T H E B U S I N E S S O F VAC AT I O N Q3 2016
T H E B U S I N E S S O F VA C AT I O N
RESORT RENOVATIONS Stories from the front lines
A CANAL RUNS THROUGH IT Panama sails ahead as a destination
TOP TECH TACTICS Mastering the digital media landscape
A TRUE INNOVATOR Mark Wang, president of Hilton Grand Vacations, is looking to the future
Marine Chronometer 60 hours power reserve Self-winding manufacture Silicium technology ulysse-nardin.com
T HE ETE R NA L M OV E M E N T
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.
IN BR IEF
06 By the Numbers Planning time off can improve the health and happiness of timeshare owners
08 Industry News Briefs Reports from the field
10 Travel Trends Activities appealing to teens; capitalizing on culinary tourism
28 Technology & Marketing 10 tech tactics to help brands master digital media
32 Industry Solutions
Risata Bali Resort & Spa
12 Destination Renovation The rewards of updating resort properties
18 A True Innovator Mark Wang, president of Hilton Grand Vacations
ON THIS PAGE Lake Koocanusa, spanning 90 miles from Montana into Canada, borders Wilderness Club in Eureka, Montana.
RCI Inventory Analytics Advisory®; RCI® Elite Rewards® MasterCard®
34 Authentic Connections IN DEPTH
ON THE COVER Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club’s Deja View Beach, in the Dominican Republic.
38 Mindful Management Daily Management, Inc.
42 Into the Wild
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.
50 Recent RCI® Affiliated Resorts 51 Events Calendar
IN DEV ELOPMENT
22 A Canal Runs Through It
52 A Final Thought Off-duty with RCI’s Sean Lowe
A tourist boom in Panama is showing no signs of slowing down
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. Associate Publisher, Multimedia: Madelyn A. Roberts, email@example.com, 646-437-0630 Advertising Sales & Traffic Coordinator: Jennifer An, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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. Group Account Director: Scott Lynch. Senior Account Executive: Samantha Cranston. Senior Producer: Carrie Blocher. Chief Executive Officer: Simon Kelly. Executive Creative Director: Heidi Waldusky.
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 email@example.com. 9998 North Michigan Road, Carmel, IN 46032 © 2016 RCI, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Printed in U.S.A.
2 Q3 2016
PHOTOS, COVER: COURTESY LIFESTYLE HOLIDAYS VACATION CLUB; THIS PAGE: COURTESY WILDERNESS CLUB
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
M E S S AG E F R O M R C I
GET MORE TRENDS, T I P S A N D I N S I G H T AT R C I V E N T U R E S .C O M
The Message of Makeovers A memorable guest experience starts from the ground up—and may extend beyond the property.
PHOTO: IAN SPANIER
TODAY, TRAVEL IS MORE ABOUT GATHERING EXPERIENCES
and less about going to destinations. We saw many interesting ideas come out of ARDA World 2016 this past spring, but one trend is clear: The industry is placing an emphasis on bringing experiences to the property side. Great resort locations are, and always will be, important. However, these can be hard to come by nowadays. The focus is now more than ever on the amenities available on-site—and how guests can take advantage of them to have amazing, memorable vacation experiences. In our industry, enhancing the guest experience has always been a top goal. Keeping this goal in mind every day—and with every customer touchpoint—will ensure satisfaction in the guest experience from check-in to checkout. We’ve shared many emerging trends in past issues of RCI Ventures ® magazine: Authentic travel, one of the latest buzz phrases in the travel industry, is becoming more and more popular as travelers are increasingly seeking out activities related to a destination’s unique culture. Another trend shows travelers don’t take breaks from health and wellness while on vacation, and resorts have responded to this with expanded spa services, fitness centers and healthy cuisine options. And research has also shown that people are not unplugging while on vacation but relaxing with personal technology, like tablets and mobile phones. Ensuring strong Wi-Fi and broadband connections and numerous easily accessible outlets is key. The common thread for these trends (and many more)
Chinese Travelers on the Rise: With fewer restrictions on foreign travel, Chinese outbound travel to the U.S. is growing at a rapid pace.
is guest experience. But enhancing the guest experience sometimes must start from the ground up. For this issue we convened a panel of individuals who have overseen their resorts’ renovations to talk about everything from planning to pitfalls. Updated guest rooms and amenities— from spas to family activity centers—all help to contribute to the overall guest experience. Finally, in this issue we also look at how culinary experiences are driving a large part of the tourism business. Resorts have options for how to tap into this. One approach is to have multiple restaurants where guests can eat, from formal dining areas to a coffee bar. Another option is to partner with nearby restaurants or wineries to provide guest dinners or wine tastings. It’s important to know what’s happening in your area and to create opportunities, which also help contribute to that authentic experience travelers enjoy. You can still create a fabulous experience for guests without a large investment. Helping to enhance the guest experience—no matter how big or small the effort—will go a long way.
Gordon Gurnik President, RCI
Dubai’s the Limit: As host to World Expo 2020, this business-minded city is still a developer’s dream.
Why Quality Destination Content Is a Top Priority: Encourage bookings and boost guest loyalty with relevant and targeted content.
8 Top Tips to Reduce Resorts’ Footprints: Easy and sustainable changes can minimize waste and save money.
RCI VENTURES 3
BY T H E N U M B E R S
It’s no surprise that vacations make us happy, but the degree to which they can have a long-term impact on our lives is impressive: Time off can improve our relationships, our mood and the economy. What’s more, research by Project: Time Off, an organization dedicated to ensuring Americans take more days off, suggests that the timeshare product is particularly equipped to make owners happier because they are committed to planning out a lifetime of vacations. The group has even begun studying if there are health benefits connected with anticipation. “Our suspicion is yes,” says Gary Oster, managing director of Project: Time Off. “This is critical for vacation ownership because you have a vacation to look forward to every year.” Read on to learn more about the many benefits Oster and his team have uncovered. —J E S S E N O ’ B R I E N
Planning time off means happiness for the
employee, RELATIONSHIPS WITH CHILDREN
MARRIAGE & RELATIONSHIP OVERALL MOOD
98% 93% 90%
RELATIONSHIPS WITH FRIENDS
HEALTH & WELL-BEING
IN BR IEF
The Value of Vacationing
Planners are happier, and that’s a big benefit for the vacation ownership industry. When you’ve already purchased your vacation, you can enjoy a year’s worth of happiness due to the fact that you know when your next vacation is and where it’s going to be. DIFFERENCES IN HAPPINESS BETWEEN THOSE WHO PLAN THEIR TIME OFF AND THOSE WHO DON’T* PLAN
DO NOT PLAN
AVERAGE VACATION DAYS USED, AMONG EMPLOYED ADULTS***
economy, happiness for the
20.3 DAYS (LONG-TERM AVERAGE, 1976–2000)
On average, employees with paid time off used 84 percent of this benefit in 2013, leaving
The conversion of unused days of paid time off into travel would result in an additional
The total economic impact of this additional spending, including indirect effects, would be
3.2 days each of unused time on the table.**
580 million days of travel and an additional $67 billion in travel spending.**
1.2 million U.S. jobs and $52 billion in additional income earned.**
Taking more vacation time can help reduce children’s stress levels.
79% of surveyed children experience some degree of stress in their daily lives, but 77% of children report feeling no stress when parents take time off to spend with them.**** Taking time off can improve parents’ moods. In their regular lives, just 19% of children report their parents are in a very good mood. This number rises to 60% when their parents take time off work to spend time with them.****
18 NEARLY TWO DECADES OF STEADY DECLINE
and happiness for the
IN BR IEF
AMONG CHILDREN AGES 8–14:
want their parents deeply involved in their lives.****
Planning makes people happier. Just over half (54%) of all households surveyed set aside time to plan out the use of paid time off for the year.*
Family time is key.
73% of workers stated that spending time with family was the most important factor in leading a good life.* Children look forward to spending time with their parents. Vacation represents a dedicated amount of quality time children and parents can spend together.****
* Project: Time Off’s The Work Martyr’s Affair ** Project: Time Off’s An Assessment of Paid Time Off in the United States *** Project: Time Off’s All Work and No Play **** Project: Time Off’s The Work Martyr’s Children
want to spend quality time with parents on vacation.****
want their parents’ involvement to be a 10 on a 10-point scale.****
RCI VENTURES 7
IN BR IEF
IN DUSTRY N EWS B RIE FS
Disney Vacation Club celebrates 25 years To celebrate 25 years of magic and memories, Disney Vacation Club is offering its 200,000+ Member families more than ever before. This year, Members and their guests can enjoy signature events and offers at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, plus new enhancements to make the vacation planning experience even easier. “It’s our special way of thanking our Members for being such a valued part of the Disney Vacation Club family through these past two and a half decades,” says Ken Potrock, senior vice president and general manager, Disney Vacation Club. Hilton spins off Hilton Grand Vacations Hilton Worldwide Holdings intends to spin off its timeshare business, Hilton Grand Vacations, and much of its ownership portfolio to create three separate publicly traded companies. Park Hotels & Resorts, a real estate investment trust, will launch with 69 Hilton assets, and Hilton Grand Vacations will market and sell vacation ownership intervals, manage select resorts and operate a pointbased vacation club. The official separation of the company is expected by the end of the year. Hilton will continue to manage and franchise under its namesake.
8 Q3 2016
Holiday Inn Club Vacations raises $250,000 for charity at RCI® Christel House Open This summer, Holiday Inn Club Vacations raised a recordsetting $250,000 for Christel House International at its 14th RCI Christel House Open golf tournament. More than 150 golfers participated in the event at the Legends at Orange Lake Resort, a championship 18-hole golf course in Kissimmee, Florida. All proceeds from the tournament go toward the charity’s six learning centers for impoverished children in India, Mexico, South Africa and the United States. “We are thrilled to support such a great organization and the mission of Christel House International,” says Don Harrill, CEO of Orange Lake Resorts. “We’re also thankful for the generosity of our sponsors, participants and team members involved in hosting events and raising funds at our resorts leading up to the golf event. We couldn’t have raised this record amount without their help.” Timeshare consumer interest projected to strengthen through 2016 According to Capital One’s 2016 Vacation Ownership Survey conducted at this year’s ARDA World Annual Convention & Expo, more than 95 percent of timeshare industry professionals expect consumer interest in the timeshare market to be the same or stronger than in 2015. Among the survey’s highlights: 64 percent of those surveyed expect points-based products to generate the most interest in the next year, up 14 percentage points from last year, and 60 percent of those surveyed expect working capital loans to be the most important type of financing for the timeshare industry in the next year—more than double the 27 percent response in last year’s survey. “Investors and consumers should be confident in the industry’s health and stability,” said Tom Meyerer, investment officer of Capital One’s Vacation Ownership Lending Group.
RCI becomes first timeshare exchange company to offer travel packages in Cuba RCI is partnering with Cuba Travel Services to offer travel packages to its RCI Platinum® subscribing members and guests. These packages include five- and seven-night rentals, flights from Miami to Havana, accommodations in Havana and Varadero, educational people-to-people activities, as well as select meals and assistance with travel documents and license requirements. As demand grows for the program among RCI Platinum members, additional travel dates may open up to other RCI® subscribing members.
