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Enterprising Ideas for the Vacation Industry i APRIL 2012

TakING control of your Online brand { & Our Industry’s Too }


Tour GENERATION supporting industry growth

FIGHTING FRAUD in the secondary market






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Table of Contents

This Issue:

ON THE COVER: RCI’s Timeshare Online Listening Center (TOLC), RCI Corporate Headquarters, Parsippany, New Jersey

P. 2



Highlighting the RCI products, services and programs that help support RCI affiliated resorts’ success

P. 9


Online monitoring for your brand with RCI’s Timeshare Online Listening Center (TOLC)

P. 12 INDUSTRY P.O.V. Fighting fraud in the secondary market P. 14 RCI NEWS

Recommendation feature on


P. 16 RCI NEWS Celebrating the 10th anniversary of

the RCI® Christel House Open® Golf Tournament P. 18 RCI AFFILIATED RESORT PROFILE

Somerpointe Resorts


Anantara Vacation Club


2011 RCI Green Award


RCI Strategic Sourcing Marketplace


THIS PAGE: Royal Villa at Anantara Bophut Koh Samui

No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from RCI. RCI Ventures publishes opinions of many knowledgeable individuals. These opinions are not a substitute for legal, accounting or other professional advice. The views and conclusions expressed in RCI Ventures are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of RCI nor of its parent or affiliates. The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources the proprietors believe to be correct. However, no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. ©2012 RCI, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 9998 North Michigan Road, Carmel, IN 46032

Industry events calendar


Publisher Brian Bruno Senior Vice President Phil Brojan Associate Publisher Emily Sadlock Contributing Editors Steve Alessandrini Ranjana Biswas Helen Foster

Advisory Board Jeff Parker Melinda Emmanoelides Kris Jamtaas Robert Stolt Danielle Galioto Amy Lipka Jeff Noonan Debbie Wunder Lucie Gagne Esther Grisham Kate Fresso

Recent RCI affiliated resorts

Project Manager Andrew Gersten Editor in Chief Chuck Wentzel

Director, Marketing Services Eric Martucci

Managing Editor Gaetano Pollice

Creative Director Roe Intrieri

Contributing Editor Catharine Fleury

Art Directors Dan Durller & Ash Oat

Copy Editor Amy Lynn Tonsits

Associate Photo Editor Pamela Pasco

APRIL 2012 I rci Ventures



Dear RCI® Affiliate: As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Similarly, many of the most successful businesses in our industry are the result of strong, mutually supportive partnerships. In our commitment to providing you with a powerful support network, RCI continues to invest in vacation exchange to create world-class experiences for your owners. This issue of RCI ® Ventures showcases our latest innovations, which we are introducing at this year’s ARDA conference to help you succeed. Inside you’ll learn about our new Timeshare Online Listening Center (TOLC), the turnkey solution that can help you protect and enhance your online reputation, in turn helping improve your sales efficiency and helping you maintain a strong, consumerendorsed brand (page 9). In keeping with our goals to be a trusted partner to our affiliates, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of RCI’s latest endeavors for helping you grow your business (page 4). You’ll find out more about the latest developments in the RCI Points® exchange program and RCI Weeks exchange program and how we’re constantly improving them with enhancements like increased transparency and expanded search options for your owners. You’ll also learn about enhancing your business with innovations like RCI® eSchool , RCI PresenterSM and the recently developed vacation recommendation engine, which is taking customized search to a whole new level. You’ll get an insider’s view of our new tour generation capabilities, which are powered by the industry’s most comprehensive online tour platform (page 8). These capabilities will deliver high-quality leads through channels like search-engine marketing, RCI TV, social media and our various digital publications, which are available across all major mobile devices and tablets. Speaking of mobile devices, if you haven’t heard the news yet, RCI Ventures is now available on the iPad®*! Now, six times a year, we will bring the timeshare industry to life on your iPad. Stop by the RCI booth to learn how you can get the app, or just search for “RCI Ventures” in the iTunes® App Store. The 2012 ARDA event promises to be an outstanding learning and networking opportunity, and we look forward to seeing you there! Those of you who aren’t able to attend should know that we’ll bring you the latest industry trends and insights in the weeks following the conference. As always, thank you for your valued affiliation.

In our commitment to providing you with a powerful support network, RCI continues to invest in vacation exchange to create world-class experiences for your owners.”

Geoff Ballotti Chief Executive Officer

Gordon Gurnik President

Ricardo Montaudon President, Mexico and Latin America

Charisse Cox Managing Director, Pacific

Adrian Lee Managing Director, Asia

Sean Lowe Managing Director, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa

Radhika Shastry Managing Director, India

Faye Tylee Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources

Paul Cash Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

Gail Mandel Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Brad Dettmer Chief Information Officer

Gregg Anderson Global Vice President, The Registry Collection ® Program


Gordon Gurnik President, RCI

* RCI ® Ventures magazine is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc. iPad and iTunes are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.


rci Ventures I APRIL 2012

Simmons Beautyrest . Preferred by 16 of the world’s top 20 hotel companies. ®

© 2011 Simmons Bedding Company. All rights reserved. Source: Hotel Business Green Book, “Top 20 Hotels Based on Rooms,” December 2010.

Simmons® — the company that revolutionized hospitality bedding. The bed that’s helped millions of guests sleep comfortably since 1925. The Simmons Beautyrest mattress features Do Not Disturb ®

Pocketed Coil spring technology, providing the unique comfort ®

and superior conformability that tired travelers love. A Beautyrest will ®

provide your guests with a good night’s sleep. Simmons — the company that revolutionized hospitality bedding. ®

Valid for deliveries through December 31, 2012. Price in U.S. dollars and is not valid for Hawaii, Canada, or Puerto Rico. For further information on Simmons mattress set product and pricing visit All products and services are manufactured and/or provided by each respective supplier and not RCI, its parent and/or affiliates.

