RCI Ventures North America and Canada 2017 Outlook

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T H E B U S I N E S S O F VAC AT I O N O U T LO O K F O R 2 0 1 7


SALES CENTER Making the customer part of the family

FLORIDA'S BRIGHT FUTURE The Sunshine State is on the right track

SETTING THE PACE Carl Hardin, COO of Somerpointe Resorts, is in it for the long haul

BOOST YOUR VIDEO CONTENT From search to publishing

Marine Chronometer 60 hours power reserve Self-winding manufacture Silicium technology ulysse-nardin.com


Ulysse Nardin, from the movement of the sea to the perpetual innovation of Haute Horlogerie. For over 170 years, the powerful movement of the ocean has inspired Ulysse Nardin in its singular quest: to push back the limits of mechanical watchmaking, time and time again.



06 By the Numbers Discover three influential microsegments of travelers

08 Industry News Briefs Reports from the field

10 Travel Trends Appealing to bleisure travelers; leveraging gamification

28 Technology & Marketing Five steps to more-effective video content and marketing

12 Consider Yourself at Home How today’s sales centers are engaging prospects

18 Setting the Pace Carl Hardin, chief operating officer of Somerpointe Resorts IN DEV ELOPMENT

22 Florida’s Bright Future New projects and infrastructure are pushing the state ahead

ON THIS PAGE The West Palm Beach waterfront, in Florida.

32 Industry Solutions RCI® Resort Showcase and RCI TV®; RCI® PresenterSM INSIGHT

34 Character Comes to the Caribbean


ON THE COVER The new sales center.

Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana

38 Family Affair Villas at Trapp Family Lodge

Enjoy RCI Ventures® magazine on your iPad®* when you download the RCI Ventures® magazine app for iPad® free at the iTunes® App Store. * 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.

42 A Resort Reborn Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket

50 Recent RCI® Affiliated Resorts 51 Events Calendar 52 A Final Thought Off-duty with RCI’s Roger Bennett

Senior Vice President: Philip S. Brojan. Publisher: Brian Bruno. Content Director: Giorgio Bentrovato. Associate Publisher: Emily Sadlock. Contributing Editor: Helen Foster. Advisory Board Chair: Fiona Downing. Advisory Board: Jeff Parker, Kelly Deardorff, Eugenio Macouzet, Bob McGrath, Todd Menendez, Robert Stolt, Debbie Wunder. VP Associate Publisher, Multimedia: Madelyn A. Roberts, madelyn.roberts@storyworldwide.com, 646-437-0630 Advertising Sales & Traffic Coordinator: Jennifer An, jennifer.an@storyworldwide.com, 212-481-3452, x339 Editor in Chief: Sunshine Flint. Creative Director: Ash Oat. Managing Editor: Gaetano Pollice. Associate Editor: Jessen O’Brien. Assistant Editor: Hannah Doyle. Art Director: Jenna Grady. Photography Director: Danielle Lamp. Copy Editor: Casey Edwards. Account Supervisor: Peter Macari. Associate Director of Production: Peter Papazoglou. Senior Producer: Carrie Blocher. Chief Executive Officer: Simon Kelly. Executive Creative Director: Oliver Dudley. Group Account Director: Scott Lynch.

No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from RCI. RCI Ventures® magazine 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® magazine 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. RCI Ventures is a registered trademark of RCI, LLC. For all subscription queries, please contact rciventuresna@rci.com. 9998 North Michigan Road, Carmel, IN 46032 © 2017 RCI, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

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The Bespoke Approach One size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to today’s consumer.



meeting and even exceeding the demands of the evolving consumer. These current and potential customers are the savviest and most well-informed that they have ever been, and brands and resorts must marshal their resources to connect with them at every step, from the sales-center floor to the dreaming and planning stages and beyond. Traveler and customer habits are being examined closely, the better to understand consumer behavior, needs and wants. Meanwhile, technology— from video to virtual reality—is catching up with travelers’ visions and dreams. Being able to adapt to the multiple types of customers who now exist and how they use technology puts the vacation ownership industry in a strong position. And the numbers bear this out. ARDA’s AIF 2016 Economic Impact study found that the timeshare industry contributes nearly $80 billion to the U.S. economy and is responsible for over half a million full- and part-time jobs. In 2015, timeshare owners and guests spent $10 billion, including $3.4 billion on-site at resorts and hotels. In this issue of RCI Ventures® magazine we look at different segments of the consumer population and how the industry has risen to the challenge of appealing to each of them. It’s clear that vacationers want authentic experiences that are tied to their destinations but don’t want to be tied down—variety and flexibility are key. We also look at Florida’s new Brightline train, which offers that essential variety and flexibility. The line makes same-day rail travel between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando a reality, something sure to appeal to families and multigenerational groups, who can now more easily travel among these destinations without a car. Travelers’ vacation

Picture Perfect: Check out these three strategies to help promote your properties and create a network of guests on Instagram.

preferences are not the only changes we’ve seen in the industry. The ways potential owners want to learn about timeshare have also evolved. We gathered a round table of highly experienced sales individuals to speak about how much sales centers have changed over the past decade, with sales teams learning how to customize the experience for potential owners and use the current technologies to their best advantage. Also in this issue we look at the best tips for video marketing, which is increasingly important for all travel brands to get right. As broadband has gotten stronger and as streaming has become more capable, the ability to virtually understand what a vacation is going to be like means we can directly deliver an experience to a customer. If someone is planning a couple’s getaway or a vacation for a family of four, resorts can offer a true taste before departure of what travelers will be seeing and doing while there. And technology is allowing that to happen in ways that couldn’t be considered even 5 or 10 years ago. Leaps in technology and in the types of vacation and experiences travelers demand will change the travel industry, and we are embracing that change. The way forward is to evolve with the industry and the consumer while retaining the core values that make people seek out and enjoy timeshare and vacation ownership.

Gordon Gurnik President, RCI

Vacationing on the Grid: Travelers increasingly expect fast and reliable Wi-Fi. Here’s how resorts are keeping guests connected around the world.

All in the Family: Timeshare is uniquely suited to one of today’s strongest travel trends: multigenerational vacations.

The World’s Fastest-Growing Destinations: Discover which five countries are experiencing a spike in tourism.





Power Pitching New research on specific consumer groups offers a compelling approach for converting prospects at the sales table. Instead of dividing travelers into generations, MMGY Global’s 2016 Portrait of American Travelers® uses factor and cluster analyses across multiple variables to determine microsegments. Tailoring communication to these small but significant groups has the potential to be extremely effective. “Preferences and habits follow many travelers throughout their lives—so beyond age and other factors like income, we have to look at how certain people like to travel,” MMGY Global vice president of research and insights Steve Cohen says. Read on for an in-depth look at these influential consumers.

18.7% of

U.S. Travelers




THE SALES PITCH: HENRYs: Vacation ownership is a growing piece of the sharing economy. Having a timeshare allows travelers to take highly authentic vacations, and with exchange they have the opportunity to explore the world. Brat Pack: Having a timeshare helps guarantee that members of this busy group take a vacation every year during which they can bond as a family. Timeshare

Brat Pack AVERAGE AGE: 37 WHO ARE THEY: Families with all children under 12. The Brat Pack makes up 18.7 percent of all U.S. travelers.

accommodations align with families’ unique needs, offering multiple bedrooms so parents can have privacy, as well as amenities that are great for children such as pools, entertainment centers and kids’ clubs. With exchange, families can travel to different destinations each year, allowing parents to introduce their children to new experiences. YAHTZEEs: Timeshares are a great gathering place for large extended families. These retirees have flexible


schedules, allowing them to get the most out of exchange opportunities and see the world.


of U.S. Travelers


of U.S. Travelers


AVERAGE AGE: 31 WHO ARE THEY: Stands for High Earners Not Rich Yet. HENRYs make up a quarter of traveling millennials and 7.3 percent of U.S. travelers.



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AVERAGE AGE: 67 WHO ARE THEY: Stands for Young at Heart Travelers Zooming Everywhere Enthusiastically. These active retirees make up 6.9 percent of U.S. travelers.







Average Travel-Spending Intentions by Microsegment PER HOUSEHOLD $9,000 $8,000

$8,520 per year


$8,032 per year




$5,166 per year

$4,000 $3,000


Brat Pack

Intend to Travel in the Next 12 Months 38% SAME

54% MORE


Customize sales pitches and marketing for the microsegment instead of the generation. “Broad efforts can miss an opportunity to create an individualized experience that connects with your target traveler,” Cohen says.

It pays to be proactive in online conversations.

44% MORE

45% 41%


of HENRYs posted at least one online travel review during the past 12 months. of Brat Packs posted at least one online travel review during the past 12 months.

Trips in Past 12 Months:



49% SAME

6.1 4.0 4.9

34% of all vacations YAHTZEEs take are road trips. “YAHTZEEs are more likely to travel to domestic destinations and old favorites,” Cohen says.

21% MORE

61% SAME 18% LESS

To purchase the full report, 2016 Portrait of American Travelers® by MMGY Global, go to mmgyglobal.com.




The timeshare industry contributes nearly $80 billion to the U.S. economy The 2016 Economic Impact study conducted by Ernst & Young (EY) on behalf of the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) found that within consumer and business spending in the U.S. economy, the timeshare industry contributes nearly $80 billion. Spending by timeshare owners and guests during their stays was estimated at $10 billion in 2015—with $3.4 billion spent on-site at resorts. The study also revealed that timeshare provided over half a million jobs in 2015, an 8 percent increase since 2013. Hilton’s newest app integrates gaming into guest personalization Fun Finder is an interactive feature available exclusively within the Hilton Honors app that shares personalized recommendations, resort information and special offers to make guests the heroes of their stays as they navigate a location-based map. Users enter their preferences and get particular information based on time, place and choice.

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For example, a couple can be notified of last-minute massage appointments at discounted rates. Currently available at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, in Honolulu, and Hilton Anatole, in Dallas, the feature will soon be rolled out to other Hilton Resorts in the U.S. Discover how travel brands are using games to engage customers on page 11. Hotels and airlines expand their reach to Cuba Following the 2016 U.S. Department of Transportation announcement that airlines can begin scheduled flights to Cuba, a dozen U.S. carriers applied to operate passenger and cargo service to Havana. Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United were tentatively awarded routes. The services will fly out of Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; Newark, New Jersey; New York City; Orlando, Florida; and Tampa, Florida. A number of U.S. and international properties are in development, with at least seven resorts to open in Cuba over the next few years. Rainforest Alliance Certification awarded to six AMResorts properties Six of AMResorts’ properties passed the Rainforest Alliance standards, growing AMResorts’ sustainability program by 30 percent, with a total of 25 resorts certified in Mexico and the Caribbean. The certification is received for wise use of natural resources and climate-change mitigation and for benefiting the social and cultural development of the resorts’ surrounding communities. Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, in Cancún, Mexico, is the latest resort to earn the certification and was also awarded the Travelife Gold, an international sustainability accreditation for the management of social and environmental impact at travel destinations.


Falling U.K. domestic business travel makes leisure guests attractive for London hoteliers Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) projects U.K. economic growth will slow as the nation prepares for Brexit in 2017, and as such, U.K. companies will cut their travel budgets. A surge in supply will also affect hotel occupancy in London. According to Liz Hall, head of hospitality and leisure research at PwC, about 7,200 new hotel rooms will come online in 2017, the highest level since the 2012 Summer Games, and cause 2017 occupancy rates to drop one percentage point to 80 percent, the lowest in nine years. Hall recommends hotels go after leisure travelers, as the weaker pound will make the U.K. more affordable for tourists.



Excelling in the luxury luxury vacation exchange exchange segment segment requires dedication and focus on requires on the theunique uniqueneeds needsof ofits its audience. The The Registry Registry Collection Collection®® program program was wasfounded founded with the promise promise of of providing providing that that experience experienceto toyour your owners over and over over again. again. With more than 13 13 years years of ofexperience, experience, The Registry Collection program continues as as the theleader leaderin in luxury vacation exchange.

