ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Giving Trends

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 Giving Trends 

by Geri Bain

 the giving tree cover 

Some innovations are so quickly adapted that it’s hard to imagine they weren’t always part of our lives— and like the popular children’s book, The Giving Tree, they keep finding new ways to serve.

Here are three driving trends that promise to keep morphing, offering new and unimagined benefits for years to come. 

1) Tapping Consumer Analytics. Customers increasingly expect companies to “know” them as individuals with unique preferences and provide them with highly specific services and offerings. There are many ways to gain this information, including predictive analysis (PA) and other services through online travel-booking services. Ultimately, businesses can no longer afford to market to consumers on a “mass market, one message fits all” basis. It’s critical to learn each customer’s wants, needs, lifestyle, and more—including where they vacation and what activities they want to pursue—to serve them the way they expect.

2) Going Green. Sustainable practices are good for the bottom line and the environment. They also add a feel-good factor for guests, employees, and the community. In a recent TripAdvisor survey, 85 percent of travelers said that traveling green made them feel more positive about their trips. This shows green practices are the new normal, and travelers expect suppliers to embrace sustainable practices that minimize their impact on the environment. In addition to cost savings, sustainable practices can provide authentic connections to the destination.

3) Marketing Branded Lifestyles. Some brands convey an image that resonates deeply with travelers. Armani hotels in Dubai and Milan invite guests to live the life of understated elegance that is a signature of the Armani brand. And Hard Rock Hotels extend the hip, music-themed restaurants into a vacation (and vacation club) experience. This is critical because aligning with the right brand can be a great way to tap into its followers and its image and create a focal point for everything from design and amenities to marketing.

These three trends promise to remain important in the timeshare industry for many years to come. Keeping up with how each will be vital for timeshares in order to meet the changing needs of the consumers. Read the entire article about driving trends in this month's Developments. 

2016: Time to Celebrate!

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2016: Time to Celebrate! 

 By Howard Nusbaum, President and CEO, ARDA  

Anniversary Article

This year marks two huge anniversaries for two companies that have made an outstanding impact in the timeshare industry. There are a few milestone markers around the industry this year but none as auspicious as that of Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) marking its 50th anniversary and Interval International, celebrating its 40th anniversary.

WVO is a company that truly represents the pioneer spirit of the early days. WVO’s President & CEO, Franz Hanning says: “Anytime you look back over 50 years, you’re going to see peaks and valleys—it’s not always been a smooth path or an easy road. But to be where we are now looking back from this vantage point, it’s pretty overwhelming. Our company
has changed people’s lives—the lives of our owners, our associates, and probably my life more than anyone else’s. It’s been a total rewarding career for me, built on relationships and friends—core people who have been critical to our overall success.”

But WVO isn’t the only one celebrating this year…so is Interval International. The Miami, Florida-based industry pioneer remains an innovator in serving the vacation ownership market, and today its exchange network comprises approximately 3,000 resorts in more than 80 nations. Through offices in 16 countries, Interval offers high-quality products and benefits to resort clients and approximately two million families who are enrolled in its membership programs. That’s quite an achievement for a company that started with just three employees and one affiliated resort.

The timeshare industry would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for these two different companies and what they each have done over the previous decades. We want to be one of the first to wish each of these two companies a happy anniversary this year—thank you for building our industry into what it is today! To learn more about them, read our entire articles about Interval International and Wyndham Vacation Ownership in this month's Developments magazine.

What Next-Gen Wants

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What Next-Gen Wants 

By: Simon Jaworski and Lance Henik of Leger 

You are never going to be able to design one ideal timeshare that meets the needs of everyone. However, with the help of the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) and utilizing the insights garnered from its recent Next Generation research, you might be able to move a little closer to this goal. With this research, it has been found that four core factors account for more than half of all decisions made among both Millennials and Generation X’ers when it comes to purchasing a timeshare property. Let’s take a look at these factors.

Factor #1: Commitment/Cost Balance.  

The most important features, accounting for one-third of all decisions, are related to commitment. Both current timeshare owners and non-owners alike mentioned that the “length of contract” (the number of years they were willing to use the property) and the “interest rate” (a long term financial cost commitment implication) attached to this purchase were the two most significant factors.

In spite of the importance of the length
of contract and interest rate, there are, of course, two core cost factors for purchasing a timeshare that cannot be overlooked. When these traditional barriers to entry, the “overall price” and “annual fees,” are added into the equation, these four features collectively account for the majority of a potential timeshare owner’s decision-making process.

Factor #2: Sleeping Capacity.  

After the key financial aspects, the size of the lodging is also an important factor, with “sleeping capacity” as a key feature. This has increased relevancy and appeal with the younger age groups, specifically Millennials, who want to vacation with larger groups of friends—more so than any of the previous generations of vacationers.

