Monthly Archives: July 2015

DORS–Christel DeHaan’s efforts to save futures!

Can we find a woman to admire more than our own beloved Christel DeHaan? I don’t think so! Read her letter to me:

One of the most gratifying aspects of my role as Founder and CEO of Christel House is sharing student success stories. Our kids around the globe are accomplishing great things and their lives are being transformed.

On June 5, we celebrated another milestone – this time for adult students in our Dropout Recovery School (DORS) program. On that day, twenty graduates – aged 18 to 56 – received their high school diplomas, including a mother and son.

Our students’ stories are unique, and their reasons for having dropped out of high school vary. But, all demonstrate important qualities that point to their future success, including a strong work ethic, determination and perseverance.

I applaud their courageous efforts, and thought you would enjoy this short video of our graduates telling in their own words what Christel House means to them.

 

How Garden & Gun Came Back, And Now Thrives – Folio:

Garden_Gun_logoA Q&A with Rebecca Wesson Darwin of Garden & Gun.

Source: How Garden & Gun Came Back, And Now Thrives – Folio:

As Publisher of Resort Trades, this article published in Folio (the B2B periodical for those involved in the business of publishing magazines), caught my eye. Garden & Gun not only has an unlikely title (not mention being somewhat unappealing to me, personally), but was launched in 2007 and yet made it through the recession. Rebecca Wesson’s response to how they survived was that they marketed themselves through the Internet. Another interesting point made in the article is that the publisher is extending the brand beyond traditional media and into areas like events and ecommerce.

These ideas are applicable to the resort world, as well. First, from the viewpoint of the resort operator wishing to promote sales, occupancy, rentals and resales; and second, from the standpoint of vendors and suppliers to the industry. Look for ways to use the Internet to attract buyers. Like Jay Baer teaches in his book, Youtility, “Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype.”

Now, Here’s More of the Story….

Resort Trades is a business-to-business news journal by and for the timeshare industry professional. Our “Faces & Places” section in the printed issue can only hold so much…there was plenty of news going on in June. Here is the full report from the F&P department in the July 2015 edition of Resort Trades. 

Financial holding company Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) conducted a survey of timeshare professionals on emerging trends and industry insights at the recent ARDA World 2015 conference in Orlando.

A few findings:

• 33 percent of those surveyed cited construction and development lending as most important for the industry, nearly triple the 12 percent response in last year’s survey.
• 30 of respondents expect the trend of renovation and modernization of existing properties to gain the most momentum in 2015, markedly down from last year’s 51 percent response.
• 50 percent of industry professionals expect points-based structures to generate the most interest in the next year, followed by travel club memberships (32 percent).

“With significant debt capital available in the bank and capital markets, we expect developers to move forward with financing their growth plans, and our Vacation Ownership Survey reflects that industry posture,” said Michael Szwajkowski, Executive Vice President, Capital One

“The timeshare market appears to be getting stronger in the United States and abroad,” said Jim Casey, Senior Vice President, Capital One. “Capital One is well-positioned to work with developers to take advantage of consumer confidence in the industry.”

Vistana Plans to Party Like It’s 1999

On June 16, 2015, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) announced the much-anticipated spin-off of its vacation ownership business into a separate publicly traded company. By year-end of 2015, Starwood Vacation Ownership will become Vistana Signature Experiences, Inc. So it appears that Vistana, which was acquired by Starwood in 1999, will return to its roots.

Since Vistana’s inception in 1980, the company managed to attract the industry’s best and brightest: Raymond “Rip” Gellein, Jeff Adler, David Broderick, Ron Hensel, Don Dubin, Larry Doll, Ron Sharp, David Bruce and Dick Drechsler (who later went on to author an autobiography about his cruising life after overcoming cancer, Manning Up In Alaska, which is available through Amazon).

“As we continue to work toward the successful launch of our company, we’re pleased to unveil our corporate name, Vistana Signature Experiences, which will take effect upon completion of the spin-off,” said Matthew Avril, Chief Executive Officer-Elect of Vistana Signature Experiences.

To view a cool video introducing Vistana Signature Experiences, go to their PR web site at http://www.starwoodvacationnetwork.com/news.

Cruz, Craycraft Make Their Moves

The new online marketplace for timeshare owners to rent and sell their vacation weeks, Switzerland-based weholi, has had the good fortune to tap Fermin Cruz to open their US operation as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Americas. Cruz brings a strong track record for driving growth and building business in global markets after his nine-year tenure with DAE (Dial An Exchange) and his tenure before that with ICE Gallery.

Cruz states, “I am looking forward to working with the weholi team. The Share Economy movement is growing and we need to embrace a new way of drawing a new generation of potential owners into resorts while helping current owners stay engaged and paying maintenance fees. weholi is building a platform and community to help do that. It’s exciting.”

Extreme Engineering, the world’s largest supplier of patented zip lines, climbing walls and adventure products for the amusement and resort industries, has also scored big! They’ve hired Bob Craycraft, who was formerly VP of industry relations for ARDA, to the newly created position of EVP of Resorts.

Bob was selected as one of the 2008’s “Power 25” individuals in the leisure travel industry by Aquatics International Magazine. He’s no stranger to the creation of fun!

“Adventure entertainment attractions have a similarity to water parks—without the water,” says Craycraft. “They fill an important need for resorts, especially those reaching out to a more youthful market. Actually, they are less expensive to operate than water parks and are an exciting amenity to add to existing and new developments. My familiarity with the products, the people and resorts in various regions of the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean make this a perfect fit for me.”