The Registry Collection® program features more than 200 properties accessible for exchange or or currently currently under development - no no other otherglobal globalexchange exchangecompany companyoffers offers more luxury real estate destinations around the world. world.* * And no one one isismore morecommitted committedto todedicating dedicatingresources resources specifically to that space, space, with with the theaim aimof offulfilling fulfillingand and surpassing that promise for you and and your your owners. owners.

Learn more about The Registry Collection exchange and support 937.5979 . 866.937.5979. services at www.TRCAffiliates.com/AboutTRC or call 866.

*These subject toto availability and confirmed onon a first come, firstfirst served basis. *These vacations vacationsare arelimited. limited.Destinations Destinationsand andtravel traveltimes timesare are subject availability and confirmed a first come, served basis. The service marks in in thethe United States andand internationally. All rights reserved. The Registry RegistryCollection Collectionand andrelated relatedmarks marksare areregistered registeredtrademarks trademarksand/or and/or service marks United States internationally. All rights reserved. © 2017 RCI, RCI, LLC. ©2016 LLC.All Allrights rightsreserved. reserved.



All Work Is No Fun Combining business and leisure travel for a bleisure trip is an ongoing trend. That old adage about business and pleasure not mixing doesn’t apply when it comes to bleisure travelers. According to A Quantitative Look at the Bleisure Phenomenon, a recent study from Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s CWT Solutions Group, about 20 percent of all business travelers add on some leisure time either before, during or after the work portion of their trip, a number that has remained steady for the past five years. However, the January 2016 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ study in conjunction with American Express states that about 36 percent of business travelers report extending their business trip for

leisure travel and that 67 percent say having the option to do so is important to them. The CWT Solutions Group study found that international trips had the highest rate of bleisure travel, but the top U.S. cities for bleisure travel were Las Vegas, Miami and Orlando, Florida, followed by New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. With the resort industry trying to capture this sector in earnest, understanding who takes the most bleisure trips, and for how long and why, is key. As is helping to underscore to business travelers that the flexibility of various points products makes it easier for a vacation club member or timeshare owner to plan a blesiure trip. Female business travelers are more likely to take bleisure trips, according to the GBTA study, with 41 percent

of women versus 34 percent of men extending their trips. But the largest difference is generational, with 43 percent of millennials reporting bleisure travel, as opposed to 34 percent of Gen X’ers and 35 percent of baby boomers, according to the GBTA study. Resorts looking to appeal to business travelers also need to consider where their guests are coming from. The farther they had to travel from home, the higher the likelihood for bleisure travel. But regardless of destination, business travelers still need to be connected. “If you want to be a resort that takes advantage of this type of traveler, number one you need robust, reliable Wi-Fi,” says Peter Roth, vice president of marketing and communications for the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), “plus some sort of business center or a quiet lounge where they can go without their spouse or family and spread out to do business.” Nearly two-thirds of bleisure travelers stay in order to enjoy the destination, while a little under half visit friends or family. Resorts should also get a sense of why business travelers are extending their stays and make accommodations for those traveling with them. “About half of those extending business trips to include leisure travel bring along a spouse or significant other,” said Jeanne Liu, vice president of research at the GBTA Foundation. Business travelers might be more attracted to stay if they receive an upgrade to a larger room when their spouse or family joins them or if there are activities on-site for all of them to enjoy. “The lines between business and leisure are blurred today, so you can take two or three days with your family but still be plugged in,” Roth says. —SUNSHINE FLINT

1 0 2017 O U TLO O K



of workers at companies with fewer than 250 employees reported extending business trips*


of workers at companies with more than 500 employees reported extending business trips*


of bleisure travel occurs at the end of the business trip**


of bleisure travel occurs at the beginning of the business trip** *Source: 2016 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ in conjunction with American Express **Source: A Quantitative Look at the Bleisure Phenomenon

Gaming Travel


Brands are using gamification strategies to introduce new travel experiences and engage consumers. By now everyone is familiar with Pokémon Go, the augmented reality game that has taken over tens of millions of smartphones since launching on July 6, 2016. Hotels.com released a survey on August 17, 2016, that found that 44 percent of American travelers who play the game expect to spend two to three hours during their next vacation trying to catch them all—and that 48 percent of millennials would consider visiting a new destination because of the game. Players may have dwindled somewhat since Pokémon Go’s record-breaking release, but brands are just starting to tap into gamification’s potential. In 2015, Emirates airline created a game of Connect Four played over Instagram to spread the word about launching four daily flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport, in New York City. Fans earned the chance to win a free flight on Emirates. The campaign generated 5,671,236 social impressions and had a 326 percent interaction rate on

Instagram. InterContinental Hotels Group incorporated gaming mechanics into its loyalty program in 2013, allowing users to compete for Priority Club points with an online trivia game, “Win It in a Minute.” Players earned more than 100 million points in the first two weeks alone. “Gamification is a powerful tool in the hands of every travel-industry business,” says Dade Ronan, an independent gamification analyst and consultant. “Gamification can produce greater customer engagement, increased profit margins and wider brand recognition. It can also help grow your brand loyalty.” Gamification can range from virtualreality experiences to immersive adventures. Formats vary greatly and often rely on game mechanics such as earning coins or competing for a prize or title. These scenarios can appeal to a wide range of people. “We know that millennials love games, but this desire for fun goes beyond that generation,” notes Sarah Spagnolo, editor-at-large at Foursquare. The company’s Swarm app allows users to unlock perks like deals and giveaways and compete on a leaderboard by checking into a location. (More than 50 million people use the Foursquare Swarm and City Guide



apps each month, and total Swarm check-ins recently surpassed 10 billion, suggesting that the right formula can generate sustained interest.) In fact, AARP, a nonprofit organization that offers support to baby boomers and people over 50, launched a gamification program, Rewards for Good, in 2014 to engage retirees on its website. Users earn points by completing quizzes or tasks, which can be redeemed as discounts on various products. A resort might consider building a game that encourages guests to visit different spots on the property. During film and music festival South by Southwest in March of 2016, Dell and Foursquare developed a similar mobile app, Dell Play Through. Users were encouraged to visit various landmarks around Austin, Texas, while playing a round of virtual golf. This app as well as Foursquare’s Swarm and City Guide apps rely on proprietary location intelligence—the company’s data that connects apps to the real world. Whatever technologies the experience ultimately incorporates, Ronan stresses the importance of creating a system that is fun, progressive and shareable—and testing it thoroughly before launching. Gamification is still in its early days, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. Engagement Alliance, a group dedicated to studying gamification and engagement in science, predicts that the gamification industry will reach $5.5 billion by 2018 with the biggest markets in North America and Europe. “Gamification can be a strong driver to get people to explore the world,” Spagnolo says. “It encourages users to move beyond their daily routine, motivating them to be comfortable in new situations and to experience previously undiscovered corners of the world.”


From July 4 to 10, 2016, #PokemonGo made

5,982, 616,734

impressions on social media. Mentions of the game rocketed from zero to more than

1.25 million

in a single day, doubling roughly every two days and reaching more than

4.5 million

mentions during that period.

Source: Wired, July 2016




Consider Yourself at Home Sales centers bring the idea of timeshare and vacation ownership to life.

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Sales centers serve as the literal entry to vacation ownership, and it’s where potential customers are turned into vacation owners. Walking in, a prospective buyer should feel enticed and engaged and even entertained, and the physical flow through the center itself is just as important as the flow of the sales presentation. It’s no wonder that resorts and the timeshare industry put a tremendous amount of resources into the décor, layout, that make up their sales centers. We invited an experienced panel of industry experts to discuss their brands’ sales centers and how they function today, what challenges and changes they have faced and what successes they’ve achieved. Derek DeSalvia, vice president of sales at Disney Vacation Club, talks about its flagship sales center at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida; Maria Margenot, senior vice president of sales development, recruiting and training at Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO), discusses the ins and outs of approximately 90 sales centers across the country; and Michael Brown, chief operating officer of Hilton Grand Vacations, shares his insights about Hilton Grand Vacations’ global sales centers.

DD: About two years ago, we performed a major renovation of our flagship sales center at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. Our focus was on the overall experience of the guests, specifically their impression of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) brand when they first walk through the sales center doors. Our internal Walt Disney World® Resort Imagineering Team led the project, with input from other teams, and developed a warm and inviting atmosphere with a physical flow that helps to immerse the guest into the DVC experience. MM: We no longer use scripted presentations or present the same product to every guest who walks through the door. For example, our sales tools have evolved from static wallboards and hard-copy pitch books to immersive technology such as interactive touch screens, iPads®, apps and presentations that incorporate videos, testimonials and more. MB: Utilizing technology in our sales centers is the biggest change and has evolved the sales experience in two significant ways. First, technology has helped us create a very personalized, customer-driven sales experience, where the conversation is focused on our customers sharing their vacation goals. Second, technology has streamlined our back-of-house processes to increase efficiency and reduce the amount of time from the actual sale to the customer getting on with their day. V: What has remained the same? DD: The journey of the sales process has largely remained the same. We like to end the presentation with some Disney “magic” to make sure guests leave on a good note, whether they decide to become members or not. MM: Regardless of how technology and collateral may change over the years, forming an authentic and genuine


Derek DeSalvia vice president of sales, Disney Vacation Club

Maria Margenot senior vice president of sales development, recruiting and training, Wyndham Vacation Ownership

Michael Brown chief operating officer, Hilton Grand Vacations



technology, sales teams and special amenities

V: What has changed the most about your sales centers in the past 10 years?

relationship with a customer has always remained fundamental to the sales process. MB: What hasn’t changed is the importance of interpersonal contact and relationship building. We’re improving the physical space and the tools we use to provide information, but we will never replace the human connection.


V: How do you bring the product to life? DD: Our employees, who we refer to as cast members, play a big part. They are as warm and inviting as the physical structure of the sales center itself is. These cast members focus on guiding guests through natural, organic conversations and help to ease any tension a guest may have had prior to the sales presentation, or what we call an Open House Tour. MM: We strive to keep the content on our sales tools fresh so we can effectively inform current and prospective owners about the latest enhancements to their vacation ownership

experience. One example of this is our interactive touch-screen tool that includes videos and updated maps of our newest properties. In addition, the touch screens include the latest photography to better showcase our resorts, a more extensive owner database and much more.

tions and collateral, whereas now they have access to nearly immediate information. In addition, sales associates can walk their properties with their iPads®, which allows them to be mobile, no longer needing to be near a desk or computer to showcase the product to prospective owners.

MB: We immerse our guests in the experience, allowing them to go where they want to go. We talk to them about their dreams and aspirations and how our product can make that a reality.

DD: Our cast members use a platform on a large touch screen that allows them to highlight many different aspects of a DVC membership, such as the benefits and how to use it. They also use it to highlight the 13 resorts in our product portfolio to show guests the additional destinations they would have access to for a vacation.

V: What technology is vital for your salespeople and why? MM: In 2013 we began providing every member of our sales force with a comprehensive sales-tool center on an iPad® platform. This has been vital to our sales team—WVO can now provide every sales associate across the country with the most up-to-date, consistent and accurate sales information and training, all while reducing the company’s environmental footprint. In the past, our sales team would have to factor in days or sometimes weeks for printing and shipping new promo-

“Our sales centers utilize a mixture of open and private spaces, depending on the location and the needs of each specific site. We tailor the design to ensure the best possible experience for both our guests and our team members,” says Michael Brown, chief operating officer of Hilton Grand Vacations. 14 2017 O U TLO O K

MB: Our interactive platform is absolutely essential. More and more, we’re simplifying the ability to digitally collect details needed to complete a sale. People expect cutting-edge technology, and we deliver. V: Are you using or planning to use 360-degree video? MB: We are planning to incorporate 360 video into our process and have

“A warm and welcoming environment is found in all of our sales centers, like this one in our Disney Springs location,” says Derek DeSalvia, vice president of sales for Disney Vacation Club. “And our flagship sales center, located at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, is also very inviting; the whole intent of it is to welcome our guests home.”

