ISSUE 5 • Winter 2011
‘Green’ resorts -
how TATOC resorts are tackling environmental issues
New timeshare legislation: are you ready? TATOC Conference: update for 2011 Cover photo - Melfort Village, Green Tourism Gold Award Winner
From the desk of the CEO
New challenges ahead
This Sharetime edition features an article by TATOC director Mr. Geoff Chapman, on how and why the new rules will affect both the timeshare owner and the industry.
he Sharetime Magazine continues to go from strength to strength and this latest edition continues the trend.
I hope you all had a happy Christmas and New Year and had the opportunity to spend it with family and friends. This time of the year, after the fun and festivities have subsided, always leaves me wishing the months away for brighter and longer days and holiday planning. Think positive Taylor! So what did TATOC do and achieve in 2010 and what are the plans for 2011? Spread over the pages of this edition is a brief synopsis of what we did month by month in 2010. The year ahead brings new challenges to both timeshare owners and the industry. Owners have to deal with the economic squeeze on the family purse and the knockon effect to the resorts and developers. February 23 2011, is an important day for all timeshare owners with the new Timeshare, Holiday Products, Re-sale and Exchange Regulations 2010 coming into force. TATOC was closely involved in discussions with E.U. and U.K. government departments and I’m proud to report that both received our submissions and questions in a positive way.
The state of the industry 2011
The New Year will also see a very exciting project with Which? magazine that will benefit all timeshare owners… but more of that later. The TATOC Conference will once again return to the Park Royal Hotel, Stretton, Cheshire, on March 11 -13. The speaker list will soon be announced and again the conference promises to be a sell out. Book early! When TATOC launched the accreditation scheme in 2008 we deliberately had a slow start to refine the audits and ensure that the scheme would be earned and valued. Resorts that gained accreditation are now spread wide - mainland Spain, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Wales, Scotland, England, with more in the system for accreditation in 2011. Lastly I would like to thank the Timeshare Partnership Trust for the grants given to the TATOC Helpline over the past two years and for 2011. The grants go a long way to help finance what has become the contact and reference point for the public in general as well as members of TATOC.
One reason for timeshare surviving the economic storms is that owners have already “purchased” their holidays in advance and can avoid costly price hikes. The Gerson Lehman report points out: “Those who owned their timeshare already were able to use their previous purchase to minimise their vacation costs in this poor economy. Owning timeshare in this economy has been an advantage for many people.” A second reason is that the British, who make up the majority of timeshare owners in Europe, are still taking holidays despite the doom and gloom. A poor British summer also helped.
hile the travel industry in general has been hit by the tough economic conditions over the past two years, timeshare seems to be bouncing back. There are now more than seven million timeshare owners, 1.5 million of them in Europe. In an independent report the U.S. based Gerson Lehman Group predicts overall growth in the US shared ownership sector may even hit 15 per cent over the next year.
RCI Ventures magazine believes this paints a picture of a thriving industry which makes a positive impact on local economies all over Europe. The timeshare industry overall generates a massive €3.2 billion of expenditure each year and employs some 70,000 staff. RCI’s Dave Thackeray writes: “Occupancy rates are high throughout the year (72 per cent) in Europe’s 1,312 resorts – that’s 67 million bed nights. Owners spend an average of €1,588 per trip on goods and services in the local area
Harry Taylor, CEO I hope you enjoy this edition of the magazine but, we need something from you; feedback, articles, letters plus committees and resort managers passing the weblink on to their members. Shout about us! Make this one of your New Year resolutions. Harry
from restaurants, car rental and groceries to souvenirs and clothes.” As Thackeray notes, the British and Irish are the biggest timeshare fans with the average owner – aged in the mid-50s – with a pre-tax household income standing at just over €60,000. The Spanish, French, Germans and Italians are also very familiar with the timeshare concept. Spain remains a huge favourite for timeshare owners, followed by like Portugal and France. Newer markets, especially those outside the Euro zone such as Turkey and Egypt, have done particularly well this year. RDO Chairman Richard McIntosh sees the positive timeshare trend continuing. “Timeshare is a concept that has truly come of age, with many thousands of happy owners across Europe,” he says. “The quality of timeshare resorts is high which is why many owners see it as superior to other self-catering holidays. With exchange options available, owners also enjoy the flexibility of being able to try out resorts across Europe and the rest of the world.”
