Hershey RV Show focuses on houses with attached RV garages & great people!

RVers comment on Tim Wilson’s discussion, “RV Retirement in the Gardens,” calling it a Game-Changer!

Attendees at America’s Largest RV Show, scheduled for September 12-16, 2018, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, will have the opportunity to hear about the nation’s most highly acclaimed RV Retirement Community – the Gardens RV Village from the developer, Gardens’ CEO Tim Wilson. His seminar, “What is a ‘RV Homebase’ Community,” will take place Wednesday through Saturday, September 12-15, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Power Play room on the Concourse Level of Giant Center; and on Sunday, September 16, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Wilson has hosted a number of discussions about RV retirement before audiences nationwide, including at the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Rally & Expo in Gillette, Wyoming, and the Winnebago 2018 Grand National Rally in Forest City, Iowa, in July. Wilson’s presentation focuses on the choices available to RVers approaching retirement that will help them get the most from the RV lifestyle, build a network of like-minded friends, and maximize this stage of their lives.

Wilson is well known among RVers as CEO of the Gardens RV Village, a community of fine homes with fully attached RV garages, developed exclusively for couples in their retirement years who wish to live among others who share their passion for enjoying the RV lifestyle. The Gardens currently has more than 200 homes owned by RVers who originally came from all over the country.

“In the past twenty years, I’ve worked with thousands of people planning what I call ‘Phase III’ of their lives,” says Wilson. “While I’m not a licensed therapist, I can draw on many years of counseling RV retirees who are asking these questions.”

  • How will I be spending the last active years of my life?
  • What dreams have I longed to recognize and can I afford them?
  • Will the decisions I make strengthen or threaten my relationship with my spouse?
  • How can I best ensure our ongoing financial, emotional and physical health and get the most from the RV lifestyle?”

According to one resident, “Living in The Gardens RV Village has been a total game-changer for us. For one thing, we have been able to really get to know so many other people. Back in our former home, after the kids were grown, we found we just had no friends around us anymore. Many had moved or we just no longer had anything in common with others. Our friends in the Gardens are the most caring and supportive people; it’s like a big, extended family. We all share the common interest of RV travel, but we also find that we all like to get together; we love to gather. That’s so important at this stage of life!”

“This is the most common comment we get,” says Wilson. “Our homes are gorgeous, the attached garages are wonderful for preserving the life of the RV, and the rolling hills, water features, and landscaping is lovely; but it’s the people that make the difference.”

Tim Wilson is the Principal Broker of Gardens Realty LLC and oversees the property’s marketing, sales and construction activities. Gardens Realty LLC is a Tennessee licensed real estate firm dedicated strictly to serving The Gardens RV Village (License #00259765, 18 Our Way Drive, Crossville, TN 38555).

ABOUT THE GARDENS RV VILLAGE

The Gardens RV Village is a development of luxury homes with attached, fully enclosed RV garages, for RV enthusiasts who enjoy having a secure home base and a neighborhood filled with like-minded RVers. Centrally located on the Cumberland Plateau of Eastern Tennessee, its Crossville location offers the best of all worlds: quick and easy access to more than one Interstate; proximity to several major cities, including Nashville and Knoxville and a warm, friendly town of 10,000. Whether seeking an existing resale home or wishing to build-to-spec, buyers of a Gardens home will obtain a custom-designed home built by quality builders. For more information, visit Http:// http://gardensrvvillage.com, sign up for the monthly Property Report and call 931-456-7794. Visit The Gardens at 18 Our Way Drive, Crossville, TN 38555. #HersheyRVShow

4 Off-Beat Reasons to Visit Vegas (Besides Gambling)

Originally published at https://www.baytreesolutions.com/blog/2018/08/21/4-off-beat-reasons-to-visit-vegas-besides-gambling.

By Sharon Scott Wilson

I’ll admit I’m not much of a gambler. Let’s just say that my name isn’t on any casino’s list of big spenders. So when I first went to Vegas, I was expecting to be bored out of my mind. What a surprise! Now I go every year, anytime I have the opportunity. It’s become my go-to destination and gambling has nothing to do with it.

To me, Vegas is my yearly getaway from the daily grind, a way to rejuvenate myself. Who knows but that I might even be extending my life by a few years through my annual pilgrimage. Could it do the same for you? Maybe. Here’s my advice:

  1. Hone Your Fixation on Art

In Vegas, architecture is the prevalent artistic expression. If you stop to think about it, where else, other than in Disneyland or Walt Disney World, have the most brilliant illuminati in architecture been given such free reign?

If you’re like me, you’ll notice new details that will enrich the experience each time you visit. Day or night, a stroll down the Strip stimulates your own imagination. Where else do you find yourself imbued and inspired by the talent and genius of what may be the most creative designers and architects in the world, today? And guess what? As a timeshare owner, you essentially own a little part of this incredible town. Moreover, the view is ever-changing each time you come and (bonus here!) it’s at no extra charge! Once you own a timeshare in this bold, beautiful town, the world is your oyster….at least several artistic renditions of it are.

I wonder what archeologists finding the ruins of Vegas thousands of years from now will think. Will they be befuddled, or what?

On the one hand, they might find the classicism of ancient Rome in Caesar’s Palace with its Corinthian columns, carefully chiseled bas relief, and statues of toga-clad figures. (The columns in Caesar’s are reputed to be the tallest in the world, by the way.) According to Wikipedia, “Caesars Palace was established in 1966 by Jay Sarno, who sought to create an opulent facility that gave guests a sense of life during the Roman Empire.” Amazing to think that 52 years later, it’s still awe inspiring.

After exploring the Roman era iconography and statues, including a 20-foot statue of Augustus Caesar at the entrance, the group might next find the Paris Las Vegas with replicas of the Paris Opera House, the Hôtel de Ville, and the Louvre, along with its own Eiffel Tower.

Dig a little further and a team of future explorers might then stumble on other marvels. “Is this Venetian lagoon, surrounded by Italian Renaissance palazzos, and piazzas a desert mirage?” they might ask. They’ll be convinced they’ve been transported to the banks of Lake Cuomo in Italy by the time they reach the Bellagio where, 2,000 square feet of the lobby ceiling is covered with 2,000 of Dale Chihuly’s “Fiori di Como.” Actually, these delicate hand-blown glass flowers will likely be shattered by the hand of time before they see them; so you’d better go now!

