contact me at dzanini@arda.org.


 

Providing a Safe Summer for Christel House Kids

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 Providing a Safe Summer for Christel House Kids 

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As an industry, timeshare companies collectively send millions of people on incredible vacations every year. They can recharge their batteries, spend quality time with family and friends, and just relax and have fun. 

But for the kids who attend Christel House, “summer vacation” has a completely different meaning. It means the possibility of not having enough to eat, staying home alone and unsupervised while their parents work, and being exposed to drugs and violence in unsafe neighborhoods. It’s a far cry from the holidays that timeshare owners are accustomed to, but with the help of our industry friends and supporters, Christel House students were provided a safe alternative this year.  

While we all know the importance of this for the kids, it is not cheap. This summer, with the help of the timeshare industry, $22,000 was raised for this year’s program through e-mail and text donation campaigns. This generosity will truly make a difference in the lives of many children! 

Christel House is a global charity that transforms the lives of impoverished children around the world—breaking the cycle of poverty and building self-sufficient, contributing members of society. This is accomplished through robust K-12 education and a strong character development program, complemented with regular health care, nutritious meals, guidance counseling, career planning, family assistance, and college/career support.  

For more information, please visit www.christelhouse.org  

The Caribbean and Brexit: Potential Implications

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The Caribbean and Brexit: Potential Implications 

By Charlene Small

 

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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.