ISSUE 5 • Winter 2011
Helpline testimonials Mr. and Mrs Geoff & Audrey Swaby “I have spoken to you on a couple of occasions about our experience and we have now recovered our full deposit via our credit card provider. I thank you for all your assistance. Thank you again.”
Ever wondered if the TATOC consumer helpline really does help? Here is a selection of testimonials from those who used the services of the helpline in 2010.
My timeshare certificate has been returned, unused as expected. The company has cancelled the membership and so I am free of that. After months of letter writing and the BBC watch dog episode, which I helped with my story, I have been refunded all money from the credit card company.
With advice and support from the Helpline team, Mr and Mrs Swaby received a refund of £2095.
Again thank you for your help.”
Ms. Christina Horton
Ms. Vivien Barrett
“I would like to thank you for the information on your site. I found your site and was able to prevent my neighbour Mr. White from parting with any money! Once again, many thanks.”
“Just to thank you formally for your most helpful assistance advising my elderly cousin about her options following “a cold call” from a company. My cousin paid almost £500 when the company requested this be paid prior to the start of their alleged legal involvement, pursuing monies which she had lost on a timeshare investment. My cousin paid by credit card over the telephone. My cousin and her husband were convinced that this company reputable. She said she had spoken to “their accountant” on the telephone. I was alarmed by what the company was requesting - a recent utility bill plus details of passport numbers and so on. I suspect that these could have been used for identity fraud. Although my cousin and her husband were anxious to complete all the paperwork and post it without delay, as the company had given them two weeks to complete the
Margaret Lewis “A few months ago you helped me out with a problem I was having with a company. I think it is safe to say that it had a happy ending. I went through the credit card company with whom the payments had been made. They dealt with each payment separately as each payment had different contractual errors. The money has been refunded and the 35 day waiting period has passed. Many thanks.”
Stephen Vidgen “I would like to thank you for your help over the last few months. This matter is now over and we have won on all counts.
TATOC launches mediation service
documentation(alarm bells), they decided they would take my advice to have the company checked out. My concerns were payment up front, being targeted, giving their visa details over the phone and the request to provide their passport details. It wasn’t easy to convince them to check this company out before proceeding. They wanted to believe the company was OK. This was understandable as they had lost a lot of money previously to unscrupulous dealers. Ultimately it was their decision if they proceeded. I suspect that many elderly people, not being familiar with the concepts of the technological age, have limited understanding of how they can be the victim of theft and identity fraud and how it could affect them on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes it is the shock of what might happen which makes people think twice. Once again thanks for the marvellous work that you and TATOC are doing.”
Peter Hooker “Thank you for sending this information so promptly – it is most helpful and may well have saved my wife and me the loss of £800. Thank you again.”
Mediators do not provide a judgement of the dispute but can assist the parties in working out possible solutions and reaching an agreement. Mediation does not prevent any party from taking matters further within the law. The benefits of mediation include:
ATOC has launched a new mediation service to strengthen its consumer helpline facility.
TATOC’s objectives have always been to safeguard and enhance the timeshare holiday experience for existing and prospective users and to be the voice of timeshare owners. As part of this on-going commitment, TATOC has now launched a mediation service to help consumers resolve their problems when helpline advice, support and information have failed to resolve an issue. Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which allows opposing parties to talk about their dispute and, hopefully, come to an agreement without the need for a court hearing.
• The agreement of both parties and allows a worldwide dispute to be settled in one course of action; • Coverage of a broader range of issues than those that are the subject of the litigation; • A speedy settlement of disputes; • More efficient use of judicial resources; and
The requirements of a mediator are: • To maintain client confidentiality and to ask the parties to enter into a confidentiality agreement prior to mediation;
• A positive outcome for all parties involved.
• To refuse to take on any mediation where there may be a conflict of interest; and
While it is not the intention of TATOC to recommend a particular lawyer or mediation service, TATOC has developed a list of qualified and experienced mediation providers who have agreed to abide by the following parameters. The mediator must inform the client how carry out the mediation would be conducted.