Simmons Hospitality Group One Concourse Parkway, Suite 800 Atlanta, GA 30328 Tel: 1-800-935-4702 Fax: 1-800-935-4701




CI continues to demonstrate its commitment to helping you, RCI® affiliated resorts, achieve your business objectives and

meet, or surpass, your performance goals. This strategy of

partnering for shared success is what motivates RCI, the company that established the vacation exchange industry nearly 40 years ago, to continue to innovate with groundbreaking products and services that help increase sales for affiliated resorts and enhance subscribing members’ experiences. Visitors to RCI’s booth this year will find about a dozen interactive stations, each highlighting an RCI service, product or program— some of them brand-new, some enhanced, but all geared to helping drive more sales for affiliated resorts and to adding value to the vacation exchange membership. n4

rci Ventures I APRIL 2012 Easier to use, more robust content “As technology continues to evolve, we’re able to provide more tools and enhanced features on that help meet the needs and expectations of today’s travelers better,” says Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI. “We’re committed to responding to our members’ feedback and to continually assessing the tools and content we’re providing to achieve the best experience possible for our members.”


Benefits members want—every day RCI continues to refine the RCI Platinum® subscribing member benefits, supporting a membership tier that distinguishes itself by providing, in addition to travel benefits, lifestyle benefits that members can use to do the things they do while at home or on vacation and to make everyday occasions more special. “RCI Platinum members already enjoy great vacation benefits with RCI and will be able to embrace a new set of lifestyle benefits that they can use and enjoy any day of the year,” says Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI. “The added value of Platinum—such as these enhanced lifestyle benefits, special RCI opportunities and discounts from their RCI Platinum membership—helps generate deeper engagement, broadens the relevance of the program and gives our developers a more meaningful differentiator at the sales table for new owners as well as existing owners.” All lifestyle benefits and promotional offers can now be incorporated into a seamless user experience on Members will be able to review, shop, book and manage their accounts directly on the site. New benefits, such as a premium wine club, will also be added. In addition, a savings calculator is being built for use by developers. This will be a strong pointof-sale tool to show the value of RCI Platinum lifestyle benefits.

RCI Platinum

Recent enhancements of include: › To find all the vacations available to them, RCI Points® subscribing members had to perform two separate searches, one for available RCI Points affiliated resorts and one for available RCI® Weeks affiliated resorts. Now RCI Points members can conduct a single search for all available RCI affiliated resorts. › The online search process now uses state-of-the-art technologies that will recommend vacation options according to a member’s preferences and unique needs. This new tool interprets an RCI member’s travel history and previous searches and combines this data with the member’s ownership type filtered by current availability to dynamically identify the most relevant vacation options. See page 14 for more information. › for RCI Weeks members and for RCI Points members offer helpful tips on how to get the most value from RCI member benefits.


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RCI eSchool Online learning for convenient, cost-effective training

Visitors to RCI® TV—both RCI subscribing members and the general public—have the opportunity to “tour” affiliated resort properties via dynamic video presentations. These tours, when taken as part of the vacation-planning process, often lead to bookings†. “Our members are increasingly relying on technology to plan their vacations,” says Fiona Downing, senior vice president of development and operations at RCI. “We believe videos are quickly becoming the new standard, and RCI TV delivers the experience our members are looking for and the results resorts want.”

RCI has collaborated with Levitin Group and ePercipio to deliver robust e-learning content—all offered free to RCI affiliated resorts—via RCI eSchool, which features three halls of learning:

Social media and mobile devices have increased the reach of Resort Showcase and Destination Review videos; these videos are now also available via:

E-learning offers a more cost-effective, convenient and efficient alternative to in-person training. Content is always available and can be updated to remain relevant to the needs of the business environment. Affiliates looking for more content can link to Levitin Group’s Timeshare University site, which is dedicated to improving sales and marketing. Additional courses are offered at competitive rates.



Letting resorts speak for themselves

• The RCI application for the iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®*, as well as for the AndroidTM 1 operating system and BlackBerry® 2 smartphones, which provides mobile access to RCI TV so on-the-go travelers can preview the resorts and share their suggestions through social networking (the app is available for free at the iTunes® App Store*, AndroidTM Market and BlackBerry® App World) • RCI’s YouTube channel, RCITimeshare—a platform with a broad audience RCI TV is a strategic part of RCI’s ongoing efforts to support the success of its affiliated resorts and help generate leads. “Robust, meaningful content creates engagement,” Downing says. “The Resort Showcase videos on RCI TV have proven to be valuable elements of an overall sales strategy, because they really enable viewers to imagine themselves on vacation at that resort.” †

Source: RCI, LLC September 2011.

*RCI ® Ventures is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and iTunes are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.



Android is a trademark of Google Inc.


The Trademark, Blackberry, is owned by Research in Motion Limited and is registered in the United States, and may be pending or registered in other countries. RCI, LLC is not endorsed, sponsored, affiliated with or otherwise authorized by Research in Motion Limited.

rci Ventures I APRIL 2012

•S  ales & Marketing: Developed by Levitin Group, renowned for its training and results, this area includes sales tools and techniques for overcoming objections, effective discovery methods and closer workshops • Workplace Learning & Development: Access to professional soft skills, including courses in Customer Service, Relationship Management, Trust and Rapport Building and many more • RCI Products & Services: Training on RCI® Weeks, RCI Points® and RCI Platinum® Membership and STAR Training for operations Centralized resource for affiliate-related news and information provides a global framework and region-specific features and content. A part of RCI’s ongoing commitment to providing relevant, useful and timely information, the site is a centralized resource that RCI affiliated resorts can consult to find out about RCI products, services and updates.