We’ve added two or three touch points, such as previewing a movie before the sales meeting to dedicate a few minutes to the Walt Disney World® brand and what it means to so many families. —DEREK DESALVIA, vice president of sales for Disney Vacation Club

MM: Last year Wyndham Vacation Ownership launched a new app called WYN 360° Virtual Tours that is available for download on nearly 4,000 sales and marketing iPads® across the company. WYN 360° Virtual Tours allows guests to virtually navigate through stunning resorts, and our associates can download iPad®-ready 360-degree views of resort accommodations and amenities. This truly

immerses future owners in our vacation products and is just one example of an innovative new tool that WVO has rolled out to support our sales team. V: Are you using or planning to use virtual reality headsets? MB: Our first trials with virtual reality headsets are currently planned to take place in Japan using Samsung headsets. We aim to bring our guests into an active rather than passive VR experience to allow them

DD: We’re always looking to enhance our technology and platforms, and we’re always exploring options. We make sure technology flows into our presentation and is something that makes sense for DVC. V: How does your changing or evolving product get showcased in the sales center? MB: Our evolving products are showcased in various areas in our sales centers. Because we’ve created dynamic areas, we can push content in real time. A model room is still integral when available, but technology helps supplement when it isn’t. We continually learn. We don’t think we’ve found the final product—we keep evolving and innovating. Little tweaks make big differences, and we’re working toward having the ability to monitor the process as a whole, mentor and manage the sales lines and provide a better guest experience overall. DD: Right now at the Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa sales center, we have full-scale models of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, in Ko Olina, Hawai‘i, and Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. These fully kitted-out models help guests who are part of an Open House Tour have an almost true-tolife experience. For destinations that we do not currently have full-scale models constructed, cast members can showcase these resorts by utilizing video and image content on our touch-screen platform. V: What materials do you use the most?

“We have an expansive resort portfolio of more than 200 resorts with approximately 90 sales centers,” says Maria Margenot, senior vice president of sales development, recruiting and training for Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

DD: We understand that different consumers have different demands. Some want tangible materials, others may want an email that contains



done some trials with versions that go on our tablets to showcase the units in a very unique way.

to gain a more complete understanding of our properties.


Technology was essential in creating a personalized, customercentric experience. Our customers enjoy the immersion in how our products and membership can help them fulfill their vacation dreams. —MICHAEL BROWN, chief operating officer of Hilton Grand Vacations

all the necessary information, and others may want to learn more about the product on our website. Therefore, we use a combination of these depending on the consumer. Furthermore, our cast members can customize an Open House Tour based on the consumer type. MM: In addition to the iPads®, we are now offering digital owner kits on tablets at select sites versus traditional owner kits, and we are currently in the process of rolling these out companywide. These digital kits significantly reduce the paperwork to manage, and they are also environmentally friendly. V: How is the new generation of buyers/owners different from before? MM: Today, customers are look­ing for a balance of genuineness and novelty, which drives buying

1 6 2017 O U TLO O K

behavior. They expect an authentic experience with a company and are far too savvy to be “sold” in the traditional manner. There’s a real opportunity for sales teams to build trust and connect with customers to truly understand what they are looking for and how they can help enhance their lives and access new experiences. DD: In the past several years, consumers have come to Open House Tours profoundly educated. I’ve noticed that these consumers are especially informed on the parts of the DVC membership they are most interested in. It’s interesting to see how our cast members customize each presentation based on the guest in front of them. Guests want different levels of accommodations, different amounts of flexibility and more. No two are the same.

and use this feedback to enhance the overall experience. MB: That one-to-one relationship is essential. It is central to what makes the sale. Relationships are still key to building trust, and consumers buy their trust in you. They have to immerse themselves in it and have to believe, and all they have is you. You’re expressing the brand—you’re personalizing what Hilton is, and that’s so important.


DD: I think micro and macro environmental issues really weigh heavily on guests now. We work for a powerful brand whose main focus is on delivering the best experience possible for a guest. DVC is no different: We take guests along an incredible journey and help them create magical memories with their families.

MB: We look at our customer’s evolution as a whole—people don’t want to be labeled. For the most part, many of our older customers really appreciate the new technology and engaging content, while our younger customers expect it. V: Is the salesperson and the oneto-one relationship still important? DD: No matter how much information we share or how much customization we provide our guests, I think they will still want to speak with someone in person. Even though Walt Disney World is well known, not everyone knows the benefits of the DVC mem­bership. This is a great opportunity for our cast members to guide these guests through the journey of the sales process. We continually seek feedback from our members, guests and cast members

MB: A combination of elements has accelerated our sales growth, including more efficient processes, strong sales training to increase transparency, and outstanding creativity to immerse our customers in our resort portfolio and Club Member experience. MM: An example of a program that has positively impacted our sales numbers is our Specialist Presenter program. This program leverages technology and is high-impact, fun and interactive and allows for a better guest experience in a more relaxed group setting while building trust and showcasing our value proposition. V: What has been a successful physical change in the sales center? MB: The successful physical changes are a cleaner, modernized, contemporary space that is more welcoming. Also making sure the experience is personalized while maintaining a

—MARIA MARGENOT senior vice president of sales development, recruiting and training for Wyndham Vacation Ownership


V: What has impacted sales numbers the most?

Consumers come to the table prepared like never before. Sales and marketing professionals must adapt and change the way they present products to current and prospective owners.

delicate balance of privacy and awareness of surroundings and camaraderie is key. MM: We tailor each of our sales centers to the resort and geographic area. Over the years, we’ve expanded and updated areas in our sales centers and built out presenter rooms with projection screens and surround sound, added intimate settings and created buffet stations at select locations. In addition, depending on space availability at a location, our interactive touch screens can range from 55 inches to 80 inches. DD: Included in the major renovation we underwent about two years ago were updates to the textures, colors and lighting of the sales center. These changes helped to provide a more contemporary and engaging environment for our guests. From a strategic standpoint, we did not want to disrupt too much. We stayed true to the function and flow of the sales process, maintaining a guest-centric approach.



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Carl Hardin, chief operating officer of Somerpointe Resorts, reflects on what it takes to thrive in the vacation ownership industry. BY SU NSHIN E FLINT P H OTO G R A P H Y BY JACO B K E P LE R


for a part-time job during college led to a long-standing career in the timeshare industry, and Carl Hardin, COO of Somerpointe Resorts, has never looked back. He found his way into hospitality as a student at Arizona State University, first working nights at a local hotel and then at a Ramada Inn in Phoenix. From there he hopped across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii. “I was a night auditor at the Ramada Inn, and the regional manager there provided me the opportunity to take a position in Hawaii with a franchise there,” Hardin says. It was in Hawaii that he made his first entry into vacation ownership, learning the business from the ground up. While working at a Ramada Inn in Hawaii, Hardin and the general manager formed their own management company and took over operation of that hotel when the existing owners canceled the Ramada Inn franchise. Eventually, Hardin became involved in the company, converting the Imperial Hawaii Resort, in Waikiki, to timeshare units and a vacation club. “That was my first entry into vacation ownership, and it has been a career that I’ve enjoyed as well as excelled at,” Hardin says.



While managing the Imperial Hawaii Resort, he worked closely with the former Consolidated Resorts as a sales agent and grew to know the owner Arthur Spector. At first Hardin worked in property management but then transitioned to timeshare operations. “You can’t manage a timeshare property without becoming somewhat involved in sales and marketing operations,” he says. The Consolidated owners helped ease him into his new role, but his property management background helps him even today as COO. “I work closely with our current management company so that the customer expectations are met.” In the early 2000s, Hardin moved to Consolidated’s corporate office, in Las Vegas, where he eventually became operations controller. “My primary function was to establish policies and procedures for marketing, sales and back-office operations,” Hardin says. “It was a tremendous opportunity to see all aspects of the process

any specific acquisition markets,” Hardin says. “Instead we have been very active in reestablishing our frontline sales over the past two years with both traditional marketing and also engaging in social media marketing. I’ve been very focused on developing a team to carry this company forward for the next decade or so.” His hands-on approach is what marks his management style, staying involved until he is satisfied that his staff has absorbed his leadership principles. “I’m more traditional in that way until I’m comfortable that my team is progressing in the right direction,” he says. Hardin believes that common sense is the most important characteristic for a business leader to possess. “In my early management years, Robert Woolley, the owner of Granada Royale Hometels [he invented the concept of the all-suite hotel with complimentary breakfast buffet in the 1970s], visited the resort where I worked. I was in my office doing paperwork, and his

I believe that today’s traveler is looking for something beyond just the accommodations from their vacation ownership company. They are looking for us to help provide true experiences during each and every stay. —CARL HARDIN, chief operating officer of Somerpointe Resorts

from start to finish.” Hardin was appointed COO in 2004, and he helped maneuver the company through its toughest times, like the credit crunch of 2009. Coming out of that period was one of Hardin’s proudest accomplishments. “Working closely with Arthur’s son Todd, we reinvented the company with a different, profitable financial model,” he states. “Assembling that team and successfully moving forward was very rewarding.” Now called Somerpointe Resorts, the company has 12 properties in Hawaii, Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas—where Tahiti Village, their flagship, is located—and services 100,000 families around the world. Currently, Somerpointe is looking to consolidate their position and enhance their current products and services. “We have the top three markets in the U.S. We are always looking for expansion but haven’t identified

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comment was that you can’t manage a resort or see what your guests are seeing if you’re sitting on your behind in an office,” Hardin recalls. “Only his words were a little more colorful.” But Hardin says his most significant mentor was Arthur Spector, who taught him to always consider more than just the immediate issue or problem at hand. “He said to seek out other areas that might be affected by what you do or don’t do,” Hardin says. “He was always asking questions about an agreement or a new program that the team had not considered. And both he and his son Todd take great interest in the people that work for them, and they provide that motivation to become more than you expect of yourself.” Nowadays Hardin is looking at how the industry is evolving and how his resorts can grow their success. The strong regulation of the industry is a plus for customers

Below and opening spread: Carl Hardin at Somerpointe Resorts’ corporate headquarters, in Las Vegas.


and in turn for the resorts, with strong, professional sales and marketing teams. “When I first entered the timeshare world, regulations were fairly new. Inventory tracking had been an issue, disclosures were cloudy, and some employees had questionable backgrounds,” he says. “Today, insuring that our customers are fully informed during the purchase process is of utmost importance.” And after customers have turned into owners, communication is even more critical to a resort’s continued success. “Communicating with your owner base and staying on top of their changing needs is key,” Hardin says. “Complacency is the single most common mistake. Customers and their expectations are changing, and all resorts must be alert to this.” Part of being alert means constantly managing customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction and continually monitoring and reacting to social media comments. But resorts and the timeshare industry also have to understand that today’s customers want meaningful, authentic experiences that are tied to the destination and are not just about the accommodations. They want to go home with unique stories and feel as if they really discovered something new. “I see new buyers who want shorter but more frequent trips and who are looking for something beyond just the accommodations from their vacation ownership company,” he says. “We’re seeing our properties expand their services to beyond the physical property so we can help create those special memories.” On his days off Hardin takes advantage of Las Vegas’s world-class golf courses, spends time with his wife, daughter and grandchildren and, ironically enough, is learning to enjoy the art of vacationing. “Recently, my wife and I have been taking longer trips and getting away from it all,” he says. “On our recent trip to Tuscany we stayed in an old mill and had a great time meeting people, walking around the area and wine tasting. Many of us don’t take the vacation time that we should.” Of course, getting everyone to take that time is one of Hardin’s and Somerpointe’s goals. “We will continue to expand and create or modify our products to fit the new customers we encounter.”

somerpointeresorts.com RCI VENTURES 21


COCOA (PHASE 2) Lake Buena Vista Cocoa Beach Kissimmee


Palm Bay

Lake Okeechobee




Singer Island


Lake Worth

Delray Beach Boca Raton


Hollywood Aventura Doral

Miami Beach


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Innovative projects, exciting developments and sustained investment in infrastructure make Florida’s future a bright one. BY SU NSHIN E FLINT


after plans for a true high-speed (over 150 mph) rail in Florida were quashed by political infighting, four of the state’s most visited cities are about to be linked by the privately owned Brightline train. Starting in mid-2017, rail service will connect Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with a second phase to Cocoa and Orlando projected to be built by the end of 2018. When completed, the “higher speed rail” (the term used to describe rail speeds between 90 and 125 mph) journey from Miami to Orlando will take three hours, an hour less than by car. People who want to travel between these cities, even for a day trip, will have this new transport option, which will boost tourism further between South and Central Florida and also make the journey more convenient for residents and business travelers. Ticket prices will be less than the cost of flying to Orlando from the other three cities. Florida is the second-most-visited state in the United States, with over 100 million out-of-state and international visitors per year. The vast majority are domestic travelers, who make up more than 85 percent of visitors, and in 2015, domestic travel was up by 5.6 percent from the previous year. Of the international visitors, Canadians constitute the largest portion, with 3.8 million visiting annually. Even facing confirmed Zika cases in parts of Miami, the state saw an overall year-on-year increase in domestic visitors in 2016. “We have hundreds of miles of beaches on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, year-round mild temperatures, most major theme parks and attractions—there is something for everyone here,” says Robert Stolt, vice president of business development at RCI, who resides in Orlando.

