Mia Reid

ARDA World

This year’s annual ARDA World convention was held at Hilton Orlando, bringing our largest developer clients right to us! ARDA World brings leaders and professionals in the timeshare industry together to share ideas, network and get the latest updates on the industry.

“50 Forward” was the event’s theme, celebrating 50 years of advocacy, inspiration and success.

A Note From Our President

This year’s ARDA World conference was a huge success for our organization as we witnessed a new wave of leadership assume key roles within ARDA, driving the changes our industry will see for the next generation.

There has never been a stronger awareness of the importance for developers to put resale programs in place for their owners. We continue to see these “exit” and “cancellation” companies hit the industry hard and the message was clear:  we must all work together to control the conversation, offer solutions and protect owners.

The Timeshares Only and Fidelity Real Estate developer programs have already proved that it is possible to bridge the gap between the primary and secondary markets. While we have been tirelessly working hand-in-hand with developers to create liquidity in a safe and secure resale environment for owners, ARDA has simultaneously been collaborating with developers and demanding action from its members. The Coalition for Responsible Exit is just one example of their efforts, enlisting the top developers in our industry to set the example for their peers.

Now more than ever I feel we are on the right track to be part of a much larger shift, leaders in the resale industry impacting lasting change. Our mission, to legitimize the secondary market, is directly aligned with the future of the timeshare industry and I am excited for us to be part of this great movement.

The Passing of the Baton

Mark Wagng and Howard Nusbaum
Photo from the American Resort Development Association

ARDA recently announced that the current President & CEO, Howard Nusbaum is retiring after 20 years of dedication to the reputation and protection of our beloved timeshare lifestyle products. Day One of ARDA World included a celebration of Nusbaum’s success and farewell. On stage, Mark Wang, President and CEO of Hilton Grand Vacations as well as Chairman of ARDA honored Nusbaum’s leaving with a grandeur custom lei flown in from Hawaii, Nusbaum’s favorite place to vacation.

“Howard is one of those truly special people to work in the industry… He was always there and had time for us.”

Mark Wang, President & CEO of Hilton Grand Vacations

“This is emotional for me,” Nusbaum admits. “I think I get a little too much credit,” he continued, comparing his time as CEO of ARDA to being a conductor of an orchestra. “You have to have great music” to be a great conductor, and Nusbaum feels that his audience and community of individuals within the organization were the real music-makers. “All I do is just hit the baton.”

To conclude his farewell, Nusbaum wanted to make it clear that he was not leaving due to a lack of interest. If anything, he is more invested in the message of timeshare and vacation ownership. “The golden days of timeshare are ahead. The sharing economy is us. This is our time.”

Welcoming Jason Gamel

ARDA's new CEO Jason Gamel with Howard Nesbaum as he announced his retirement at ARDA World 2019

After an extensive nationwide search, we are welcoming ARDA’s new CEO Jason Gamel, Senior Vice President of Legal at Wyndham Destinations with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality and timeshare industries.

“I could not be more excited. He is someone I truly love, someone I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with, and someone that I am confident is going to take this platform to new and exciting levels” says Nusbaum before introducing Gamel to the stage.

Gamel was exuberant to be accepting his upcoming position as CEO. “I’m so glad this transition is happening here at ARDA World.”

“You’ve led us up to this point. The point of 50 Forward. I promise you, and all of you, I will help lay the groundwork for the next 50 and beyond.”

Jason Gamel, ARDA’s Incoming CEO

Regaining the Narrative

Timeshare leaders addressed tough issues at ARDA World 2019, such as timeshare exit and timeshare cancellation

The overarching setback in our industry for the last several years has been widespread misinformation about timeshare, how owners feel about timeshare and the issue surrounding timeshare exit.

“We as an industry lost control of the narrative. The current message has gone out of balance,” said Mark Wang. He cited that timeshare is outpacing hotels every year, with a 50% growth rate since 2010. That’s huge! Despite negative messaging that there is no way out of a timeshare once you own it, Wang believes “the industry’s in a much better place than it was in 2008.”

Cancellation and exit companies prey on the vulnerability and financial instability among owners looking for a way out. Howard Nusbaum wanted it to be clear that the most important solution to this is “nurturing the secondary market. That journey is not done. I’m proud of what we accomplished but there is more that has to be done.”