  1. Go Wild; Go Native

Of course, residents of Sin City avoid the Strip like the plague. But, not us! However, once I’ve taken in a show or two, perhaps tried my hand at baccarat, and made the ‘scene,’ I’m ready for a change. That’s when I ‘go native.’

When Las Vegans want to party, they go to the Fremont Street Experience, a five-block entertainment district in the historic downtown area. I remember the city planners proudly restoring this section of what had been a pretty seedy area of town at least two decades ago. At the time, ‘historic’ was a euphemism for the run-down part of town; today, the area is an extraordinary mecca for fun seekers.

The spot defies description. You’ll feel the ‘wow’ factor as you start walking under the world’s largest video screen, which towers over the pedestrian mall. Called the Vida Vision, the screen is 1,500 feet long, 90 feet wide, and pumps out free light shows every night of the week as daredevils shoot out from underneath on 850-foot ziplines. Actually, the ziplines are for the chickens in the crowd. Above them at 1,750 feet are suspended “Zoomlines” upon which the truly insane can fly superhero-style as they are shot off from a 12-story slot machine-themed tower.

The Fremont Street Experience hosts free concerts, food and retail venues, plus “Fear the Walking Dead Survival,” an immersive, walk-through attraction that’s part thrill ride, part escape room, part maze and part interactive video game. And, of course, there are plenty of gambling and drinking opportunities throughout. Hilton Grand Vacations has a number of resorts located not too far from there, but you’ll want to drive or take a cab in my opinion.

  1. Go Native; But No-So-Wild

Ready for a more laid-back experience? Try a visit to Vegas’ diminutive Chinatown, located in the Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza, 4205 Spring Mountain Road. There you can pour through quaint little shops while you search for authentic Chinese arts and craft objects, jade pieces, and home decor items before taking a break for some tasty dim sum or spring rolls. There are almost a dozen eateries in Chinatown Plaza. For a break from traditional Chinese cuisine, you might want to try one of the mall’s other spots such as Kapit Bahay Filipino Fast Food (‘get it fast, but eat it slow’), Mother’s Grill for Korean BBQ or the Pho Vietnam Restaurant. Top it all off with a coffee and a pain au chocolate from The French Bakery for dessert. The prices are certainly more affordable than those on the Strip. You’ll have a little green left over for more shopping in the center’s almost 20 stores.

There are a number of quirky sites and museums in town that are off the beaten path. One of these, the Neon Museum, located inside the historic La Concha Motel, has an ever-expanding collection of retired Vegas signs and memorabilia. Remember the old Stardust sign? It’s here, resting in peace in the Neon Boneyard. How about the Hard Rock guitar? Yup…it’s here, too. In fact, the non-profit has managed to garner the funds to restore as many as eleven signs, despite restoration being a very involved and costly process.

Even the museum visitor center was, itself, saved from demolition in 2005 and brought to its new home at 770 Las Vegas Boulevard North. The shell-shaped building was designed by acclaimed architect Paul Revere Williams. Williams, who placed a significant stamp on post-WWII Los Angeles with his futuristic, spaceship-like design, was the first African-American ever to win the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal.

Be prepared to ‘check your weapons at the door’ if you’re planning on’ doing some time’ at the Mob Museum. Four floors of artifacts and informational materials focused on organized crime are packed into a Palladium styled building at 300 Stewart Avenue. You can climb the backstairs, slip into the Speakeasy, and explore how the mob rose to power in the devil-may-care days of prohibition. Carefully curated and informative displays take you through the years exploring how authorities are continuously challenged by malfeasants and manage to maintain the upper hand, despite evildoers’ worst intent.

You’ll need a safe harbor after studying the dark side.  Maybe you’d like to ‘make your escape’ as far as possible. In that case, I recommend the Westgate Flamingo Bay at 5625 West Flamingo Road. Flee to your one- or two-bedroom villa, unwind in your jetted tub, and sip on a cool glass of something…. Canadian whiskey or moonshine, anyone?

  1. Get Pampered

I doubt there’s another city in the world offering so many avenues to self-improvement and in a relatively compact area. One of my favorite resorts in the area is Marriott’s Grand Chateau for about a billion reasons, not the least of which is for their spa. It’s a splurge and probably the most expensive non-food-related activity I go for; but each time I visit, I take an entire day at the Aquae Sulis Spa, located right there at the resort. Schedule a facial and a massage toward the end of the day and plan on showing up as soon as the place opens in the morning to get more bang for the buck.

The name, aquae sulis, is Latin for “the waters of Sulis,” after a temple the Romans built over hot springs in Britain, in honor of the Celtic goddess. Sulis was thought of as a nurturing, life-giving Mother Earth type figure. It won’t take much to conjure up your own inner goddess (or, gentlemen, perhaps your inner Jupiter) as you luxuriate in a bubbling hot whirlpool bath and feel your muscles release their tension, all the while serenaded by soothing rhythmic tones.

You’ll want to pace yourself as you move from there to the indoor or outdoor pool, the steam room, or the sauna. Often there’s some confusion about the use of a sauna versus a steam room. The two originally arose from different cultures, but the objective of either one is to aid the body in sloughing off impurities by sweating. So it doesn’t matter if in which order you move from one to the other, if you wish to sample them both. You are King or Queen for the Day, so you can do like I do and use every, single, gosh-darned apparatus there, or you can do only one or none of the above. Just remember to keep yourself hydrated.

They have a wonderful, magic ‘gadget’ you can add to any facial, which produces what are called microcurrents.  Microcurrent is a low-level current that is said to mimic the body’s natural current to provide antiaging results. The idea of having my face shocked freaked me out, but they promised it wouldn’t be uncomfortable. They were correct. This is called the “non-surgical facelift” and I couldn’t agree more! My face feels amazing for days afterwards! I highly recommend it even if you’re not interested in antiaging.

These are just a few of the reasons I like to visit Las Vegas every year, if possible. At the end of my stay, I go home with no hangover, no regrets, and with money in my pocket. In fact, I return home feeling rejuvenated, educated, and energized.