Above: A rendering of Brightline’s MiamiCentral station.



Overall development in Miami continues apace, from new hotels in Mid-Beach to retail and residential complexes along the Miami River, the city’s latest waterfront hot spot. Six restaurants and 550 hotel rooms were approved last year, as well as residential projects such as One River Point, which will comprise two 60-story condo towers linked at the top by an air bridge and a private club. Mixed-use developments such as River Landing will rise along the river while Riverwalk, a public promenade, is currently being built. Luxury yachts ply the Miami, tying up at restaurants like Seaspice or the newly opened River Yacht Club, which has a garden, restaurant and rooftop terrace, plus a members-only marina. Fort Lauderdale A rise in affluent visitors is creating an economic boom and significant investment in the greater Fort Lauderdale region, which received 14.3 million tourists in 2015. The average annual income for domestic visitors to this area is over $112,000, far above the national average and an increase of 15.5 percent from 2012. Meanwhile, a $2.3 billion expansion and runway extension to the Fort Lauderdale– Hollywood International Airport led to a 26 percent increase in international traffic between 2013 and 2014. With 70 consecutive months of growth and a current hotel occupancy rate of 81 percent, Fort Lauderdale and Broward County are seeing new construction projects and redevelopment of oceanfront properties filling the pipeline. Overall, more than $700 million in hotel development is underway, with more than one thousand new rooms set to come online in the next two years, such as those in the new Meliá Costa Hollywood and the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach and Ocean Resort Residences. In addition, 10 existing hotels are planning over $222 million in improvements and renovations. The region also hosts high-profile events such as Riptide Music Festival, food and wine festivals and fashion events. A new mode of transport such as the Brightline will ferry travelers to and from these events from other nearby cities, and the ease of connectivity will create more options of things to do for visitors.

The perennial appeal of Florida makes it home to more vacation ownership resorts and timeshares than any other state. According to the Economic and Fiscal Impacts of the Florida Timeshare Industry, prepared by Ernst & Young for the ARDA International Foundation, there are 371 resorts in the state with a total of nearly 60,000 timeshare units (excluding fractional resorts, private residence clubs and destination clubs). The timeshare industry accounts for more than 106,000 jobs and $14.9 billion of output. The state government is generally responsive to the industry as a whole, recently unanimously passing a bill that modernized and clarified the state’s timeshare law, for example, plus added to some lawsuit protections. This hospitable environment and the state’s support of projects like the Brightline train are also important to resort owners, developers and investors. “Florida’s continued investment to improve the infrastructure that handles the largest amount of visitors each year is key to our decision to invest in our resort,” says Stephen W. Bradley, authorized member of Timescapes Resorts, the owner of Calypso Cay Resort, in Kissimmee. “The state’s reasonable tax structure, openness to structured development growth and international promotion for the leisure and business visitor are areas that make the difference.” Miami One of the most visited cities in the United States, Miami saw a 6.4 percent year-on-year increase in 2015 in overnight visitors, with a total of 15.5 million visitors. The two most popular locations for travelers to stay are Miami Beach (at nearly 50 percent) and downtown Miami (at nearly 19 percent). And revitalizing downtown Miami is Brightline’s main terminus, MiamiCentral, a transport hub and mixed-use retail, office and residential development being built on the site of Miami’s former train station. The depot will link Brightline passengers with commuter rails and the city’s Metromover, trolleys and buses and will add to the city’s reputation as a tourist magnet.

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Above: Higherspeed trains ready for takeoff. Opposite, clockwise from top left: Sunset at Hollywood Beach, near Fort Lauderdale; aerial view of Miami’s South Beach; the Orlando skyline and Lake Eola Fountain at night; a rendering of Brightline’s West Palm Beach station.

West Palm Beach The Palm Beaches are within driving distance of South Florida’s three major international airports (Miami International, Fort Lauderdale International and Palm Beach International Airport) and is an accessible, affordable beach and vacation destination. Visitor numbers grow every year, and in 2015 the area had a record-breaking 6.9 million visitors and was forecast to better that number with 7.2 million in 2016. In the past year there have been 11 new resort and hotel property openings, and in 2017 the area will get a luxe lift with the opening of a Mandarin Oriental hotel and residences in downtown Boca Raton in Palm Beach County.



Palm Beach Shores Resort & Vacation Villas, Palm Beach Shores


Sherry Smith, general manager What about the resort’s location near West Palm Beach makes it special for owners and visitors? Our location really could not be better for any kind of traveler. We are near three international airports: Palm Beach Airport, about 20 minutes away; Fort Lauderdale Airport, about 45 minutes away; and Miami International Airport, approximately an hour and a half away. Located on historic Singer Island, our resort is directly on the Atlantic Ocean and has a private beach with cabanas. Guests can lounge and lunch by the pool or walk down the boardwalk and sit in a cabana and enjoy the ocean. We have a number of water sports available, such as Jet Skiing, world-class snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding or even the new sport of “fly diving.” Or a special kayaking and snorkeling trip to Peanut Island, the home of the secret Kennedy bunker. We also have poolside entertainment seven days a week. Guests can head to West Palm Beach’s best shopping and entertainment at trendy City Place, Downtown at the Gardens, and Clematis Street, and preseason baseball can be enjoyed at nearby Roger Dean Stadium, the training camps of several major-league teams. Do you have any updates or renovations planned for Palm Beach Shores Resort & Vacation Villas? Palm Beach Shores Resort recently gave the lushly landscaped tropical pool a face-lift, and the pool resurfacing, new coping and all-new decorative tile have been finished. We completely renovated our Jacuzzi area by lowering the access, removing the steps and adding a new Jacuzzi, with lift included. Pavers were also added. In 2017, new sleeper sofa beds will be installed in all units as well as brand-new bedroom carpeting in all units. Over the past two years all refrigerators and dishwashers have been replaced. Elevator landings and furnishings will also be replaced in 2017. Where are your owners from? Our owners are primarily from the northeastern United States, i.e., New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, as well as the Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin. We have a fair number from Canada and a small number of owners from the western United States. In what ways do you think the Brightline train service will help your resort? The Brightline service will add an additional quick, convenient and safe way to bring guests from the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area into the Palm Beaches without having to drive. Adding a major transportation system will help spur the economy and boost tourism.

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With more than a million travelers bypassing the Palm Beaches while traveling between Orlando and Miami every year, the hope for the Brightline is that it will encourage people to stop and stay awhile. “We have been big supporters of Brightline since the beginning, because we believe this is a wonderful alternative for people to get to the Palm Beaches,” says Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover the Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing corporation for Palm Beach County. “This new service presents a great opportunity to introduce our area as an alternative destination perfectly situated between those two major gateways.” The region hosts events like the annual SunFest, a major outdoor music festival, and Sandi Land, a holiday celebration in West Palm Beach that features music and light shows and a Christmas tree sculpted from 600 tons of sand. Baseball fans can visit the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, a springtraining and event complex, when it opens in 2017. It will be home to the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals. Orlando With a record-setting 66 million visitors (60 million of them domestic tourists) in 2015, Orlando is the most visited city in the United States. Another record 33 million room nights were sold the same year, and hotels are adding rooms in response to the demand. The theme parks continue to add new rides and attractions, and 2015 was the first full year of tourism numbers benefiting from the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Diagon Alley, which has proved to be incredibly popular with millennial tourists, particularly men, at Universal Orlando Resort. According to Foursquare data, the Universal parks in both Florida and California draw in more men than their competition. Universal Orlando Resort will open a water park this year called Volcano Bay and a new ride, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, which will take guests through the subway tunnels, up skyscrapers and past famous NYC landmarks. Also in 2017, Walt Disney World® Resort will open an Avatar land in Animal Kingdom, plus Toy Story and Star Wars attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are in the works. Orlando’s culinary scene is more sophisticated than ever, and the city will soon open a purpose-built soccer stadium for MLS team the Orlando City Lions for the start of the 2017 season. The Brightline’s second-phase extension to Orlando depends on completion of the Orlando Intermodal facility that is being constructed at the Orlando International Airport, as well as construction of the new higher-speed rail tracks from Cocoa to Orlando. “The reaction of resorts and hotels has been very favorable,” says AnneMarie Mathews, spokesperson for Brightline. “It’s a way for them to attract more guests because they will have an easy and convenient way to get from city to city.” New transportation links such as this give resort guests and owners more options during their stay,


Every major timeshare brand developments are here in Florida. We have seen great development strides in recent years, primarily from large branded clubs. — R O B E R T S T O LT,

vice president of business development at RCI

which is a boon to developers. “People will be able to go from Miami to West Palm Beach or West Palm Beach to Orlando much more easily,” says Stolt. “The Brightline service will put the best of Florida within reach of many resorts in South and Central Florida.” Looking ahead While one challenge for developers and investors is the price of land, especially beachfront property, most timeshare purchasers want urban destinations, and the supply of resorts doesn’t meet the current demand. While it might be harder for independent developers to enter the timeshare industry in this region, it has key targets for larger club developers to add dots on the map to complement their clubs. “We have seen great development strides in recent years, primarily from large branded clubs whose members demand these destinations as well,” says Stolt. “It’s expensive to develop urban areas, so the cost of the product will reflect this in the sales price.” One of the most promising groups of potential owners, according to Stolt, is millennials. “The sheer size and buying power of this generation means that they’re not just future timeshare purchasers, they’re a vital part of today’s market,” he says. He adds that appealing to their tastes and desires is key. “Developers who design a sense of adventure into their brand experience will be the most appealing. Millennials also strive for a healthy lifestyle, so the Florida experience is the perfect place to balance activity with entertainment. Flexibility is also key, since they don’t make their travel plans nearly as far in advance as past generations of owners.” A combination of time-proven appeal and new and exciting projects such as Brightline, plus continued support from the state and local governments, mean a rosy future for the Sunshine State. “Our industry is strong, and so many developers have established roots here that it just makes sense for them to continue to have a sales presence,” says Stolt. “As long as the sun continues to shine, tourists will be drawn to the great state of Florida.”