Awards & Recognition

According to Global Connections, Inc. (GCI), a developer, travel club fulfillment and service provider with distributors and sales centers located throughout the United States, nothing celebrates a vacation like great photo memories. From selfies on cell phones to sophisticated zoom lens digital cameras, we all like to record our trips and share with our friends. For Global Discovery Vacation Members those “pics” really paid off.

The contest, “Shoot for the Stars”, began in 2005 with just 30 entries. This year, Global Discovery Vacations and Vacation Quest Members submitted 900 photos in three categories: Family & Friends; Landscape and Wacky & Wild.

Stacey Gregory, Creative Director of Global Connections, Inc., says, “Members were awarded an array of prizes totaling more than $3500 including a $500 gift certificate for any Global product as first prize in each category.”

Sundance Vacations announced that CEO John Dowd was awarded Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEO recognition for 2015. Glassdoor, a jobs and careers marketplace, released its annual report highlighting the Highest Rated CEOs, this year recognizing top leaders in countries throughout North America and parts of Europe.

“When I heard about this award, I was so happy,” said Sundance Vacations CEO John Dowd. “Here at Sundance Vacations we always strive to be the on the cutting edge of the travel industry. Our revolutionary travel product is only amplified by the people that we have working for this company and to be honored by them, and to see that they agree with my vision for the future of the business, is an amazing feeling. I am honored to be named to this list and even more honored to be surrounded by the ones who make this company great each and every day, its employees.”

On the International Scene

Three of CLC World’s European resorts have won entry into TripAdvisor’s prestigious 2015 Hall of Fame having achieved Certificates of Excellence for each of the past five years – adding to an impressive roll call of awards made to CLC World resorts.

Hall of Fame accolades were awarded to: CLC Duchally (Scotland); CLC Hustyns (Cornwall) and CLC Monterey (Tenerife). Coveted TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence, awarded for consistently high scoring reviews and requiring scores of at least four out of a possible five, were again awarded to CLC Trenython Manor (Cornwall), CLC Apollonium Spa & Beach (Turkey), and San Diego Suites at CLC Club La Costa World (Spain) for 2015, joined by CLC Sunningdale Village (Tenerife).

VRI Management España, a subsidiary of VRI Europe, a joint venture between Interval Leisure Group and CLC World Resorts & Hotels, manages CLC World resorts in Spain and Tenerife. Others are managed by the company’s own resort management division.

Egypt

Worldwide exchange provider, DAE, announced a deal with Egyptian travel group, Tamaf Tours to service the company’s La Siesta Vacation Club members through DAE’s worldwide exchange membership.

“As resort developers and Vacation Clubs look to expand their services, they are looking to DAE for our innovative range of products and services that can deliver greater benefits to their members through our worldwide exchange network,” said CEO of DAE, Francis Taylor. “We are continuing our efforts to work with developers and tourist organizations within the region, such as Tamaf Tours, as we grow our local operation.”

Cabo

Vacation Resorts International (VRI), a provider of management and leisure services to vacation owners and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group (Nasdaq: IILG), announced that it has entered into a property management agreement with Los Cabos Golf Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. VRI will deliver a variety of services, including reservations and rentals handled through VRI’s reservations center; financial assistance in the areas of planning, budgeting, and forecasting, in concert with the developer; and communications between the developer and its members. In addition, VRI will oversee resort operations, such as front-desk check-in, housekeeping, and unit maintenance.

“We are proud to welcome Los Cabos Golf Resort to our property management portfolio. The resort’s stunning location and full range of amenities brings a highly desirable destination to our managed owners and loyal vacation rental customers,” said Tom O’Brien, senior vice president of resort operations for VRI.

South Africa

Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group (Nasdaq: IILG) announced the affiliation of L’Ermitage Chateau Hotel & Villas, an exclusive estate in the heart of the Cape Winelands near the village of Franschhoek. Located less than an hour away from Cape Town, South Africa, the area is known for being one of the most beautiful wine valleys in the world and has recently attracted international hospitality-based investment.

“L’Ermitage’s idyllic setting and prime location make it the quintessential Winelands experience,” said Darren Ettridge, Interval’s senior vice president resort sales and business development for Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia. “The town of Franschhoek has developed a reputation as one of South Africa’s culinary hotspots and is home to several of the country’s most celebrated restaurants, including the world famous Haute Cabriere wine estate and restaurant. This resort is a fitting inclusion in the impressive portfolio of developments by éLan Property Group across South Africa and Mauritius.”

Finland

The Investment Committee of the Board of Directors of Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading leisure hospitality provider, yesterday approved the exercise of its option to increase its stake in Holiday Club Resorts, Oy, Finland. Holiday Club Resorts is a major European vacation ownership company, with 30 resorts in Finland, Sweden and Spain.

India

SPI Software was selected by India-based Jukaso, which will use its cloud-based SPI Orange Enterprise software for its vacation ownership projects. With administrative offices in Switzerland and India, Journeys by Jukaso vacation ownership destinations include London, Dubai, Goa, Mussoorie, Nainital and in South India.

In Memoriam

Sadly, we learned that David Siegel, founder of Westgate Resorts, and his wife Jackie recently lost their teenaged daughter, Victoria. We are deeply distressed and wish to express our sincere sympathy to the Siegel family at this time.