ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Sustainability & High-Tech Design: A Leading Development Trend in our Industry

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Sustainability & High-Tech Design: A Leading Development Trend in our Industry 

by Kathryn Mullan
Senior Editor, Developments Magazine
July 20, 2015

 Ice Break

After seven long years of absorbing existing inventory, the industry is seeing a substantial up-tick in new construction. That is why this month’s Developments issue on Construction & Design is such a welcomed topic!

This month’s magazine explores design trends for the hospitality industry, as well as resort amenities and services that travelers have come to expect and use to measure their vacation. These trends and travel preferences have grown at lightning speed over the past several years. As a result, timeshare developers are making more frequent investments in resort design that incorporate sustainability features and high-tech amenities than just a few short years ago. And the additional investment is paying off.

Guests want—and rely on—connectivity while on vacation. And while resorts now offer Wi-Fi capability throughout properties, resorts are also looking for ways to offset energy consumption and employ more energy efficiencies through sustainable measures, such as more efficient lighting sensors, multiple-unit charging stations, and multi-media viewing capabilities through smartphone devices (among other offerings). Additionally, indoor and outdoor design and resort construction features more recyclable and sustainable materials than ever before and from manufacturers and businesses that are eco-friendly themselves—a factor that is important to many owners and prospects. Today, more resorts are committed to sourcing sustainable materials for new build and renovation projects. Read more in Christine Blank’s feature article.

Sustainability measures are also being undertaken by resorts through programs and initiatives that inspire owners and guests to take active part. Wyndham Vacation Ownership, for instance, has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation for the last five years via a planting-tree program that invites owners to offset their carbon emissions when traveling on vacation. From as little as $2 a day (tax-deductible) during their stay, owners and guests can have a donated tree planted in one of the nation’s state or national forests; these trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide, as well as purify the air and clean the Earth’s water supply. WVO has already received positive feedback from participating owners, who are passionate about green programs. See full details in Lesley Harris’s July article.

If you haven’t had a chance, explore the latest issue of Developments!


2014 Shows Steady Growth for Our Industry

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2014 Shows Steady Growth for Our Industry 

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

July 15, 2015 

SOI infographic piece 

We are happy to share the latest research from our State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry: United States Study 2015.  It shows that the timeshare industry enjoyed steady growth in 2014.  Here are a few of the highlights.

When comparing 2014 to 2013:

  • Sales volume increased more than four percent, to $7.9 billion;
  • 1,555 timeshare resorts in the United States, representing about 198,490 units;
  • Average resort size was 128 units;
  • The average sales price was $20,020; and
  • Occupancy increased two percent, up to 78 percent (compared to a 641 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—23% of the national total;
  • Nevada has the largest average resort size—182 units on average; and
  • Hawaii has the highest occupancy rate for a region, at 85.3%.

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

[1] STR Monthly Hotel Review: December 2013, Smith Travel Research.

From Bobsledding to Bedding

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From Bobsledding to Bedding


 Our industry attracts some of the brightest talent and passionate workers who choose this business because they love it—and it shows!  One such example is Brittany Reinbolt. During the summer months, she provides housekeeping services on MasterCorp’s elite A-Team, earning her enough money to train and compete on the U.S. national bobsled team during the winter. 

Brittany’s dedication and work ethic as an athlete carries over into her work for MasterCorp. And in return for her hard work and passion, the company supports her pursuits toward an Olympic dream by allowing her the flexible schedule she needs to train. Resorts rely on hardworking and outstanding individuals to ensure the best vacation experience for guests, and many of our resorts turn to MasterCorp’s A-Team when clients require extra personnel for resort openings, management transitions, and training missions. 

Brittany’s story is one of many exceptional employees in this industry, and we are lucky to have them!  Read Brittany’s full story.



Top Resorts Earn Highest Industry Honor

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Top Resorts Earn Highest Industry Honor

By Kathryn Mullan, ARDA
June 24, 2015 

 Hyatt Ka'anapali Beach 

“ARDA awards its highest honor to both a domestic and an international resort.” 

The ACE Project of Excellence Award is ARDA’s most prestigious award, honoring resorts that are leading examples of vacation amenities and the ultimate owner experience. The award has gotten so competitive that this year, ARDA awarded this accolade to both a domestic and an international resort.

On April 15, ARDA was proud to award the domestic ACE Project of Excellence Award to Hyatt Ka’anapali Beach, a Hyatt Residence Club Resort, and the international ACE to Novaispania Los Cabos (an RCI affiliate, developed by the Pueblo Bonito Resort Group). “We are proud to present these ACE Project of Excellence Awards to two truly deserving winners, as great examples of amazing development throughout the world,” said Catherine Lacey, RRP, vice president of meetings and member administration, ARDA.

There are some key similarities between this year’s winners; both offer a slice of ocean- front paradise, stunning views and design elements, as well as exquisite concierge service. Here’s a glimpse into these award-winning properties.

Hyatt Ka’anapali Beach 

Almost every one of the 131 units looks out on Hawaii’s spectacular Ka’anapali Beach. The others? They have to settle for a view of the mountains of Maui. The grounds are lush with native plants. The outdoor dining offers views of both the ocean and the infinity pool. And in every direction, the grounds unfold as an exotic adventure. Of course, the story of Maui itself is a magical one. And it’s told throughout the property in the handiwork and craftsmanship of many local artists. With all the amenities and attention to detail, it’s easy to see why this Hyatt resort was a deserving winner of this ACE award!