Factor #3: Exchange.  

Next on the list of priorities is exchange. The positive impression and need for a product that allows both options for an internal and external exchange is definitely held in greater need by older Gen X’ers, especially when compared to Millennials who may not be fully aware of the benefits of exchanging their timeshare (a clear educational opportunity!).

Factor #4: Exit Strategies.  

Although a hot topic within timeshare right now, “Exit Strategy” showed slightly lower importance when compared to the exchange feature. The discussion of this topic is not only relevant but it also has merit— particularly to potential new entrants, as non-owners are definitely more intrigued by the potential for a buy-back option. If positioned correctly, the option to buy back a timeshare could lead to an extra layer of security that potential buyers often crave before signing any legal documents.

So, what key conclusions can we draw from this study? Non-owners tend to be more sensitive to price than owners, flexibility is key in the sales process, and those who sell timeshare should strongly consider a wide product portfolio. Read more about this study in the May/June 2016 issue of Developments magazine  

Content is King: A Few Words from the ARDAWorld Keynote Speaker

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 Content is King: A Few Words from the ARDAWorld Keynote Speaker 

 new perelman blog pic 

How do you stand out, rise above the noise, and get your organization’s voice heard online? Having successfully guided the growth of digital businesses his entire career, Jonathan Perelman - the head of digital initiatives at ICM Partners and a former executive at BuzzFeed and Google – knows how to do it right. And as the keynote speaker, he shared his words of wisdom with every attendee at the opening General Session at ARDA World 2016 sponsored by RCI.

Perelman believes that “content is king but distribution is queen – and she wears the pants.” Pulling from his extensive experience at some of the world’s most successful and influential brands, he showed the audience how to tell their story in a genuine, authentic, and meaningful way that generates word of mouth marketing at Internet scale. With great energy and stage presence, he broke down the tactics and mindset that propelled Buzzfeed from a small blog to a cultural phenomenon read by millions of people the world over.

Perelman not only addressed how to create shareable, social content but also offered insights into how to maximize reach and impact. By respecting the platform you’re using (Twitter is about timelines, Facebook is about feelings) and creating content that appeals to emotion, he offered great tips for creating content that people want to consume and share.

Ultimately, we were able to all learn from Perelman’s talk that day, specifically regarding creating and sharing content in today’s modern age of social media.  And if there was one thing Perelman wanted the audience to take away from his speech it was that in regards to content, ‘if it doesn’t spread it’s dead’.

ARDA’S Exciting New Event, The Lion’s Den, Crowns Two Winners

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 ARDA’S Exciting New Event, The Lion’s Den, Crowns Two 

lions den winner plus judges 


One of the most exciting, and well-received sessions of this year’s ARDA World was the new Lion’s Den Session sponsored by Crystal Lagoons.  Modeled after Shark Tank, The Lion’s Den was an interactive pitch competition where six bold start-ups present their digital innovations and business plans to our well-credentialed panel of judges -- the Lions of the timeshare industry —including four high profile CEOs and executives of Disney, Marriott, Wyndham and Crystal Lagoons.  The criteria for the judges were based on five different areas: technical innovation, business model innovation, potential market impact, competitive advantage and the quality of the presentation.  

The six confident contestants that took on our panel of judges included: 

Proxce – A secure and seamless hotel check-in experience.

Rented - A world-class marketplace for competitive short-term rentals.

Tansler – A reverse auction, one round of bids approach to home rentals.

Trekkable – A booking solution for the 30 million people with mobility challenges.

Alice - Guest experience and operational management on one platform.

Voyat - Hotel guest connection via the most effective retention engine.

These six contestants were each given six minutes to present in front of the judges and audience and then four minutes to respond to the Lions’ questions.  These ten minutes on the stage by each company was used to determine a People’s Choice award winner voted on by the audience and an Innovator of the Year award determined by the four judges.   

The Innovator of The Year Award Winner: Trekkable 

The first Innovator of the Year Award winner, as voted on by the panel of judges, was Trekkable and its founder and presenter Benedict Jones.  During the presentation Jones’ spoke about Trekkable’s main goal, which is to help create a booking solution for the 30 million people with mobility challenges.  Jones is one of the 30 million people with mobility challenges which allowed him to communicate the struggles he goes through every single time he travels.  Through his personal stories he was able to convey the difficulty each and every one of those 30 million people go through when trying to book a room when it is time for them to travel.  Jones talked about how “Trekkable exists to change this situation” through capturing ratings of specific properties through the lens of accessibility…enable anyone with mobility concerns to know what kind of experience they can expect up-front. No longer will a person be ‘booking blindfolded’ not knowing what to encounter when arriving.  Because securing a room that fits their needs should not cost extra time, effort, and expense.  Trekkable is an amazing story looking to fix a problem that currently exists in the travel industry and their founder Benedict Jones was extremely excited to win the first ever Innovator of the Year Award. 