Stephen W. Bradley, authorized member of Timescapes Resorts, the owner of Calypso Cay Resort What about the resort’s location in Kissimmee makes it special for owners and visitors? Calypso Cay is convenient to the Disney parks (just five miles away on the Osceola Parkway), and it’s less than 15 minutes from the Universal attractions. It’s also minutes from shopping and restaurants and is bordered by access to the Florida Turnpike, I-4 and SR 535 but in just the right location to avoid the heavy-traffic areas. Do you have any updates or renovations planned for Calypso Cay? Calypso Cay Resort has just opened Castaway Cove, an adventure park right on-property that will offer guests the ultimate stay-and-play experience with a suite of High Action Adventure products, including a 300-foot FlyWire zip line, a challenging rock wall, a 25-foot Extreme Air Jumper, a Rope Quest slide and Balloon Battles, where you can experience a water balloon fight. Castaway Cove offers our guests an unparalleled value-added amenity where they can conveniently enjoy thrilling adventure products without having to travel outside of the resort. There are also plans to construct a new preview center adjacent to the large resort pool area and add up to 20 additional villas. Where are your owners from? Our owner base consists of mostly southeast USA residents, followed by Northeast/New England residents, the Midwest and Texas. We have some international residents as well. Where do you expect to see more growth in membership sales in the next few years? Our hope is to continue to attract the families with school-age children and those who travel up to two to three times per year. What is the top priority for positioning your resort for expansion and growth in Florida when it comes to timeshares? Our resort expansion is reliant upon being able to present our guests with an initial flexible membership type that can change as their families and travel habits change. We believe we can never do enough for our existing members, so we have developed membership programs that work for them. In what ways do you think the Brightline train service will help your resort? During the economic recovery we have learned to get the most out of business that is provided to us and not look for the home run, per se. We now realize more than ever that our financial survival depends heavily on our fellow Florida guests. Our resort is located right along the Florida Turnpike system, and we benefit from the South Florida visitors that come to Orlando at all times of the year. This is the right time to provide this sort of transportation—it’s more convenient than driving, so our guests from South Florida will visit more often and stay with us. The Brightline service will increase the amount of visitors from South Florida and wherever else in the state it expands.




as well as many independent

Calypso Cay Resort Vacation Villas, Kissimmee


Five Steps to More-Effective Video Content BY J E SSE N O ’ B RIE N I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y S É B A S T I E N T H I B A U LT


ONLINE videos are quickly becoming a necessity for brands looking to engage consumers. It’s no longer enough to simply post a branded video on a website and distribute it via email. Understanding consumer behavior is essential in order to fully leverage video on social networks, where video content is thriving: More than one billion people use YouTube, and the average viewing session is now more than 40 minutes on mobile devices. Facebook reported in November 2015 that the social network generates eight billion video views a day, a metric that Snap passed in April 2016, when the company confirmed that the app’s daily video views had grown to 10 billion. Following Snap’s success, Instagram Stories was launched in August 2016, allowing users to share videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours. Video content is effective—especially among travelers researching their next vacations. In TripAdvisor’s report TripBarometer: Travel Trends 2016, travelers ranked being able to review videos and photos of an accommodation online as one of the top five most important factors to consider when booking. As of 2015, more Google searches in the United States take place on mobile devices than on desktop computers. To reach consumers during this critical discovery stage, it’s increasingly important for travel brands to publish mobile-first video content on top search engines. “Most people don’t realize that YouTube is the secondlargest search engine online. Video content is getting higher placement through organic Google search as well,” says Giorgio Bentrovato, director of content marketing for RCI. “For vacation brands there’s a huge opportunity, because we can post videos that are authentic to our products and experiences and generate a high level of engagement,” adds Emily Sadlock, manager of content and publications for RCI. “If you create aspirational and helpful content and get it in front of the right audience, they’re going to love it.” Whether you’re looking to start creating online video or produce more-powerful content, check out our digitalvideo primer to learn how to create highly shareable clips and increase consumer engagement.

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Shoot authentic content. Consumers are more likely to respond to a video that looks genuine than a canned production. “The type of video that’s really effective in influencing someone to make a purchase decision is content that merchandises the experience in an authentic way,” Sadlock says. “Show travelers the property and the amenities, and consider having a staff member walk them around so there’s some personality. Authentic content can also include helpful information that travelers value. If you consistently receive the same questions, you can have resort staff answer them in a Q&A

or how-to video.” Less costly videos shot on a smartphone can be just as effective as a highly polished video, since a slightly rougher piece without as much editing may come across as more authentic. If you have the budget for a more refined, aspirational reel that can work in tandem with a series of shorter clips, all the better—but authentic videos should be your priority.


Put the platform first. Always keep the platforms you’re planning to publish on in mind as you shoot and edit content. Short-form video—about 30 to 60 seconds—is key when posting on Facebook and mobile-first social networks. Optimize for tablet and smartphones, and keep content simple: A quick clip of the pool, another of a spa treatment and a third shot of a chef preparing a meal will likely perform better on social than a single reel that’s three minutes long. If you have longer-form content, publish it on YouTube or on a brandspecific landing page, then drive your audience to this content by sharing shorter clips on social media that link back to it in the description copy. Consumers may mute videos on channels such as Facebook and Instagram, so add subtitles or produce videos that are audio agnostic. Or go one step further and craft a narrative that entices viewers to turn on sound. If you’re publishing on Facebook or YouTube, you can also engage with fans directly through a live stream.


Measure, measure, measure. One of the benefits of online platforms is the constant stream of data. YouTube offers a Realtime report feature, which allows brands to see data on estimated views for the past five published videos. These metrics are available in an hour-by-hour graph, which looks at the previous 48 hours, and in a minuteby-minute graph, which examines the

previous 60 minutes. YouTube also indicates when viewers drop off, so you can see exactly where you might be losing people’s interest, allowing you to optimize content accordingly. You can follow a similar approach on Facebook by boosting the video among a specific audience. “The right way to use an asset is to amplify it so it gathers more impressions against the audience you’re trying to target,” Bentrovato says. “Set the parameters accordingly and promote the video. From the analytics, you’ll get really good insight into how it’s performing so you can optimize the content even further.”


Be consistent. Consistency and volume matter. In fact, they can be more important than the production quality of the content or even its length. “The key to success on YouTube is simple: Provide entertaining content that is relevant to your consumers’ needs and publish on a consistent schedule,” Sadlock says. “Get creative. There are a lot of different ways to make content interesting: video Q&As, FAQs, walking tours, testimonials, live streams and more.” Brands might also consider starting a vlog, a video channel for property news and updates that can be regularly shared. Your audience is another source for video, especially younger generations such as millennials and Gen Z, the digital natives born after them. Use your social channels to encourage them to create, share and repost videos. This strategy not only increases your supply of content but also acknowledges and promotes the work of your audience, which can help build loyalty and transform passive social fans into active supporters. And in marketing, whether you’re talking about brand advocates or video content, the same rule applies: Quality and relevance are key. FOR MORE , RE AD “TAG TAC T I C S ” AT R C I V E N T U R E S .C O M



Make awareness your goal. Online videos can be highly effective— but only if you realize what the format excels at: driving awareness. Use videos to spread the word about your brand. Consumers are more likely to search for a destination or type of vacation than a specific property, so optimize metadata to help your content rise to the top of upper funnel searches. On YouTube this means smartly writing the video’s tags, title and description. For example, general search terms such as Mexico or beach may be more popular than naming the exact beach shown in the video. You can also use YouTube’s search bar autocomplete feature to test out keywords and see what terms people are searching the most. Be sure to include a link to the brand’s homepage in the description. Successful videos have an amplifying effect on your other marketing efforts: By generating awareness of the brand, videos can bring consumers to your website or other initiatives. Videos may indirectly encourage bookings by showing off a property, but consumers are unlikely to click on directly promotional content. Engaging Millennials, a 2014 survey by strategicmarketing agency the McCarthy Group, found that 84 percent of that generation’s members don’t like traditional advertising; it’s better to provide valuable footage rather than a hard sell.


SUCCESS The RCI Affiliate Access® program helps connect you to solutions from best-in-class industry providers, to assist you along every step of your resort’s life cycle. RCI would like to introduce our newest addition to the RCI Affiliate Access program:


Let’s take the journey together. We’ve saved you a seat! Learn more at RCIAffiliates.com/AffiliateAccess RCI and related marks are registered trademarks and/or service marks in the United States and internationally. All rights reserved. © 2017 RCI, LLC. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.








Cunningham Asset Recovery Services, LLC




Multimedia, Maximized


Promote your property more powerfully with RCI® Resort Showcase and RCI TV®.

Are you presenting your resort in its best possible light? From polished property photos to immersive affiliated-resort video tours, having dynamic and shareable multimedia content at the ready is crucial to a successful integrated digital-marketing strategy. RCI® affiliated resorts can choose from among four packages offered through the RCI® Resort Showcase program to help meet their unique needs, whether it’s increasing rental traffic, amplifying owner engagement or generating buzz around sales and marketing efforts. (See “At a Glance,” at right.) Affiliates can go one step further with RCI TV, the fastestgrowing online television network in the vacation ownership industry, and step into the spotlight before 3.8 million RCI® subscribing members. RCI’s multiple platforms— including the RCI YouTube channel, Endless Vacation Rentals® and RCI® Online Tour Generation—can help affiliates reach even more owners and prospects. RCI® Resort Showcase When an RCI affiliated resort participates in RCI Resort Showcase, the resort receives the resulting highquality custom video and photography. Affiliates can use this content however they choose to promote their resort, including on their website and through social media; creating brochures, posters or advertisements; playing video footage at sales presentations or on in-room TVs; and utilizing photos on resort merchandising, such as postcards, playing cards or T-shirts.

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New to the RCI Resort Showcase packages is the deployment of drone technology, where permissible, to capture an expansive aerial view of resorts. Also new are vignette-style one-minute videos that focus exclusively on essential topics such as a resort’s restaurants, amenities, accommodations, area attractions and more. RCI TV® Since RCI TV launched, in 2009, millions of RCI subscribing members and nonmembers have used the network to view high-definition resort videos. At the same time, it has helped these resorts increase their visibility and inventory utilization. The results speak for themselves: more than four million video views and more than 77,000 click-throughs to RCI affiliated resort websites. Plus, when RCI members view videos before confirming a vacation, they pick RCI TV resorts up to 63 percent more often than resorts not featured on RCI TV. Additional benefits include lead generation through open-market channels; increased RCI exchange and rental bookings; and optimized distribution channels to promote better search visibility and more web traffic. “Our owners love being able to share resort video with their friends,” says Thomas Adams, president of Suncoast Vacation Condos, in Florida. “We have had positive comments from renters and exchangers who selected our resorts in part because of the videos and pictures made available to them. We believe this investment returned excellent value for the expenditure.”



Contact your Account Executive for complete RCI Resort Showcase package descriptions, à la carte services and specific prices.

Platinum Plus Package • Three to three and a half days of 4K filming with three-person crew • 20 still photos with touch-up and photo finish • Resort overview music video (60 to 90 seconds) • Resort overview video (three to four minutes) with custom script and narration • One-minute drill-down videos Platinum Package • Two to two and a half days of 4K filming with three-person crew • 20 still photos with touch-up and photo finish • Resort overview music video (60 to 90 seconds) • Resort overview video (three to four minutes) with custom script and narration Gold Package • Two to two and a half days of 4K filming with two-person crew • 15 still photos with touch-up and photo finish • Resort overview music video (60 to 90 seconds) • One-minute drill-down videos Bronze Package • One to one and a half days of 4K filming with two-person crew • 10 still photos with touch-up and photo finish • Resort overview music video (60 to 90 seconds) • Customized rental video (30 seconds) with call to action


Add Sizzle to the Sales Room Show, don’t tell. It’s the first rule of making the most impact when illustrating the value proposition of vacation ownership to prospective owners. With touch-screen capabilities combined with rich media content, RCI Presenter goes even further—it brings the sales experience to life and lets prospects touch, tap and scroll to explore what vacation ownership has to offer. RCI Presenter is designed to give current and prospective owners the opportunity to have a truly handson learning experience. Through RCI Presenter’s touch-screen interface, guests can engage with innovative and interactive modules that showcase the benefits of exchange. Dramatic video clips, compelling explanatory graphics and striking imagery help inspire customers to say yes more often—and with greater enthusiasm for their upcoming vacation opportunities. (See “At a Glance,” at right, for the full breadth of options.) Its flexibility also lets affiliates take their presentation wherever they want it to go. Whether that presentation is on the big screen or on a mobile device, affiliates can design it to fit their needs—it can be used as part of a podium presentation or an informal discussion with a prospective buyer or small groups. RCI Presenter’s capabilities can also allow affiliate sales teams to: • Select modules to fit their sales process • Engage prospects with video featuring real testimonials from real RCI subscribing members • Introduce their tours to RCI’s long

history of sending millions of subscribing members on dream vacations • Present the RCI exchange system in a way that’s interactive, fun and easy to understand • Utilize mobile-app formats for portable, flexible presentation options • Leverage the “Interactive Playground” to highlight actual member exchanges into RCI affiliated resorts around the world “Creating great experiences is key to Azure Malta,” says Perry Newton, project director at Azure Malta. “RCI Presenter is a dynamic and engaging way to get your buyers’ attention by showcasing what a fabulous holiday lifestyle product they are buying into.” RCI is committed to helping affiliated resorts grow their businesses, and to that end, RCI Presenter is now available to affiliates at no cost. “We’re proud to be able to provide our affiliates with this immersive sales tool at no cost to them,” says Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI. “Technological innovations like RCI Presenter allow us to create more-meaningful and impactful connections with current and prospective owners at the sales table. RCI Presenter’s flexibility affords affiliates the ability to use it to enhance their existing sales presentations while simultaneously capturing the audience’s imagination about the near-limitless possibilities afforded by vacation ownership.”