Novaispania Los Cabos 

The world of this resort invites you to step away from the bustle of nearby Cabo San Lucas and everyday reality to rest and relax—rest the spirit, body, and mind and take in the beauty of enchanted gardens under waterfalls, all in Old World comfort. From the resort’s villas, there is the option for an indoor/outdoor kitchen, a private infinity pool, and a master bedroom that overlooks the ocean. A personal chef prepares your evening meal or you may have cocktails and dine at one of the many fine restaurants on property. This resort is proof that the market for luxury and world-class amenities is not endangered but growing, just like the resort itself and the employment it is bringing to the Cabo residents and the region as a whole.

These two resorts exemplified what it means to be an ACE award winner, and have set the bar high for future winners. Read the full story in the latest June issue of Developments.

Timeshares Lead to More Frequent, Happier Vacations

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Timeshares Lead to More Frequent, Happier Vacations

-- Peter Roth, ARDA VP Marketing & Communications

Expansion in Latin America

What has happened to vacation? Or as the Time Magazine asked “Who Killed the Summer Vacation?” Our recent survey results show that it’s definitely not the timeshare owner!

In fact, an impressive one-third of timeshare owners have taken four or more vacations in the last three years alone. This is quite telling when compared to non-timeshare owners--only 18% have taken four or more vacations in the last three years. With today’s hectic lifestyle it is becoming even more important for people to get away and experience a relaxing vacation.

Furthermore, timeshare owners say they experience a happier, more relaxing time while away. When compared to non-owners, timeshare owners experience more happiness in each of the seven distinct vacation lifecycle phases, from planning the vacation to the first day all the way to the afterglow that the vacation leaves when it’s over.

A better vacation experience with timeshares comes from the ease of planning, spacious accommodations, and the choice of resorts all over the world. To find out on how you can experience more and happier vacations, check out!


Intersecting Industries

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Intersecting Industries 

Brent Bellm, President & CEO of HomeAway 

 Economic Momentum

There are many alternatives to traditional hotel stays when it comes to vacationing today. Of course, timeshare is one and vacation home rentals is another. At HomeAway, we decided to see if we can marry the two and provide yet another alternative for today’s travelers.

Beginning in 2012, we engaged a number of vacation ownership industry leaders—including Westgate Resorts and Wyndham Worldwide—to distribute their inventory on HomeAway to gauge the demand of timeshare-style accommodations from HomeAway travelers. Traveler demand showed a very strong initial surge, and we knew we could create a synergy within the industry.

Our relationship with ARDA was initiated at the same time. HomeAway is an ARDA Trustee member, and we provide front-line support in the legislative and regulatory arena as well.

I believe we will see more resort developers and suppliers testing the waters of the vacation rental market for their unused and unsold properties. I also believe that we will see further distribution of these properties not only on our sites but on third party sites (like Expedia) as well. High-quality visibility and increased exposure is essential in this competitive environment, and so we have partnered with key vacation ownership professionals to ensure we’re offering the best accommodations for our travelers. And moving forward, we are looking for even more synergies between our approaches!

To read more, please see the recent April/May 2015 of Developments magazine.


A Brand Marketing Case Study: “Orlando. You don’t know the half of it” Campaign, Lessons for All of Us

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A Brand Marketing Case Study: “Orlando. You don’t know the half of it” Campaign, Lessons for All of Us

by Peter Roth
VP, Marketing and Communications

 Changing the Lens 

 Shifting the perception of timeshare as a viable—and beneficial—way to travel is integral to our strategic conversations at ARDA. From a Marketing and Communications standpoint, how we communicate with our key audiences and stakeholders is equally as important as what we communicate. In other words, integrating data and facts into compelling materials is essential in communicating effectively in today’s digitally-dependent, research-driven and content-overloaded society. 

 The good news is we are working more closely with ARDA’s International Foundation (AIF) to identify travel habits, vacation preferences, travel experiences, and vacation benefits (among other topics) that can be used to help position the timeshare experience effectively to different demographics and potential consumers across multiple channels. We are integrating these findings into infographics, blog topics, social posts, press releases, and as core content for all our communications.

While ARDA may be in the early stage of this effort, Orlando’s Economic Development Commission (EDC) is in the middle of a multiyear campaign of its own to change the perception of Orlando as more than a vacation destination. At ARDA World, Jennifer Wakefield, vice president of Communications and Marketing at the EDC, presented on how their campaign “Orlando. You don’t know the half of it” is doing—she shared many good tips and lessons learned!

The EDC first conducted research to determine perceptions about Orlando and created a 40-person committee of business leaders to help identify its mission and guide the strategic plan. The integrated campaign targeted local influencers and utilized paid elements, media partnerships, business promotions, national PR, social and online efforts, and stakeholder engagement for the initial launch, followed by a sustained PR effort. Their performance indicators are being measured through awareness, engagement and submissions for business investment, and they are well on their way to success! To find out more about this campaign, read here.