ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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. ).

“Like a Rock”: Uniting Owners in One Strong Voice

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 “Like a Rock”: Uniting Owners in One Strong Voice 

By Charlene Small 

  ardaROC photo 

Timeshare owners get it. They know that owning a timeshare meansa guaranteed once-in-a-lifetime vacation at least once a year, every year for as long as they want to take it. Owners know that the experiences and memories they gain on these vacations with their families and loved ones far outweigh any negative perceptions or influences.

Ensuring that timeshare ownership continues to be preserved, protected and enhanced is a complex task that the American Resort Development Association Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC) is proud to take on.

Empowered by timeshare owners, ARDA- ROC effectively influences legislation that strengthens the timeshare industry, giving owners countless memorable experiences. In order to preserve and protect vacation ownership, ARDA-ROC focuses its advocacy on four main pillars of legislation. 

Resale and transfer legislation: ARDA-ROC helps protect owners from falling victim to scams by introducing or assisting in passing pro-consumer legislation, allowing owners to safely and gracefully exit their timeshare ownership. These legislative efforts continue to protect owners by holding accountable those companies that use deceptive business practices in an attempt to defraud owners.

Timeshare owner privacy laws: ARDA-ROC ensures that the owner’s privacy is always protected by enacting responsible privacy laws that withhold personal information from being shared with third parties for commercial purposes, unwanted solicitation, or fraudulent activity.

Transient accommodations tax (TAT): ARDA-ROC strongly opposes any effort to impose an accommodation tax on the use of a timeshare unit by an owner or exchange guest. Timeshare owners already pay a number of taxes and fees related to their purchase and ownership obligations. Adding an additional tax like TAT, when owners want to extend their vacation experience beyond their home resort, would ultimately put limits on the owner’s vacation ownership.

Non-judicial foreclosure: ARDA-ROC saves HOAs time and money by supporting non-judicial foreclosure laws that enable the trustee of a timeshare to conduct a foreclosure sale outsidethe court system.

Using these four main pillars, ARDA-ROChas championed owners’ interests fortheir timeshare on every regulatory and legislative level for more than 25 years!  As future generations begin to enjoy the sharing economy, timeshare ownership will continue to be a valued community that must remain preserved, protected and enhanced.


Radiating Positive Impact through Resort Sustainability

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Radiating Positive Impact through Resort Sustainability

By Jess Hoover, Sustainability Coordinator & Hilary Chu, HR Director (Breckenridge Grand Vacations)

We who work in the vacation industry are fortunate tohelp create memories and experiences that touch the lives of our owners, guests, employees, and communities. Because vacation ownership is frequently passed down through generations, we also have an incredible opportunity to showcase sustainable ideas and practices designed to ensure that these experiences continue well into the future.

The impacts of resort sustainabilityare far-reaching. Businesses with strong sustainability ethics set examples for other companies in their industries, their communities, their customers, and their employees. Sustainability makes business sense, too. Increasingly, consumers report supporting businesses with established sustainability programs.

Moreover, adopting environmentally friendly behaviors, such as recycling and decreasing energy usage, are often cost beneficial. These behaviors foster habitsthat employees can take from work to their communities and homes. And, of course, sustainability is important for maintaining the vitality of the local environment.

It is important to make sustainability fun and engaging by celebrating events like Bike to Work Day
and Earth Day with employees and guests
on property. Consider creating resort activities that relate to sustainability issues.

When starting your sustainability program, mapout how your efforts will fit in with your company’s larger mission, culture, resort, and community—aligning strategically along key paths of change. Your leadership team should understand not only how sustainability can be practiced at your resorts but also its role at the department level. Challenge your departments to think of what actions they can take to reduce their overall impact.

As with any new program or initiative, it is always good to walk before you run. And once you’ve made some impactful changes, be sure to share them! 

For the full article on this important topic, see this month’s Developments Magazine. 

Who Wouldn’t Want Some Time Off?

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 Who Wouldn’t Want Some Time Off? 

By: Steve Weisz, ARDA Chairman and President/CEO Marriott Vacations Worldwide


 blog picture 2016 

It’s a known fact that there are a lot of people out there that simply don’t use the paid time of from work that their jobs allow. It is estimated that an astounding 55 percent of Americans will not use approximately 658 million days annually, and of that, 222 million are forfeited. It’s crazy! 

We sadly have a society of “work martyrs” that rationalize that it isn’t practical, easy, or “safe” to take time off and enjoy it as we should. Some see it as a fear of being replaced, the thought of a mountain of work that will await their return, or even worse, that a company
or management culture doesn’t encourage it.  

ARDA has proudly partnered with the U.S. Travel Association and their PROJECT: TIME OFF initiative, and I think the findings are nothing short of staggering. On the bright side, imagine the untapped opportunities that are out there for all these people who are getting paid to go on vacation! Who better to help them get there than us—companies that are in the vacation business?

Unlocking this earned vacation time isn’t an easy task, and unfortunately, the trend is getting worse—with paid time of usage decreasing in the last 15 years from 20.3 days to 16.2 days.

While it may not be easy, it is possible. Changes in employee and employer mindsets are critical to reshape the perceptions and misconceptions as well as create and embrace a balance work-life culture where the reward for hard work is simply some “you” time.  PROJECT: TIME OFF has made some great strides to bring this issue to the forefront and created some amazing campaigns that I encourage you to check out. 

Changing with Aging Owners: Looking to the Future

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Changing with Aging Owners: Looking to the Future 

By Catherine Reynolds

Timeshare owners often chooseto vacation in their same “spot” year after year for good reason…they consider their resort a home away from home. For long-time owners, countless memories have been created on vacations over the years, creating a special bond between them and their home resort.

But what happens when it’s not as easy to handle the burdens of traveling and ownership? Time is inevitable and aging owners typically experience a change in circumstances over the years between likewise aging spouses, children and grandchildren, finances, health issues and other life changes.

In addition, the resort itself must stay healthy as it matures. A property that is struggling financially and becomes unable to maintain its quality can lead to owners becoming displeased with their experience and ultimately the resort.  

Thankfully, resorts can use several tools to help mitigate some of these “age old” issues.  

Set the stage for the next generation - If your property is still offering the classic week-for-week exchange option to your guests, you likely aren’t offering the level of flexibility the next generation of owners’ want and need. A flexible points program offering nightly stays and reward benefits are a great way to it the needs of the next generation.  

Engage your owners - Keeping your owners engaged with the property is imperative to keeping them as owners. When owners only visit for a few days out of the year, it’s very easy for a resort to be out of sight and out of mind. Setting up a consistent communication with owners can help keep their attention. 

Make it easy and safe for your owners to pay their maintenance fees - There is a wide range of billing services available to assist a property with maintenance fee collections. Providing the ability to submit payments easily via your resort website is ideal.

Maintain and upkeep the property forfuture owners - Where possible, focus on updating the look and feel of the units and facilities. Even small improvements, like painting and keeping common areas clean, can make a world of difference. 

Provide a robust rental program - If annual travel and budgets are issues for your owners, then providing them with a successful and reliable rental program will allow them to keep their ownership and return to the resort when they are able.  

Have a collections solution in place that you can stand by - Many services, such as Blackwell Recovery, use a soft approach to collections and will work with owners to find a payment plan that its an owner’s needs.  

By keeping owners in the loop through communication and making the vacation ownership responsibilities simple, aging owners are more likely to keep up with their timeshare responsibilities.