• To provide a quote for costs and fees related to the amount of the claim and possibly to charge a maximum fee of £250 to an individual consumer where the claim is valued at less than £5,000. For a name of available mediators, visit the TATOC website or telephone the helpline.
a guide for beginners by Ross Parsons
upporting resort committee members is an important element of TATOC’s work. Many members are suddenly faced with learning new skills and making decisions about areas that are new to them. In this new column Ross Parsons, TATOC’s webmaster, takes a look at some of technical issues that committee members may face – and makes a few helpful suggestions.
Web is well worth it Many resorts view their website as just another item to tick off the ‘to do’ list. However, with a little knowledge and effort your website can complement your marketing strategy and become a superb lead generation tool for rentals and sales. Your resort’s website should be considered your reception desk on the internet and it must reflect a professional image of your resort. Here are some tips on the best way to use the power of the web to promote your activities. Photography If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right and this is especially true with the use of images on your website. Decent photography is key to promoting your resort on the web and the cost of a professional photographer will be a worthwhile investment. Images can be used time and again on your site, e-mail campaigns and in your printed marketing materials. For some committees the budget is tight and affording a professional can be an issue. However, digital photography allows novices to snap like never before. So: make sure the lighting is as bright as possible, “dress” the apartment like a show house, think about what you are shooting (do guests really need to see an image of the toilet?), fill up a few memory cards and choose your best shots. Put your resort on the map Let your customers see where you’re located. Free services from Google Maps and Panaramio allow you literally to put your resort on the map. Just add your logo and photographs and your website will enhance your profile.
Google Maps can also be embedded into a webpage on your site and is a great addition to your contact page. Maps provide your visitors with greater peace of mind about the resort, its location and surroundings.
£500 for a family of four for 7 nights > (linking to a page specifically about the offer with an enquiry form or booking engine)
Think about content
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and blogging all offer the chance to expand your web presence and add a new level of interaction to your site. Up-dating these can seem daunting and time consuming but these services will open your resort to a whole new marketplace.
Writing content for your website can seem daunting but adding new copy on a regular basis is an essential part of search engine optimisation. Stuck for inspiration? The answer may be on your doorstep. Look around your area for news on events, attractions, night life and scenic spots and write about them. This information will enhance the user experience, and the new and original content is always appreciated by the search engines so your rankings may improve. The ‘Landing Page’ Don’t confuse this with your homepage. If you are running e-mail, on-line or print advertising campaigns, don’t direct your clients to your homepage where you might lose them. Instead, develop a ‘landing page’ on your site that is just for that particular offer so enquiries go there directly. This is not just a gimmick. You should always direct web traffic to a page that directly corresponds with your advertising. A ‘landing page’ allows you to channel the enquiry, provide the exact information the client is looking for and turn this into a reservation or sale. Generic web advertising can have poor success rates because they are just not targeted. For example: Click here great rates! > (linking to the resort’s homepage) This will be much less successful than targeted advertising such as:
Many resorts already run social networking campaigns to interact with their guests for free. When we returned from our honeymoon, my wife added the resort as a ‘friend’ on Facebook. She now receives regular updates on the weather, special offers and beautiful images of the resort to remind us of what we enjoyed. I am sure this simple activity will encourage us to book again. For the more technically aware, there are services such as TwitterFeed which will populate your social networking accounts services using an RSS feed. Add an RSS feed You will have probably seen an icon like this on websites. RSS allows you to syndicate your content to other websites or services such as Twitter Feed. Users of RSS feeds can also subscribe to your feed and get your latest content on their desktop or through their browser. You can also submit your RSS feed to RSS feed directories or use it to keep a blogging account up to date. RSS allows your content to be in many places at once.
Ross Parsons is TATOC’s webmaster for www.timeshareassociation.org and www.sharetimemagazine.com and handles all web-related issues for EVC Marketing.