Not only are ARDA and its members working on giving owners positive, reliable resources when they need to make a lifestyle change, but the CEO of Wyndham Destinations Michael Brown shared the role Wyndham is taking in identifying the frauds. So far, Brown has taken down seven well-known exit or cancellation companies. As a result, two major lawyers have been disbarred.

Without reservation, an interesting point-of-view that Wang shared on this subject matter was this: “If the industry started today, we’d call it innovative.” Services that bring cost efficiency to other markets have the same model as timeshare, but our voice has been covered by negative messaging.

Marketing to Millennials

The short answer to whether or not we need to be preparing for the millennial generation is simply, YES. Are they here? Have we reached the cliff? Without a doubt, millennials travel more, spend more and are the future.

Bill Caswell answered these pressing questions to emphasize the need for change. Caswell is presently the Principal and Hospitality Practice Leader of North Highland, a global consulting firm that works with the top timeshare brands.

Millennials are the future of the timeshare industry

“The current consumer base is aging out faster than anticipated.”

Bill Caswell, expert on data analytics & Principal at North Highland

He says that the new consumer market is opting out of our traditional engagement model, meaning change must come to the way we interact with our consumers.

This was a particularly hot topic during day two of ARDA World’s Chief Marketing and Branding Officer Panel. Noah Brodsky, the Chief Brand Officer of Wyndham brought some especially interesting numbers to the panel.

Millennials are “adulting” as Famous Rhodes would say. Millennials are reaching the age of 38 this year. They have income, families and more responsibility than before.

“The journey is now starting on digital,” said Rhodes during the panel. Before consumers even step foot in a resort or make contact, “they’re going to research everything about your business… Give them content proactively so they don’t have to seek it. If you don’t give them the content, they’re going to find it.”

Staying up-to-date in tech is going to play a vital role in the growth of timeshare as we know it. Tom Nelson, President and CEO of Holiday Inn Club Vacations mentions that 55% of all timeshare bookings are done on a mobile device. Millennials are coming, and they want convenience, transparency and relationships with their favorite brands.

Is Timeshare a Dirty Word?

Is timeshare a dirty word?

You may have noticed that many brands and resorts have strayed away from “timeshare” in their advertisements, websites or sales pitches. With the popularity of exit and cancellation companies influencing a mob mentality that timeshare is bad, “vacation ownership” has been adopted as a new tactic.

Vacation ownership, timeshare–it’s all the same thing.

Howard Nusbaum asked the Chief Marketing and Branding Officers Panel at ARDA World what their stance was on timeshare vs. vacation ownership. Noah Brodsky was first to say that Wyndham is “timeshare positive.” In fact, a vast majority of potential customers either are neutral or positive about the word timeshare, so it makes no difference to them whether they are “timeshare” owners, or part of a “vacation ownership” club.

Sherri Silver, the Chief Marketing Officer of Hilton Grand Vacations isn’t for or against either, as long as it is consistent through every messaging avenue. To bring this messaging back to regaining the narrative, Famous Rhodes wants other leaders to own the phrase timeshare and put a positive message behind it.

Keynote Speaker David Nour: Market Disruptors Make You Better

David Nour Keynote Speaker at ARDA World 2019
From the American Resort Development Association

Every industry is changing constantly. New competitors enter the field, old ones are absorbed or re-branded. New consumer targets also force change upon business. “What got you here, won’t get you there” David Nour opened his presentation at ARDA World saying.

When we apply this to timeshare, it rings true. From the market crash and combustion in 2008, timeshare had to completely re-focus and change to stay relevant in the world. Every professional at ARDA World agrees that timeshare must be customer-focused and transparent to continue.

Today’s timeshare industry is complex, the timeshare business model has variations from brand to brand and at times can be hard to explain. When asked, “What do you do?” most people in our industry enter into a 10 minute explanation, over-complicating the real message. Nour’s advice to the hundreds of executives in the audience: “don’t dumb it down, just simplify it.”

People don’t want to know how… they want to know why. Why matters more than ever before.