The Registry Collection ®

Celebrating 10 years of luxury without limits This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Registry Collection program, the first global luxury exchange program, which brought a new dimension to lavish vacationing. Launched with a handful of pioneer fractional projects, the program has grown to more than 180 properties available for exchange or under development, including estate homes, high-end timeshare properties, condo-hotels and even yachts, in six continents. And through its Collection Partners, members can enjoy unforgettable experiences, like yacht charters, international golf and custom-travel packages, safaris and other premium travel services. The first 10 years of The Registry Collection program has been spent building a strong portfolio of properties and experiences in North America, the Caribbean and Mexico. The next decade will focus on three main objectives: adding inventory from many newly affiliated European resorts; developing new affiliations in up-and-coming markets, such as Africa, South America, Asia, India and the Middle East; and strengthening The Registry Collection program’s position as the leading ambassador for the luxury leisure-property concept in all regions. For the milestone celebration, the program has kicked off a series of member sweepstakes, and more events will be announced in the near future. In addition, The Registry Collection program will relaunch its website,, this year to allow members to easily explore and find potential vacation exchanges. New features will include search capabilities, improved navigation and member reviews. To find out more about how to become part of the leading luxury vacation exchange program, please visit or call 1.866.937.5979.



Putting vacation owners in touch with their benefits RCI PresenterSM enhances the sales experience with a uniquely powerful combination of technology, entertainment and information. Current and prospective owners can interact with educational and entertaining content to learn about the value-added benefits of their vacation ownership. In collaboration with Generator Systems, RCI provides this exciting tool for use in resort sales rooms to help enhance and energize the conversation about exchange. The system runs on a wall-based touch screen and puts your clients in the driver’s seat for the experience. Navigation is so easy that salespeople can let guests take control for greater involvement and engagement during the presentation.


RCI Presenter is designed to complement existing sales presentations and is another opportunity to integrate sophisticated technology that delivers motivational content to the sales process. Emotive video clips, a vast database of resorts, compelling graphics and striking imagery help you inspire your guests to commit more readily and with more confidence.

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TOUR GENERATION Sales efficiencies through qualified prospects Most important for RCI this year is the announcement of a tour generation strategy for supporting the growth of the vacation ownership industry. At the core of the strategy are four pillars that will be the basis of the tour generation effort.

“Online tour generation for vacation ownership is quite fragmented, and we believe that RCI has the opportunity to leverage its size, resources and experience to develop a tour generation service that addresses the needs of the industry,” says Fiona Downing, senior vice president of development and operations at RCI. “The tour generation strategy we’re featuring at ARDA supports this effort, because it helps better identify, qualify and engage prospective owners online.”

Read about these other RCI services in this issue: RCI’s Timeshare Online Listening Center

RCI Marketplace/ Strategic Sourcing

P. 9

P. 24


rci Ventures I APRIL 2012

RCI Elite Rewards Credit Card ®


Taking charge of building cardholder loyalty Using the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard® credit card for everyday purchases helps build cardholder loyalty as they accumulate Rewards, which they can choose to use for Reward Items that can be used to offset the cost of their timeshare ownership, RCI membership and transaction fees. To help drive cardholders to use the card regularly, the program offers double and more Rewards in select categories throughout the year. For affiliated resort developers, the RCI Elite Rewards credit card can be a valuable asset at the sales table. In most cases, an instant credit decision is available. Upon approval, the card can help finance down payments. V

PHOTOS: istockphoto(3)

• Shift the Endless Vacation Rentals B2C strategy, developing an affiliate-centric website with a tour generation platform • Invest in SEM (search engine marketing) and SEO (search engine optimization) to create a large prospect pool by driving traffic to rich multimedia content on the new tour generation platform • Utilize the tour platform to analyze the field of prospects and give developers the tools to manage a new source of qualified leads • Create positive messaging about timeshare, and distribute it via social and mobile media and RCI® TV


TakING Control { of { your Online brand RCI’s Timeshare Online Listening Center helps you monitor, respond and protect your reputation

Phil Brojan Senior vice president, Global Marketing, RCI

& Our Industry's, Too


rom Facebook and Twitter to Yelp and TripAdvisor, there are lots of forums online through which consumers—satisfied and dissatisfied—can share their views. Do you know what’s being said about your brand online? Would you know where to look? Would you know how to respond to an owner’s comments? Not sure how to get started or where to find the resources? Letting RCI help can be a viable and cost-effective option. The use of the Internet and mobile technologies continues to grow, and it’s a challenge to keep track of all the online conversations about a brand. Customers are talking loudly about their experiences, good and bad. Family, friends and online acquaintances are making brand recommendations or sending

warnings to their networks of online contacts. And other users are scouring that information, especially prior to touring or buying. Online monitoring and reputation management are now essential for a brand to protect its image, enhance consumers’ perceptions and develop effective social-media strategies. In response to all these dynamic conversations that are taking place online, RCI has launched the Timeshare Online Listening Center (TOLC). This new turnkey solution is designed to help developers of all sizes overcome obstacles to developing their own online monitoring capabilities and offers them a service that almost instantly lets them understand, manage and influence what’s being said about their brands on the web.

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By using its knowledge of online-listening platforms, social media and the timeshare industry, RCI can provide an online monitoring service that delivers ongoing reporting and analysis and manages protocols for propagating positive brand comments, while quickly resolving customer service issues that can be damaging. “We’re reminded every day why online monitoring is critical when we compare the discrepancy between the industry’s 85% owner satisfaction rate to some of the negative perceptions of timeshare that can be found online.” says Phil Brojan, senior vice president of global marketing for RCI. “This is the age of the empowered consumer, and you have to be able to listen and respond effectively to online conversations to preserve, enhance and, if needed, influence the opinion of your brand.”

RCI’s Timeshare Online Listening Center (TOLC), RCI Corporate Headquarters, Parsippany, New Jersey

WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT YOUR BRAND? Right now, timeshare owners are talking about their experiences online via Facebook, Twitter, blogs and forums. To give you an idea of the power of online monitoring and how RCI’s TOLC works, the RCI® Ventures app for iPad®* is scheduled to include a special live connection that tracks online mentions of timeshare. Download the RCI ® Ventures magazine app for iPad now for free in the iTunes® App Store* . *RCI ® Ventures is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc. iPad and iTunes are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.