* RCI affiliated resorts are responsible for providing hardware. ** iOS is a registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license by Apple, Inc. † Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

AT A G L A N C E : R C I ® P R E S E N T E R SM

Available on iOS**, Android† and Windows devices. With 11 modules and demonstrations available in five languages, RCI Presenter gives affiliates more than 50 different ways to reach prospects. Here’s an overview of what’s available: TO L E A R N MORE:

Contact your Account Executive to find out how RCI Presenter can enhance your sales process.

Interactive Modules • Exchange Choices • RCI Platinum® Membership Tier Benefits • Join RCI • Benefits of Vacation Ownership • Meet the Points Guys • Meet the Weeks Buddies Videos and Demonstrations • The World of RCI • The World of RCI Points® • The World of RCI Weeks® • RCI® V-TrendsSM Interactive Playground Module Prospects can learn about RCI affiliated resorts and RCI Cruise destinations around the world— plus, prospects can see how many RCI subscribing members already exist within their own zip code. Languages English, Spanish, Mandarin, Portuguese and French




Close the sale with RCI® PresenterSM—now available at no cost to RCI® affiliated resorts.*

N I C K E L O D E O N H O T E L S & R E S O R T S P U N TA C A N A

Character Comes to the Caribbean With the debut of Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, the kids’ television network and Karisma Hotels & Resorts prove to be the perfect pair.



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Hotels & Resorts announced a landmark partnership with Viacom International Media Networks to bring the Nickelodeon brand to Azul Hotels by Karisma. The union resulted in the Nickelodeon Experience at Azul Hotels, in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, which marked the first time Nickelodeon had partnered with an international resort collection. The rapport between the companies was instant, says Rinaldo Fernandez, senior vice president of Karisma Travel Club Division. “When our executive vice president of sales and marketing came across a contact at Nickelodeon and reached out to initiate a partnership, we aligned incredibly well,” he says. The Nickelodeon Experience affirmed Viacom and Karisma’s shared business objectives, and the property’s success and reception encouraged the growth of their partnership into a multi-resort

project, which led to the grand opening of Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana in June 2016. “One of Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts’ biggest priorities, if not the largest, was to be able to provide a luxurious yet exciting vacation for families where adults and children could both get what they wanted out of a vacation,” Fernandez says. Karisma’s recognition within the industry proved that it was the right hospitality partner for Nickelodeon to choose; the resort group’s awards include the AAA Five-Diamond and five years of readers’ choice recognition from Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler magazines and TripAdvisor. Karisma’s portfolio is just as expansive as its awards chest, spanning diverse international destinations, including the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica, Colombia, Croatia and Serbia.

Rinaldo Fernandez Senior vice president Karisma Travel Club Division

At Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, all-inclusive is taken to a new level. The resort’s “Got You Covered” amenities are designed especially for families, providing complimentary baby food, strollers, cribs, baby-bottle warmers and kids’ spa robes so that owners and guests can pack lightly. These Below: Cabanas line the oceanfront at Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana; SpongeBob SquarePants greets kids at the Aqua Nick water park. Opposite: Inside the Just Kiddin’ Kids Club; the property sits on Uvero Alto beach.



Going Gourmet Karisma’s Gourmet Inclusive Experience includes restaurants for even the pickiest eater, including: Sugarcane | Marketplace Cuisine Locally driven, health-conscious Latin cuisine. Signature dish: Sancocho (traditional stew)

Spacewalker | Interstellar Cuisine Space-inspired fare in a galactic atmosphere.

Zest | Mediterranean Cuisine

Being able to provide vacation club members with a totally new type of luxury experience is an opportunity we deeply value. —RINALDO FERNANDEZ,

senior vice president of Karisma Travel Club Division

Interactive-character dining option and shareable plates. Signature dish: Oven-Baked Pizza Signature beverage: Boot’s Peanut Butter Jam

personal touches, along with luxe accommodations and all-inclusive dining options, ensure that the resort keeps kids and their parents perfectly pampered.

Vino Vino | Grapes & Keys Wine bar in a lounge setting with billiards. Signature beverage: Sangria


Kitchen 23 | Cuisine d’Auteur A sister restaurant of Le Chique, an award-winning fine-dining restaurant in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Adults only. Signature dish: Spicy Oxtail, Sweet Potatoes in Different Textures Signature beverage: Passion-Fruit and Mint Martini Fizz

Fresco | Gourmet Corner Outdoor restaurant with swim-up bar. Signature dish: Daily Ceviche Signature beverage: Slime Green Mojito Smoothie

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Stellar service Karisma’s strategy to attract families with kids to Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana involves custom offers and access to a network of knowledgeable and enthusiastic travel agents. “These agents become brand ambassadors for Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, creating a symbiotic relationship and driving more business,” Fernandez says.

The top-notch service continues when owners and guests arrive at the property. Each building that houses the resort’s 208 oversize suites has a personal concierge to assist with making dinner reservations and booking excursions. Four Super Villas offer a private butler. Karisma has made sure to include the fivestar food it’s known for, too. “The Gourmet Inclusive® Experience is really what elevates Karisma from other brands, and it’s absolutely upheld at Nickelodeon Hotels &

Resorts Punta Cana,” Fernandez says. The property is setting a new all-inclusive culinary standard— it’s the world’s first and only Gourmet Inclusive resort under the Nickelodeon brand umbrella. Owners and guests can choose from more than 10 restaurants and bars, plus à la carte dining, premium alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and 24-hour room service. At Aqua Bite, for example, guests can dine with Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants while chowing down on the restaurant’s signature dish, Ralph’s Meatball Samurai. Parents can enjoy a special night out at the adultsonly Kitchen 23 by Le Chique with dishes like spicy oxtail with roasted sweet potatoes. (For some of the resort’s diverse dining options, see “Going Gourmet,” at left.) Adding character The resort’s beachfront ac­com­ modations come in seven styles, from Jacuzzi Pads and Flats to Swim-Up Suites. Owners and guests can book two- and three-bedroom Super Villas, each providing upward of 2,200 square feet of space, which


In the Just Kiddin’ Kids Club at Nickelodeon Place, there are supervised activities for kids so that parents can enjoy some time at the spa or beach or a candlelight dinner. For families who want to stick together, Aqua Nick has a lazy river, which parents can float on while the kids splash by on the water slide. Brand buzz So far, Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana has garnered positive press from both industry trades and The New York Times. Better still, the resort has found even more value through its affiliation with RCI. “As the exclusive exchange company for Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, RCI made sense for the brand to gain awareness and exposure across new audiences that may not have been exposed to it previously,” Fernandez says. “Being able to provide vacation club members with a totally new type of luxury experience is an opportunity we deeply value.”

Not even a year old, the resort has already amassed an Instagram following of more than 16,000 as well as more than 45,000 likes on Facebook. Social influencers and bloggers alike have visited the resort and documented their experiences on social media, with more than 1,500 posts that include the hashtag #NickResortPuntaCana. (See “Social Draw,” at right, for more online buzz.) The Nickelodeon brand’s momentum as a top-tier vacation choice for families shows no sign of stopping, either, with plans already underway for Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya. Situated near Cancún, Mexico, this Gourmet Inclusive property is slated to open in 2018 and will provide guests with the opportunity to enjoy yet another colorful cartoon getaway.


Social Draw Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana’s social following is especially impressive given that the resort is less than a year old—it has more than 16,000 followers on Instagram alone. Here’s a selection of its raves. If you’d like to know my personal favorite thing about #NickResortPuntaCana, I have two words for you: Kids Club! #alonetime #adultbeverages #poolside —Jill Seiman, glamamom.com, @glamamom

In love with the juice bar at #Sugarcane #NickResortPuntaCana! Fresh, natural #tropicaljuice galore. #puntacanalife @nickresortpuntacana —Scarlet Paolicchi, FamilyFocusBlog.com, @familyfocusblog

I totally love the swim up suites at @nickresortpuntacana— so so perfect for #familytravel #nickresortpuntacana —Tammi, myorganizedchaos.net, @mychaos

Spent the afternoon with the boys at Nick Aqua, such a fun water park! @nickresortpuntacana —Angela, onesmileymonkey.com, @onesmileymonkey

@nickresortpuntacana you were absolutely AMAZING!!! Such a beautiful relaxing experience! Great service and amazing crew! Thanks for everything. #nickresortpuntacana —Gavin, @gavinduh


allows everyone in the family to spread out. Each suite’s design incorporates the Nickelodeon brand through playful décor and amenities, such as in-suite models of Nickelodeon Blimps and SpongeBobembroidered robes. The Pineapple Villa, one of the four Super Villas, is even modeled after SpongeBob SquarePants’s iconic cartoon home: Shaped like a pineapple, the twobedroom, three-bath villa is equipped with a private garden, balcony and infinity pool. The resort also offers eight activity centers, plus the on-site Aqua Nick water-park playground. One of the most time-intensive tasks was getting Nickelodeon’s famous characters just right on-site. “Once the characters were selected to be on-property, the Nickelodeon and Karisma entertainment teams worked closely to create programming for children that captures the essence of being silly and fully enjoying a tropical vacation,” Fernandez says. Characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles come to play during the weekly Character Dining experiences, which involve a songand-dance show. Parents can also use the concierge to book character pop-ups, in which characters and the Nickelodeon team surprise kids with songs, dances and comedy sketches. Though all of these character infusions add a sense of cheekiness, Karisma is careful to toe the line of tastefulness and ensure its appeal to adults. Whether it’s through the classic white and gray décor or the full-service spa offerings, Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana keeps adult needs in mind. “Families can enjoy activities like Sliming and Character Breakfasts together, but they can also enjoy time separately so they’re getting exactly what they want out of a five-star vacation,” Fernandez says.


Family Affair In Stowe, Vermont, Villas at Trapp Family Lodge takes center stage.



Winter fun at Trapp Family Lodge, in Stowe, Vermont. Opposite: Vibrant foliage transforms Stowe into a leaf peeper’s paradise.

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at Trapp Family Lodge, an affiliate of The Registry Collection® program located in the ski mecca of Stowe, Vermont, quite a bit. The family in question is none other than the von Trapps, the Austrian troupe of singers led by Maria and Baron Georg von Trapp. Maria’s memoir, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, inspired the 1959 Broadway musical The Sound of Music. The subsequent film won five Oscars and two Golden Globes in 1966 and is considered a classic. Treg Boerger, sales manager and broker at Villas at Trapp Family Lodge, understands that simply tying a resort to a famous family’s name doesn’t ensure success. The Trapp family purchased the then farm in the 1940s as they toured the United States as the Trapp Family Singers, wooed by the sweeping views that reminded them of Austria. The 2,500 acres of land were a canvas of opportunity, and what started as a 27-room family home and lodge morphed into about 10 facilities and four revenue streams that the resort has today. “The Trapp family history may be the first thing that people think about, but the vast acreage, much of which adjoins state forest land, and a multitude of activities set the Villas apart from the norm,” Boerger says. Setting the scene

An immersive experience

Elsewhere on the property there’s an on-site brewery, concert meadow, wedding and event center, chapel, outdoor center, main lodge, guest houses, sugarhouse (where maple syrup is made) and a working farm that raises cows, chickens, sheep and pigs. (See the Trapp Family Lodge property map, on page 41.) There’s a greenhouse and garden, too, and the farm supplies the ingredients for the five eateries on the property. The Main Dining Room serves European-style breakfasts

Attraction Spotlight: Stowe, Vermont Thick snow and Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, have been drawing ski-hungry travelers to Stowe since the 1930s. Mountain Road is packed with restaurants and lodges, but just below it is Main Street, which deserves a visit any time of year. Its boutiques and church steeple make it a picturesque visit in the fall, when the leaves turn and the temperature is just warm enough that you don’t need a heavy jacket to walk around the quiet 4,000-resident town.