A COMMITMENT TO
Excelling in the luxury vacation exchange segment requires dedication and focus on the unique needs of its audience. The Registry Collection® program was founded with the promise of providing that experience to your owners over and over again. With more than 13 years of experience, The Registry Collection program continues as the leader in luxury vacation exchange.
The Registry Collection® program features more than 200 properties accessible for exchange or currently under development - no other global exchange company offers more luxury real estate destinations around the world.* And no one is more committed to dedicating resources specifically to that space, with the aim of fulfilling and surpassing that promise for you and your owners.
Learn more about The Registry Collection exchange and support services at www.TRCAffiliates.com/AboutTRC or call 866.937.5979.
*These vacations are limited. Destinations and travel times are subject to availability and confirmed on a first come, first served basis. The Registry Collection and related marks are registered trademarks and/or service marks in the United States and internationally. All rights reserved. ©2016 RCI, LLC. All rights reserved.
T R AV E L T R E N D S
IN BR IEF
Traveling With Teens Creating specific experiences and activities for teenagers makes resorts more attractive for the entire family. Hotels and resorts are adding onand off-site activities, experiences and attractions for teenagers in order to raise the locations’ appeal with parents. Family travel is a growing segment of leisure travel across all income levels, and children are influencing decisions about where to vacation and what to do there. Two-thirds of travelers with teenagers select vacation destinations based on activities available to kids, according to MMGY Global’s 2016 Portrait of American Travelers study.
If teenagers don’t feel as if they will have anything to do, parents struggle to make them excited about traveling with the family. Nearly 75 percent of parents say the preferred age to travel with their kids is 6 to 12, according to the U.S. Family Travel Survey, a 2015 report released by the Family Travel Association in conjunction with the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. That number drops to 61 percent for ages 13 to 16 and to just 41 percent for ages 17 and older. If resorts can cater to older kids and teens, they will become more attractive destinations to parents. The hospitality industry has focused on expanding kids’ programming and
Experiences appealing to teens— including adventure activities, games and other icebreakers— help keep the entire family happy while on vacation.
is increasingly turning its attention to teenagers. Resorts now promote teen centers, special spa treatments for teenagers and 18-and-under nightclubs. But the biggest push is to entice teens to get away from their smartphones and to interact in person. “The key is to get the kids to actually meet one another,” says Ranier Jenss, president and founder of the Family Travel Association. Massanutten Resort, in Virginia, holds Teen Night every Monday in the summer, which includes dancing, games and other icebreaking activities. The resort also has a water park and family adventure activities, such as zip lining, tubing and a 40-foot climbing wall, plus an outdoor ice-skating rink. This past summer it opened a bike park to all levels of mountain bikers. And it’s always working on ways to appeal to teens and the whole family. “The response to something like FlingGolf has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Jeff Reid, director of hospitality operations. “Parents can play a traditional round on either of our two 18-hole golf courses, while teens and kids grab a FlingStick.” Getting teenagers to give up Snapchatting for a few hours is possible, and if a resort can offer off-site activities, such as volunteer opportunities, mountain hikes or visits to caverns or local historical sites, then they are offering their guests added value. “Happy kids equal happy parents equal returning guests,” Jenss says. —SUNSHINE FLINT
FOR MORE , RE AD “T H E KI DS ARE AL L RI GH T ” AT R C I V E N T U R E S .C O M
10 Q3 2016
ON OUR RADAR
There are nearly
42 million teenagers in the United States.*
U.S. teens spend an average of more than
6.5 hours a day looking at some type of screen.**
*U.S. Census Bureau **Report by Common Sense Media
IN BR IEF
Creating unique culinary experiences, such as Silversea’s cooking-school voyages (shown here), can help attract foodies.
Recipe for Success
PHOTOS: ISTOCKPHOTO (2); SILVERSEA
The travel industry is cooking up news ways to attract customers. Around the world, a growing foodie obsession is sinking its teeth into travelers. More and more chefs have become celebrities in the past decade, from Anthony Bourdain to Guy Fieri. Certain food items have become famous as well: Three years after its debut, the cronut still compels people to line up around the block at Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York each morning, and Aaron Franklin’s Austin BBQ joint, Franklin Barbecue, regularly draws in a crowd five hours before opening for lunch. Standing up for that perfect Instagram shot has become ubiquitous to the point that several restaurants, such as New York’s Momofuku Ko and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, have banned patrons from snapping pictures to ensure that other diners can enjoy their meal without distractions. This zest for foodie experiences is turning dining into a type of sightseeing, and the travel industry is taking note. Intelligence group Skift cited food tourism as a leading megatrend in travel for 2016. Foodie love is borne out in the social media landscape. In their
monthly Instagram Analysis Report, visual-media consultancy Chute reported that food content more than doubled on Instagram in just one month in 2015, from 4.9 million photos shared in July to 10 million in August. And this past March, BuzzFeed Tasty, the digital media giant’s culinary-focused offshoot that launched last year, received 2.2 billion video views on Facebook, making it the most watched branded page by about 1 billion views that month, according to digital-videoanalytics company Tubular. Timeshare resorts are ideally situated to provide owners with unforgettable culinary experiences. “Having a kitchen in your unit means you can go to a local farmers market to buy ingredients from that area then cook the meal together as a family,” says Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). “You can then sit at a diningroom table and have a conversation as a family.” AMResorts’ Costa Rican property Secrets Papagayo builds on this trend by offering cooking classes, while Bluegreen Vacations’ South Mountain Resort, in Lincoln, New Hampshire, promotes the farmers market next
door. Passengers aboard international cruise line Holland America can sign up to make pesto in the Mediterranean or sample fresh produce during a visit to Barcelona’s La Boqueria market. Silversea has gone a step further by offering special cooking-school voyages led by Relais & Châteaux, a restaurant and hotel group. Travelers are happy to spend money on culinary tourism. In their 2015 U.S. Travel and Tourism Overview, the U.S. Travel Association found that domestic and international travelers last year spent $235.4 billion on food services, or 24.9 percent of total traveler spending. This past April, travel and dating site MissTravel.com polled more than 36,000 members on what travel expense they were most likely to splurge on. Food ranked number one, surpassing experiences and activities. Resorts offering compelling foodie experiences can look forward to considerable rewards and happy owners who feel that they have tapped into the essence of a destination.
ON OUR RADAR
When asked which foodie tourist experience most reflects their identity when traveling,
of respondents said gastropubs, burgers and beers.
of respondents seek out markets, festivals and specialty grocers while on vacation, and
of respondents look for trendy, creative and experimental offerings. Source: Skift’s 2016 report Food Tourism Strategies to Drive Destination Spending
—J E S S E N O ’ B R I E N
FOR MORE , RE AD “A TAST E FOR T RAV E L” AT R C I V E N T U R E S .C O M
RCI VENTURES 11
R E N OVAT I O N IN DEPTH
Resort developers who invest and redevelop existing properties in line with their brand standards face common challenges and rewards.
FOR MORE ABOUT THE RENOVATION OF DEJA VIEW BEACH AT LIFESTYLE HOLIDAYS VACATION CLUB RESORT, READ “AWARD-WINNING DESIGN” AT R C I V E N T U R E S .C O M
12 Q3 2016
V: Why was it imperative that you carry out these renovations? TO: Holiday Inn Club Vacations has developed brand standards that deliver one of the strongest vacation ownership products and experiences in the industry. These standards include superior amenities and the high-quality level of accommodations that our members have come to expect from our brand. We also create a unique look and feel specific to each of our resort destinations. We will begin renovations to more than 3,000 former Silverleaf Resort villas this fall and roll them out over the next few years. JB: Three main reasons: First, Summer Bay Orlando resort had unsold inventory in excess of $80 million, so bringing the units to a higher level of quality with a more updated theme and enhancements to their functionality made it clear that the renovation was going to result in an accelerated pace of sales. Second, to the existing owners, exchangers and guests, the renovations were going to elevate their vacation experience and overall satisfaction for the product. And last but not least, we felt
that the renovations were going to add substance to our new corporate image, reflecting the new vacation experience available with Exploria Resorts. BK: We are the premier vacation property in Atlantic City, and we’re working with other investors to send a united message that Atlantic City isn’t only the ocean, boardwalk and casino. It’s also a beautiful place to come to as a family destination and have the experience of a lifetime.
V: How did you weigh the cost of the work versus the return on investment? TO: In the vacation ownership industry, it’s important for management to maintain guest units and amenities to established brand standards. We maintain a strong and very credible relationship with all of our HOA boards. We work closely with them to successfully manage the association’s funds—all the while maintaining each property’s assets to the highest level in order to deliver a fantastic vacation experience year after year.
Renovating existing properties requires advance planning, a creative and organized team and a well-paced schedule. When it’s done right, the results can win awards, such as for Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club, which won a prestigious ARDY Award at the ARDA World 2016 Annual Convention & Expo for its renovation of Deja View Beach in Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic. To understand what the process of renovating existing properties is like and what lessons can be learned, we gathered a panel of industry professionals who have overseen their resorts’ refreshes, from individual properties to multiple resorts across the country. And while no two resorts and no two renovations are alike, there are some common elements that every team in the vacation industry faces. Tammy Oliver, vice president of design and development for Orange Lake Resorts, the developer of Holiday Inn Club Vacations, is overseeing design, scope, development scheduling and procurement for the 13 Silverleaf Resorts properties acquired by Orange Lake Resorts in May 2015; Juan Barillas, executive vice president of Exploria Resorts, led the overhaul of all their units in Orlando, Florida; and Bruce Kaye, founder and CEO of FantaSea Resorts, is overseeing the current renovations of the Atlantic Palace Resort, in Atlantic City.
Opposite: Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club, in Puerto Plata on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, received the 2016 ARDY Award in the amenities category of the resort-design division for its redevelopment of Deja View Beach. This private enclave features an expansive sundeck with beach beds, private cabanas and a restaurant and bar. It’s exclusively for LHVC Top Tier Members (who are also RCI® subscribing members).
RCI VENTURES 13
JB: The total cost of the renovations will reach approximately $15 million when all the units are completed by the end of next year. We began seeing a return on this investment on day one of this ambitious project, and we anticipate that we will continue to see a return for the next 10 years on many very tangible fronts. BK: We knew that ROI would not be an immediate return but more of a long-term return, and we made a very substantial multimillion-dollar investment knowing it would differentiate us from other resort hotels in the area, inclusive of all casinos. We spent $5 million redoing 100 suites, $1.3 million on the lobby and second-floor sales center, and $1.6 million on the game room, video room, gym, owners’ lounge and spa.
V: How have you managed to keep this construction from disrupting your guests and owners during their stays? Below: A kitchen at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Scottsdale Resort, in Arizona, before (inset) and after renovations.
BK: We try to do construction during the slowest periods, and we don’t work on the weekends. Because of economies of scale, when you redo units on one floor at a time it’s more cost-effective. It doesn’t interfere with the guest experience, because they are on other floors. TO: Our company has more than 30 years of extensive experience renovating resorts while receiving guests. That experience has enabled us to develop schedules that significantly mitigate the impact on our guests as much as possible. We also communicate with incoming owners and guests prior to arrival, as well as at check-in to further manage guest expectations. Our schedules and processes include starting work later in the morning, creating buffers between guest rooms not being renovated and where work is taking place, scheduling construction during offpeak seasons, communicating to guests which amenities and villa buildings are being worked on and when they will be completed, and developing a plan to complete work as quickly as possible without any compromise to our brand standards. JB: We proactively advertised in most booking engines and with reservation teams that the renovation work at the resort was underway, but the biggest factor was to limit the renovations to shoulder seasons. By doing this, there was as little impact as possible on arriving guests. Our team was very strict about this rule and rarely made any exceptions.