The People’s Choice Award Winner: Rented’s CEO Andrew McConnell took the stage of the Lion’s Den to discuss the company’s goals and objectives and how Rented is trying to redefine rentals, by building a world-class marketplace for competitive short-term rentals, while also repositioning today’s ideas on property management contracts and fees. All with an innovative and hungry team.  He stated that because of Rented, thousands of homeowners are renting their homes “the smarter way” and demonstrated this by having customers across 17 countries, 38 states, and 312 cities.  McConnell’s presentation about a new short-term competitive rentals website was enough to earn him and his company, Rented, the first People’s Choice Award. Hear from Andrew McConnell after learning of his win. 

“Meet the Leaders” at ARDA World

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 “Meet the Leaders” at ARDA World 


ARDA World is quickly approaching, and with so many great opportunities and experiences offered it is time to decide which of these are the “can’t miss” events.  One of the most popular sessions from previous years, the CEO Session, will be making its highly anticipated return again this year.  In this session our CEO panel will be addressing topical industry issues ranging from the impact of industry consolidation, the secondary market and generational demographics on our business through a robust discussion regarding managing and enhancing digital relationships. 

ARDA World is quickly approaching, and with so many great opportunities and experiences offered it is time to decide which of these are the “can’t miss” events.  One of the most popular sessions from previous years, the CEO Session, will be making its highly anticipated return again this year.  In this session our CEO panel will be addressing topical industry issues ranging from the impact of industry consolidation, the secondary market and generational demographics on our business through a robust discussion regarding managing and enhancing digital relationships. 

Let’s meet this year’s panel: 

Jon Fredricks 

Fredricks has been the President of the Welk Resort Group since 1999 and CEO since 2014.  The company has more than 1,600 employees and 1,077 vacation units across its portfolio. Fredricks has led the award-winning hospitality company during its greatest period of growth and expansion. 

Franz Hanning 

As President and Chief Executive Officer of Wyndham Vacation Ownership, He is responsible for the world’s largest developer and marketer of flexible, points-based vacation ownership products.  He oversees all management, operations, strategic planning and growth initiatives, and leads a worldwide staff of more than 17,000 employees. 

Don Harrill 

 Harrill has been Chief Executive Officer of Holiday Inn Club Vacations since 2005, leading the organization to years of consecutive record growth and becoming a key voice within the timeshare industry. Don arrived to Holiday Inn Club Vacations with more than three decades of experience in the hospitality industry, eight of those at the helm of industry-leading timeshare organizations Trendwest Resorts and Hilton Grand Vacations Company. 

Ken Potrock 

Potrock began his career with Disney as VP of Marketing for Disney Cruise Lines in 1995 and has taken on various roles in the company since. He is currently Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Vacation Club & Adventures by Disney since 2013.  

 Mark Wang

Wang is President of Hilton Grand Vacations. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Wang co-founded PAHIO Resorts in Hawaii and served as its president for six years. He later formed Grand Ownership Resorts, Ltd., a consulting company that developed a successful vacation ownership program at The Bay Club on the Big Island of Hawaii, a resort now managed by Hilton Grand Vacations. 

With this great group of leaders, you do not want to miss this session!  Be sure to put it in your schedule of events for 4:00-5:00 pm on Tuesday, May 3rd 

Educational Sessions at The ARDA Convention

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Educational Sessions at The ARDA Convention

Education Sessions AW16 

As you probably know, ARDA’s annual convention is quickly approaching.  This year we have a great mix of informative sessions with fun activities, like the annual golf tournament. It is important to partake in some of the extracurricular activities, but one of the main reasons you are coming is for the informative, educational sessions. 

The Educational Sessions offer a large range of information on industry and business topics.  They begin on Monday and then run in waves through Tuesday and Wednesday.  There are a lot of options to choose from.  Here’s a sampling of a few you may want to check out:

  • Keep Calm and Carry On – Understanding the Next Generation, Monday 9:00-10:00 am
  • A 360 Degree View of Social Media Success, Tuesday 9:00-10:15 am
  • Resort Technology – What’s Hot and What’s Not, Tuesday 2:45-4:00 pm
  • Welcome to Timeshare in the Caribbean (Including Cuba), Wednesday 1:30-3:00 pm
  • Brilliance of Brand – Creating Differential Advantage through Social Media for Recruiting, Engagement and Retention, Wednesday 3:15-4:30 pm

With 35 different Educational sessions, it is important to find and plan which ones are best for you.  Check out the full schedule here.