Of course, I’ve only just scratched the surface; there’s so much to do in this vacation spot. How about you? How often do you manage to get to Vegas? How frequently do you manage to get away at all? When someone owns a timeshare week, it’s like having a prepaid vacation. You know you are guaranteed a vacation every year and it’s even better when you can make it into a healthful, restorative event filled with pleasant memories!

Originally published at https://www.baytreesolutions.com/blog/2018/08/21/4-off-beat-reasons-to-visit-vegas-besides-gambling.

Gardens RV garage & home

RV Retirees Encouraged to Visit Gardens RV Village

RVers Getting a Warm Welcome From Gardens RV Village HOA President 

Hello! I understand you may be considering a visit to the Gardens RV Village. As president of the homeowners association, I’d like to invite you to stay a while and meet some of our neighbors. I know you will find it a very welcoming, friendly place.

Gardens residents are pretty active people: Besides our love of travel and RVing, most of us are passionate about exploring other interests, too. From the outdoor types who like to motorcycle through the countryside, play golf, or hone their pickleball techniques; to those involved in arts and crafts who build model airplanes, restore antique vehicles, or become champion quilters, you name it! There’s a wide diversity of interests here.

And, of course, we are HUGE on get-togethers. After all, we’re RVers! There’s an unwritten agreement in the Gardens: If your RV garage door is open, that’s an invitation to visit. And forget about taking a ‘short’ walk through the neighborhood. People here love to pause and chat. It’s like time-traveling back to a more laid-back, genteel time when the pace of life was not so harried and you could take the time to get to know your friends.

My wife, Silvia, and I were attracted to the Gardens when we were looking for a retirement destination.  Our search began during my 32nd year of active duty service in the U.S. Army. I’m the type to carefully research options. Looking for an ideal location was no different.  Through an internet search for “houses with RV garages in Tennessee,” The Garden’s RV Village website came up. I shared it with Silvia and we changed our travel plans so we could drive there and see this interesting place I found on the internet.

The day after getting set up on “Homeless Hill” in the Gardens we took a tour of all the available homes for sale. After walking around the neighborhood and talking with all the friendly people, Silvia and I knew we had found the perfect place for us!

We couldn’t have found a more ideal, well-suited place. First, our money goes further by living in Crossville. Not to mention, there’s no state income tax on my pension. City and county real estate taxes are just about the most affordable in the country. But even more than that, we believe the quality of life we’re experiencing here, in the Gardens, is impossible to beat.

Almost all of your friends and neighbors here are retired. This makes it very easy to do things together any day of the week. We share ideas, experiences, and information with each other all the time. We play together, we work on projects together and we travel together. We help each other in so many ways. There is just no better place to be! I encourage you to come see for yourself. Most folks say their only regret is they did not come here sooner!

Sincerely,

Eugene Turpin, President
The Gardens RV Village Homeowners Association

Thank you, Gene, for sharing your thoughts! Readers interested in learning more about visiting Homeless Hill and seeing The Gardens, may visit their website at GardensRV.com

RV Retirement Home Base Seminar Schedule Announced

In a series of RV shows and rallies, Tim Wilson will be discussing choices available to RVers approaching retirement, ranging from keeping a home base to full-timing, and how to get the most from the RV lifestyle.

Wilson is well known among RVers as CEO of the Gardens RV Village, a community of fine homes with fully attached RV garages, developed exclusively for couples in their retirement years who wish to live among others who share their passion for enjoying the RV lifestyle.

Shown above: Tim Wilson, MBA, has been CEO of The Gardens RV Village, Crossville, Tennessee, for almost 20 years.

“In the past twenty years, I’ve worked with thousands of people planning what I call ‘Phase III’ of their lives,” says Wilson. “While I’m not a licensed therapist, I can draw on many years of counseling RV retirees who are asking a number of key questions.”

Tim will be speaking at the following events:

  • Monaco International Westward Ho! FMCA Pre rally, Gillette, WY, July 11-14, 2018
  • Family Motor Coach Assn Rally & RV Expo, Gillette, WY, July 18-21, 2018
  • Winnebago 2018 Grand National Rally, Forest City, IA, July 23-28, 2018
  • America’s Largest RV Show, Hershey, PA, September 12-16, 2018

“RV owners typically have retirement questions such as 1) How will I be spending the last active years of my life? 2) What dreams have I longed to recognize and can I afford them? 3) Will the decisions I make strengthen or threaten my relationship with my spouse? 4) How can I best ensure our ongoing financial, emotional and physical health and get the most from the RV lifestyle? 5) What are the pros and cons of home-basing, full-timing, snowbirding, work camping, and seasonal jobs?” says Wilson.

Tim Wilson is the Principal Broker of Gardens Realty LLC and oversees the property’s marketing, sales and construction activities. Gardens Realty LLC is a Tennessee licensed real estate firm dedicated strictly to serving The Gardens RV Village (License #00259765, 18 Our Way Drive, Crossville, TN 38555).

ABOUT THE GARDENS RV VILLAGE

The Gardens RV Village is a development of luxury homes with attached, fully enclosed RV garages, for RV enthusiasts who enjoy having a secure home base and a neighborhood filled with like-minded RVers. Centrally located on the Cumberland Plateau of Eastern Tennessee, its Crossville location offers the best of all worlds: quick and easy access to more than one Interstate; proximity to several major cities, including Nashville and Knoxville and a warm, friendly town of 10,000. Whether seeking an existing resale home or wishing to build-to-spec, buyers of a Gardens home will obtain a custom-designed home built by quality builders. For more information, visit Http:// http://gardensrvvillage.com, sign up for the monthly Property Report and call 931-456-7794. Visit The Gardens at 18 Our Way Drive, Crossville, TN 38555.

MEDIA CONTACT:
SharonINK PR & Marketing; Sharon@SharonINK.com

Celebrating Independence Day, Independent-LY!

By Sharon Scott Wilson

(Reprinted from Bay Tree Solutions Blog with Permission.)

In a workaday world, most of us occasionally get the feeling we’re trapped. Let’s face it: we’re just not taking enough time off from the daily grind to free ourselves from stress and lack of rest. As I write this, we are heading into the July 4th Independence Day holiday and you know what? I’ll bet many of us can’t remember when we actually took a week’s vacation!