M E E T T H E PA N E L
Tammy Oliver Vice president of design and development for Orange Lake Resorts, the developer of Holiday Inn Club Vacations
Holiday Inn Club Vacations: Orange Lake Resorts acquired Silverleaf Resorts’ 13 properties in 2015 and is rebranding them as Holiday Inn Club Vacations by the end of 2016. The rebranding scope includes the lobby areas and sales centers, and updates to signage. Additional multiyear renovations include expansive updates to villas, resort exteriors, landscaping and amenities.
14 Q3 2016
Juan Barillas Executive vice president Exploria Resorts
Exploria Resorts: In 2013 the decision was made to start the firstever major renovation of all units in Orlando. This was a huge undertaking that started with comprehensive presentations to all the HOA boards, who gave their full support and approval to commence with the long-anticipated enhancements. The massive renovation project began in the fall of 2014, and the final phase will be completed in 2017, a testament to the importance of logistics and teamwork.
V: Did the renovations come in on time, or were there delays? JB: The project grew from renovating 60 to 65 percent of units to a full 100 percent total renovation project. This change of scope brought timing challenges and an extension on the duration of the project. At the peak of the renovations we encountered a few shipping delays from manufacturers that resulted in three- to four-week delays. We came to realize that in Orlando the shoulder seasons are very narrow, which leaves very little room for adjustments.
V: What is the key to finishing renovation work on time and on cost? JB: The key is to designate a project manager from the onset of the renovation. The PM holds weekly meetings with all internal and external parties involved, such as marketing, rental and front-desk teams, plus contractors, designers and resort managers to get units in and out of the system. Coordination and logistics following this model saved us time and money.
Above: A redesigned bedroom at Summer Bay Orlando resort, in Florida, and before (inset). Below: Atlantic Palace, in Atlantic City, and a rendering of its forthcoming state-ofthe-art spa.
We made a very substantial multimillion-dollar investment knowing it would differentiate us from other resort hotels in the area. —BRUCE KAYE, founder and CEO of FantaSea Resorts
Bruce Kaye Founder and CEO FantaSea Resorts
FantaSea Resorts: This resort group recently completed a new gym, owners’ lounge, video room, game room and children’s room at the Atlantic Palace and will soon build a state-of-the-art spa and an enclosure for the outdoor pool. It is also redoing 100 rooms at the Atlantic Palace and the Flagship hotel.
RCI VENTURES 15
TO: The first phase of renovations, related to resort rebranding, continues to go well. Our major multiyear villa renovation project, which includes 13 properties, began in early fall 2016. While this is the biggest acquisition and renovation project in our history, I feel that we have a great plan in place with highly experienced team members and business partners who will get the job done on time and within budget.
BK: First and foremost, a good facilities manager who knows what they’re doing. And then to really get the referrals necessary to make sure the quality of the furnishings and the case goods is in keeping with your design aesthetic. The cost is based on how the contract is structured. What we do is create a fixed cost—when you go behind the walls, you’ll find things you didn’t anticipate—and for that we have the 10 percent contingency, and because of that we always come within budget or a little below.
From top: A living room before (inset) and after at Summer Bay Orlando resort; the outdoor pool and sundeck at Atlantic Palace; a better bedroom at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Panama City Beach Resort, in Florida.
TO: Good planning and continual follow-up are critical to meeting timelines and working around the inevitable issues that arise. When you have construction going on at nearly all of your resort properties, as we do, it’s important to keep everyone on the same page. You must develop a comprehensive plan and timeline for completion of the work. Without that plan and continued follow-up with the contractors, a project can quickly fall behind—and that can mean additional costs and delays, which have guest impacts.
V: What are your one or two top tips for resorts that are about to embark on their own renovations? JB: For a resort thinking about embarking on a major renovation, I have two crucial tips to ensure the success and full return on the investment. First, survey your owners, members and guests to identify the improvements desired. They will let you know loud and clear what they want. With this information at hand, it will become very
The main objective of the renovation was very clear: to turn the somewhat outdated units into vibrant, crisp and amazing vacation homes for our guests. —JUAN BARILLAS, executive vice president of Exploria Resorts
16 Q3 2016
Like many vacation ownership brands, we have a very specific renovation program at the existing Holiday Inn Club Vacations properties where we are renovating on a set schedule over several years to maintain quality.
easy to sell the HOA board members on using the reserves to fund the renovation. Second, assign a project manager who is in charge of the renovations on a daily basis, 24/7. This is a full-time position and one of the main ingredients to making a successful renovation happen, especially if your resort has high occupancy and is in active sales.
PHOTOS: EACH RESORT PHOTO IS COURTESY OF THE RESPECTIVE RCI AFFILIATED RESORT
BK: Do your research and make sure that you have the right person internally spearheading it to make sure it’s going to be properly coordinated. Get the proper references from those you’re buying your furnishings and case goods from. Have a contract with a time limit and penalties to be imposed if the time period isn’t met. TO: Proper financial planning is essential. Once the HOA and management company have agreed on a schedule and costs, it’s imperative to communicate and maintain the level of expectations for your owners. It’s also important to design to the destination and demographics of your owners and guests while maintaining your brand standards. Furnishings need to meet or exceed the expected useful life of your renovation cycle. It’s important for the villa’s design to not only look and feel good but also be durable enough to stay fresh between the longer renovation cycles required for certain components of the unit. For instance, maintaining a timeless design in the hard flooring, cabinetry and plumbing fixtures allows our team to stay up-to-date on other aspects of the design scheme every six years.
BK: Taking the money out of my pocket to do it! The expenses and amenities are strictly coming from the developer, but that’s because of my belief in Atlantic City and what we’re doing. JB: If we had to start the process again, we would re-lay the ground in the units (i.e., flooring and walls) so we could include wireless technology, so it was built into the units. This step would make the units more device-friendly for video, lighting, sound and temperature controls.
—TAMMY OLIVER, vice president of design and development for Orange Lake Resorts, the developer of Holiday Inn Club Vacations
my team! One of the most challenging aspects is scheduling the renovations around guest occupancy so as not to disrupt the guest experience. The scope of these updates, however, across multiple properties, contractors and states, presents our biggest and most complex project to date. We are very experienced at heavily renovating properties we acquire, so I feel very confident in our ability to handle the work successfully.
V: What is the greatest reward of a successful renovation? JB: The end result of a well-planned, designed and executed renovation is 100 times more impactful than changing and fixing things in the units as needed. Without exaggeration, the renovation was like offering a brand-new resort unit with a totally enhanced vacation experience. BK: Higher quality. Better design. Creating a warm, inviting environment where guests and owners want to bring friends and family, with amenities in the suites and the top level of service. The only issue we’re going to have is that we’re not going to have enough suites to accommodate the demand. TO: Kemmons Wilson, founder of Orange Lake Resorts, believed that family vacations were one of the most important times to make lasting memories. And the feedback of our owners is an integral part of the process of renovations. We place a strong focus on understanding their expectations for enjoying memorable family vacations, and our in-house design team understands these expectations and makes sure we deliver a finished product that will surprise and delight our owners and guests every time. All the design work is done in-house by a team of professionals who understand what works and what doesn’t.
V: What were your biggest challenges, or what would you do differently? TO: The huge scope of renovating more than 3,000 villas at our rebranded resorts is a daunting thought for me and
FOR MORE, READ “ R E S O R T I M P R OV E M E N T S ” AT R C I V E N T U R E S .C O M
RCI VENTURES 17
A True Innovator Mark Wang, president of Hilton Grand Vacations, is looking ahead to a bright future for the timeshare industry.
BY SU NSHIN E FLINT P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y B E N VA N H O O K
wife and 20 of their closest friends and family to Rome for her recent milestone birthday seems like a pretty amazing gift. But Mark Wang, president of Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV), had something more up his sleeve: a fireworks show in honor of the birthday girl. “I’ll never forget her face when I surprised her with a 15-minute fireworks display,” Wang recalls. That passion for doing things in an extraordinary way is a hallmark of his 35-year career in the timeshare industry, which has taken him from California to Hawaii to Florida. After being introduced to the vacation ownership business by a friend, Wang decided this was the career for him. “After getting a taste of marketing and selling vacations for a job, I was hooked,” he says. “I have never had a second thought of whether this is what I wanted to do in life.” This decision led him first to Maui and then Kauai, where he cofounded the marketing and sales company that launched PAHIO Resorts. “Some of my fondest and most exciting memories came from those early years learning firsthand how to build a new company from the ground up,” Wang says. “To this day, I still remember our first employees who helped launch my career.”
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In Hawaii, Wang realized the potential of the Japanese market. His first learning experience about the Japanese customer came in the mid-’80s from Toshio Okada, who now is with HGV in Japan, and this connection would serve Wang well when he joined HGV and became its managing director of the Asia-Pacific region, in 1999. “The opportunity came at just the right time, as I knew the branded hospitality companies would eventually dominate the industry, and I had a huge respect for HGV and its leaders,” Wang recalls. “They let me use my entrepreneurial and Hawaii market experience to start up this new region.” Today HGV has more than 50,000 Club Members in Japan, and what started as one sales center in Oahu has grown to be an Asia-Pacific business of more than $300 million. In 2008 Wang moved to Orlando, Florida, to take up a new role as president of HGV. Previously, as executive vice president of the Asia-Pacific region, he had operated with a certain level of independence working within a bigger corporate-branded company. “I was already running a timeshare operation,” Wang says. “When I moved to Orlando, the operation became a lot bigger and more complex, and the biggest adjustment was adapting to being part of the broader Hilton organization. It was a great learning experience.” Shortly after his tenure began, the economic downturn of 2008 forced HGV to evolve from a capital-heavy business model to a capital-efficient one. “I’m proud to say we’ve not only become a capital-efficient business, but we accomplished this while doubling our sales to more than $1 billion last year.” He credits his success so far to having hired talented team members. “Surround yourself with people passionate about their work. Don’t be afraid to hire people who are better at something than you are,” he advises. “As a leader you need to be humble and continue to learn.” He also credits Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta as a mentor. “He recruited me to move from Hawaii, somewhere I never thought I’d leave,” Wang says. “But it was worth that and more to work with him and learn from him.” When Wang started with HGV, the Club had just 19,000 members—it currently has 255,000 Club Members. Now he is helping HGV prepare to become an independent, publicly traded company as Hilton is spinning off the timeshare division before the end of 2016. “It’s an exciting time for our company and creates a huge opportunity for our existing team members to grow,” Wang says. Leading people, finding strong talent and focusing on growth remain his goals. “One of my proudest moments is opening the Grand Waikikian, our first purpose-built timeshare tower, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village,” he recalls. “In my opinion, it was the most successful timeshare development in the history of the industry.” Now Wang and HGV are set to top that with the opening of their newest tower in Hawaii, the Grand Islander.