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Online commentary is a steady stream. More people than ever before are plugged into social media and use it with increasing frequency. The fastestgrowing segment of users of social networking sites is retirees aged 65 and older; and more than half of baby boomers use social networking sites. Timeshare owners are online and using social media. Current timeshare owners are talking; prospective owners are listening and asking questions. “Although simple online tools can be used to monitor your brand, like setting up a long list of Google Alerts, they only tell you a very small part of the story and cannot provide you with proper sentiment analysis and topic categorization,” Brojan says. “Niche social media agencies can provide full-blown listening services, but these are expensive; and they will tell you that social media expertise is more important than industry expertise, but I disagree. Only with industry

“Although simple online tools can be used to monitor your brand, they only tell you a very small part of the story and cannot provide you with proper sentiment analysis and topic categorization. ”

expertise can one respond to consumers effectively and understand the urgency or opportunity of certain brand mentions, which is why RCI is offering these services through TOLC.”

PHOTOS, Previous page: ROGER HAGADONE; This spread: RCI(2)

The TOLC mines for that positive timeshare vacation commentary and at the same time provides developers the opportunity to mitigate, counter or reposition criticism, thus empowering developers to manage the online conversations about their brand. RCI boasts an entire team of industry professionals that specializes in online monitoring and works from a dedicated command center at RCI global headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey. RCI’s team can help developers: • Spread and promote positive brand mentions across the web. • Fix incorrect statements that could tarnish the brand’s reputation. • Resolve problems that customers post online, providing a rapid “customerservice” presence via social media. • Transform negative experiences into opportunities to showcase the best of a brand. So developers can fully understand how consumers perceive their brands in the marketplace, this service entails: • Full-service listening A team of industry professionals


manually reviews each mention and ensures proper topic and sentiment categorization. They provide a “human eye” to properly review and interpret the data to achieve accuracy in reporting. • Fully tailored reporting Private-labeled reporting is provided on a monthly basis. This information will assist in developing new products and offerings, refine the sales process and help improve the effectiveness of resort staff. • Outreach recommendations Recommendations for issue escalation and outreach will empower developers to address both positive and negative comments posted online quickly and easily. • Trusted advisor RCI’s leadership in timeshare and social media positions it as a trusted advisor uniquely qualified to assist developers in better managing their online brands. “No other online-monitoring service provider can be committed to the success of our affiliated resorts and the whole timeshare industry as RCI, because their success is our success” Brojan says. “Because we know the importance of managing online reputations for brands and believe in this service’s potential for a positive impact on the industry, we’ve created this cost-effective service as yet another way to help RCI affiliated resorts grow their businesses.” V

PROTECTING THE INDUSTRY In addition to helping affiliated resorts and developers take control of their brands online, RCI also is teaming up with ARDA to monitor mentions of the timeshare industry, in general. Together, RCI and ARDA will work to spread helpful and positive information to correct misunderstandings about the industry and its products and to help change public perceptions that can be influenced by negative chatter found online.

Contact your RCI account executive today to find out more about the TOLC and how you can take control of your online brand.

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Fighting Fraud in the secondary market


t RCI and especially in its legal department, we are passionate about defending the timeshare industry. The apparent prevalence of fraud in the secondary market reminds us of bleak days in our industry’s past. Think back to 1983, when compact discs and mobile phones were just being introduced to the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the year at 1,258 and the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $1.20. It also was the year that 26 states passed timeshare regulation in response to mounting consumer complaints about fraud and aggressive sales practices. Those actions left an indelible mark on the brand reputation of the industry. But we have come a long way in the past 29 years. RCI’s affiliated developers have invested substantial resources—time, capital and sweat equity—in their businesses. The payoff: legitimizing the industry and restoring timeshare’s reputation.

Unfortunately, the brand “timeshare” is under attack again—this time by second-

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ary-market fraud. Unscrupulous resale and transfer companies (which must be distinguished from legitimate, law-abiding players in this market) are defrauding thousands of owners and inflicting millions of dollars in damages on timeshare owners and the industry’s reputation. How bad is it? Resale fraud is the number one source of consumer complaints to the Florida Attorney General—more than 19,000 complaints in the past two years— and outnumbers the next four categories combined. Consumer associations, like TATOC in the United Kingdom and CASE in Singapore, confirm that this problem is international: resale fraud is a top complaint in those regions as well. There are many scams out there, but a common one involves a call to a timeshare owner in which the caller promises to sell the owner’s interval to a ready and waiting buyer (“100% guaranteed!”). The owner is asked to pay an up-front administrative fee, sometimes thousands of dollars, to cover title and other work. Unlike

the legitimate resellers, the scam artists will take the owner’s fee and will never be heard from again. One such operation was Universal Marketing Solutions (which later became Creative Vacation Solutions), masterminded by Jennifer Kirk. Over several years, Kirk and her cohorts scammed more than 22,000 timeshare owners (including owners in every one of the United States, every province in Canada, and in Puerto Rico) out of more than $30 million. They never sold a single timeshare for these owners. Following up on consumer complaints, the Florida Attorney General shut the business down. Kirk was convicted of mail and wire fraud and sentenced this past January to more than 15 years in prison. We cannot ignore the impact that this type of fraud has on the industry’s reputation and its bottom line. Many defrauded owners lose faith in the product and become delinquent, they don’t reload, and they tell their friends about their horrible experiences. Their cautionary tales result

Paul Cash Executive Vice President, General Counsel, RCI Paul is responsible for managing all global legal matters for RCI. Prior to joining the company in April 2005, he was a partner in the Mergers and Acquisitions and International practice groups of Alston + Bird LLP in New York City and a corporate associate at Pünder, Volhard, Weber & Axster in Frankfurt, Germany.