According to an article written by Daniel B. Kline for “The Motley Fool,” @CNNMoney*, “Americans are self-defeating when it comes to vacation. A 2016 Bankrate study showed that more than 50% of U.S. workers give up at least some of their paid vacation days each year. On top of that, an earlier report in 2014 showed that 42% of Americans claimed they don’t take vacation time at all.

“That’s potentially bad for workers and their employers. Taking time off — whether it be a short break or an extended vacation — can help you function better at work. ‘There is a lot of research that says we have a limited pool of cognitive resources,’ Allison Gabriel, an assistant professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University told Entrepreneur [magazine]. ‘When you are constantly draining your resources, you are not being as productive as you can be. If you get depleted, we see performance decline. You’re able to persist less and have trouble solving tasks.’”

How about you? Are you longing to shake off those golden handcuffs? Perhaps it’s time to take a look at making a commitment to yourself and your family to take an honest-to-goodness vacation each and every year. In fact, maybe this your moment in which you begin to turn over the proverbial new leaf. You might even start to move forward by celebrating July 4th in a luxurious resort condo of your very own….At least, you can own a piece of one.

Call It Vacation Ownership; Call It Timeshare….But Most of All, Call It Freedom!

Ask anyone who owns points or a week at a timeshare resort and, invariably, they’ll go on and on about how much better it is to vacation in one, rather than staying in a hotel. It’s much more than a room! Most resorts have 2- and 3-bedroom units with living rooms, separate bedrooms with their own bathrooms, kitchens, dining areas, and balconies.

Family meals together are back in the picture. There’s no more stuffing your family into one hotel room to eat pizza on the bed! No way! You’ll have a fully equipped kitchen for those grab-it-and-go meals or to whisk up a big batch of spaghetti complete with Grandma’s spicy meatballs. If your family enjoys games, sports, swimming, or golfing, most resorts have enough choices of activities to fill the bill.

Oh! And speaking of Independence, did we mention your exchange privileges? You’ll have the freedom to explore a new destination every year if you’re the adventuresome type. Depending on the value of your vacation ownership purchase, it’s entirely possible to spend a week in Orlando one year, another in Europe the next, and yet-another in Hawaii or Bali after that! Or, you may prefer to reconnect with your loved ones in a familiar place for an annual reunion.

Vacation ownership allows you to invest in your happiness and in your relationship with your family by ensuring you take future vacations—and saves you money in the long run. Once you own a timeshare, your vacation choices are almost limitless. You can choose different destinations, resorts, and times of the year. Through exchange programs, you can select places around the world—for your family vacation, a girlfriend getaway, adventurous solo travel, a romantic retreat—whatever your heart desires.

Is It Too Late to Enjoy a Resort on July 4th?

Maybe not! The July 4th holiday falls smack-dab in the middle of the year; that’s “Week 26.” As I write this, it’s close to the last week in June 2018. If you were to purchase a floating week today, there may still be an opportunity to enjoy your first holiday in Week 26. Take a look at Bay Tree Solutions’ list of available weeks at Marriott Vacation Club and note: They are all floating. I’d urge you to call Bay Tree at 800-647-4130 for more specifics.

Imagine watching Independence Day fireworks light the sky over Cinderella’s Castle! At the time of this post, Bay Tree Solutions had several timeshare choices available in Kissimmee, Florida. Among them were some great bargains like the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort-East Village. Located on over 1,000 acres of mystical wetlands adjacent to the Walt Disney World Complex, the East Village of Orange Lake Resort offers luxury mid-rise condos overlooking the championship Arnold Palmer designed golf course. You can choose from two- or three-bedroom units that accommodate eight or ten people respectively, with full kitchens, private patios, washers/dryers, and flat-panel TVs. East Village amenities include golf pro shop, sports bar, pools and spas, and a fitness center. Plus, Orange Lake Resort owners and guest enjoy access to amenities at the other three villages: West Village, North Village, and the newest River Island. Browse East Village timeshares for sale by owner now to save thousands!

Or, what could be more in keeping with the Spirit of ’76 than a vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia? From historic sites to roller coasters of great heights, there’s something for everyone. Did you know that General George Washington assembled the Continental Army in Williamsburg in 1781 for the siege of nearby Yorktown? From there, his ragged team fought what was, at the time, the largest military organization in the world and won the war for American independence. The famous attorney, planter, and orator Patrick Henry, known for his brave statement, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” had his plantation nearby. The town’s newest timeshare resort, Patrick Henry Square, was given the moniker in honor of the early patriot.

Perhaps you are reading this article after the 2018 Independence Day has come and gone. Well then, this is the perfect time to start planning for next year…or even, next month! It’s never too late to declare your own independence from drudgery and commit to happiness!

*http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/08/pf/jobs/taking-vacation/index.html

Online Marketing on Tablet

Recap: Online marketing techniques you must try in 2019!

By Sharon Scott Wilson

We posted these tips last year and think they are applicable now. Here’s what we said then:

It’s easier to catch a scampering mouse than to stay current with Google’s mercurial algorithm. Plus, experts say a goldfish has a greater attention span than a human in today’s online environment. That means you have less than eight seconds to make an impact! But does this make marketers in the resort industry give up on online marketing? No way! Your attempts may not be as trumpeted (pardon the pun) as often as those from the Tweeter-in-Chief, but here are a few tactics to help you enhance your game:

Dramatic messaging

People respond emotionally, which means you still need to follow the strictures of the human psyche. This is where even a small company can get ahead if you just use your noggin:

  1. Your blogs, your collateral, and your social media will be most effective when you tell a story featuring people. Touch them! Reach them on that emotional level.
  2. Your business is NOT a commodity; it’s unique and special. Make your customer feel that. Let them know they are part of an inner circle; they belong.
  3. Dramatic comes from the root word, “drama,” after all. So, build some in. Use rituals, symbols and events whenever possible. Ask your typical realtor. They will tell you that the words “Grand Opening” or “Super Sales Event” draws a crowd, even though the prices and offerings are the same on a non-event day.
  4. Being different is better than being better (unless you get weird). Why, one might ask, does the rather ordinary squirrel picture labeled “cute and friendly” get 158 ‘likes’ while the squirrel brutally taking down a stuffed animal and ripping it to shreds gets 1,000? I rest my case.