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Additionally, HGV opened two new properties in South Carolina’s top vacation destinations—Ocean 22 in Myrtle Beach, in 2015, and Ocean Oak on Hilton Head Island, in 2016. “We entered Myrtle Beach in 2011 with timeshare units in Anderson Ocean Club, a fee-for-service deal with Strand Capital Group on a converted condo hotel, and the success of that led to our two ground-up projects,” Wang says. “Our customers love to travel to this part of the country, and it has been a very successful destination for us.” Listening to what customers want is a big part of Wang’s strategic decision-making. “We listen very carefully to member preferences,” he says. “Destinations including Myrtle Beach, Park City, Utah, and Washington, D.C., were added as a direct result of feedback from our owners. The more vacation options we have, the happier our members are with our product.” Overall, HGV’s sales strategy is to look at large markets with high levels of inbound tourism that allow it to scale its sales and marketing model by cross-selling. Besides South Carolina, existing major markets include Orlando, Las Vegas, New York City and several Hawaiian Islands. Focusing on growth is a key goal on Wang’s agenda, in addition to enhancing the Club Member experience. “I believe our Resort Operations and Club teams are the best in the business,” he says. “They put the guest first—
Previous page and above: Mark Wang at Hilton Grand Vacations at Tuscany Village, in Orlando, Florida. Opposite, from top: Wang with his family; his wife in Rome. “I’ll never forget her face when I surprised her with a 15-minute fireworks display,” he says of her very special birthday present.
The industry is in an incredible place. We are in the business of selling future vacations, and who doesn’t love a vacation?
it’s as simple as that.” Wang views social media and other digital touchpoints as very current and engaging ways to interact with HGV’s customers. “We know guests will often go to social media now instead of directly to a team member,” he says. “So we see it as an opportunity to use technology and real-time communications to have a better chance to help guests while they are still on property.” In addition to the ever-increasing importance of social media, Wang expects more expansion for HGV in the urban market, an incredibly popular option for Club Members. As the way people vacation changes, the timeshare industry will have to evolve as well. “We’ll also see new trends in product flexibility, such as shorter stays and more options that appeal to all customers,” he predicts. For Wang, keeping an eye on the top line is where it all starts. “You have a lot more leeway to experiment and move the business if your top line is growing,” he says. “I’ve never seen anyone win by managing only to the bottom line.” In his downtime, Wang is an avid golfer and Formula One racing fan, but it’s his memories of family vacations to Switzerland, where his mother was from, and to Hawaii, where his son still lives, that he truly cherishes. “Being part of a business that provides these sorts of amazing experiences to families has been very rewarding,” he says. And overall, Wang believes the timeshare industry is primed for growth. “With so many strong brands in the business, there are quality and service expectations that come with these top-tier marquees,” he says. “Hilton has been in the hospitality business for nearly 100 years, and we are incredibly proud to bring that level of integrity to the timeshare industry.”
—MARK WANG, president of Hilton Grand Vacations
IN DEV ELOPMENT
The Centennial Bridge has spanned the Panama Canal since 2004. Opposite: Ships traversing Gatun Lake.
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A C A N A L R U N S T H R O U G H
Panamaâ€™s focus on tourism, investment in new infrastructure and dual coastlines are bringing new visitors to this Central American country. BY SU NSHIN E FLINT
IN DEV ELOPMENT
RCI VENTURES 23
A DECADE OF INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND INCENTIVES WITHIN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY HAVE BROUGHT A TOURIST BOOM TO PANAMA THAT SHOWS NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN.
IN DEV ELOPMENT
From the Caribbean beaches to the Pacific shore, the country is undergoing new development and expansion that includes transport, access to ecological regions and new resorts. And the current and planned improvements in services and activities are making this Central American country ever more of an attractive destination and location for investment. In 2015 Panama received 2.5 million visitors overall, an increase of 300,000 from the 2.2 million who visited in 2012. More than 338,000 were from the United States (up from the roughly 270,000 U.S. visitors in 2014)—a 25 percent jump. Panama is a small country of just 3.6 million people but has held strategic significance since the first Spanish explorers arrived more than 500 years ago. It forms the continental link between North and South America and is the shortest crossing between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Camino Real route that the Spaniards used was followed by the Panama Canal, one of the 20th century’s grand feats of engineering. Around 40 container, cargo and cruise ships make the 50-mile trip through the canal daily, and an expansion project called the Third Set of Locks was completed in June 2016. It tripled the canal’s capacity, allowing bigger Panamax-class container ships and the new classes of cruise ships, such as Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class and Holland America’s Vista class, to pass
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through—and shaved off up to 16 days of their transit time. Over the past 10 years the Panamanian government has also enacted a policy of investing in tourism and resorts, and the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) has actively pursued partnerships with private industry. Direct foreign investment has tripled since 2009, according to the deputy vice minister of the economy, and the IMF is forecasting Panama’s economy will grow at nearly 6 percent a year. In 2012 the tourism industry contributed more than $2 billion to Panama’s economy and is one of the country’s fastest-growing sectors, along with banking and construction. “In the past decade, I have noticed how Panama has recognized the value that the tourism industry adds to its economy,” says Gustavo de la Serna, RCI’s regional business development director for Mexico and Central America. “The government has engaged in a thorough strategy to promote the industry through the Panama Tourism Authority, fiscal initiatives and tax incentives.” RCI first affiliated with a resort in Panama in 2000, and today there are 15 affiliated resorts in the country. The main type of product is points-based, and the majority of sales are made by multidestination clubs, according to de la Serna. Part of what makes the country so attractive to members is its sheer diversity—culture and colonial history in Panama City; the rain forest and jungle of the lush interior; beach resorts on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts—all packed into a country roughly the size of South Carolina. A relatively stable political system and currency pegged to the U.S. dollar also draw visitors, retirees and investors. “The number of affiliated resorts increases every year,” de la Serna says, “and I predict the total number of vacation ownership resorts to more than double in the next 10 years.” A plan for the future The Panamanian government has instituted several new projects around the country that are modernizing and improving tourist facilities, activities and experiences. In Casco Viejo, Panama City’s beautiful colonial quarter and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the baroque facade and tower of La Merced Church, built in 1680, were recently restored, and new signage around the quarter will point out tourist and cultural attractions. The Metro, launched in 2014, is the first subway system in Central America. It will eventually link the city to Tocumen International Airport, where the majority of foreign visitors arrive. (The airport is also increasing operations by 30 percent.) In March 2016, Lufthansa launched its direct service to Panama, and Turkish Airlines launched a route in May. But the focus is also on regions and provinces outside the city, from Boquete, an inland town, to Bocas del Toro, a province on the Caribbean coast, to Río Hato,
Clockwise from top left: A market stand selling traditional molas; the inland town of Boquete; Panama Cityâ€™s skyscrapers rise above the city. Opposite: Colonial Panama City.
IN DEV ELOPMENT
GUATEMALA EL SALVADOR COSTA RICA
VENEZUELA PANAMA COLOMBIA
Bocas del Toro
Gatun Lake Panama City Panama Punta Canal Chame
IN DEV ELOPMENT
Punta Chame, a peninsula on the Pacific coast. Above, from top: Scarlet macaws congregating; the scenic Caribbean coastline at Bocas del Toro.
a Pacific beach corregimiento. The government signed a commitment to ecotourism on Earth Day in 2015—this is a country with nearly 1,000 bird species and large swaths of protected rain forest—and facilities and trails are being improved in parks and beaches. Additionally, an emphasis is being put on including indigenous groups in tourist activities and destinations. In 2013 Río Hato’s Scarlett Martínez International Airport opened after a $53 million renovation, and three regional museums are under construction. “We are in negotiations to create new strategies for the government and the private sector to work together,” says Gustavo Him, the minister of tourism for Panama. “We are also working to hire an international agency that will work with us to promote the destination.” As projects like these draw even more visitors, tourism numbers are sure to continue rising, and existing properties will benefit. For example, the position of Meliá Panamá Canal on Gatun Lake and near the Colón Free Trade Zone, plus the canal expansion, has generated business. “All of this growth has contributed to an increase in occupancies and generates demand for our property and innovative services,” explains Victor Hugo Charco, vice president of operations and strategic projects for Club Meliá. Hotel and resort construction and the number of hotel rooms are also on the rise. There are about 20,000 hotel rooms in Panama City and 30,000 rooms in the rest of the country. “The Panamanian government has dedicated significant resources to the promotion of tourism,” de la Serna says. “Developers who in the recent past concentrated their investment in residential and office real estate in Panama City are analyzing opportunities in beach destinations.” New resorts Some upcoming beach-resort openings include Dreams Playa Bonita Panama Resort & Spa, a family-friendly resort scheduled to open in November 2016 on the Pacific shore about 45 minutes from Tocumen Airport. Dreams offers buyers a multidestination membership. “Having the only resort in the country that is perfect for couples and
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PHOTOS, OPENING SPREAD: ISTOCKPHOTO, ALAMY; SECOND SPREAD: ALAMY, ISTOCKPHOTO (3); THIS SPREAD: ISTOCKPHOTO (2), ALAMY; EACH RESORT PHOTO IS COURTESY OF THE RESPECTIVE RCI AFFILIATED RESORT
couples without children has opened the door to a new kind of vacation experience in Panama,” says Don Eastvold Jr., corporate director of marketing and new business development for Unlimited Vacation Club (UVC). “As many Unlimited Vacation Club members are known to be married or in a committed relationship with children, family-friendly resorts in the AMResorts collection cater perfectly to them.” AMResorts will also open another Dreams Resorts & Spas property in 2018, Dreams Buenaventura Panama. This resort will be situated in a gated beach community with a variety of leisurely pursuits. The Caribbean Nature Eco Luxury Marine Resort & Spa will open at the end of 2016 in Bocas del Toro and will offer fixed and floating weeks. The resort will have overwater bungalows, an underwater lounge and a spa on the beach. “We are focused on marketing to people in their thirties and up who are looking for a different kind of vacation, people who want to discover and enjoy nature in a safe and relaxed way,” says Francisco Jimenez, the resort director. “We’re targeting the eastern United States and Canada, which are less than a seven-hour flight from Panama.” Says de la Serna: “Overall, the Panama timeshare industry has a promising outlook. All the stakeholders here are receptive to timeshare and recognize vacation ownership’s contribution to increased profitability in traditional hotel operations.” Growth closer to home Every year RCI produces and hosts one of the most important events in the vacation ownership industry in Latin America, the Latin America Shared Ownership Summit (LASOS). In 2014 the LASOS was held in Panama City and drew the biggest vacation ownership developers from Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. The local and regional markets are very important, and it’s estimated that in 2014 and 2015, 80 percent of total sales of the timeshare product in Panama were made to regional buyers from Panama, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. “Many Latin American tourists come to Panama for the shopping,” de la Serna explains. “A product enabling buyers to spend time in Panama City as well as at a beach resort is quite appealing to this market.” The ATP and the Panamanian government also promote the destination in various international trade shows and sponsor events, such as the Panama International Film Festival, considered the highest-profile festival in Central America and the Caribbean after just five years, and the Flamenco Festival Panama. The South American countries of Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela are the largest source market for visitors to the Meliá Panamá Canal, followed by Europe, Central America and the U.S. and Canada. “Our main priority is to consolidate the destination within our member base, as well as with RCI,” Charco says. “We’re very glad to have significantly increased our exchange activity with RCI in the past 18 months.”