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Management independence - just what the resort ordered? by Linda Freer, managing director, Resort Solutions
esort Solutions is one of the largest independent management companies in Europe. But what does ‘independent’ mean? Says the company: it means that there is no branding, no one style fits all, no mirror image from one resort to another and it recognises that because each resort is different each has different needs. Resort Solutions manages resorts under the typical club/trustee structure, resorts registered under decree law, mixed-use resorts, condominiums and totally privately-owned resorts. This wide spectrum calls for an in-depth knowledge of legal structures and regional law. The resorts range from small, cosy resorts where everyone is on first-name terms within five minutes of arrival to large resorts with state of the art leisure centres, a selection of eating outlets and shops. All have different requirements. Resorts where people want to be alone and others where they want to join in means that entertainment programmes, if any, have to meet the needs of the owners and guests. From ski resorts to beach resorts, from locations ideal for hiking in the country to resorts ideal for retail therapy, Resort Solutions take into account what the owners and guests will be doing while on holiday and ensure that they have all of the facilities to enjoy their type of holiday. In order to be this flexible, putting the owners and guests needs at the forefront of all decisionmaking requires dedicated staff from back office to reception desk with incredible commitment.
on continued business and excellent relationships with clients. It’s also important that maintenance, community fees and so on are collected on a timely basis and it takes a certain persuasive assertive manner to succeed. Central to strong finances is having outlets for those weeks that would otherwise go unused. As an independent company Resort Solutions offers a host of outlets with third party contractors both for the rental and resale of weeks.
Club Le Bristol
Club Calida at La Manga
There is an intrinsic relationship between rentals and re-sales that many organisations fail to understand. There is a need to rent out owners’ weeks when not used. This should be a priority management company service: Alto Golf and Country Club resorts need extra income from available space and sales can result from renters wanting to buy. The great debate about rentals goes on but Resort Solutions actively encourage them at the right price for the right reason. So what does professional management cost? Surprisingly, less than most people think. With centralised systems, economies of scale and improved efficiency there are many savings which, in turn, can cover partially or fully the cost of management.
The great debate about rentals goes on but Resort Solutions actively encourage them at the right price for the right reason. A centralised structure means there are economies of scale and control of standards while still being able to deliver flexibility to the clients. It also means tight control of finances: owners expect their investment to be well looked after. In this difficult time owners also expect their management company to be proactive in making savings where and when necessary. For example, at resorts managed by Resort Solutions owners were not presented with a levy to meet exchange rate differences. Standards and levels of customer service must also be maintained. All staff members receive on-going training in customer service. This is not costly but reaps huge dividends in terms
Resort Solutions has been established for six years while its managing director has been handling resorts for the past 22 years. As Ms Linda Freer states: “Of all the different types of leisure and hospitality products, timeshare is the most robust. I am confident that the industry will emerge from this recession bigger and better than ever before.” “I saw it happen in the 80’s and the enthusiasm for the industry by the leaders in the industry has not faded at all. At the recent RDO conference business was good and the passion for which the industry is so renowned was stronger than ever.”
Simon Jackson takes top job
r. Simon Jackson, managing director of Macdonald Resorts, has been appointed chief executive of the group. The company has nine resorts in the U.K. and on the Costa del Sol, in Spain. Late last year the group decided to consolidate the roles of managing director, Macdonald Resorts, and chief executive, Macdonald Aviemore Resorts into a single new position. Mr Jackson now has overall responsibility for both businesses. In his new role Mr Jackson will be responsible for the timeshare resorts as well as taking the MacDonald Aviemore Resort into the next stage of its development: the establishment of Aviemore as a world class resort and conference destination. An important part of this role will be building on the excellent community relations developed over the years. In February 2009, the Cairngorm National Park Authority approved the proposed £80 million plans for the Aviemore resort but negotiations have taken much longer than expected and have delayed the project.
ISSUE 5 • Winter 2011
New timeshare legislation is here by Geoff Chapman, TATOC board member
he long awaited new timeshare legislation comes into force on February 23, 2011. It is five years since the EU Commission began consultations on proposals for new regulations to replace the outdated 1994 Timeshare Directive. Here, TATOC director Geoff Chapmen reviews the new regulations.