Built in 2004, Villas at Trapp Family Lodge sits at the northeast end of the resort’s property. These spacious three-bedroom Villas—ideal for gathering together family and friends—are inspired by Austrian hillside design, with exposed pine beams, massive stone fireplaces and folk textiles. Though the property’s aesthetic is international, artisans from the immediate area supplied all of the resources to build the Villas, demonstrating the resort’s commitment to its community. “Local

craftspeople and Vermont companies provided much of the furniture and fixtures in the Villas, and various authentic Austrian touches help give the homes an alpine feel,” Boerger says. Upon entering Trapp Family Lodge, owners and guests are greeted by a sign that reads “The Trapp Family invites you to share a little of Austria, a lot of Vermont”—a motto that holds true throughout the Villas and the rest of the property. The Green Mountain State’s climate has further influenced Trapp Family Lodge’s offerings. “The Villas offer a private setting, and with just a short ski, walk or bike, you can enjoy nature and solitude,” Boerger says. With Stowe being a prominent ski and snow-sports destination—the town receives an average of 244 inches of snow each year—the resort boasts the nation’s first cross-country ski center. There are 100 miles of groomed and backcountry trails to explore, along with a growing system of mountainbike trails. “Stowe offers a stunning location that is easily accessible from major markets in the northeast of the U.S. and eastern Canada and offers year-round appeal,” Boerger says. “While visitors come from around the world, most of our guests can enjoy a true mountain experience within a day’s drive or a short flight from home.” Other outdoor amenities include clay tennis courts, two pools, disc golf and, in the winter, horse-drawn sleigh rides. “The combination of the serene setting and various activities provides the relief many are seeking from everyday stress and routines,” Boerger says. Stress relievers can be found indoors in the fitness center, with private and group yoga sessions as well as facials and hot-stone massages. Fitness fanatics can ascend the 35-foot climbing wall or dive into the indoor pool.


The combination of our serene setting and various activities provides the relief many are seeking from everyday stress and routines. For many it becomes an important part of their life, a tradition that grows year by year. —T R E G B O E R G E R ,


sales manager and broker at Villas at Trapp Family Lodge

and candlelit dinners with entrées like cauliflower risotto with charred corn and blistered tomatoes. The Lounge serves lunch and afternoon tea with appetizers like popcorn salad with greens, popcorn, Parmesan and maple-mustard vinaigrette. The Deli-Bakery serves breakfast and treats ranging from linzer tortes and chocolate-covered strawberries to fruit Danish and chocolate croissants. The Bierhall serves pub fare like sliders and french fries. If out on the trail, three miles north of the main lodge is the Slayton Pasture Cabin, where snowshoers can grab lunch, a hot chocolate and a reprieve by the fire. With so many diverse activities and amenities on-site, Trapp Family Lodge has created a singular New England vacation experience in which owners and guests don’t have to venture off the property even once during their stay. “Most owners stay for a week or two at a time, three or four times a year,” Boerger says. “Our flexible fractional ownership option makes it possible for owners to create an experience that works for them, whether their primary interest is skiing, summer or foliage. The whole-ownership options work for those who have more time or may want to make the property their primary home.” To further encourage return visits, the resort hosts events year-round. In addition to annual Oktoberfest and Fourth of July celebrations, the resort’s management also collaborates with outside partners, such as the Kids Adventure Games, a nationwide obstacle race for kids ages 6 to 14 that’s been held at Trapp Family Lodge for the past three years. Teams of two go through a course that may



• Spacious three-bedroom duplexes • Two master suites with king-size beds • Downstairs master suite with private entrance, full bath and wood-burning fireplace • Guest room with two queen beds • 3.5 deluxe baths • Great room with large stone fireplace • Fully equipped gourmet kitchen with high-end appliances • Screened-in porch • Attached garage

From top: A cozy night inside one of the Villas; spacious rooms include fully equipped kitchens and dining areas.

involve mountain biking, zip lines, cargo nets and mud pits. “For many, these activities become an important part of their life, a tradition that grows year by year,” Boerger says.


To reach its owners and guests, Villas at Trapp Family Lodge employs marketing methods that certainly aren’t one-size-fits-all. “Villa owners are a diverse group,” Boerger says. “We have younger families and couples to retired couples who share the Villas with children and grandchildren.” Most owners are from the Northeast, such as eastern Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York, but many are from across the country and around the world. As such, the resort engages its owners and guests through different media, whether it’s through quick responses—less than 48 hours— on TripAdvisor, or through holding Instagram contests seasonally. For example, its winter photo contest had users tag their pictures with @TrappFamilyLodge and #TrappFamilyLodge, and the photographer whose image received the most likes won a two-night stay on the property. The Trapp Family Lodge app, available on iOS and Android, provides resources to owners and guests, such as weather information and dining options. Each channel attracts a different type of user, and Trapp Family Lodge’s availability on these touch points allows the resort’s management to diversify its digital interactions with owners and guests. The resort’s website further engages, with an online store that sells Sound of Music and Trapp Family Lodge memorabilia and home­made maple syrup from the Sugar House. Apart from engaging its existing membership base, Villas at Trapp Family Lodge is also seeking out new prospects, which is what drew it to its early affiliation with The Registry Collection


The Villas









program. “We were looking to provide our owners with the same level of accommodations and service they experience in the Villas, which didn’t exist at the time. The experience and reputation of The Registry Collection gave us confidence that this program would succeed in developing a successful exchange option,” Boerger says. “The Registry Collection offers diversity as owners envision how they are going to utilize ownership.” And what’s next for Villas at Trapp Family Lodge? Even more flexibility in ownership options, Boerger says: “We anticipate a combination of fractional ownership while adding newly designed wholeownership options to the mix.”



A. Main Lodge • Main Dining Room • Gift Shops • Meeting Spaces • Real Estate Office • Lounge B. Outdoor Center • Rent bikes, helmets and other summer gear • Sign up for tours C. Fitness Center • Exercise Classes • Hot Tub & Pool • Climbing Wall • Spa • Yoga • Mountain Kids Club

D. Trapp Brewing and Bierhall E. Deli-Bakery F. Guest Houses G. The Villas H. Greenhouse I. Sugar House J. Slayton Pasture Cabin K. Chapel L. Laundry




Mobile motivation


A Resort Reborn Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket, in Thailand, is better than ever. After having redefined the guest experience, the resort has rebranded and is now offering an array of high-end amenities. BY J E SSE N O ’ B RIE N



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overlooking the turquoise waters of Patong Bay and the Andaman Sea, Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket specializes in providing a blissful escape a convenient distance from the dynamic beach scene that Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, is famous for. A shuttle bus offers regular service to trendy sites within 15 minutes of the property. Guests can soak up sunshine and enjoy the nightlife at nearby Patong Beach, pick up souvenirs at the bustling Jungceylon Shopping Complex or explore the lively bars and restaurants that line Bangla Road. “Being on a hill, the resort also enjoys a tranquil ambience with scenic mountain or sea views while having easy access to the key tourist

attractions,” says Gary Croker, senior vice president of business development for Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific. A prime location and emphasis on high-end offerings make Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket a great place to recharge between excursions as well as an ideal spot for those seeking a leisurely retreat. This formula has proved popular with a wide demographic, drawing in families, retirees and couples whose members are 35 to 40 years old. Travelers come from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and China, as well as from within Thailand. In 2015, Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket received more than 14,000 stays from Chinese visitors, who averaged

Gary Croker Senior vice president of business development Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific

two nights at the property, and nearly 1,600 from Australians, who averaged five nights. Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket’s high standards and commitment to service have earned the property an RCI Gold Crown Resort® award.

Guests of Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket can relax in elegant rooms. Opposite: Thanks to its hilltop location, the property affords panoramas of the tropical island.




Terrace seating at the on-site Blue Waters Seafood Restaurant. Opposite: Getting massages at Carissa Spa.

A fresh start Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket’s biggest success so far has been rebranding, Croker says. When constructed in 2011, by Sea Pearl Business Company Ltd., the property went by the name Sea Pearl Villas Resort Phuket. However, in June 2015 the resort reopened under a mixeduse management agreement with Wyndham Hotel Group and Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific, becoming the flagship Wyndhambranded hotel in Southeast Asia and launching Wyndham’s first vacation club in Asia, Club Wyndham Asia. Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket also became the home of Club Wynd­ ham Asia’s first Sales Deck, which allows prospects to preview some of the destinations that are available through a membership. In addition to Club Wyndham Asia members, resort stays are now available to WorldMark South Pacific Club by Wyndham owners. “Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket has redefined its guest journey, focusing its efforts on establishing the resort as a destination for leisure travel,” Croker says. “Since rebranding, we have seen a

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Originally opened in 2011 as Sea Pearl Villas Resort Phuket, the property was rebranded as Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket in 2015. Today the resort is affiliated with both WorldMark South Pacific Club and Club Wyndham Asia.

significant increase in independent bookings from travelers.” Thirty apartments in the 213-room resort were renovated before the property’s debut as Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket. Now owners can choose among eight room models, designed to appeal to different types of travelers. Honeymooners may opt to stay in cozy deluxe rooms, while multigenerational families may prefer to spread out in the resort’s twobedroom pool villas. All rooms include their own lap pool or Jacuzzi or direct access to a semiprivate pool. In total, Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket boasts eight pools, one per guest-room block, as well as an Olympic-size pool at the fitness center. Options abound Upon arrival at Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket, travelers are greeted with an array of elegant facilities. Guests who don’t wish to leave the resort grounds have little reason to— most of their needs are catered to by on-site amenities. Thanks to the kids’ club, parents can kick back poolside or spoil themselves in the five-star Carissa Spa, whose treatments include traditional Thai massage and

special pampering to rejuvenate skin after time in the sun. Three high-end restaurants plus a pool bar provide ample dining and drinking options. Valet and concierge services are on call 24 hours a day, and private yacht, helicopter and car rentals are available to guests. Travelers eager to experience everything the resort has to offer may take advantage of Book & Pay promotions available online. By scheduling meals, activities or spa treatments ahead of time, guests receive not only special discounts but also complimentary extras. “It’s mutually beneficial for both the resort and guests,” Croker says. “The promotions are popular with guests because they offer value-added benefits at minimum additional cost. The property also benefits from these packages as they increase revenue.” Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket has also built a reputation as a premier wedding destination in Thailand. “Our resort’s landscaped grounds can be transformed to create a special event against the stunning mountainous backdrop or sea views, with both outdoor and indoor spaces to choose from,” Croker says.

We look forward to surprising and delighting our guests with even more exceptional experiences. — GARY CROKER ,

senior vice president of business development for Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific


Opportunities to grow Management and staff at Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket make it a point to pay careful attention to guest feedback in order to deliver unforgettable vacations. The property’s TripAdvisor listing is combed regularly for reviews, and almost every comment receives a response from a member of the resort’s team. Positive reviews are given thanks, and feedback is seriously considered. Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket also has access to owner and guest feedback through an internal Customer Hub tool, online travel agencies


• 213 rooms, with eight room types available • Eight pools (one Olympic-size) • Three restaurants and a pool bar • Five-star spa • Clubhouse with a fully equipped fitness center • Four meeting rooms for businesses and conferences

and comment cards. Reviews are discussed at daily briefings. “It’s important for guests to know that we are listening to their feedback and that we are following up on their comments in order to make their next experience better than the last,” Croker says. “If there is an issue that has been brought to our attention, we endeavor to respond to it immediately. Daily briefings are also an opportunity for management to encourage the staff’s great work and to cultivate a customercentric mind-set with the team.” This approach has paid off: The majority of reviewers on Trip­Advisor rate Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket as “excellent,” the highest available option, and the resort received a Certificate of Excellence from the site in 2015. Never satisfied with the status quo, the team plans to keep working on new ways to improve. “Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket’s overall success is thanks to the support of the resort owners and the dedication of our staff,” Croker says. “We look forward to surprising and delighting our guests with even more exceptional experiences.”


Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket Andaman Sea

Patong Beach

1 MI

wyndhamseapearlphuket.com RCI VENTURES 45



“Couples can select from venues such as the hilltop or poolside for picturesque garden-themed solemnization ceremonies, hold chic parties at the Alfa Club and Restaurant or throw grand banquets in the ballroom.” Guests can also choose between Western- and Thai-style wedding ceremonies. The full suite of services includes a wedding officiate, floral arrangements and flexible food and beverage options. Additional upgrades range from photography and live entertainment to private yacht charters and helicopter tours.