Resort Report From Panama’s Caribbean and Pacific Coasts Caribbean Nature Eco Luxury Marine Resort & Spa Francisco Jimenez, resort director What about the resort’s location, in Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean side of Panama, will make it special for owners and visitors? Our hotel is placed 20 minutes away from the local airport on an island surrounded by crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches and coral reefs for scuba diving and snorkeling. Visitors will find indigenous villages, jungle trails, dolphins, deep-sea fishing and waves for surfing. How is your resort different from resorts on the Pacific side of Panama? Our resort is unique because it is mainly composed of bungalows over the sea, like in Bora Bora or the Maldives. There is nothing like that on the Pacific coast. At our resort, tides are just 12 inches high, with small waves and calm water, safe for many activities, whereas the resorts on the Pacific side of Panama are better for sitting on the beach.
Meliá Panamá Canal Victor Hugo Charco, vice president of operations and strategic projects for Club Meliá What about the resort’s location, on the shores of Gatun Lake and the canal, makes it special for owners and visitors? Meliá Panamá Canal is the best option for discovering Panama, because of its gorgeous natural surroundings, historical activities and premier customer service, whether you’re looking for a thrilling new experience or simply want to admire the stunning views of Gatun Lake. It’s the perfect place to stay for adventure seekers looking for exciting tours, ecotourism, bike rides, eco-walks and hiking. Our proximity to the free trade zone also attracts business travelers and shopping lovers.
Dreams Playa Bonita Panama Resort & Spa Don Eastvold Jr., corporate director of marketing and new business development for Unlimited Vacation Club (UVC) What about this resort’s location, on Playa Bonita and the Pacific coast, makes it special for guests and UVC members? Dreams Playa Bonita Panama is situated only 45 minutes from Tocumen Airport and 20 minutes from Casco Viejo and downtown Panama City, with their myriad options for restaurants, shopping, nightlife and casinos. It’s also 20 minutes away from the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Panama Canal. In fact, our guests can see the ships lining up to take their positions at night and the lights of the ships on the horizon. Also, we are located only 30 minutes away from the Gamboa rain forest, for those who like to take on nature’s wonders. Panama has a record of having more bird species than the U.S. and Canada combined! Our guests can rest assured that they’re staying at a wonderful resort that’s in an ideal location, close to the city, history, landmarks and nature of this Central American country.
RCI VENTURES 27
G yo et a h u m ea B Y as d J te wi E S r d th S E ig ou N ita r O ’B l m tip R IE ed s to N ia he . lp
T & EC M H A N R O K L E O T G IN Y G INNOVATION
In the era of digital advertising, new opportunities abound to connect more effectively with your audience, and more brands than ever are taking advantage of digital platforms. In March, analytics company eMarketer predicted that in 2017 TV ad spending would drop to below digital media spending for the first time. RCI Ventures® magazine sat down with Faith Aronow, director of digital marketing at RCI, to get the scoop on the top strategies resorts can use to make the most of today’s digital landscape.
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everywhere. O1 Be You need to be able to reach consumers
where they are. Twenty-five percent of them switch between at least three devices a day, according to marketing company BlueConic’s 2015 report The Four Competencies of Marketing Individualization. Look for cross-channel opportunities. For example, RCI fans can access the Endless Vacation® magazine app on any tablet or go to EndlessVacation.com to view stories on a responsive website. To test that your content is getting out there, measure regularly: Work backward from the channels advertising your content to your website.
headlines. mobile seamless. it with video. O2 Make O5 Make O9 Say “Email is still effective but to We’re past the tipping point: Video requires an initial
a lesser extent as consumer behavior is changing,” Aronow says. “Consumers check email less often yet receive more email than ever. You must catch their attention in milliseconds.” She recommends constant testing of subject lines, with “10/10/80” being very effective: Send an A/B test to 20 percent of the audience, and then launch the winner to the remaining 80 percent. And don’t forget to include the second headline in your testing. Make sure your emails are responsive so your audience can engage on any screen. is key. O3 Display Thanks to the growth of
mobile, display has more impressions than most platforms and has the added advantage of being less expensive. Consider upping your investment. Brands are giving display the largest share of their digital ad spending: eMarketer reported in their study U.S. Digital Display Advertising Report: Eight Developments to Watch for in 2016 that display will account for 47.9 percent of digital ad spending this year.
(SEO) is all about content. The more relevant, useful and inspiring your content is to your audience the better. Search algorithms today weigh user engagement, including consumption and amplification, as one of the top factors for optimization. But don’t skip the basics of appropriate metadata, URL structure and search-friendly code and technology. “YouTube is the number two search engine in the world, so video is your friend. To maximize your investment in video and photos, pay close attention to choosing the right key words in descriptions and tags,” Aronow says.
the right O6 Send message.
You have access to big data—so use it. Find out where your audience is and send the right message at the right time. Make use of messaging apps, SMS and/or push notifications to create a sequential experience tailored to your customers’ preferred channels.
social. O7 Be If your audience is on social media platforms, you should be too. Whereas Facebook tends to attract a cross section of generations, millennials dominate Snapchat and messenger-type apps, Aronow says. For maximum impact, tailor your content to both your platform and your audience.
Make new friends. Facebook is particularly rich in big data. You can use it to find your existing owners and to engage people who are similar to them. Facebook’s data can also help you better understand your audience. “It sounds almost contradictory, but technology is enabling brands to market in a more human way,” Aronow says. “It’s about understanding the customers and their journeys so you can address their needs, wants and desires individually.”
investment, but it can also have a great impact. Keep content short so it can be easily watched on mobile, and make sure to disseminate it across social channels. YouTube on mobile alone reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any cable network in the U.S., according to the company’s website. a pin in it. “Pinterest and similar 1O Put
discovery/curation-type social sites provide a great opportunity for the travel industry,” Aronow says. “In addition to staying top of mind during the oh-so-important dreaming phase of the vacation journey, links on Pinterest can also significantly improve your ranking on the SERP [search engine results page]. It may take awhile to build up SEO value, but those links give very strong signals to Google and other search engines.”
But print still matters Three reasons print advertising is as valuable as ever: 1. Print is trustworthy. Anyone can create a website, but distributing print takes investment. As a result, it’s often seen as a credible source. 2. Print is long-term. People hold on to print. Owners use Endless Vacation magazine to plan getaways to France, Melbourne and other dream destinations, referring back to the same article again and again.
Boost your tech savvy with this glossary of terms to know. A/B testing: Comparing two versions of a product to see which one performs better. Big data: Information sets too large and complex to be processed by traditional means but which can reveal patterns about human behavior. Display: Advertising on websites, which may include text or images. Metadata: Data that describes other data, giving information about how it was collected, formatted and so on. Responsive web design: A design that optimizes the user experience across multiple platforms. Search engine optimization: Increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s organic results.
3. Print stands out. Print space in magazines is limited, making it more valuable since you have less competition for a reader’s attention. What’s more, direct mail has decreased over the years. If your budget allows for it, consider this option as printed pieces may stand out in the mailbox more so than emails in the inbox.
RCI VENTURES 29
get lost. O4 Don’t Search engine optimization
Users spend more time on mobile than desktop. In May 2015, Google announced that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on desktop in 10 countries, including the U.S. Your audience expects everything to be responsive and accessible via tablet and smartphone. Create content that’s screen agnostic when you can, and optimize for mobile first.
TA L K I N G TECH
Cunningham Asset Recovery Services, LLC
IN DUSTRY SOLUTIONS
Analytics Made Easy
The RCI Inventory Analytics Advisory® service can help RCI® affiliated resorts deliver the right product to the right customer at the right time—and for the right price. With the RCI Inventory Analytics Advisory® (IAA) service, RCI® affiliated resorts can leverage the capabilities of RCI’s award-winning revenue management and reporting team to help them maximize the value of their inventory. RCI has demonstrated its commitment to affiliates through its strategic focus and considerable investment in award-winning analytics and reporting. So with the right mix of insight, analytics and tools designed specifically for the needs of the vacation ownership industry, IAA can help affiliates focus on what they do best—their core business—while the service helps to optimize inventory usage and revenue. Because RCI understands that no two resorts share the same inventory management needs, IAA offers three different service offerings: a Diagnostic Report, Inventory Management, and Distribution and Revenue Management Outsourcing. (See “At a Glance,” at right, for more information.) Consulting services are available to affiliates in both the short and long term and can be tailored to specific objectives. The benefits to affiliates can include: • Growing revenue and occupancy by leveraging unsold inventory • Better understanding of inventory and availability • Enhanced reporting, forecasting, pricing and yield management capabilities
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• I mproved customer satisfaction via prediction of consumer behavior and optimization of supply-demand alignment •O ngoing training to in-house inventory management staffs in generally accepted revenue management best practices “The RCI inventory consulting team has a great understanding of inventory and revenue management strategies and tactics that have already started to transform our business,” says Michele Colson, senior vice president of VSA resorts, whose revenue increased by 113 percent in just a few short months after using the IAA service. “Simple changes in process and knowing when and where to look to identify risks and opportunities have given our resort managers a huge boost in managing the inventory at their respective properties. The diagnostic report is full of great insights into general revenue management concepts and practices, as well as insights specific to our resorts, processes and systems.”
To learn more about leveraging
the RCI Inventory Analytics Advisory service to help maximize the value of your resort’s inventory, please contact your Account Executive.
AT A G L A N C E The RCI Inventory Analytics Advisory service has three options that provide insight, guidance and distribution outsourcing solutions, including: 1. Diagnostic Report: A short-term assessment of an affiliate’s current open-market rental program, including: • I nformation Gathering: The IAA team will meet on-site with affiliated resort staff to understand the resort’s current processes related to inventory management. • P roduct/Process Understanding: The team will map out processes and planning techniques used by the group to help manage resort inventory. • A nalysis/Diagnostic Report: The diagnostic evaluates historical performance across all key revenue management metrics, determines areas of opportunity and maps out improvements on a spectrum ranging from easy, high-impact wins to largerscale, sophisticated changes that can have long-lasting positive revenue impacts for the affiliate. • T raining/Distribution and Revenue Management: Duties training, distribution and ongoing revenue management guidance can be customized for an affiliate upon the diagnostic’s completion. 2. Inventory Management: IAA assesses the affiliate’s needs and areas of opportunity then creates process improvement recommendations and customized reporting as well as provides recurrent calls to guide the implementation of revenue management strategies. 3. Distribution and Revenue Management Outsourcing: IAA handles revenue management planning, forecasting, implementation, and inventory distribution.
IN DUSTRY SOLUTIONS
Rewarding Vacation Experiences With the RCI® Elite Rewards® MasterCard®, owners and prospects can earn Rewards on qualifying everyday purchases. The RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard was designed exclusively for RCI subscribing members, allowing them to take advantage of its meaningful benefits both on vacation and in their everyday lives. Every time they use their cards, owners and prospects turn qualifying everyday purchases into valuable Rewards. Rewards can be redeemed to pay affiliated resort maintenance fees, fees associated with RCI membership and other Reward Items, including travel, theme park tickets, dining and retail gift certificates and valuable merchandise. Upon approval, an RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard cardholder can use his or her card to purchase a timeshare, making vacation ownership possible for many prospective owners. Other great benefits of the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard include:
“The RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard remains a strong point-of-sale product for use in supporting the sales efforts at RCI affiliated resorts,” says Jeff Parker, senior vice president of product management and resort operations for RCI. “We continue to make enhancements to the program, and now cardholders can earn and redeem more Rewards than ever before. We will continue to ensure that this product serves as a significant differentiator that helps our affiliates close the deal at the sales table.”