illustration: ash oat

in a viral negative effect on sales and delinquencies. To help combat the problem, RCI is dedicating resources to attack fraud aggressively by litigating, educating members and supporting legislative efforts. The best defense is a good offense, and we dedicate more than 2,000 in-house attorney hours and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees annually to investigating and taking legal action against fraud. We obtain leads from affiliates, members and through our own research, and we investigate using a variety of tools, including private investigators and secret shoppers. Last year we issued more than 50 cease-and-desist letters to operators that were misusing RCI trademarks in connection with such activities, prompting most operators to stop their unauthorized activities. For some misguided operations, this is not enough, and we are forced to sue them for trademark infringement, deceptive trade practices and other claims. We have suc-

cessfully obtained a number of consent judgments and permanent injunctions against fraudulent operators, including “RCI Management,” “RCI Financial Management,” “RCI Acquisitions and Rentals” and “Global Destinations Consulting.” As an industry, we also have to educate owners, which RCI does by sending fraud advisories and scam alerts that remind members to be careful and skeptical should any company call them claiming to be RCI and offering to sell or “rescue” them from their timeshare ownership according to terms that sound too good to be true. We use these advisories to drive traffic to the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition’s Timeshare Resale Resource Center, which contains helpful advisories, information and tips. The ARDA ROC site experiences a spike in web traffic after each of our advisories, and we believe that education efforts like these help prevent fraud. In addition, we work closely with trade associations, such as ARDA and the Resort

Development Organisation in the United Kingdom, to create legislation that will give enforcement authorities new tools for fighting fraud, such as the European Union’s Timeshare Directive, which was implemented last year, and the newly proposed Florida Timeshare Resale Accountability Act. The Florida legislation, supported by Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, and sponsored by Florida Representative Eric Eisnaugle and Florida Senator Andy Gardiner, would require more robust disclosures, provide for a right of rescission and impose stiff penalties on offending resellers. We will continue to invest in this fight against fraud and work with the trade associations and the industry on these measures. It is the right thing to do for your owners and timeshare’s brand, and it may help to improve your bottom line. If we all continue to join in this effort, we can defend the image of this great product, foster a safe secondary market for consumers and keep the darker days of the early ’80s a distant memory. V

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Know what they like

Recommend what they want n 14

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is capitalizing on state-of-the-art technologies to enhance the online-search process for its members. Using an ® RCI subscribing member’s preferences and unique needs, can now recommend vacations specifically for that member. The online tool interprets a member’s travel history and previous searches and combines this data with ownership type filtered against current availability to dynamically identify the most relevant, available vacation options. The recommendation tool is designed to integrate with the enhanced online-search features and expanded affiliated resort information, so the online search process can be faster, more convenient and more satisfying for subscribing members than ever.

“This recommendation tool is a powerful way for us to use the information that we already have about our members to make their online search experience faster, easier and more relevant to them.” Gordon Gurnik, President, RCI

“Our recommendation tool is enhancing the vacation planning experience for our members, and we’re already hearing positive feedback,” says Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI. “This technology enables us to strategically recommend vacation opportunities that match the vacation preferences and criteria a member has indicated previously. This new recommendation feature demonstrates that RCI is listening to what members want and is committed to using all its resources to meet their vacation expectations better.”

RCI Vacation Guides, who have been the only source of personalized vacation recommendations available to members, will also be able to use this tool, so they’ll be able to find better vacation opportunities for members quicker than before. And now all RCI members can receive the same consistency regardless of their preferred channel—either via the Vacation Guides in the call center or on—for interacting with RCI.

The key features and benefits for members include: • Relevant, personalized recommendations for subscribing members (RCI® Weeks, RCI Points®, clubs) • Consistency regardless of channel (website, call center, mobile application) • Explanation of why recommendations are relevant (e.g., “Recommended because you chose ‘beaches.’”) • Dynamic, real-time recommendations (if the search criteria are modified, the recommendations change simultaneously) To provide members with this enhanced level of service, RCI collaborated with Gravity Research and Development, an industry leader in matching customers with product benefits. Gravity R&D took data samples and built a formula that generates appropriate recommendations. RCI then completed a comparative validation by asking a sample of members to confirm that the recommendations were relevant for them. “With thousands of affiliated resorts to choose from and so many vacation opportunities available through RCI,” Gurnik says, “this recommendation tool is a powerful way for us to use the information that we already have about our members to make their online search experience faster, easier and more relevant to them. It’s very exciting that this new technology enables us to make the vacation-planning process personal and unique for every RCI member.” V

PhotoS: thinkstock(4)

Recommendations lead to bookings

2,296,600 Average daily recommendations displayed


Average daily click-throughs on recommendations


Average daily bookings from recommendations

Source: RCI, LLC. October 17–December 12, 2011

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G N I T N U O C & S E L O 180 H

ouse Open ® Christel H RCI ent sites tournam

The RCI® Christel House Open® celebrates 10 years


pproximately 1,600 golfers— mostly timeshare industry professionals—are expected to participate in the 10th annual RCI Christel House Open. All proceeds from the tournament benefit Christel House International, a 501(c)(3) public charity that helps take children out of the cycle of poverty and allows them to become independent, contributing members of society. RCI has participated in the charity event since its inception and will serve as the title sponsor for the sixth consecutive year. The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and Wyndham Vacation Ownership will sponsor the event. “We are very pleased to serve as the title sponsor for the 10th-anniversary Christel House Open,” says Geoff Ballotti, CEO of RCI. “The impact that Christel House has had in a decade is remarkable, and we are honored to know that

our support and the support of the timeshare industry has helped so many children and their families in the United States and around the world.”


RCI cofounder Christel DeHaan established the organization in late 1998, opening its first learning center, in Mexico City, Mexico. Today Christel House serves more than 3,300 students, their families and communities in five countries. The Christel House Open is a unique opportunity for the industry to support the important work of Christel House and to help expand its impact worldwide. The official date for this year’s fundraiser is Monday, June 11, 2012, but because the event will be hosted at golf courses around the world and throughout the United States, some tournaments will be played on alternative dates. (See sidebar for a list of locations.) For more information about the RCI Christel House Open, contact Becky Arnett at or 317-464-2009. To find out more about Christel House, visit


