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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.