PHOTOS: ISTOCKPHOTO (2)
* Offer subject to credit approval. Not everyone will qualify for the World Mastercard credit card and its benefits. If at the time of your application you do not meet the credit criteria previously established for this offer, or the income you report is insufficient based on your obligations, we may not be able to open an account for you or you may receive a Platinum card. Benefits will vary depending upon the card for which you are approved. Please review the materials provided with the Cardmember Agreement you will receive after account opening for more information about the benefits that will apply. This offer is available to new cardmembers only. For information about rates, fees, other costs, the reward program rules, and benefits associated with the use of the credit card program, please see the Terms and Conditions. 1 The introductory APR on balance transfer is 0% for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made within the first 45 days of account opening (the “Introductory Period”). For purchases, and for balance transfers after the Introductory Period, the variable APR is 14.99%, 18.99% or 21.99% depending upon our review of your application and your credit history at account opening. Contact 866-951-1433 or visit RCI.com/EliteRewards for updated information and for more information about the terms of this offer.
Earning Rewards: Cardmember(s) earn “Rewards” in the following amounts based upon the type of Purchase transaction charged to the Account:
a) Earn two (2) Rewards for each one dollar ($1) in net purchases made: (i) for room charges at participating properties listed online at RCIEliteRewards.RCI.com, (ii) at participating car rental locations, (iii) for purchases from any Bonus Rewards Partner listed online at RCIEliteRewards.RCI.com, or (iv) for purchases with RCI (excluding RCI Travel except RCI Travel, RCI Points Partner, RCI Cruise, Lifestyle Benefits and Experiential Vacations transactions), and/or (v) through special promotional allotments of Rewards from participating Bonus Rewards Partners.
To that end, new benefits have been added to the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard this year, including:
FREE P O I N TOF-SALE M AT E R I A L S :
• More Rewards for cardholders: Ampre, a new feature for RCI Elite Rewards cardholders, works by linking Bonus Rewards directly to their RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard. Cardholders can simply use their RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard at participating merchants nationwide and automatically receive up to 7X Rewards on their purchases—there are no coupons, punch cards or extra loyalty cards needed. • Acquisition banners for affiliated resort websites: Banners placed on affiliated resort websites can help enable owners to apply for the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard, which they can then use toward the payment of annual maintenance and other resort fees. Recently, an affiliate imposed a special assessment for refurbishing and placed a banner for the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard on its website. Its owners were able to apply via the banner and, if approved, received 0% interest for 12 months.
Flyers, table tents and posters advertising the benefits of the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard for owners and prospects are available to affiliates free of charge. To request these materials, contact your Account Executive.
Contact your Account Executive
today to learn more about how the RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard could benefit your owners and prospects.
b) Earn one (1) Reward per one dollar ($1) spent on all other transactions. following transactions are excluded from “Purchases” and do not earn Rewards unless The
stated: interest, finance charges, balance transfers, convenience checks, cash advances and credit fees. Restrictions apply. There is a fee for Balance Transfers. Balance Transfer Checks and Convenience Checks do not qualify for balance transfer points. Please see the Terms and Conditions for more information. The RCI Resort Dollars card is subject to certain rules and restrictions of RCI, the preloaded card provider and the participating merchant accepting the preloaded card. RCI affiliated resorts are not sponsors or co-sponsors of this program. RCI Member Rewards are in the form of a credit to an RCI subscribing membership account and are subject to certain terms and conditions. RCI Member Rewards may only be used toward certain RCI services. Taxes are excluded from value stated.
4 Not all items are eligible for the Rewards plus Dollars feature. Exceptions include gift cards, DVDs, and items currently offered at less than 2500 Rewards. These exception items are still available using the traditional, Rewards only option.
The RCI® Elite Rewards® MasterCard® issued by Barclays Bank Delaware (Barclaycard) pursuant to a license by MasterCard International. MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated. RCI and related marks are registered trademarks and/or service marks in the United States and internationally. All rights reserved. © 2016 RCI, LLC. All rights reserved.
RCI VENTURES 33
•N o annual fee* •0 % introductory APR for 12 months on a cardholder’s initial vacation ownership down payment1 • Double Rewards: Earn 2X Rewards on qualifying RCI purchases, including exchange fees and RCI subscribing membership fees2
• Redeem Rewards for RCI Member RewardsSM, which can be used toward payment for maintenance fees, RCI subscribing membership dues, exchange fees and more3 • Redeem Rewards for RCI Resort Dollars® cards that can be used toward payment for affiliated resort maintenance fees, affiliated resort amenities, dining and more3 • Redeem Rewards for hundreds of Reward Items, including travel, experiences, merchandise, gift cards and charitable donations • Redemption flexibility lets cardholders supplement their Rewards by combining them with cash4
R I S ATA B A L I R E S O R T & S PA
Balinese culture informs Risata Bali Resort & Spaâ€™s award-winning approach to hospitality.
BY K YLE VE R
Making great first impressions in Risata Bali Resort & Spaâ€™s lobby. Opposite: Plenty of places for guests to lounge by the outdoor pool.
34 Q3 2016
IN THE POPULAR BEACH-STREWN SOUTH
Fransiska Handoko Manager Risata Bali Resort & Spa
Kuta district of Bali, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with its beauty and lively, bustling pace. Situated just minutes from the beach, where you can find wave-riding surfers and dreamy sunsets, is Risata Bali Resort & Spa, with Balinese-style openair buildings, 139 modern guest rooms and tropical gardens. From the moment vacationers arrive until the moment they leave, Risata Bali works to create a meaningful and lasting connection between its owners and the culture that surrounds them. “Guests are warmly greeted with true Balinese hospitality,” says Fransiska Handoko, the resort’s manager. “That is the very reason so many return to stay with us year after year.” And year after year Risata Bali continues to collect awards, attesting to the stellar hospitality its owners have come to expect,
thanks to the hard work of its dedicated staff. Last year the resort was inducted into the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame after receiving its Certificate of Excellence five years in a row. From 2012 to 2015 Risata Bali earned the Tri Hita Karana Emerald Medal for its reinvigoration of the Balinese philosophy by promoting sustainability through educational programs and workshops. Soon after its affiliation with RCI began, Risata Bali received its first RCI Gold Crown Resort® Award in 1997, and for nearly 20 consecutive years, the resort has maintained this status for exceeding standards in areas such as unit housekeeping, maintenance, hospitality and check-in and checkout procedures. Handoko says that Risata Bali’s relationship with RCI provides the resort with far more than just this prestigious status: “The affiliation supports the business in having
RCI VENTURES 35
Guests are warmly greeted with true Balinese hospitality. That is the very reason so many return to stay with us year after year.
Kuta Art Market
—FRANSISKA HANDOKO, manager of Risata Bali Resort & Spa
Discovery Shopping Mall
Lippo Mall Kuta
Risata Bali Resort & Spa
Attraction Spotlight: South Kuta Owners and guests at Risata Bali enjoy convenient access to nearby fun.
Waterbom Bali: A variety of thrilling waterslides and other attractions set within a nearly 10-acre tropical garden. Discovery Shopping Mall: Where shoppers can also catch a movie and dine at award-winning restaurants. Kuta Art Market: Sought-after souvenirs are abundant at this beachside bazaar. Lippo Mall Kuta: Bringing together more than 150 international fashion brands for some world-class shopping.
36 8 Q2 3 2016
a guaranteed occupancy all around the year, with repeat visits.” Of course Risata Bali doesn’t rely on merely its accumulated praise in order to offer owners the vacation of a lifetime. Its immersive array of activities and amenities keep guests coming back for more. “Existing members are using their membership every year because they love Bali so much, and this resort is their home away from home,” Handoko says. “Relaxing poolside, sipping exotic cocktails from our sunken pool bar and enjoying rejuvenating treatments for the body and mind in our spa are just some of our guests’ daily activities in this paradise.” Cultural immersion Risata Bali makes getting to know the local culture easy for inquisitive owners and guests. For starters, owners can embark on fun and exciting cycling tours to get out and see the tropical environment firsthand. First-rate safety equipment, wellmaintained bikes and friendly staff make the two-wheeled island excursions all the more enjoyable. Balinese-dance classes allow students to find their rhythm while learning all of the traditional movements, including wrist twists, back
arches, finger wriggles and facial gestures. Risata Bali also offers cooking classes, in which participants can join the resort’s head chef in a hands-on discovery of Balinese cuisine. After becoming acquainted with native herbs, spices and techniques, students can apply what they learned on vacation in their kitchens back home. More than 15 wellness and beauty treatments are on offer at the resort’s Sukha Spa, whose trained staff relies on traditional Balinese techniques. “The spa experience is truly one of a kind,” Handoko says. “We blend our own aromatherapy oils, which are customized to our owners’ and guests’ desired treatments.” The spa’s signature Sukha Sukha massage offers guests deep relaxation while releasing stress and tension by combining gentle stretching and kneading. Guests can also indulge in beauty treatments such as a wash and blow-dry, braiding, manicures and pedicures. Social savvy Risata Bali employs social media as a tool for expanding outreach and building relationships with owners. The resort’s website touts its presence on TripAdvisor and Facebook
via real-time feeds, which Handoko says are beneficial to owners as well as the resort itself. “Interactions on social media have a major role in this digital era, where we can assist and share many guest experiences in real time,” she says. To that end, in Risata Bali’s Facebook feed, owners can scroll through the resort’s photos and promotional offers to see what others are saying about Risata Bali. Interested vacationers can click “Like page” to add Risata Bali’s Facebook content directly to their personal newsfeed. The resort’s TripAdvisor feed shines a spotlight on praise from previous guests—including their favorite amenities, features and tips—and can provide helpful insight for prospects considering a stay at Risata Bali. “We integrated Trip Advisor comments into our website in order to help our future guests decide on their holidays,” Handoko says. “We feel that guest feedback is very important for us to improve our facilities and services.” One standout comment on TripAdvisor, from Glenn J. in Australia, reads: “As a regular guest, I am pleased to receive consistent and satisfying service delivered by efficient, friendly and professional
staff every time I stay. Keep up the great work Risata team!” He then describes the features of the different rooms that the resort offers and awards it a perfect rating of five out of five. Glenn’s review proved even more invaluable when he expressed concerns about the ability of guests to reserve poolside beds in limited shady areas. This is when Risata Bali took action, confirming for the reviewer that his feedback was appreciated and taken seriously. In response to his review, Risata Bali thanked Glenn personally for his positive words then acknowledged his dissatisfaction with the reservation policy. The resort even encouraged Glenn to get in touch before his next visit. That exchange was two years ago, and in early 2016 Glenn returned for another stay at the resort and gave a second five-out-of-five review. That Risata Bali continues to form such invaluable connections between its guests, Bali and the resort itself is a gleaming display of hospitality at its best.
A Commitment to Community Risata Bali stays committed to behaving ethically and improving the well-being of its employees and community with these core strategies: Environmental conservation: Use of plants that are suitable for the environment and that promote biodiversity and soil preservation Recycling: Paper, glass, plastic and batteries are recycled, and the resort also uses biodegradable laundry bags and recyclable key cards Community: Donation of amenities, linens and unused items to charity Employee welfare: Talent development Energy conservation: Energyefficient bulbs and timers for lights in common areas Water conservation: Low-flow faucets Education: Raising awareness of new green technologies
risatabali.com RCI VENTURES 37
PHOTOS: COURTESY RISATA BALI RESORT & SPA
Sukha Spa offers more than 15 one-ofa-kind treatments.