Exceptional C R E AT I N G


Everyone wants to come back from vacation with exceptional experiences. Cooking and eating are opportunities that bring guests together during their stay that can create lasting memories. At Sunbeam® Hospitality we have been delivering quality small appliances under the Oster®, Mr. Coffee® and Sunbeam® brands for years – helping Resort/Timeshare owners make food prep and cooking a memorable home away from home event. We’ve now expanded our Resort/Timeshare Collection to include more of the products that do just that. This extended collection includes everything guests need to prepare, serve and enjoy their favorite meals from cutlery to stovetop to table top. All under the brands guests recognize and trust.



Also introducing our Mr. Coffee® Hot Tea Maker and Sunbeam® Handheld Garment Steamer, providing guests with the latest innovations to make their stay exceptional.

Contact your authorized Sunbeam® Hospitality distributor to learn more.

(800) 323-5686 www.americanhotel.com

(800) 218-3995 www.goavm.com

(800) 650-3360 myamtex.com

(800) 431-3000 www.hdsupplysolutions.com

(800) 537-7915 www.pactex.com

(800) 772-7676 www.guestsupply.com

(405) 681-5551 www.championsupplyinc.com

All products and services are manufactured and/or provided solely by Sunbeam® Hospitality and not by RCI, its parent and/or affiliates. Neither RCI nor its parent or affiliates are responsible for the accuracy or completeness of any statements made in this advertisement, the content of this advertisement (including the text, representations and illustrations) or any material on Sunbeam® Hospitality’s website to which the advertisement provides a link or a reference. Please refer to the applicable brand specifications for your property prior to purchasing products.

(888) 878.6232 | www.sunbeamhospitality.com

©2016 Sunbeam Products, Inc. doing business as Jarden Consumer Solutions. All rights reserved.


Create fresh vacation experiences to

Benefit your guests and your bottom line. At American Hotel, your premier source in hospitality, our vast selection of products and ideas are designed to enhance every aspect of your vacation ownership property. Our personalized approach includes reduced pricing, streamlined procurement and a team of experts dedicated to your success.


Call today 1-800-323-5686 Order online at americanhotel.com

Vast Product Selection

End-to-End FF&E

With more than 50,000 products, we carry all the products you need. Our Special Order Services team secures unique and hardto-find items as well.

As a full-service Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) supplier, our offering includes award-winning FF&E design and project management expertise.

Sustainable OS&E

Fast, Efficient Delivery

We offer a complete Operating Supplies & Equipment (OS&E) program with thousands of eco-friendly products to strengthen your commitment to sustainable business practices.

We offer fast, secure delivery from high-tech distribution centers strategically located throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.


Online americanhotel.com | Call 1-800-323-5686 Learn more about our anniversary at americanhotel.com/history



BECAUSE EVERY JOB COUNTS We have what it takes to help hospitality professionals prevent and respond to difficult issues. Depend on us for a vast offering of maintenance, OS&E, and FF&E products; expert solutions from more than 110 CMHS professionals; no minimum order; and fast, free delivery. We’ll help you exceed guests’ expectations and stay ahead of the next repair. Trust HD Supply to deliver what you need, when you need it.

Visit hdsupplysolutions.com for more information. All products and services are manufactured and/or provided solely by HD Supply Facilities Maintenance and not by RCI, its parent and/or affiliates. Neither RCI nor its parent or affiliates are responsible for the accuracy or completeness of any statements made in this advertisement, the content of this advertisement (including the text, representations and illustrations) or any material on a website to which the advertisement provides a link or a reference. Please refer to the applicable brand specifications for your property prior to purchasing products. © 2015 HDS IP Holding, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 15-12267


Specialty Cleaning Solutions Proven quality ready-to-use cleaning chemicals to suit all of your hospitality needs.



CLEAN cilipro.com

Remove greasy soil or film easily

Easily attack stubborn mold and mildew




alty Solutions




Lodging Specialty Solutions Keep all metal surfaces shiny & RIGHT clean PROCEDURES

Keep wood surfaces looking like new

Banish odors caused by smoke & other tough odors

ative for more information.

For more information about Keystone Ready-to-Use Specialty Solutions, contact your local Guest Supply Territory Manager, or call (800) 772-7676. All products and services are manufactured and/or provided solely by Guest Supply®, a Sysco® Company and not by RCI, its parent and/ or affiliates. Neither RCI nor its parent or affiliates are responsible for the accuracy or completeness of any statements made in this advertisement, the content of this advertisement (including the text, representations and illustrations) or any material on Guest Supply®, a Sysco® Company website to which the advertisement provides a link or a reference. Please refer to the applicable brand specifications for your property prior to purchasing products.

Guest Supply®, a Sysco® Company 4301 US Highway One, Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852 guestsupply.com • ©2016 Guest Supply®, a Sysco® Company

Recent RCI ® Affiliated Resorts*

RCI Points® program Carriage House Country Club Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania, USA The Club Lodges at Trillium Cashiers, North Carolina, USA Sapphire Resorts @ Twin Rivers Resort Winter Park, Colorado, USA

RCI Weeks® program


Aqualand Resort Salinópolis, Brazil Country Club Ibipozo Jaén, Spain Crystal Resort Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia E-Suites Vila do Mar Wyndham Club Brasil Natal, Brazil Golden Dolphin Caldas Novas, Brazil Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa Lucea, Jamaica

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Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife Tenerife, Canary Islands

Sterling Kufri The White Ridge Shimla, India

The Registry Collection® program

Hotel Grandes Lagos Chales Santa Clara d’Oeste, Brazil

Sterling Regal Vista Agra, India

Jamaica Palace Hotel Williamsfield Port, Jamaica

Turquesa Forever Cancún, Mexico

Club Residencial Viñedo San Miguel San Miguel, Mexico

Le Reve Hotel & Spa Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Unico Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Long Point Beach Club Port Rowan, Ontario, Canada

Unlimited Vacation Club by AM Resorts Various locations throughout Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama

Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana by Karisma Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Eden Roc at Cap Cana Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Kazile Island Lodge Namibia, Africa Nambwa Luxury Tented Lodge Namibia, Africa Tonopalo Private Residence Club Tahoe Vista, California, USA

Pousada Vila da Neve Gramado, Brazil Qlodge Resorts Belton Woods Grantham, England QLodge Resorts Slaley Hall Hexham, England Seabreeze Vacation Villas & Marina Freeport, Bahamas Serra Madre Residence Rio Quente, Brazil

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

What’s Happening Conferences, seminars, expos, summits, workshops, exhibitions, forums, symposiums, conventions, events and meetings you should know about. JA N UA RY



MARCH 3–5 TATOC (The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees) Warrington, England tatoc.co.uk

APRIL 5–6 HICSA (Hotel Investment Conference South Asia) Mumbai, India hicsaconference.com

MARCH 6–8 IHIF (International Hotel Investment Forum) Berlin, Germany berlinconference.com

APRIL 18–20 Cityscape Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi, UAE cityscapeabudhabi.com

MARCH 8–12 ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) Berlin Berlin, Germany itb-berlin.de/en MARCH 14–15 HICAP (Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific) Update Singapore hicapconference.com MARCH 14–17 MIPIM (Marché International des Professionnels de l’Immobilier)—The World’s Property Market Cannes, France mipim.com MARCH 15–16 AOCAP (Alternative Ownership Conference Hotels & Resorts—Asia Pacific) Singapore aocap.org

APRIL 19–21 WTM (World Travel Market) Africa Cape Town, South Africa wtmafrica.com APRIL 20 IBTM Africa Cape Town, South Africa ibtmafrica.com APRIL 21–23 ILTM (International Luxury Travel Market) Africa Cape Town, South Africa iltm.com/africa APRIL 24–27 Arabian Travel Market Dubai, UAE arabiantravelmarket.com APRIL 25–26 HOLA (Hotel Opportunities Latin America) Conference Miami, Florida, USA holaconference.com

JANUARY 18–22 FITUR (International Tourism Trade Fair) Madrid, Spain ifema.es/fitur_06

JANUARY 31–FEBRUARY 2 Caribbean Travel Marketplace Paradise Island, Bahamas caribbeanhotelandtourism.com/ marketplace

JANUARY 23–25 ALIS (The Americas Lodging Investment Summit) Los Angeles, California, USA alisconference.com

FEBRUARY 16–17 HICP (Hospitality Investment Conference Philippines) Manila, Philippines hicp.sphereconferences.com

MARCH 26–30 ARDA (American Resort Development Association) World 2017 Annual Convention & Expo New Orleans, Louisiana, USA arda.org

APRIL 26–27 Hospitality Investment Conference Indonesia Jakarta, Indonesia hici.sphereconferences.com

JANUARY 26–29 EMITT (East Mediterranean International Tourism and Travel Exhibition) Istanbul, Turkey emittistanbul.com

FEBRUARY 23–25 GITF (Guangzhou International Travel Fair) Guangzhou, China 10times.com/guangzhou-travel-fair

MARCH 29–31 COTTM (China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market) Beijing, China cottm.com

APRIL 26–28 CHRIS (Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summit) Conference Miami, Florida, USA chrisconference.com






It’s not all business at RCI. In this series RCI Ventures® magazine checks in with key team members to talk vacations, hobbies, heroes and more. This time we caught up with Roger Bennett, senior director of revenue management.

What’s your best travel advice? RB: Do things and have experiences that bring joy to you and your travel companions, so you can relive those moments time and time again. What destination is at the top of your must-see list in your lifetime? RB: Paris. It was put there by my oldest daughter and highlighted and circled by her, but it’s there nonetheless! What destination would you return to? RB: I spent a semester of college in Australia with my now wife, Melanie, and we made so many lasting friendships. Being able to go back there to see our friends and meet their families and kids would be amazing. What is your greatest passion or hobby outside of the office? RB: Spending time with my family. We are all extremely busy, but we treasure the time we spend together. My wife and I know these years will go by so quickly. I coach youth sports, especially softball and basketball. What makes a good kids’ sports coach? RB: My first major in college was education, and I planned to be a teacher and a coach. I enjoy teaching. I think sports provide a platform for kids to develop key skills, like cooperation, leadership, goal setting. And it is invaluable time I can spend with my own kids, engaging in something that really matters to them. And there are few challenges greater than trying to teach an 8-year-old softball player the infield fly rule.

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Where did you pick up your DIY project/home improvement skills? RB: Mostly through YouTube videos! If I run into trouble, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that most of the time, someone else has run into all of the same problems and has made a video of their solution. Which project are you most proud of accomplishing? RB: Tiling and redoing our downstairs bathroom. That was one of the first “larger” projects I tackled, and I had never tiled anything before, so it was a leap of faith. The fun project I’m most proud of is the outdoor kitchen and grilling area I built last summer. That project made our whole deck and yard 100 times more useful. We use it all the time. If you could relive one moment, big or small, what would it be? RB: Our first family trip to Walt Disney World® Resort when our girls were 7 and 4. They had so much fun meeting the characters and seeing the princess-themed rides and castles. They got really swept up in the Disney magic. I’d love to experience that early bit of childhood magic again. What is one personal goal that you’d like to achieve in your lifetime? RB: I’ve always wanted to make a significant difference for the better in someone’s life. Today that focus is on my kids, but when they’ve grown, perhaps I’ll help kids on a wider scale. What does your family like to do together for fun? RB: We love to play Wiffle ball and kickball in our backyard. In summer, we make many evening trips to get ice cream, and in the winter we go ice-skating or break out the board games for a family game night.


RCI Off-Duty

Tell us about your most recent holiday. Where did you go, and what did you do on your trip? RB: I went with my wife and two daughters, ages 8 and 12, to Costa Rica last April—it was just an incredible experience. We spent the first part of our trip at the Dreams Las Mareas resort, in Guanacaste. The wildlife was awesome—lots of monkeys and iguanas. We traveled to the Rincón de la Vieja volcano and went hiking at a place called Sensoria. Words can’t really describe how amazing it was. It’s a remote, secluded area of the rain forest on the side of the volcano, and we swam in numerous waterfalls with pools.

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