The Association for Timeshare Owners Committees (TATOC) has been deeply involved at every stage of the legislation process and we are delighted that EU Directive 2008/122/EC comes into force in every EU member state by February 23, 2011. The directive is entitled “Protection of Consumers in Respect of Certain Aspects of Timeshare, Long-term Holiday Products, Re-sale and Exchange”. It requires that EU Member States adopt, publish and apply by February 23 the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directive. It is important to note that the new directive (like its predecessor) is entirely marketingbased legislation. It does not address any aspect of the running, management or ownership of timeshare, except where it may relate to any part of the marketing procedures under which the product was sold. From the beginning the European Commission and European Parliament made it clear that the new legislation was not aimed at the reputable timeshare product or reputable timeshare companies. However, there were considerable differences in the way member states had implemented the 1994 Directive. There were ‘holes’ in the legislation that were exploited by unscrupulous companies. New ‘non-timeshare’ products had emerged that by-passed the legislation. The U.K. government department responsible for implementing the directive is BIS - the department for Business Innovation and Skills (formerly BERR and DTI). BIS has stated: “...the new Directive will have plenty of extra consumer benefits, the increasing confidence that consumers will have in the industry as
a whole should boost sales, whilst removing rogue traders that bring the industry into disrepute and operate unfairly in competition with legitimate traders.”
The key areas addressed by the new legislation are: • Timeshare – is given a new and more precise definition: “a contract of a duration of more than one year under which a consumer, for consideration, acquires the right to use one or more overnight accommodation for more than one period of occupation”.
The main approach of the directive has been to place rigorous requirements on all aspects of the sales and marketing of timeshare and associated products, including the actual contracts that apply. There is now a tremendous amount of information available on the new rules and a number of valuable sources of information are available: • Directive 2008/122/EC can be viewed at: www.eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/ LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:033:0010:01: EN:HTML
This has reduced the minimum life-span of products covered by legislation from three years to one year. It thereby incorporates many of the ‘trial products’ introduced by developers.
• A summary of the main points can be viewed on the TATOC website: www.timeshareassociation.org under the ‘legislation’ main tab.
In addition, the definition of timeshare is extended to include any overnight accommodation which includes, for example, timeshare in caravans and boats and rights to access accommodation from a pool of accommodation.
• BIS has been in extensive consultation with consumer, industry and other interested bodies in the drafting of U.K. legislation. The TATOC response to the consultation process can also be viewed on the TATOC website under the legislation main tab.
• Other Long Term Holiday Products (LTHP) schemes such as Holiday Clubs (which were not covered under existing legislation) are now brought into the net. • Re-sale – this activity was excluded from current legislation But is now introduced principally to provide protection afforded to timeshare owners selling through resale agents. • Exchange products – also excluded from the previous legislation is now specifically incorporated. • Harmonisation – all member states must implement the new directive fully and in a way that harmonises implementation throughout the E.U. The new law emphasises “member states should not be allowed to maintain or introduce in their national legislation provisions diverging from those laid down in this directive.” • Enforcement – It is widely recognized that enforcement of legislation protecting timeshare consumers has historically been very poor. The new directive requires that member states “shall ensure that adequate and effective means exist to ensure compli- ance by traders” and “provide for appropriate penalties in the event of the trader failing to comply. These penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive”.
• In December, 2010, BIS published the overall result of it’s consultation process. This can be viewed at www.bis.gov.uk/ assets/biscore/consumer-issues/docs/i/10- 1172-implementation-timeshare-directive- government-response-to-consultation • BIS have published guidance for businesses and this can be viewed at: www.bis.gov.uk/ policies/consumer-issues/buying-and-selling/ timeshare/timeshare-holiday-products • The U.K. government approach has been to replace the current regulatory regime entirely, which will make the legal position for all parties – consumers, traders, and enforcers – much easier to understand. The new U.K. legislation - ‘The Timeshare, Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange Contracts Regulations 2010’ can be viewed at: www.legislation.gov.uk/search?title=&year =2010&number=2960&type=all Other countries will have followed similar procedures and their national legislation will be in place in readiness for February 23. To obtain details of legislation for countries other than the U.K. contact the appropriate government agency for that country. If TATOC can be of help with information or assistance about any aspect of the new legislation please visit our website, e-mail us on email@example.com or telephone the TATOC helpline on 0845 230 2430.