Weaponize your website

Blog! Analysts who track Google’s algorithm processes say that blogging – optimally with 1500-word-or-greater posts, complemented by a mélange of social media interaction, all with the intent of driving traffic to your website, will rule in 2018.

Install landing pages. (Check out www.instapage.com or www.hubspot.com for the latest on these.) Create a calendar for when you will blog, post to social media, and buy pay-per-click (PPC) ads. (By the way, explore PPC. It is instant SEO [Search Engine Optimization] bait.) As for the site itself, the most valuable real estate is the left-hand side. Get viewers to your call to action with a solid landing page. Hold in mind, viewers read websites in the shape of an “F.” (Who knew?)

Sock-it-to-‘em headlines

As far as what to include in your blogging and socializing, the number one rule is to pay careful attention to writing attention-grabbing headlines in your blog and social media posts. The best headlines create surprise, ask a question or create curiosity. Use your keywords in headlines and the text whenever possible.

Use pictures everywhere. Pictures and videos with people telling their own stories, your story…any story…are what’s hot these days. These are tools to make your stories come alive and help prospects see themselves as part of your world.

Free online marketing advice

There are a number of free or low-cost software systems to help schedule, manage and track posts, including buffer.com, zoho.com, hootsuite.com, and postplanner.com.

You can find free guidance for social media best practices from sites such as salesforce.com, mashable.com and guykawasaki.com. At least for now in 2018, you’ll need a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and perhaps to LinkedIn and Google+.

If you’re delving into online marketing for the first time, rest assured, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take it a step at a time, give yourself a pat on the back, and remind yourself occasionally about how far you’ve come.

10 Ways Your Brain is Being Hijacked

In twelve-to-fifteen easy minutes (more if you’re a ‘stop-and-think-about-it’ kind of person), you can learn ten ways in which Tristan Harris says online product designers try to exploit your mind’s weaknesses. In his 2016 blog, “How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind,” Harris – a co-founder of Center for Humane Technology, Ex-Google Design Ethicist, and one-time CEO of Apture (a company which was acquired by Google) – shares how the game is played to grab your attention and steal your valuable time.

Courtesy of the site, thriveglobal.com, it’s an easy read that shares a wealth of hard-earned wisdom. In 2016, Tristan left Google to work full-time on “reforming the attention economy with the non-profit initiative, Time Well Spent. Time Well Spent aims to catalyze a rapid, coordinated change among technology companies through public advocacy, the development of ethical design standards, design education and policy recommendations to protect minds from nefarious manipulation.” Some highlights he shares about how our dependence on technology are worth thinking about. He calls them “Hijacks”:

Hijack #1: If You Control the Menu, You Control the Choices. He points out that when presented with a list of choices, people rarely ask why their thought processes have been limited to just those specific items.

“The more choices technology gives us in nearly every domain of our lives (information, events, places to go, friends, dating, jobs) — the more we assume that our phone is always the most empowering and useful menu to pick from,” he says. “Is it?”

He argues that technology is reframing the way we perceive our world and the choices we are able to make each day. “By shaping the menus we pick from, technology hijacks the way we perceive our choices and replaces them with new ones. But the closer we pay attention to the options we are given, the more we’ll notice when they don’t actually align with our true needs.”

Hijack #2: Put a Slot Machine In a Billion Pockets. Just as gambling is addictive when the occasional win hits the addict’s pleasure center, another way to hijack your attention is to throw in some sort of reward now and then. “When we pull our phone out of our pocket, we’re playing a slot machine to see what notifications we got,” he suggests. “When we pull to refresh our email, we’re playing a slot machine to see what new email we got. When we swipe down our finger to scroll the Instagram feed, we’re playing a slot machine to see what photo comes next. When we swipe faces left/right on dating apps like Tinder, we’re playing a slot machine to see if we got a match. When we tap the # of red notifications, we’re playing a slot machine to what’s underneath.”

It’s easy to see why Americans typically check their email an average of 150 times a day!

Hijack #3: Fear of Missing Something Important (FOMSI). The chance you’ll miss something important is perhaps only one percent, argues Harris. “If I convince you that I’m a channel for important information, messages, friendships, or potential sexual opportunities — it will be hard for you to turn me off, unsubscribe, or remove your account — because (aha, I win) you might miss something important.”

What an enormous time-waster! Harris says, “Imagine if tech companies recognized that, and helped us proactively tune our relationships with friends and businesses in terms of what we define as ‘time well spent’ for our lives, instead of in terms of what we might miss.

Hijack #4: Social Approval. We’ve been taught all our lives to “speak when spoken to.” We find it impossible to resist providing a response to being tagged, liked, befriended, or sent a comment.

Harris observes, “Everyone innately responds to social approval, but some demographics (teenagers) are more vulnerable to it than others. That’s why it’s so important to recognize how powerful designers are when they exploit this vulnerability.”

Hijack #5: Social Reciprocity (Tit-for-tat). Following closely is our sense of responsibility to reciprocate when we perceive someone (or some entity) has given us a favor of some kind, such as following us on Twitter or liking us on Facebook. “Email, texting and messaging apps are social reciprocity factories. But in other cases, companies exploit this vulnerability on purpose.”

“LinkedIn is the most obvious offender,” he says. “LinkedIn wants as many people creating social obligations for each other as possible, because each time they reciprocate (by accepting a connection, responding to a message, or endorsing someone back for a skill) they have to come back to linkedin.com where they can get people to spend more time….”

“Imagine millions of people getting interrupted like this throughout their day, running around like chickens with their heads cut off, reciprocating each other — all designed by companies who profit from it. Welcome to social media.”

Hijack #6: Bottomless bowls, Infinite Feeds, and Autoplay. We’ve all been there: You go to watch a cute little kitty video and the next thing you know, an hour has passed and you’re watching a Beyoncé video.

“Tech companies exploit the same principle. News feeds are purposely designed to auto-refill with reasons to keep you scrolling, and purposely eliminate any reason for you to pause, reconsider or leave.”

Hijack #7: Instant Interruption vs. “Respectful” Delivery. Companies have learned to float in or pop up messages that demand a response before the user feels free to return to the original content.

“Given the choice, Facebook Messenger (or WhatsApp, WeChat or SnapChat for that matter) would prefer to design their messaging system to interrupt recipients immediately (and show a chat box) instead of helping users respect each other’s attention.”