DA I LY M A N AG E M E N T, I N C .
Mindful Management Investing in its employees pays dividends for Daily Management, Inc., which consistently earns high marks in owner and guest satisfaction.
B Y H A N N A H D OY L E
The pool at The Cliffs at Peace Canyon, an RCI Gold Crown ResortÂŽ award recipient, operated by Daily Management, Inc., in Las Vegas, Nevada.
38 Q3 2016
When we take the time to listen to our team members, they feel respected and part of something bigger than themselves. —JANICE FEIRSTEIN, president of Daily Management, Inc.
IT TAKES A NIMBLE AND WELL-OILED TEAM
Janice Feirstein President Daily Management, Inc.
The key to creating a stellar stay for owners and guests starts with Daily Management, Inc.’s employees, Feirstein says, pointing to a corporate culture designed to support and encourage everyone on staff, whose roles include human resources, IT, administration, accounting and property management. “We strongly believe that the culture of a company has an impact on passion, happiness and, consequently, the quality and productivity of our team members,” she says. By investing in employee wellbeing and growth initiatives, Daily Management, Inc., is able to maximize quality at each of its properties and maximize owner and guest satisfaction. Encouraging excellence A supportive, trusting and respectful workplace with specific standards and clear expectations underlies Daily Management, Inc.’s family-oriented philosophy. Give-and-take is essential, and flexible schedules are offered to employees who need them. The company is also committed to communication with all team members to identify tools they need for success. An ongoing employee-education process begins with the onboarding of new hires, including providing them with information about the timeshare product and an overview of how the RCI® subscribing membership
RCI VENTURES 39
to manage just one resort, let alone a port folio of 16 properties ranging in location (Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts and Nevada) and size (small boutiques, midsize associations and 2,500-unit complexes recognized with the RCI Gold Crown Resort® award). So it’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of its 900 employees that Daily Management, Inc., has been able to successfully specialize in the needs of such diverse timeshare properties since 1981. At Daily Management, Inc., every property’s unique qualities are understood, and this full-service management company takes the time to carefully tailor its oper ational programs to each one. “We believe in advanced customer-service training for all departments, listening to the needs of our employees and owners and keeping up with the times, as far as renovations and technology,” says Janice Feirstein, president of Daily Management, Inc., who emphasizes the company’s commitment to the highest standards of service. “Integrity is at the very core of Daily Management, Inc.,” she says. “It shapes and connects everything we do. All of Daily Management, Inc.’s resorts are integrity-based and balance clear rules with strong values. We build trust from the inside out, starting with our dedicated employees and extending to our owners and guests.”
The Daily Management, Inc., Portfolio FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
Silver Seas Beach Resort KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA
Grand Lake Resort Lifetime of Vacations Resort Vacation Village at Parkway Villas at Fortune Place PALM BEACH SHORES, FLORIDA
Palm Beach Shores Resort and Villas POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA
Canada House Beach Resort Surf Sider Beach Resort
Mizner Place at Weston Town Center Vacation Village at Bonaventure Vacation Village at Weston HANCOCK, MASSACHUSETTS
Vacation Village in the Berkshires LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
The Cliffs at Peace Canyon The Grandview at Las Vegas WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA
The Colonies Williamsburg Plantation
40 Q3 2016
works. “Keeping up with training for our employees is a must and something that we do on a regular schedule. Whether it’s having them learn about the RCI Points® program or working with millennials, we are constantly trying to stay one step ahead,” Feir stein says. “We have even sent some of our reservation teams to RCI’s call center so that they could watch how a vacation exchange works.” Monthly birthday and pizza parties are an opportunity to bring together employees who may not get to see one another otherwise. In addition, some of Daily Management, Inc.’s larger resorts began a “Shark Tank” concept, based on the television show of the same name. Three times a year, any employee who has an idea to improve the resort’s operations can present an action plan before a panel of their peers. Winners get to implement their plan and also receive a monetary award. These team-building events encourage employees to share ideas, listen to unique situations others have encountered and, above all, enjoy themselves. “Once a year we have a poolside family picnic so that employees are able to bring their families out to the resorts and show them off,” Feirstein says. “When we take the time to listen to our team members,
they feel respected and part of something bigger than themselves.” When evaluating employee performance, Daily Management, Inc., has switched from yearly to quarterly reviews, now called “How Are You Doing?” sessions. Having these more frequent meetings allows employees to know what they need to work on, point out the positive things they’re doing and get valuable face time with their managers. As a way to continue to encourage employee growth, Daily Management, Inc., also allows team members to visit sister properties with their families at a discounted team-member rate. Team members are then asked to provide feedback and complete a report card based on their experiences at the resort. “This has been a great learning tool and lots of fun for all,” Feirstein says. “As an organization, we find that happy team members are enthusiastic and positive and their attitude is infectious.” Setting high standards The management teams at Daily Management, Inc., are assigned specific objectives and are empowered to make decisions in order to reach them. Management teams are kept small to facilitate stronger commu-
Daily Management, Inc., works with 16 timeshare resort properties, including, from left: Vacation Village at Parkway, in Kissimmee, Florida; Palm Beach Shores Resort and Villas, in Florida; and The Grandview at Las Vegas, in Nevada.
PHOTOS: EACH RESORT PHOTO IS COURTESY OF THE RESPECTIVE RCI AFFILIATED RESORT
are constantly reminded that their leadership habits will rub off on their team members, and they are required to hold the highest ethical standards, lead by example, stress the organization’s purpose, develop future leaders, hold teams accountable, be flexible, be accessible and be transparent.” Eye for the future Owner and guest desires have evolved over Daily Management, Inc.’s three decades in business, and the company is keeping pace with ongoing technological developments. “Years ago a simple 19-inch television in the living room was sufficient. Now most travelers expect a home away from home and a 50-inch flat-screen television in every room,” Feirstein says. “The travel industry as a whole has evolved over the years, especially with our guests’ use of mobile devices requiring Wi-Fi, and that’s something we did not have to deal with 20 years ago. Over the past five years we have had to add bandwidth to accommodate cell phones, laptops and gaming devices.” The use of these devices is a major consideration when creating upcoming budget and design plans, she says.
“We now do not put any new lamps in without an outlet and USB port in the base!” Another forward-thinking example is Daily Management, Inc.’s underSERVICES standing that there isn’t a conflict AT A G L A N C E between economic prosperity and environmental stewardship. A ded Behind the scenes: • Office icated recycling program at each administration resort property accepts materials • Insurance such as plastic, metal, paper and com• Collections puter ink cartridges. High-efficiency • Financial services HVAC and lighting systems are also • Human resources • Information on offer, as are electric car charging technology stations and tree-planting programs. • Owner services Implementing solar energy at some On-property: resorts is also on the company’s • Front and back to-do list. office support What’s next for Daily Management, • Housekeeping Inc.? Overseeing the development of • Maintenance its existing portfolio and the opening Controlled of new buildings and rooms come procedures for: • Check-in/out first, but Feirstein says the company processes is keen to leverage its strengths and • Reservations grow partnerships with new time• Special requests share resorts around the country. • Record keeping • Cash management “We are always on the lookout for new opportunities, and we continue to reach out to resorts that may be in need of a ‘one-stop’ management company.”
dailymanagementresorts.com RCI VENTU RES 41
nication. Managers are encouraged to develop strong working relationships with everyone on their team in order to familiarize themselves with processes and procedures as well as to ensure that no team member is feeling left out or intimidated. The goal: making sure everyone feels that they are working in a healthy environment where different opinions and ideas are heard and valued. To that end, Daily Management, Inc., has implemented a mentorship program that pairs each new hire with a seasoned team member, allowing them to collaborate closely to reach their team’s goals. Managers are held accountable for clearly defining and articulating each pairing’s mission, and in order to build trust with their team members, managers are required to be accessible at all hours of the day and night. Building these interpersonal connections between colleagues is designed to strengthen the workplace as a whole. “All team members are inspired to be positive thinkers, to have self-confidence and self-respect and to respect other team members as they wish to be respected,” Feir stein says. And that culture of respect starts from the top down, with managers leading by example. “Managers
Into the Wild With its grand mountain setting and array of exciting outdoor activities, Wilderness Club offers its owners the adventure of a lifetime in Montana. BY K YLE VE R
FO R M O R E , R E A D “BIRD’S-EYE VIEW” AT R C I V E N T U R E S .CO M
42 Q3 2016
ABOUT 10 MILES SOUTH OF THE CANADIAN BORDER
and nestled between Kootenai National Forest and Glacier National Park lies Eureka, Montana, population 1,082. What this forested mountain town lacks in residents it makes up for with an abundance of charm. With its preserved historic buildings dating as far back as 1880, Tobacco Valley Historical Village is a great place to learn about the story of Eureka. There, a school, general store and trails follow the course of the Tobacco River, which spurred Eureka’s logging industry in the early 20th century. Today, visitors are attracted to Eureka first and foremost for its peaceful remoteness, and Wilderness Club, whose luxury accommodations span 550 breathtaking acres of the town, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who seek a comfortable gateway to enjoying the stunning scenery. “What makes Wilderness Club so great is that we have year-round activities that appeal to everyone,” says Brian Ehlert, managing partner of Wilderness Club. Magical Montana In Eureka, summer temperatures reach upward of the high 80s but are unaccompanied by the unpleasant humidity common to Southern states or the East Coast. During these warmer months guests can walk to the nearby beaches of Lake Koocanusa, which is adjacent to Wilderness Club and stretches across 90 miles of Montana and British Columbia. When the temperatures drop, guests may want to snuggle up
Brian Ehlert Managing partner, Wilderness Club
RCI VENTURES 43
Wilderness Club’s golf course boasts spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies, the Whitefish Range and the Purcell Mountains from almost every hole.
Ehlert oversees and manages all aspects of development at Wilderness Club and has been extensively involved in the development of the resort’s real estate operations. He has worked with architects, engineers, bankers, contractors and home buyers in bolstering Wilderness Club’s owner market and has complemented the development with an extensive marketing and sales initiative (with anticipated sales of $7.5 million in 2016). Previously, Ehlert managed the construction of Siegfried & Roy’s 88-acre estate in Las Vegas and developed more than 40 custom homes in Calgary, Canada, with an average value of $2.5 million.
to the warmth of their cabin’s stone fireplaces, but there’s just as much reason to explore the snow-covered landscape. In addition to more than 300 miles of snowmobiling trails near Wilderness Club, some of the best skiing and snowboarding can be found a short drive away. Fernie Alpine Resort is just 45 minutes north, in British Columbia, with more than 100 named runs and five alpine bowls. To the south, Whitefish Mountain Resort has 3,000 snowy acres of lifts, trails and mountainous glory. Of course, these top-notch surroundings warrant equally topnotch accommodations. In 2015 Wilderness Club joined The Registry Collection® program, a portfolio of resorts around the world that exemplify luxury, elegance and unique vacation experiences. “We joined The Registry Collection program because of its reputation as well as for the opportunity for our owners to travel to a wide variety of wonderful destinations and stay in similar, high-quality properties,” Ehlert says. “The Registry
Collection program’s name is very recognizable, and its ability to arrange exchanges is streamlined.” Each year diverse parties made up of young families, retired couples and millennials make the trek to northwest Montana to stay at the resort. Ehlert points out that the resort’s management has a natural grasp of the unique needs of families. “Wilderness Club is owned and managed by a family composed of three generations,” he says, “so the resort community knows how to cater to families.” And while Wilderness Club’s main source market was initially Canadian travelers, Ehlert says that Canada’s slower fourth quarter in 2015 and the continuing fluctuations in the value of the country’s currency has Wilderness Club refocusing its marketing efforts on new opportunities and attracting more American visitors. Adventure abounds Owners at Wilderness Club can pick and choose from a robust activities
The Water Park at Wilderness Club has two heated pools.