• B  reckenridge, CO – June 11 Hosted by Breckenridge Grand Vacations and The Christie Lodge • Daytona, FL – June 10 Hosted by Bluegreen Corporation • Kissimmee, FL – June 11 Hosted by Orange Lake Resorts • Palm Beach Gardens, FL – May 19 Hosted by Bluegreen Corporation • Indianapolis, IN – June 4 Hosted by Christel House • Branson, MO – June 14 Hosted by Bluegreen Corporation and Wyndham Vacation Ownership [new site] • Boonville, NY – June 2 Hosted by the Lodging Kit Company • Myrtle Beach, SC – June 11 Hosted by Sun Hospitality, Bluegreen Corporation, the Noble Company and Festiva Resorts • Gatlinburg, TN – June 11 Hosted by Bluegreen Corporation • Shenandoah, VA – June 11 Hosted by Bluegreen Corporation • Williamsburg, VA – June 11 Hosted by GOODMANagement and the Virginia Resort Development Association (VRDA) • Vista, CA – June 11 Hosted by Grand Pacific Resorts

UNITED KINGDOM – June 11 Cohosted by Christel House, Nexus Leisure and RCI V

SOUTH AFRICA – May 31 Hosted by Christel House


Tournament dates and locations pending: INDIA MEXICO

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RCI’s Ultimate

Travel Apps

RCI’s Ultimate App for


NEW! Endless Vacation® magazine: explore like never before Enjoy additional interactive content including photo galleries, videos and panorama views

Get the most from RCI® subscribing membership benefits Enhances the RCI member experience with tools like the Resort Directory, RCI TV, RCI SnapBook and Account Alerts

RCI ® Ventures now at your fingertips Industry trends and events, profiles of successful vacation ownership properties and information on RCI products and services

Download all three RCI apps for the iPad today! They’re FREE at the iTunes® App Store® To learn more about advertising in Endless Vacation magazine or RCI Ventures and about app development for your organization, contact Brian Bruno, publisher, at Endless Vacation magazine and RCI Ventures magazine are independent publications and have not been authorized, sponsored or otherwise approved by Apple Inc. iPad and iTunes are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.


Somerpointe Resorts

Vacation Hot Spots Focusing on popular destinations and the guest experience


omerpointe Resorts, which has three properties in Las Vegas, eight in Hawaii and one in Orlando and represents more than 100,000 owner families worldwide, affiliated with RCI in October 2011. RCI 速 Ventures recently spoke with Todd Spector, president of Somerpointe Resorts, to learn more about Somerpointe, its resorts and its business philosophy.

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Above: Pool and bedroom at Tahiti Village.

What’s your strategy behind multiple offerings in a single location?


Although concentrated in premium TS locations, like Maui and Las Vegas, the resorts were developed individually. Having alternatives in high-demand markets allows us to meet the varied needs of today’s consumer. A high concentration of resorts in one destination also permits centralized operations, making sales and marketing initiatives more efficient.


How do you differentiate the experience at each resort?

All share a commitment to quality in design and proximity to local attractions, but the variations in size, on-site amenities and location provide a resort stay that is tailored to a guest’s vacation needs.


In the Hawaiian Islands, each resort is on a beachfront or within walking distance of the beach and has locally inspired décor but a distinctly different ambiance, so owners can have a variety of vacation experiences.

Our Las Vegas resorts offer premium concierge services and have earned RCI Gold Crown Resort® status. Club de Soleil is a French Mediterranean–themed resort, while the theme at Tahiti and Tahiti Village is French Polynesian. Tahiti Village is located on the Las Vegas Strip. Club de Soleil and Tahiti are off the Strip and appeal to guests who want the excitement of Las Vegas with a distinctly boutique-style resort atmosphere.


Tell us more about Tahiti Village, your flagship property.

Tahiti Village is an all-suite purposebuilt timeshare resort with 876 one-bedroom units that can be combined to form accommodations from 580 to 1,550 square feet. Built on 20 acres (seven acres are being held aside for future development), Tahiti Village has a 350,000-gallon pool with a beach entry and a quarter-mile-long lazy river, two on-site restaurants, bar facilities and limited gaming. The resort offers wedding packages, complimentary shuttle service to popular casinos and spa services. We’re pleased that Tahiti Village has won several awards since its construction in 2006 and expansion in 2008.


How has Somerpointe Resorts responded to changes in guests’ expectations?



Todd Spector President, Somerpointe Resorts Todd Spector graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in corporate finance and received his master’s in accountancy from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. Before beginning his career in vacation ownership, he practiced public accounting in the real estate division of Ernst & Young LLP in Los Angeles. Spector serves on the board of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA).

The evolution of connectivity and choice has affected almost every aspect of vacation ownership. Consumers are more educated, are saturated with vacation alternatives and live busier lifestyles demanding more information, flexibility and added value for their vacation dollar. To be competitive, we are offering more amenity packages, rethinking sales and marketing strategies and finding new ways to interact with our consumers. But it still comes down to exceeding consumers’ expectations and


focusing on the use and enjoyment of our product. How does your affiliation with RCI complement your business goals?


The affiliation with RCI builds on its constant innovation and our mission to provide new flexible-use and lifestyle products that will enhance the owners’ exchange and vacation ownership experience. With the RCI Points® exchange product, our owners can travel in increments of one to 21 days or use a portion of their Points toward discounted airfare and hotel stays through the RCI® Points Partners program, which has helped us to incorporate the flexibility our consumers have needed in their evolving vacation habits. Owner interest and engagement in the program has successfully improved our sales efficiencies and increased product demand.



What do you see for the timeshare industry in the future?

This is an exciting time for our industry. Developers have had to wrestle with the economy and a new lending environment, focusing on in-house marketing or other low-cost marketing segments. The experience has made most of us rethink how we approach the consumer and rework traditional marketing and sales channels. There is high demand and satisfaction among those who use our products. Now is the time to listen to what owners and guests are saying about their total experience so we can find ways to create personal relationships, educate and differentiate— all of which will be necessary for our industry to remain relevant and grow. There will continue to be consolidation within our industry but also opportunities for conversions and purpose-built product expansion in select destinations. V


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Anantara Vacation Club

Effortless Luxury Taking advantage of the natural surroundings and local culture creates unique vacation experiences


nantara means “borderless water” in Sanskrit and evokes a sense of freedom, movement and harmony. Those same feelings are realized when owners and guests at Anantara Vacation Club enjoy the endless possibilities at Anantara’s growing portfolio of resorts in exotic destinations across the Asia-Pacific region, from Thailand and Vietnam to Bali and New Zealand. RCI ® Ventures recently spoke to Harold Derrah, CEO of Anantara Vacation Club, to discuss the resort operator’s properties, the vacation experiences it offers and the shared-ownership industry in the Asia-Pacific region. n 20

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Above, from top: Dusk at Anantara Phuket Villas; Royal Villa at Anantara Bophut Koh Samui.