Dial sets out to help club
reputation for first class delivery and customer service - qualities which we stand for in our own business.”
ial An Exchange (DAE) has entered into long-term agreements with Classic Holiday Club to provide exchange services to its points club members. Mr Francis Taylor, head of DAE, stated that this is the first time DAE in Australia will be presented exclusively at point of sale. The agreement with Classic will provide improved levels of service and integration of systems to ensure members receive superior value from their purchase. Mr Mark Stephenson, director of sales for Classic Holiday Club, said that DAE was a natural fit for Classic. “The flexibility and worldwide reach of DAE is perfect for our points club, particularly for our new membership product, Classic Escapes,” he said. “We are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to market and sell our product in conjunction with a company which has such a positive image in our marketplace. DAE has a
New management fee insurance scheme
s an industry, timeshare is rather inventive. Over the past 40 years the product has constantly evolved as developers find new and exciting ways to promote their resorts.
Classic Holiday Club is part of the Classic Group of companies, the largest privatelyowned timeshare and resort management company in Australia and New Zealand, with over 45,000 members and 17 resorts and clubs under management. Dial an Exchange is the largest privately owned exchange company in the world and offers worldwide destination availability. Since its formation in 1997, DAE has grown from a single office in Australia to offices in Europe, the United States, New Zealand, South Africa and Asia. The company has over 250,000 members around the world.
There is a 14-day cooling off period and the certificate and policy are issued directly from the underwriter once this has lapsed. The insurance is underwritten 100% at Lloyd’s of London by Jubilee, Lloyd’s Syndicate 5820, managed by Jubilee Managing Agency Limited. Management fees paid in sterling and Euros are accepted. The insurance is available either to individuals or management companies and committees and it complies with all the FSA Regulations concerning this type of product.
However, new developments have usually been designed to aid the sale of memberships and rarely to improve the membership experience once the product has been purchased.
Says RFS operations director Mr Andrew Horton: “AMP does not replace travel insurance but will cover an expensive part of the holiday which general insurance does not cover. It means members do not lose out if they have to cancel and the resorts are guaranteed their annual fees are paid. It is a win-win situation”.
This is set to change with the development of a new insurance product that goes straight to the concerns of many timeshare owners – management fees.
RFS was formed in 2004 and is now a TATOC silver affiliate. The directors have over 50 years’ experience in timeshare and finance.
Created by Resort Fiduciary Services, the new Annual Management Protection (AMP) insurance programme allows members to reclaim their management fee should they lose their holiday due to accident, sickness or death of the member and his immediate family if they are travelling with them.
Adds Mr. Horton: “AMP has been designed to reduce the administration involved in the whole process of purchasing insurance and making claims. Usually, the more a policy covers the more administration is involved and costs increase.”
Mr. Andrew Horton
The AMP insurance carries a simple premium which is based on the management fee paid by the member. An easy-to-use website calculates the cost of the premium and processes applications.
“We have selected only the key elements to give members great protection and a great price.” RFS is working with the trade media and directly with resort committees and
DAE sees red
ial an Exchange has acquired the RedWeek Exchange Program after three years of providing back office support and playing an integral role in its development. DAE plans to develop the RedWeek exchange business. RedWeek.com began offering its on-line timeshare exchange service three years ago. In 2008, the company received the American Resort Development Association ACE Innovator Award for its ground-breaking exchange program. “We were happy to see such an enthusiastic reception to the exchange service,” said Mr Randy Conrads, RedWeek founder and CEO. ”We believe that the combination of our respective areas of expertise will provide better service and allow RedWeek to do what it does best: facilitating rental and resale transactions between timeshare owners and the travelling public”. The acquisition means that DAE will be able to offer additional benefits to RedWeek members including: • Toll free number and personal email contact with exchange counsellors; • The ability to request a week that is not currently available; and • The ability to put a week on hold for 24 hours before booking. “We’re in the business of conducting exchange transactions, that’s all we do”, states DAE vicepresident Mr Fermin Cruz. “We can support those transactions under any brand, or service members directly under the DAE brand. We let our clients decide”. All of the DAE Exchange services will continue to be offered on RedWeek.com and a toll free number will be posted to answer any questions members might have concerning the transition, new benefits,, and how members can best use the new services.
developers to promote the new insurance. Further information is available on www.managementinsurance.eu (quoting reference Share). A TATOC’s spokesman stated that the association welcomed the fact that RFS, as an affiliated supplier, had produced a facility that would assist and benefit the very people that TATOC represented. It will also help club committees by encouraging owners to pay their annual fees and giving them extra confidence to do so. This has important financial implications for all resorts.
