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The Don’t Miss Sessions for ARDA World

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The Don’t Miss Sessions for ARDA World 

ARDA World 2017 is quickly approaching, so it is time to decide what sessions you are going to attend while in New Orleans.  As it is every year, there will be plenty of sessions that are informative, educational and even fun.

Let’s take a look at a few:

  • Around the World in 90 Minutes: Developing in International Markets -- Learn about what's new in markets outside the United States and the unique challenges that they face—from labor to construction to implications from political unrest in regions such as BREXIT. Hear how these developers from around the world handle unique challenges they face. What opportunities exist for them ahead and are there opportunities for your company?
  • Are You Overwhelmed? Tune-Up Time -- Are you getting the right stuff done in your workplace environment? How do you focus with so much going on? Do you often feel burned out & disengaged from your teams? Learn the tips, techniques, and strategies for getting more accomplished faster— and with better results. Tune-up and be extraordinary!
  • Disabled Doesn't Mean “Not Able” -- An estimate of more than 19% of people in the United States have a disability. In fact, according to the 2008 U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation, people living with disabilities represented approximately $1 trillion in aggregate income, which translates into more than $220 billion in discretionary consumer spending power. Hear from experts on how to make diversity and inclusion a cornerstone of your corporate infrastructure—from a customer and employee perspective.
  • Human Service Interaction in the Age of Technology -- Technology is trending toward mobile and online registrations and perhaps making the guest experience less personal. But for timeshare resorts, it’s all about human interaction, making a great first (and last) impression and creating a lasting bond with owners and potential owners, not only to generate tour flow for the sales department but also to encourage great reviews. Making a guest feel welcome starts with training and with hiring the right people.

These are just some of the many sessions happening at this year’s ARDA World Convention, and to make things easier for attendees we have the ARDA World App., which allows you to set-up your own schedule, read more about every session and receive the latest updates before and during convention.  So, download the ARDA World App for your iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone to stay up on the very latest, and be sure to visit www.arda.org/convention. We’ll see you next week!

Meet the Leaders for This Year’s Session at ARDAWorld

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Meet the Leaders for This Year’s Session at ARDAWorld 

ARDA World is quickly approaching, so it’s time to for you to decide what events, sessions and meetings you want to attend.  One of the most popular and informative sessions from previous years will be returning this year -- the Meet the Leaders general session, sponsored by Baker & Hostetler LLP.  This is open to all attendees.  Our panel of industry leaders will address topical issues ranging from the impact of industry consolidation to the secondary market – in what will surely be a robust discussion. 

Let’s meet this year’s panel: 

Don Harrill, CEO - Holiday Inn Vacations Club 

Mr. 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. He 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. 

Serge Rivera, President & CEO - ILG Vacation Ownership 

Mr. Rivera was just named President & CEO of ILG Vacation Ownership in November 2016.  As President & CEO his responsibilities include leading the vacation ownership development, marketing, sales, and resort operations for the recently acquired Vistana Signature Experiences, as well as for Hyatt Vacation Ownership. Prior to joining ILG, Rivera was most recently president of The Americas for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Robert Spottswood, President - Spottswood Companies, Inc. 

Mr. Spottswood is president and founder of Spottswood Companies, Inc., which has grown to become one of the leading real estate development, property management and hospitality businesses in the Florida Keys. Since 1992 Spottswood Companies has been responsible for the development of the Hyatt Vacation Club, Hyatt Sunset Harbor Resort, Hyatt Beach House Resort, Hyatt Windward Pointe Resort and many other hotels and resorts in the area. Today, Spottswood has grown his company to be one of the Keys' largest private employers.

Mark Wang, President & CEO - Hilton Grand Vacations 

Mr. Wang is President of Hilton Grand Vacations. Prior to joining the company, 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. 

Steve Weisz, President & CEO - Marriott Vacations Worldwide 

Mr. Weisz is President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation. As president of Marriott Vacation Club International, he has led the vacation ownership division and oversaw three brands under the Marriott Vacation Club International umbrella, including: Marriott Vacation Club, Grand Residences by Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club.  He has over 39 years of experience in the industry with Marriott.

With all of these great, knowledgeable leaders, The Meet the Leaders general session is something you do not want to miss! Be sure to put it in your schedule of events for 10:30-11:30 am Tuesday, March 28.



