“Next Gen” & Innovation Focus Of Vacation Ownership Industry Annual Convention  

Education Forums, Best Practice Workshops Brought Timeshare Professionals Together at ARDA World 2014  

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WASHINGTON, DC – April 17, 2014 – Nearly 3,000 timeshare professionals and industry leaders gathered for the 2014 American Resort Development Association (ARDA) World Convention and Exposition at the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from April 6-10. This year’s ARDA World Convention focused on “Next Gen”: the next generation of products, customers, business models, and distribution sources.

ARDA members were joined by hundreds of international colleagues from more than 35 countries for educational sessions on how innovation is paving the way to educate the next generation about timeshare, and how the industry is responding to meet the needs of all travelers in today’s mobile environment.

“We were excited to have so many people in our industry embrace this year’s theme and share their business approach about reaching the next generation,” said Howard Nusbaum, ARDA’s president and CEO. “Learning from the best and brightest makes our industry poised to move forward together to reach the Millennial generation and continue to share why timeshare is a better way to vacation for so many travelers.”

Keynote speaker Scott Klososky, a business leader and social technology and trends guru, shared his insights with attendees about how technology is changing the world. Formerly a CEO of three successful tech startup companies, Klososky has applied his creative approach to business to capture the power and creativity of technology and how to share it in today’s evolving mobile world. “People are inundated with content today, so yours must be compelling and provide value to the consumer, or they will just tune you out,” said Klososky.

Attendees also heard from timeshare CEOs representing Disney Vacation Club, Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, and Welk Resorts on how the industry is evolving to meet the next generation of customers, technology, products, employees, and distribution channels. “Our developers are meeting the demands of the Millennial generation by providing more variety and flexibility in the products, as well as new ways to enhance the vacation experience,” said Franz Hanning, president & CEO of Wyndham Vacation Ownership and ARDA Chairman.

“Next Gen travelers increasingly rely on vacation opportunities where they can co-create their own experiences,” said Jon Fredericks, president of Welk Resorts. Resorts everywhere have increased their presence on social media channels, and now communicate with consumers when they are planning their trip, during their vacation, and after they return through contests, promotions, and events.

From virtual tours and points-based products to more and more owners sharing their vacation stories across social platforms, the industry is welcoming the opportunity to directly reach the next generation traveler. “The oldest of the Millennial generation turns 35 this year and is entering their prime family vacation years,  making them an important audience to engage with about the benefits of traveling with timeshare,” said Steve Weisz, president & CEO of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation.

Seventy three percent of adults are active on social media today according to a Pew Research survey, and many use social media to share their vacation experiences. “Clearly, technology is becoming more and more important when people make decisions about their travel,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club. “As an industry, we must continually enhance our use of online and social media to help our members engage with us —and with each other—in new and meaningful ways.”

The Convention also honored industry stand-outs through the ARDA Awards program, recognizing the best and brightest in the industry. A complete list of winners is available on ARDA’s Awards website.

This year’s Signature Sponsors included: American Express, Baker & Hostetler LLP, Capital One, Crystal Lagoons Corp., Diamond Resorts International, Hilton Grand Vacations, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Systems International (HSI), International Cruises & Excursions, Inc. (ICE), Interval International, Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, Oömbaga, RCI, ResortCom International, Starwood Vacation Ownership, Vacatia, and Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Inc.


 

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.