ISSUE 5 • Winter 2011
Accreditation update The six new resorts are: • • • • • •
The Osborne Club, Torquay, England The Kenmore Club, Scotland Club del Carmen, Lanzarote Santa Barbara Golf and Ocean Club, Tenerife DeVere Cameron House, Loch Lomond, Scotland DeVere The Carrick, Loch Lomond, Scotland
Six new resorts have gained the coveted TATOC Resort Accreditation Award bringing the total to 21 located across the U.K. and Europe.
The accreditation process is rigorous, robust and comprehensive. The association believes it is essential that the award is seen as hardearned and meaningful. The TATOC accreditation flag flying from the masthead gives prospective purchasers, as well as exchange visitors and guests, an assurance that, judged from a consumer’s rather than a developer’s or management company standpoint, the holiday experience provided is one of real value.
As TATOC is the only elected consumer association for timeshare owners in Europe, accreditation should be viewed as wholly independent of commercial influence and not shrouded in politics or bureaucracy of any nature. The programme has the best interests of the consumer in mind.
The TATOC Resort Accreditation programme was launched in 2008 to recognise resorts which are completely customer driven in their approach to timeshare ownership and commit to the association’s code of ethics.
DeVere Cameron House
The award demonstrates an openness and willingness to involve owners in developing the fundamental attributes of the resort while ensuring that facilities and services are of the highest quality and comply with all legislation
Club del Carmen
The Osborne Club
Resorts which apply for accreditation undergo an inclusive on-site inspection and audit. If successful, they can use the TATOC accredited resort logo in all company advertising, publications and websites. A modest fee is charged for the inspection.
DeVere The Carrick
The Kenmore Club
Santa Barbara Golf & Ocean Club
The Kenmore Club pool
The TATOC accreditation team considers aspects such as the:
Says Mr. Harry Taylor, TATOC CEO and part of the accreditation team:
• • • • •
“Accreditation is undertaken by a qualified practitioner and the resort will be continually monitored to ensure that it continues with the high standards expected.
Standard of accommodation and leisure facilities; Marketing programmes that brought a guest or owner to the resort complex; Health, fire and safety standards; Sales practices; and Customer service levels provided before, during and after a visit.
Resorts that meet the criteria are given a certificate valid for three years from the date of the accreditation award. Successful resorts can declare that they been proven to be open and honest operators with nothing to hide and everything of which to be proud.
“However, if in the future there are complaints that warrant TATOC investigation and are proven to be a breach of the accreditation criteria, the resort may have its Accredited Certificate removed. “In this way, guests and owners can be reassured that accredited resorts have not only met the criteria during the accreditation process but keep doing so. It is not a one-off”.
Greener pastures Whatever your views on global warming and the environment, green issues are here to stay and the theme of re-use, re-cycle and reduce remains high on everyone’s agenda.
s a leading sector of the economy, tourism has its part to play and TATOC was interested in how members are tackling the challenge. How environmentally friendly are timeshare resorts? Is there a real benefit in going green? Or is it just a costly, but necessary, exercise? TATOC asked Christine Roberts, manager at the very environmentally friendly Melfort Village in Oban, Scotland, for her experiences.
“Let me take you back to the beginning. In the early eighties, when ‘green issues’ were in their infancy, we employed a housekeeper who had very strong beliefs about looking after the environment. It was her influence which led us to stock only Ecover cleaning products for guests to use in our cottages. Many of her orders for housekeeping supplies were placed through Greencity – a workers’ co-operative in Glasgow. Although our Housekeeper moved on to pastures new, she had already educated us in the basics of “green self-catering” and this ethos has stayed with us to the present day. None of us is an eco-warrior, but when we can make changes which are more
environmentally friendly and cost effective, we carry them out. For many years we stuck to using the environmental cleaning products, re-cycled loo roll (before it was pleasant to use!) and looking after our septic tanks by not using bleach. We have always re-cycled our second-hand furniture and carpets by selling them locally. However, in 1999, we heard about the Green Tourism Scheme and decided that we would benefit from their assessment and advice.