What makes the Anantara Vacation Club experience unique?

Anantara guests are encouraged to immerse themselves in each destination, experiencing the unique activities and local excursions and creating their own Anantara story. By offering experience-led luxury hospitality, every location enables Anantara travelers to collect stories and memories that will inspire them for a lifetime.


What are some unique challenges and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific market?


The challenges arise from the complexities of operating within a region that stretches across many countries that have no common legal or tax system as well as many languages and dialects and cultural differences. The potential in this market is substantial, however. The economy is buoyant and is likely to remain productive for the next several decades. Because there is a growing middle class in China and India and a projection, as reported by the Financial Post, of 2.5 million millionaire




Harold Derrah CEO, Anantara Vacation Club

Derrah led the development of Anantara HD Club. Previously he was regional Vacation managing director of Asia Pacific for Marriott Vacation Club International. Derrah is also owner of International Resort Development Service, Inc., developing and managing hospitality businesses in North America and the Asia-Pacific region. Before his time in Asia, he was president and CEO of Trendwest South Pacific and Trendwest Inc., leading 29 diversified companies.

households in China alone by 2020, this region offers opportunities not seen anywhere else in the world right now. How do you provide such a fully realized luxury experience to your guests?


We’re proud to bring our unique brand of effortless luxury, intuitive service and harmonious design to a growing selection of carefully chosen destinations across Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Middle East. It is the destination, the setting for each new Anantara story, that is the critical ingredient for any Anantara property. From the destination everything else follows: the architecture, design, activities and more. And it’s all supported by our brand values— Indigenous, Expertise, Grounded and Discovery—which closely align with the experience-led demands of the luxury market.


“Indigenous discovery” plays a critical role in defining the Anantara Vacation Club experience.


Indeed, “indigenous discovery” is HD a key part of the core brand values that help differentiate Anantara from the competition. Anantara resorts are located in some of the most extraordinary destinations in the world, so access to indigenous lifestyles and the activities that the locations make possible are at the heart of the Anantara experience. Wherever you find an Anantara property, the resort’s architecture, interior design, food and beverages and guest experiences are all inspired by the culture or history of that location. It’s that spirit of adventure and discovery that inspires guests to explore the unique features of each Anantara destination. For example, at Anantara Desert Islands in Abu Dhabi, the resort’s proximity to an

endangered wildlife reserve allows guests the opportunity to step behind the scenes and gain a unique perspective on the work that goes into caring for several thousand animals in the Arabian Wildlife Park. At Anantara Si Kao [in Thailand], guests can participate in baby-mangrove planting in the vicinity of Chao Mai National Park where the hotel is located. Anantara Golden Triangle [in Thailand] works closely with the Asian Elephant Foundation, and the on-site elephant camp lets guests participate in activities, including training to be mahouts. The hotel’s involvement, including funding, allows the elephants and mahouts to continue to live and work in their natural habitat, for example enabling the elephants to receive veterinary care. Guests can participate in once-in-a-lifetime experiences interacting with the elephants in a nonexploitative environment. How does your relationship with RCI complement your business goals?


The ability of our owners to exchange with RCI is a natural extension of our commitment to endless possibilities for our owners. It adds value to the ownership proposition, which is beneficial at point of sale.



What’s next for Anantara Vacation Club?

We have a five-year plan that will increase the presence of Anantara Vacation Club with resorts in Australia and New Zealand and parts of Africa, across the Middle East and in Asia with expansion into China. Each new resort, with its unique experiences for owners and guests, will allow us to bring the Anantara brand of luxury vacations to new owners and new guests. The possibilities are endless. V


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2011 RCI Green Award

Finalists Announced North America award recipient to be announced at ARDA; Europe award recipient to be announced at RADA


he RCI Green Award program recognizes RCI affiliated resorts in North America, Europe and Australia that actively engage in sustainable practices and demonstrate a commitment to incorporating green measures into all facets of daily resort operations. Resorts had the opportunity to complete a voluntary self-assessment questionnaire about their sustainability operations that included questions focusing on energy, waste, supply chain and water management, site nature and cultural environment, facility-design elements and community and guest engagement.

The RCI Green Award program is modeled on the successful RCI Going Green Award program launched in Australia, whose 2011 winner was chosen last September. The selection process for resorts in Europe is similar to that for North American resorts.

After all the submissions from resorts in North America were collected last September, the self-assessment forms were reviewed and scored by Rohit Verma, professor of service operations management at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, to determine the award finalists. Verma then conducted an on-site inspection of the properties of the finalists.

“It’s essential that we recognize the efforts of our affiliated resorts, which help preserve the natural environments that are so attractive to timeshare owners and resort guests,” says Brian Bruno, head of the RCI® Green Council. “This award program recognizes those resorts whose green initiatives continue to affect the industry, make the world a better place to live and inspire other resorts to follow their example.” V

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Six finalists in North America and three finalists in Europe were selected. The recipient of the award in North America will be announced at the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) Annual Convention and Exposition in Las Vegas and the recipient of that in Europe at RADA.

Here are this year’s RCI Green Award finalists in North America and Europe and some highlights of their sustainable practices and green initiatives.

North America

Bluegreen Odyssey Dells Wisconsin Dells, WI


Green Highlights: • Uses only paper, pens and supplies that are made from recycled materials, including garbage bags that are biodegradable. • Hires only associates who live within 30 miles of the property.


Hilton Grand Vacations Club at MarBrisa Carlsbad, CA

The Langdale Estate Ambleside, Cumbria, England

Green Highlights: • Resort newsletters and other owner communications have gone paperless and are delivered via email. • Technological advances, such as satellite sensors on sprinkling systems and “green switch key cards,” conserve energy.