David Nour, Principal at Nour Group, Business Relationship Expert and Best-Selling Author

Throughout Nour’s presentation, he reiterates that “to remain relevant, you must think differently.” Storytelling, meaningful relationships and building a brand culture are all part of the changes that have to come with the timeshare industry.

Nour is the author of several books on growth strategy and thoughtful leadership. He has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and regularly writes columns for The Huffington Post. Check out his full bio here.

ARDA World AIF Industry Research Update

Our go-to when it comes to all statistics and information we use for marketing materials and the vital information about our industry is the annual AIF State of the Industry Report. Here are some unreleased updates that we were able to have access to at ARDA World.

Key Metric20182017% Diff
Sales Volume$10.1 billion$9.6 billion+ 4%
# of timeshare intervals sold470,760431,120+ 8%
Sales price per interval$21,460$22,180– 3%
# of timeshare transactions563,300542,200+ 3%
Sales price per transaction$17,930$17,640+ 1%
Rental revenue$2.4 billion$2.3 billion+ 4%
80.8%81.4%– .7%
Avg maintenance fee per interval$1,000$980+ 2%

Subscribe to the Timeshares Only blog for a first look at all of the new tools and features coming soon to the new website!

Did you know that this year is the 49th anniversary since Earth Day was started? April 22nd raises awareness and advocates for the planet’s health every single year. It’s estimated that almost 1 billion people worldwide will come together to rally towards a more sustainable future. Take an afternoon to celebrate this environmental day while on vacation at a sustainable resort!

Buying a lifetime of vacations at a dream-like resort or with a luxury travel club is an exciting experience! You may already have a brand in mind, like Marriott Vacation Club or Club Wyndham. You might just have a list of must-see destinations, such as Hawaii or the Bahamas. Either way, it started with “I want to buy a timeshare.” Before whipping out your wallet, make sure you know what to expect: like timeshare maintenance fees or the closing service costs at the table.

LA is known for being the entertainment capital of the world. Although Los Angeles isn’t frequently touted as a kid-friendly destination, there’s actually a wealth of activities that the little ones can enjoy. Culture and the arts reign supreme here, but there’s also a great variety of theme parks throughout the area. Kid-friendly Los Angeles? Easy. Looking for family friendly places to stay, too? We got you covered.

The number one barrier keeping us from vacationing is cost associated with travel, and it makes sense. Who wants to spend thousands of dollars on airplane tickets, car rentals, activities and dining out? Not to mention, the high cost of hotels for cramped space makes an entire trip not feel worth it. It seems impossible to take a vacation on a budget. This is why so many people decide to opt for vacation or timeshare rentals.

Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas could very well be one of the best beach resorts in the world. It’s maybe even the best resort ever. Atlantis is an enormous resort complex comprised of six different types of accommodations. These include the Cove, Royal, Coral, Beach, Reef and Harborside suites. All of these options allow vacationers to choose the indispensable amenities they want during their stays. We’ll take a look at all of the amazing amenities that Atlantis provides guests to make it the best beach resort in the entire world.

Even in a growing industry such as vacation ownership, many people make difficult decisions to sell their cherished timeshares. Whether it is because of a change in financial circumstances or because vacation preferences have changed, sometimes even happy owners need a change of pace. Vacation owners looking to exit or cancel their timeshare contracts are then faced with confusing options. If you’re on the verge of making the decision to sell your property, you might be wondering: what is the best way to get out of my timeshare?

Have you ever wondered how professionals are able to sail around the world? What their secrets are to achieve this ultimate feat? It may seem impossible but even you can make those dreams a reality with Festiva Sailing Vacations. It’s an exclusive club that members can access sailing trips on luxury catamarans staffed with professionals to create picturesque vacations on the seas. Sailers can choose from four incredible destinations: the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, St. John & US Virgin Islands and Greece. Keep reading to find out how you can sail around the world with Festiva.

Vacationing affordably is so easy with timeshares. Membership networks, exchange programs as well as vacation ownership allow families to make memories at a fraction of the cost. Plan with TAN (Travel Advantage Network) timeshares is another awesome network that brings every corner of the world within reach. Specializing in lesser-known resorts in unique areas helps bring vacation affordability to the forefront of the industry.