Harris observes how the increased incidence throughout social media and on websites is becoming more than just a nuisance. “The problem is, maximizing interruptions in the name of business creates a tragedy of the commons, ruining global attention spans and causing billions of unnecessary interruptions each day. This is a huge problem we need to fix with shared design standards (potentially, as part of Time Well Spent).”

Hijack #8: Bundling Your Reasons with Their Reasons. “Another way apps hijack you is by taking your reasons for visiting the app (to perform a task) and make them inseparable from the app’s business reasons (maximizing how much we consume once we’re there).”

“For example, in the physical world of grocery stores, the #1 and #2 most popular reasons to visit are pharmacy refills and buying milk. But grocery stores want to maximize how much people buy, so they put the pharmacy and the milk at the back of the store.

“In other words, they make the thing customers want (milk, pharmacy) inseparable from what the business wants. If stores were truly organized to support people, they would put the most popular items in the front.”

“Tech companies design their websites the same way. For example, when you you want to look up a Facebook event happening tonight (your reason) the Facebook app doesn’t allow you to access it without first landing on the news feed (their reasons), and that’s on purpose. Facebook wants to convert every reason you have for using Facebook, into their reason which is to maximize the time you spend consuming things.”

Harris wants us to imagine a more humane tech world. “Imagine if web browsers empowered you to navigate directly to what you want — especially for sites that intentionally detour you toward their reasons.

Hijack #9: Inconvenient Choices. “Businesses naturally want to make the choices they want you to make easier, and the choices they don’t want you to make harder….

“For example, NYTimes.com lets you “make a free choice” to cancel your digital subscription. But instead of just doing it when you hit ‘Cancel Subscription,’ they send you an email with information on how to cancel your account by calling a phone number that’s only open at certain times.’

Who hasn’t run into this kind of scenario?

Hijack #10: Forecasting Errors, “Foot in the Door” strategies. It’s the age-old bait-and-switch technique and it’s becoming more and more commonplace. “People don’t intuitively forecast the true cost of a click when it’s presented to them,” says Harris. “Sales people use ‘foot in the door’ techniques by asking for a small innocuous request to begin with (‘just one click to see which tweet got retweeted’) and escalate from there (‘why don’t you stay awhile?’). Virtually all engagement websites use this trick.

“Imagine if web browsers and smartphones, the gateways through which people make these choices, were truly watching out for people and helped them forecast the consequences of clicks (based on real data about what benefits and costs it actually had?).”

That’s why Harris added an estimated reading time of twelve minutes to the top of his post. “When you put the “true cost” of a choice in front of people, you’re treating your users or audience with dignity and respect. In a Time Well Spent internet, choices could be framed in terms of projected cost and benefit, so people were empowered to make informed choices by default, not by doing extra work.”

“We need our smartphones, notifications screens and web browsers to be exoskeletons for our minds and interpersonal relationships that put our values, not our impulses, first. People’s time is valuable. And we should protect it with the same rigor as privacy and other digital rights.”

Your Summer (Plus, a Lifetime of Enjoyment) Starts Here!

Reprinted with permission, Bay Tree Solutions, June 2018.

Memorial Day sales may be over for retailers, but when it comes to buying a week or points at a vacation ownership resort, bargains are still available! Start your summer out right. In fact, if you move quickly, you can get a last-minute steal and enjoy a week at one of the nation’s top resort destinations right away!

But before buying, you might do a little soul-searching: Are you and your family looking forward to taking a little R&R time each year to enjoy one another’s company and get away from the stress of day-to-day concerns? Do you feel that giving yourself and your family the chance to grow closer together by building precious memories should be a priority? If so, then buying a timeshare/vacation ownership interest will be a great first step to ensuring this quality of life for the ones you love. Spending your hard-earned money on hotel rooms each time you take time off is often an inhibitor to actually doing so. Here are some of the reasons why vacation ownership may make sense for you:

Prepaid vacations – When you check out at the end of your vacation, your bill is “0,” nada! You already will have paid for your stay and, oftentimes, you will have saved money. Plus, there’s no up-charge for extra people. In many cases, a resort apartment will have beds for as many as ten people. And, because the condos have kitchen facilities, a family can easily save more than $100 a day by stocking up the refrigerator and relaxing at home! As an owner, you will get the first choice for renting unused time at true bargain owner rates.

Take a look at a recently listed bargain-price timeshare at Tanglewood Vacation Villas in Pottsville, Texas, for instance. For only $3,000.00 (and the sellers say they are even willing to negotiate), you can easily afford this 2-Bedroom/2-Bath deeded, “floating” week! (When banked with Interval International weeks, you can enjoy a two-for-one exchange privilege!)

Tanglewood Resort is located on Lake Texoma, away from the bustle of the city, approximately one hour’s drive north of Dallas. Guests can enjoy an 18-hole championship golf course. With over 500 miles of shoreline, Lake Texoma offers some of the best striper fishing in the world. Three swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, day spa, and, with the addition of Barnacles Sports Bar, two full-service restaurants also are available. All one- and two-bedroom units have a full kitchen, laundry facilities, and a private hot tub.

No more pizza on a bed! Staying in a timeshare resort condo provides you with private bedrooms, kitchen and dining accommodations, and includes housekeeping at most of the better resorts. Often, a larger resort will have several different restaurant offerings, ranging from casual hamburgers poolside or sandwiches in the golf course clubhouse to fine dining.

One such resort is Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. The mammoth 1450-acre property offers the Tradewinds Restaurant and Bar, Currents Cafe at River Island Exchange, The River Island Grilling Company, The Legacy Bar & Grill, Breezes Restaurant & Bar, and Anchors. Who’s going hungry, here? Other amenities include the marketplace, tennis, fitness center, and excellent golf course facilities. The Orange Lake Resort complex offers a lakefront watersports center, many pools and spas, and the new River Island water park area with a lazy river.

You’ll have to hurry to get this one, as Orange Lake’s amenities and its proximity to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios make it a hot-ticket item. At the time of this writing, BayTreeSolutions.com was offering the deeded week “37” in the West Village section for $8,500.00. That’s the second full week of September, with the option to “float” during the red season! You will have the ability to exchange through Holiday Inn Club Vacations as 96,000 points per year… This particular unit may have been snapped up by the time your read this, but don’t worry. Bay Tree Solutions has other other excellent bargains available.