Green Highlights: • Shops local for fair-trade farm food, furniture, carpets, artwork and building trades. • Shows strong community support: The Langdale Primary School, for example, uses the resort’s pool for weekly lessons, and the resort sponsors the production of the school newspaper.

Carlsbad Seapointe Carlsbad, CA

Sheraton Vistana Resort Orlando, FL

Sahara Sunset Club Benalmádena Costa, Málaga, Spain

Green Highlights: • As a devoted member of California’s Surfrider Foundation, which protects oceans, waves and beaches through a network of activists, the resort has added a weekly activity as a part of which guests and owners help keep beaches clean. • The roof is clad in white polyurethane, a naturally reflective, insulating substance.

Green Highlights: • Eliminated the use of Styrofoam; dining boxes are now cardboard. • New villas have double-pane low-emissivity (low-E) windows and sliding glass doors.

Green Highlights: • Earned ISO 14001 certification for designing and implementing an effective environmental management system. • Greatly reduced photocopying waste.

Grand Pacific Palisades Resort Carlsbad, CA

Wyndham Santa Barbara Resort and Yacht Club Pompano Beach, FL

Trenython Manor Par, Cornwall, England

Green Highlights: • Added a new recycling center and increased the number of recycling bins; in a recent quarter, the resort recycled 41,600 pounds of paper, glass and yard waste. • Installed waterless urinals in public restrooms and, in bathrooms, brand-new showerheads that use 2.5 gallons of water a minute.

Green Highlights: • Uses only green cleaning products. • Has an eco-friendly saltwater pool and spa.

Green Highlights: • Harvests rainwater and flushes it through toilets. • Created wildlife habitats, including a hibernaculum, bat boxes, bird boxes, bee logs, woodpiles and areas left to nature.

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RCI Marketplace 速

A better way to shop and save for RCI affiliated resorts

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Who doesn’t want to buy smarter and save money?


RCI Marketplace simplifies the ordering process. You can search by supplier or product category, customize a favorites list for reorders, set account preferences and get access to Deals That Deliver and other special promotional offers. Strategic Sourcing uses the purchasing power of RCI to negotiate lower prices on the best products and services, prices you can take advantage of no matter how much you order. If you don’t already shop via RCI Marketplace, we encourage you to compare pricing. The rigorous product testing and assessment built into the supplier-selection process helps ensure access to high quality products at competitively negotiated prices. Suppliers whose products are selected by Strategic Sourcing are required to meet minimum quality standards and have hospitality-designed testing programs of their own. Our goal: a more profitable, more efficient resort operation for you. If you’re already buying from our approved suppliers, you as an RCI affiliated resort get the immediate benefit of deeper discounts. In challenging economic times, cutting costs is a critical goal. Strategic Sourcing not only offers immediate cost savings but also sorts everything into Good, Better and Best quality tiers to help you make appropriate choices for your resort within a product category. V

The new RCI Marketplace lets you check prices faster, order easier and buy smarter. Put immediate savings at your fingertips by visiting today.

Cost Comparison of Like Mattress and Box Spring Sets*†

Costco® $1,049 King

Sam’s Club® **



has introduced RCI® Marketplace, a new way for RCI affiliated resorts to shop for and save on the products and services they use every day. This free, convenient online ordering tool from Strategic Sourcing, RCI’s global procurement team, saves you time and money by giving you immediate access to high-quality suppliers and competitive pricing in key product categories—appliances and electronics, bedding and bath, furniture, cleaning and paper supplies, printed collateral, vending and more.

$799.99 Queen

$636 Queen

RCI® $440 King $335 Queen




* Mattress and box spring sets that are similar in characteristics. ** Sam’s Club® requires a minimum two set purchase. † Information and pricing as of January 2012. Source:, and RCI, LLC.

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Events calendar: through June 2012 DATES



April 1–5

ARDA (American Resort Development Association) World 2012 Annual Convention & Exposition Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

April 17–19

Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

April 22–24

Crittenden National Real Estate Conference San Diego, California, USA

April 24–26

Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) San Juan, Puerto Rico

April 28–30

Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2012 Dubai, UAE

May 7–8

CHRIS (Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit) Miami, Florida, USA

May 8–10

HOLA (Hotel Opportunities Latin America) Investment Conference Miami, Florida, USA

May 12–15

INDABA 2012 Durban, South Africa

May 16–18

The Resort Development Summit 2012: The Canadian Resort Development Association (CRDA) Annual Conference Toronto, Canada

May 21–22

SASOIC (South American Shared Ownership Investment Conference) 2012 Buenos Aires, Argentina

June 10–12

VOASA (Vacation Ownership Association of Southern Africa) Conference Durban, South Africa

June 20–22

AMDETUR (La Asociación Mexicana de Desarrolladores Turísticos) Mexico City, Mexico

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RECENT RCI® affiliated resorts* RCI Points® program

RCI® Weeks program Beach Park Acqua Aquiraz, Brazil

diRoma Exclusive Caldas Novas, Brazil

Castello Izzalini Todi, Italy

diRoma Fiori Caldas Novas, Brazil

Chandler Point: The Group of Seven Cottages Ontario, Canada

Grand Velas Riviera Maya Zen Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Club Onat Garden Dalaman, Turkey

Pampas de Areco Resort de Campo San Antonio de Areco, Argentina

Bluegreen Resorts: The Soundings Seaside Resort Cape Cod, MA

Résidence Du Herre Salies-de-Béarn, France

Foxborough Resort Branson, MO

WorldMark Surfside Inn Ocean Park, WA

Houseboat Resort Club Various locations worldwide

*Due to space limitations and other considerations, this list might not include all resorts that have recently affiliated with RCI.


Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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RCI Ventures, March/April 2012: US Edition  
RCI Ventures, March/April 2012: US Edition  

This issue of RCI Ventures showcases our latest innovations, which we are introducing at this year’s ARDA conference to help you succeed. In...