44 Q3 2016
roster. For those wanting to tee off like a champion, the resort’s crown jewel is an acclaimed 18-hole golf course— ranked number one in Montana by Golfweek magazine four times— designed by Sir Nick Faldo. Opened in 2009, the Wilderness Golf Course measures more than 7,000 yards from the back tees and 5,000 yards from the forward tees, and it boasts spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies, the Whitefish Range and the Purcell Mountains from almost every hole. “I’ve been struck by the sheer vastness of the Montana landscape on each of my visits to Wilderness Club, and now that our 18 holes have taken shape, I believe the style of course we have created perfectly complements the awe-inspiring surroundings,” Faldo says. “With this emphasis on thoughtful golf and a design approach that has been extremely sympathetic to preserving the existing character of this wonderful site, I’m confident that our layout at Wilderness Club will stand in comparison with some of the most memorable courses in the country.” The knighted golfer himself makes the occasional visit to Wilderness Club—though not for just tee time. Faldo is known to trade in his clubs for a fishing rod to enjoy some of the area’s fishing streams. “Sir Nick does his best to come out at least once a year to fly-fish,” Ehlert says. “Montana has some of the world’s best rivers and streams, and he is very good at keeping those locations to himself! To have his support is both an honor and a pleasure.” Owners too can fish on-site at Wilderness Club’s 20-plus acre Wilderness Lake as well as the nearby Fisher, Yaak and Kootenai Rivers. The concierge can arrange for a private fly-fishing guide to help guests cast their lines for rainbow trout, bull trout, brook trout and kokanee salmon. (The Bull River, a tributary of the Clark Fork River, is purported to have brown trout more than 20 inches in length.)
What makes Wilderness Club so great is that we have year-round activities that appeal to everyone. —BRIAN EHLERT, managing partner of Wilderness Club
Luxury lodging Members of The Registry Collection program can expect their accommodations at the resort’s Lakeside Cabin and Resort Villa properties to serve as the ideal home away from home during their vacations at Wilderness Club. Units at the Lakeside Cabin enclave are in a secluded forested area above Wilderness Lake, and golfers will appreciate the shoreline’s adjacency to two holes of the golf course. Two of the Lakeside Cabin models are two-story residences, while the third has a loft. By day, owners can take in
magnificent views of the surrounding forest from their cabin’s covered deck, and at night they can gather around their floor-to-ceiling fireplace and recount their day’s adventures. The Resort Villas are a five-minute walk from the Clubhouse and first tee of the golf course. Inside each villa there is stonework on the fireplaces, a rough-hewn mantel and an open kitchen that’s ideal for entertaining. Al Price, a fractional owner at Wilderness Club, says his four-bedroom, 1,610-square-foot Ponderosa Resort Villa is the perfect pad for his family. “I travel a lot, and it’s like staying in a four- or five-star hotel,” Price says. “It is absolutely beautiful. Big open spaces for families, which is what we wanted: generous bedrooms and a first-class kitchen.” (See “Accommodations at a Glance,” at right, for more details.) Though Wilderness Club’s cabins and villas can easily be appreciated for their own extravagance, owners and guests will ultimately remember the peacefulness of Eureka’s great outdoors. Sir Nick Faldo particularly appreciates the town’s quiet beauty, Ehlert says: “He’s mentioned to people just how amazing the night sky is— it’s filled with an uncountable number of stars.”
ACCO M M O DAT I O N S A T A G L A N C E Lakeside Cabin • Stone floor-toceiling fireplace • Retractable glass patio doors • Covered deck • Available in two-, three- and fourbedroom floor plans
Resort Villa •S tonework fireplace •R ough-hewn mantel •F ive-minute walk from the Clubhouse •A vailable in two-, three- and fourbedroom floor plans
The Lakeside Cabins offer gorgeous views of the forest.
PHOTOS: COURTESY WILDERNESS CLUB
Also on offer are kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding. There are even more opportunities to splash around at the resort’s Water Park, complete with a 200-foot-long waterslide, two pools, a large Jacuzzi, fire pits, cabanas and a snack shack. Come wintertime, when families are out sledding and tubing on the golf course, the shack serves up hot chocolate and coffee. Another new addition to Wilderness Club is an outdoor megapark in which owners can play basketball, beach volleyball, bocce ball, croquet and other sports. For those wanting to venture farther into nature, the resort offers off-site excursions for white-water rafting, trapshooting and boating.
Owners and guests can fish, kayak, canoe and paddleboard at nearby Wilderness Lake.
wildernessclubrealestate.com RCI VENTURES 45
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Guest Supply®, a Sysco® Company 4301 US Highway One, Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852 guestsupply.com • ©2016 Guest Supply®, a Sysco® Company
Master Hotel Supplier Professionals
INDUSTRY-LEADING SUPPORT As one of the industry’s largest MRO, OS&E, and FF&E suppliers, we can help you exceed your guests’ expectations. Our Certified Master Hotel Supplier Professionals will provide the product assistance, brand expertise, and solutions you require. And with our fast, free delivery, the products you need are always on hand. BECAUSE EVERY JOB COUNTS. 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. © 2016 HDS IP Holding, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Exceptional C R E AT I N G
EXPE R I E NCE S
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.
SUNBEAM® HANDHELD GARMENT STEAMER GCSBHS-100-000
MR.COFFEE® HOT TEA MAKER BVMC-HTK100 (WHITE) / BVMC-HTKSS200 (STAINLESS STEEL)
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.
Recent RCI ® Affiliated Resorts*
RCI Points® program
The Registry Collection® program
Americano Beach Resort Daytona Beach, Florida, USA
Hotel Ambient Azumino Azumino-shi, Nagano, Japan
WorldMark Palm Springs— Plaza Resort & Spa Palm Springs, California, USA
Hotel Ambient Izukogen Annex Shizuoka-Ken, Japan
RCI Weeks® program Belstead Brook Hotel Ipswich, England
Neo Oriental Resort Yatsugatake Kogen Yamanashi-Ken, Japan
Cibola Vista Resort and Spa Peoria, Arizona, USA
Olmué Club Apart Hotel Olmué, Chile
Club Mahindra Mount Serene Munnar, Kerala, India
Pacific Palace Tower Mazatlán, Mexico
Days Inn Various locations in China
Racquet Club Villas Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA
Forte Da Oura Albufeira, Portugal
Red Roof Inn Vitória Praia Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil
Gold Prague Resort Salabka Prague Troja, Czech Republic
Royal Thermas Resort & Spa Olímpia, Brazil
50 Q3 2016
Hotel Laghetto Pedras Altas Gramado, Brazil
Signature Collection at Galveston Beach Resort Galveston, Texas, USA Signature Collection at South Beach Resort Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA Signature Collection Reserve at Smoky Mountain Resort Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
*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. SEPTEMBER
SEPTEMBER 20–22 RDO7 (Resort Development Organisation) Conference London, England rdoconference.org SEPTEMBER 25–27 SAHIC (Latin American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference) Guayaquil, Ecuador sahic.com SEPTEMBER 26–29 The Lodging Conference Phoenix, Arizona, USA lodgingconference.com
O C TO B E R
N OV E M B E R
OCTOBER 18–19 ARDA (American Resort Development Association) West Denver, Colorado, USA arda.org OCTOBER 19–21 HICAP (Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific) Hong Kong, China hicapconference.com OCTOBER 25–27 LASOS (Latin American Shared Ownership Summit) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic lasosummit.com/en
NOVEMBER 7–9 World Travel Market London, England wtmlondon.com NOVEMBER 10–11 CHICOS (Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit) San Juan, Puerto Rico chicos.hvsconferences.com NOVEMBER 11–13 ARDA (American Resort Development Association) Fall Conference Washington, D.C., USA arda.org
RCI VENTURES 51
PHOTOS: EACH RESORT PHOTO IS COURTESY OF THE RESPECTIVE RCI AFFILIATED RESORT; ISTOCKPHOTO (2)
SEPTEMBER 27–28 ARDA (American Resort Development Association) Southeast Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA arda.org
A FINAL THOUGHT
RCI Off-Duty 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 Sean Lowe, managing director of RCI Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.
Tell us about your most recent holiday. Where did you go, and what did you do on your trip? SL: The last family holiday was a road trip around Nevada, Utah and Arizona— we went walking and sightseeing in the national parks in those states and drove down Route 66.
Which historical time period would you most like to visit, and what one item would you bring with you? SL: I’d go back to 1914 before the beginning of World War I with a good history book written a hundred years after the fact for the European powers to read and take note from.
What’s your best travel advice? SL: I prefer to try local food and drink and enjoy the diversity of a new place, even if there is a chance of getting sick in various parts of the world.
What is your greatest passion or hobby outside of the office? SL: Playing the guitar to a basic standard. I follow a bunch of tutors on YouTube, and I hope I’m getting better all the time.
Speaking of Rio, which events will you make sure to watch at the Summer Games being held there this year, and why? SL: The 100-meter finals. I love the spectacle of that moment—which at less than 10 seconds is an entire sporting event that you can hold your breath through—knowing that the whole world has stopped also. Blink and you miss it! As a sports lover, which football team in the U.K. do you support, and why? SL: I support Manchester United. Once a club hooks you when you’re 5 or 6, your support never changes. Even long after you’ve forgotten the why of it, and long after your childhood heroes, such as Steve Coppell (a right winger) or Norman Whiteside (a midfielder and striker), have stopped playing.
52 Q3 2016
If you could relive one moment, big or small, in your life, what would it be? SL: I can think of a very precise moment: May 26, 1999, the 92nd minute of the UEFA Champions League Final at Camp Nou, in Barcelona. It was Man U versus Bayern Munich, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored the winning goal for Man U and stole the game. What is one personal goal that you’d like to achieve in your lifetime? SL: I started running about a year ago, and now I’m running a marathon in August for the first time. It’s something I never thought I could achieve until recently. What does your family like to do together for fun? SL: We regularly go and watch Manchester United at Old Trafford, but watching my two boys play for their teams is just as fun.
PHOTO: COURTESY RCI
What destination is at the top of your must-see list in your lifetime? SL: I’ve never been to Brazil, the spiritual home of football, so perhaps a mustsee would be a football game at the Maracanã Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro.
helioro by kim. simply, beautifully irresistible.
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SERENADE Dual Time Zones Automatic, Patented GV- AOASE Movement 18K White Gold. Louisiana Crocodile. Limited Edition: 50 Pieces www.gevrilgroup.com
RCI Ventures North America and Canada Q3 2016