Entertain the ‘troops.’ In addition to swimming pools and tennis courts, many resorts offer a host of other activities including horseback riding, canoeing, karaoke, and more. Most resorts provide interactive games, activities for kids and adults, and tours of local hot spots. Spend your time enjoying vacationing. Save the hours and hassle of planning, because it has already been done for you!

Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort in Gatlinburg comes to mind when thinking of a hugely popular destination. At the moment, Bay Tree Solutions is advertising a 2-Bedroom/2-Bath July 4th week for only $5,000.00 or best offer! This is a really good deal. The resort backs up to nature trails, which take you straight from your cabin into the densely wooded forest of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, adjacent to the resort property. Guests enjoy two large swimming pools during warmer weather, each with a six-person in-ground hot tub. With Dollywood and other attractions nearby, the kids will find it really, really hard to be bored!

Exchange, Rent, or Sell — Most resorts are allied with one of the large exchange companies, RCI or Interval International, which provide many different alternatives for getting the most out of your timeshare. Many resort management companies will help you rent your unit/points if you can’t enjoy your ownership privileges for some reason. The more you learn about your vacation ‘product,’ the more you will come to enjoy the great flexibility that comes with your timeshare. You can exchange time at a deeded property or utilize your points (depending on your purchase-type) to travel to vacation destinations throughout the world! And should you decide you are no longer interested in owning your timeshare, you can always put it up for sale by advertising on www.BayTreeSolutions.com. Just remember to purchase wisely in the first place, as timeshares do not typically appreciate in value.

Another very popular resort destination is Branson, Missouri. Branson’s Nantucket, perched on the coast of Table Rock Lake, has a one-bedroom unit available. This 1-Bedroom/1-Bath Branson’s Nantucket timeshare is a deeded, “floating” week during Platinum Season! Exchange through RCI as 51,000 points per year, which is enough for larger 2- and 3-bedroom units during the off-season. Plus, the points may be exchanged at over 7,500 resorts worldwide.

Branson is known as the “live entertainment capital of the world.” Branson’s Nantucket offers luxurious accommodations with convenient access to internationally known attractions, including water parks, go-carts, miniature golf, wineries, and shopping. Visit famous Silver Dollar City, which features rides, attractions, crafts and a wide variety of live entertainment. Enjoy the view of Table Rock Lake off the deck of every unit while you and your loved ones watch the sunset. The next day, you can head out to enjoy boating, water-skiing, and fishing.

If you and your family or friends plan to vacation each year, timeshare makes great financial sense while offering superb facilities. Remember, buying timeshare is not a financial investment; it’s an emotional and spiritual one…a chance to ensure you will be able to take some precious time to build lifelong memories with loved ones and be able to put the worries and cares of the world into focus.

 

Gardens RV Village to Exhibit at Several FMCA Expos

The Gardens RV Village — a community of luxury homes exclusively developed for RV owners — plans to exhibit at various expos being presented by the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA). This year will mark the 100th such expo to be presented by the association. Below is the announcement of upcoming events.

FMCA Announces Expos

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FMCA has booked locations for its 2019 conventions.
This summer, FMCA will visit CAM-PLEX Multi-Event Facilities
July 18 through 21 for its 98th convention.

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Cincinnati, OH – June 2018 / Newsmaker Alert / Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), a Cincinnati-based international association for RV owners, has announced the dates and locations for its conventions in 2019.

FMCA will be making a return visit to a popular venue for the association’s 99th International Convention and RV Expo – the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia. The March 13 through 16, 2019, gathering will mark the 11th convention FMCA has hosted at this middle Georgia facility, which FMCA leaders describe as tailor-made for an FMCA event.

“We haven’t hosted a convention at the same venue two years in a row since the early days of FMCA. So, this is a bit of a departure from the norm, but Perry is such a fantastic facility and meets our needs so well that we have decided to go back there next year. Meanwhile, we’ll be exploring other potential locations for future winter/spring events,” FMCA national president Jon Walker said.

The location of the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter, just off Interstate 75, and the usual timing of the gathering, as many snowbirds are heading back home, play a role in the success the association has with events held at this facility. A number of the group’s largest events have taken place there, most recently in March 2018.

“The staff at the fairgrounds are great to work with,” noted FMCA executive director Chris Smith. “And the facility has made substantial improvements over the years to help accommodate FMCA events, including adding roadways and drainage in RV parking areas. Not only that, but the community rolls out the red carpet to welcome FMCA families. So, we’re looking forward to being in Perry again next year,” he said.

Summer 2019 will find FMCA members in the “Magic City” – Minot, North Dakota. RVers will gather at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds August 14 through 17, 2019, to celebrate a milestone in the association’s history – FMCA’s 100th International Convention and RV Expo.

“FMCA has hosted conventions at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds three times in the past, most recently in 2005; so, this will be a long overdue return visit,” said FMCA events director Doug Uhlenbrock. “Minot offers a small-town feel with big-town amenities and attractions and will make a great destination for this special celebration of FMCA’s 100th convention.”

Registration for the Perry, Georgia, convention will begin on September 12, 2018; registration for the Minot, North Dakota, convention will begin on February 13, 2019.

RVers need not wait until 2019 to join the fun. Registrations currently are being accepted for FMCA’s 98th International Convention and RV Expo, set to take place July 18 through 21, 2018, at CAM-PLEX Multi-Event Facilities in Gillette, Wyoming. Various registration options are offered.

FMCA international conventions include an RV Expo that showcases the latest RV models, as well as booths filled with RV-related accessories, components, and supplies, plus companies offering services RVers need and want.

When they aren’t shopping, attendees can take part in seminars about topics ranging from RV driving and towing tips to microwave-convection cooking and satellite television for RVs. Approximately 100 different sessions are held, so plenty of educational opportunities present themselves. A variety of entertainment options are offered as well.

To learn more about FMCA events, visit FMCA.com or call 513-474-3622 or 800-543-3622.