AIF Convention Preview

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AIF Convention Preview 

 As an integral part of the industry, the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) has a full slate of activities planned for the 2017 ARDA World Convention.  With a new location, this year in New Orleans, Louisiana, it is the perfect time for AIF to try some new and exciting ideas at convention.

First, we’ll be recording
the Fundamental Timeshare Sessions to refresh the on-line “Timeshare 101” education offering now available at www. aifeducates.org. So, for the industry professionals who can’t attend Convention, they will now have access to this great information that will aid in their professional development and career advancement.

In addition, we have a few events planned:

        On Sunday, March 26, the current LEAPS (Leadership Education Action Progression and Service) class will graduate at an invitation-only reception. The incoming LEAPS class members will also make their debut at this reception and ARDA LEAPS alumni, who now number more than 60, are also invited. The 2016-2017 LEAPS class will be presented during one of the general sessions, and their class project was also a new idea: a video showcasing the vacation ownership industry as a great place to begin and spend a career

         An important area of focus for the AIF is education, and at the Reimagining the Sales Process Forum on Monday, March 27 (9:30am-11:00am), students from
the University of Central Florida who received scholarships to attend convention will present their research on the topic to attendees.
    Begun just a few years ago, the Leadership Luncheon—open only to those who have earned ARP or RRP status—has quickly become an ARDA World favorite. Each year an industry leader, sponsored by Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp, inspires attendees to remain leaders and grow in their careers. This year, the Luncheon will feature travel powerhouse Roger Dow (president of U.S. Travel), and will take place on Monday March 27, 11:30am-1:00pm. A can't-miss!
    One event that’s not new (but very popular) is Interval International’s Party with a Cause (PWAC), a ticketed event to be held Tuesday,
March 28 at 9:00pm. Featuring top-name entertainment (it’s always a welcome surprise), the event is a benefit for the AIF and has helped raise nearly $425,000 over the years. 

Make sure to plan to attend as many AIF events as possible at this year’s ARDA World Convention, you’ll get to experience some new things while also participating in some of your old favorites.




The Lion’s Den

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 In partnership with Phocuswright, ARDA presents:   

The Lion’s Den   

An Interactive ‘Digital Meets Travel’ Pitch Competition   

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 from 10-11:30 am
Celestin Ballroom, The Hyatt Regency
Open to all ARDA World attendees. 


This year, ARDA World will be bringing back one of its most popular events from last year, The Lion’s Den, sponsored by Vacatia. Modeled after Shark Tank, you'll watch as a select group of six bold start-ups present their digital innovations and business plans to our panel of judges—the Lions of the timeshare industry—including three high profile CEOs and executives of Disney, Welk Resorts and Vacatia.

Our contestants include: 

  • Dayuse.com – Dayuse.com strives to make daytime hotel bookings available to more people by giving its customers the opportunity to enjoy a hotel room, as well as other services traditionally available to overnight guests only, in the daytime.
  • Hello Scout – A chat-based travel assistant that allows guests at boutique and lifestyle hotels to message on-demand with local assistants.  Even when they aren’t in the hotel, guests can message with their team of trained locals who respond instantly to help with anything from dinner reservations to tour bookings.
  • Suiteness – Their goal is to let anyone book exclusive luxury hotel suites they never knew existed, online. Suiteness has access to the most luxurious suites in the world, allowing you to experience amenities like private entrances, personal butlers, and even private pools. Never before have these suites been available for booking online, but with their help customers are able to get easy access to the perfect luxury suite tailored specifically to their every desire.
  • Transparent Intelligence - A data intelligence company that builds and maintains data analytics products for companies seeking a better understanding of the short term rental industry. Their technology is able to crunch huge amounts of data into information for many different uses and users in the hospitality industry.
  • Travelsify - Travelsify created the world’s first Hotel DNA content platform that characterizes every hotel by a unique weighted sequence of experience-defining metadata. By analyzing more than 100 million traveler and expert reviews, Travelsify has extracted 30 key Hotel DNA attributes that matter to travelers when booking hotels so that travelers can now reliably search and compare hotels worldwide to find the experience they want.
  • WayBlazer - The world’s first cognitive recommendation engine focused on delivering artificial intelligence to the travel industry. Bringing together IBM Watson and proprietary cognitive computing technology, WayBlazer’s AI analyzes cues and triggers from the traveler’s search to yield personalized hotel recommendations.