About Family Motor Coach Association
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the use of self-contained recreation vehicles (RVs). The association maintains its national headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently has more than 75,000 active member families. FMCA offers its members a number of benefits, including a subscription to its monthly magazine; a medical emergency and travel assistance program valued at $105 per family; a tire purchasing program; group rates on a roadside assistance program and on RV and auto insurance; and discounted rates for RV tours and caravans. Perhaps the most important benefit of FMCA membership is the camaraderie and friendships that develop among people enjoying the common interest of RV travel. The organization can be reached at 513-474-3622 or 800-543-3622 and on the web at FMCA.com.

Media Contact:
Pamela Kay
FMCA
Director of Communications, Publishing
800-543-3622 ext. 234 or 513-474-3622

4 Reasons Why Blogging is Still Relevant

(Reprinted with permission from the May 2018 edition of Resort Trades magazine.)

By Sharon Scott Wilson

When someone first came up with the use of blogging as a marketing tool, the business world practically swooned. Here was a low-cost solution for connecting with your audience and building relationships. The concept originally surfaced in 1994 when a college student created a website in order to get his writing online. In a few years the term “web log” was shortened to “weblog” and, eventually to just simply “blog.” By 2002, blogging had arrived, complete with its very own search engine, Technorati. (The website stopped indexing blogs and assigning authority scores in May 2014 after its creators launched a separate online publishing and advertising site.)

During the following 16 years, blogging became a veritable Fourth of July celebration. You couldn’t stop the fireworks as ever-greater advancements set an increasingly higher bar. Clever marketers were adding video, introducing landing pages, and floating advertising in front of the viewer, with increasingly more complex gimmicks. But lately, social media is the new darling in online marketing.

It begs the question; is blogging the dinosaur, the buggy whip…the Princess phone? It seems now we are being told to dedicate our best fireworks to our social media platforms. We’re expected to expand our presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Exhausted content providers are beginning to wonder. Given the fact that we are operating at top speed and actively using the most current social media tools, are our blog sites really all that useful? Are they relevant?

You bet! And here’s why:

  1. You will optimize your website.

In the mid-90s, I remember being advised that I could outwit Google and boost my search result ranking by adding a lot of descriptive tags and metadata to a website. At the time, we would cram keywords into our copy like a contestant at a hot dog eating contest. Today, that technique would create a blackball situation for your brand, not to mention angering impatient readers unwilling to wade through layers of unnecessary, extraneous copy. True, I still advise you to use keywords when possible, particularly in headlines. The idea is to avoid using nonsensical and obvious ploys.

Instead, today’s SEO experts have learned their lesson: go for quality, rather than quantity. The ideal blog garners a loyal audience, which values your content and will, therefore, share it with others in their community. If instead you use an inauthentic, disingenuous approach, they’ll drop off the radar faster than UFO sightings in Phoenix…which brings us to our next point.

  1. You will connect with “the right” customers more frequently.

It may be argued that creating connections and building a community of followers is what social media is all about. But even the most ardent suitor would need more than 280 characters to properly woo a mate. In order to position yourself as an expert, you need good, solid content. Plus, it’s important to be consistent. You’re not going to build much of a loyal following if you let months go by without communicating. On the other hand, a reader will drop you in a New York minute if you are dishing out self-aggrandizing, boring or purposeless drivel. We’ve all been there: We wait until the last minute and throw up a quickie post that might possibly turn people off, rather than add value. The best way to avoid slamming out a loser post like this is to create a list of topics and put together a schedule for when you’ll post them.

  1. Your archived content continues to attract visitors to your website.

Your blog posts remain on your site and are available to search engine web crawlers, conceivably, forever. You may be creating a ton of content each week for your social media platforms. Hopefully, your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest “Likes” and “Friends” have led viewers to click through to visit your website. Good for you! But for continued longevity, you must build on that by creating an archive of material that lives forever and ever.

Your job is to continue to ‘feed the beast’ so people will find your posts on Google and click to your site to learn more. Not only does this decrease the likelihood of users getting distracted by their Facebook feed or extraneous Tweets, but it also increases the amount of time they remain on your site and comb through your pages – a huge factor in the working of Google’s analytics machine.

  1. Your blog can promote interaction with customers.

Don’t worry if you don’t get a lot of comments at first, or your blogs are only getting comments from spammers. This doesn’t mean you’re not getting read by prospective customers. After all, do you always leave comments after reading an article online? Most people don’t, even if they are keenly interested. Depending on your audience and subject, however, you can hope to get more comments as your audience grows and your SEO rankings increase. Naturally, when those comments do start coming in, you will want to get that two-way street going by responding quickly.

Google Is Our Friend!

Speaking of SEO, I’d advise you to use the web stats tool, Google Analytics. It’s the industry standard when it comes to measuring your website’s performance. It’s free and literally takes minutes to install. Over time as you add more posts to your blog, it will give you a clearer picture of how people are finding your blog and, most importantly, which of your posts are popular so you will learn what kind of content your readers like the most.

Another useful tool to finding effective keyword phrases – those which influence ‘click-through’ rates and are being entered into Google by your prospective customers – is the Keyword section on the site, adwords.google.com. Once you’ve typed in your email address and website on the AdWords home page and clicked on “continue,” you’ll be sent to the “your first campaign” page. On this page under item #2, “choose a target audience,” click on the edit button in the keywords box. Here, you’ll be able to input as many as 20 keywords to gauge their popularity. Use this free feature to help create ‘findable’ titles and content for your posts.

At the risk of appearing self-promotional, I do have one final comment. If you’re in a position to direct your company’s marketing activities and think you’ll handle the blogging, yourself, you may wish to reconsider. Is it going to be worth your time and are you going to be able to do it consistently? Perhaps you have a staff with the intellectual capacity to research, write, post and follow through with the various tasks to optimize your blogging activities. But, before tossing a new, and fairly weighty, additional burden into their in-basket, make sure they have the time and interest to make it a priority. Otherwise, you may be better off outsourcing the planning and performance of your company’s blog.

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Sharon Scott Wilson is a professional writer creating blog posts, feature-length articles and other content for both B2B and B2C readers. Her interests are travel, vacations, RVing and vacation ownership. She manages the PR firm of SharonINK and is publisher of Resort Trades magazine, Resort Trades Weekly (an eNewsletter) and ResortTrades.com. Visit SharonINK.com for more information.