Our judges will evaluate the companies and, following a live audience vote, a winner will be announced! They'll gain massive exposure to members of the timeshare industry, feedback on their innovations, and it's all happening live at ARDA World 2017! 

Join us and cast your vote live alongside the judges! 


New Orleans: “What Awaits” with New Orleans CVB

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New Orleans: “What Awaits” with New Orleans CVB 

 By Kathryn Mullan  

I was fortunate enough to sit-down with Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB), to discuss what the attendees of ARDA World 2017 can expect from the great city of New Orleans, as well as what the city has to offer to the timeshare industry.

 Here’s part of our interview:

Is there anything special you’d like to say to the attendees at ARDA World 2017? 

Stephen Perry: Whether this is your first time to New Orleans or you’re a regular visitor, be sure to bring your sense of adventure and get ready to explore our historic, culturally rich and truly authentic city.

And while there are endless things to do in ourrenowned French Quarter, I encourage you to exploreour other unique neighborhoods—from the Bywaterto the Garden District, the Warehouse District toUptown, every neighborhood has a story to tell. TheCrescent City is not only the birthplace of jazz, it’s a one-of-a-kind destination, with award-winning cuisine in our 1,400+ restaurants, a rich history seen in our architecture, world-class museums, neighborhood tours, steamboat rides, and other memorable attractions and experiences.

What role does timeshare play in the New Orleans hospitality industry? 

SP: Every visitor has a valued impact on our economyand helps support the nearly 80,000 New Orleanians directly employed by the hospitality industry. The options presented through vacation rentals, timeshares and other diverse accommodations make New Orleans even more appealing for families, groups and extended stay visitors. A timeshare is a great way to get to know the city and experience it like a local. As New Orleans continues to attract more visitors each year, alternative accommodations have become an increasing segment of the hospitality industry.

 What, if anything, does New Orleans do to work with and support new timeshare projects? 

SP: The NOCVB works closely with hotel and vacation properties to continue developing the best accommodations and offerings for our visitors.As visitation continues to grow—particularlyfrom international markets—we will continue to support new projects that expand our inventory of available accommodations.

There has never been a better time than now to visit and discover the sights, sounds and flavors that make New Orleans so unique!  

 You can read the full interview in the recent February Developments Magazine – see it here. 

Advocating for Timeshare Across the Globe

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 Advocating for Timeshare Across the Globe 

By Charlene Small, ARDA 

 By definition advocacy means fervently supporting or recommending something—an organization, idea, industry—you name it. ARDA has not only embodied advocacy through countless legislative and regulatory successes for years but has also taken its advocacy efforts beyond state governments and Capitol Hill to the media, financial advisors, members, owners, other associations and consumers across the globe.

 This full-bodied advocacy method is needed more than ever, as we build a robust industry in today’s global economy.

Planting the Seeds 

ARDA’s advocacy efforts stem from the foundation of legislative and regulatory procedures that protect consumers, which were established in the early 1980s. Even before those laws and regulations took effect, the industry saw the importance of having rules and standards to govern themselves by and took appropriate steps to regulate their own business endeavors. By laying that groundwork, the industry created a product in which consumersare protected, and a competitive industry platform was established.

Building Relationships 

Creating strategic partners is a key advocacy tool to building a prosperous industry. Associations like ARDA create the platform that brings the right people together to solve problems and develop innovations.

Whether it is helping to establish a regional timeshare association in Asia, collaborating with TATOC on best practices in Europe, working alongside government officials and developers in St. Maarten on timeshare legislation, or simply acting asan ambassador for the industry, ARDA’s diverse advocacy efforts impact many constituencies around the world.

Global Insight: Local Impact 

Today’s global economy urges the removal of geographic borders, making the barriers to business relatively limitless. In fact, ARDA’s vision for the future of the timeshare industry concentrates on doing just that. ARDA aims to take the global insights we gain from our strategic partners, such as sister organization the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) and other organizations around the globe, to create even more advocacy efforts at local levels—wherever “local” may be.

Timeshare’s Bright Future 

Our industry provides the chance to experience a different culture, learn a little bit more about the world, and come back refreshed and enriched from the experience. And the greatest part about using timeshare for these experiences is that our products offer enough space for everyone in the family to comfortably enjoy the trip, a world of options for destinations to travel, and the value of knowing that they have a pre-paid vacation every year.

Especially now, with nearly $20 billion in total sales worldwide and timeshare in 121 countries, it’s an exciting time to be advocating for the industry on a global scale.