All of our light bulbs are now long-life or low energy and we’ve double-insulated roof spaces in our cottages. This has the double bonus of making them cosy and saving on heating and lighting costs. We re-cycle all of our paper and haven’t purchased notepads for years! Sensitive documents are shredded and used in our compost area where we re-use vegetable waste from the restaurant kitchens and place grass clippings and plant trimmings. We even have a mini-compost collector in the office!
None of us is an eco-warrior, but when we can make changes which are more environmentally friendly and cost effective, we carry them out. Our assistant manager willingly took on the role of “green” representative, and we slowly developed an affordable and manageable Green Policy. Our first award in 1999 was “Bronze”; by 2004 we had achieved “Gold” by slowly but effectively changing our work practices. The Green Tourism scheme has developed, too, and its criteria are raised every time we are assessed: we are not able to rest on our laurels! However, we still find that it’s the small changes which help us make the grade and help us to save money as well!
We actively encourage our guests to re-cycle and have a full complement of appropriate bins for glass, tins, plastic and paper.
ISSUE 5 • Winter 2011
Environmentally friendly Melfort Village
Another important criterion for Green Tourism is education and we have areas in our reception, throughout the village and on our website which encourage guests to appreciate the natural beauty around them. We are corporate members of the RSPB and encourage our guests to feed the birds (and red squirrels!). We seek out Scottish suppliers and, if not possible, then ensure we choose a company from elsewhere in Britain. I could go on listing all of the little things we do, but I think you probably have got the picture by now!
standard receive a Bronze, Silver, or Gold award based on their level of achievement. The staff and committee of Melfort Village are delighted and proud to have been awarded the Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold Award for the seventh year.
With over 2000 members across the whole of the U.K and Ireland, it is the largest and most established scheme of its type in the world. It is now the only certification scheme validated by Visit Britain.
A great deal of effort has been dedicated to making Melfort Village an environmentally friendly and sustainable holiday destination. Thanks also go to our owners and guests who all enthusiastically re-cycle and enjoy the local environment while they’re on holiday.
It makes them feel good about indulging themselves and surely, after all, that is what our industry is about! It’s been a real team effort at Melfort Village to establish our Green credentials and we are all really proud of our progress. We would encourage all timeshare resorts to sign up to the Green Tourism Scheme - they are able to offer such a lot of support. We have found that our guests are delighted to find a location that is committed to sustainable tourism, minimising its damage to the environment and is operating in accordance with the relevant environmental regulations. It makes them feel good about indulging themselves and surely, after all, that is what our industry is about! Businesses opting to join Green Tourism are assessed by a qualified grading advisor against a rigorous set of criteria, covering a range of areas such as energy and water efficiency, waste management, biodiversity and more. Those businesses that meet the required
We believe that we are the only timeshare resort in Scotland to have achieved the prestigious gold award and although we are pleased to be a market leader, we would be even more delighted to learn that other resorts have made the decision to follow in our footsteps. The important thing to remember about the Green Tourism Scheme is that small changes make a BIG difference, so it is not necessary to spend a fortune on solar panels or fancy heat exchange units.”
About the Green Tourism Business Scheme The Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) has been running since 1997 and is the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the U.K.
GTBS assists a wide range of tourism firms with first class environmental advice and auditing. Satisfaction rates of certified firms are very high and dropout rates low, both for the smallest of tourism firms and, increasingly, at the larger companies. Businesses opting to join Green Tourism are assessed by a qualified grading advisor against a rigorous set of criteria, covering a range of areas such as energy and water efficiency, waste management, bio-diversity and more. Those businesses that meet the required standard, receive the apropriate Bronze, Silver, or Gold award based on their level of achievement. The current network of members comprises of a wide range of business types, including accommodation providers, visitor attractions, corporate offices and others.
How other resorts are taking on the green challenge
rom small, independent TATOC affiliates and resorts to large, multidestination corporations, here’s how other resorts handle environmental issues.
decision to join the ITP demonstrates how vital our environmental leadership is in our global operations as we embrace all aspects of sustainability, preservation and social responsibility.
battery power rather than petrol, thereby reducing unnecessary pollution. Plans are in place to change the company’s aging fleet of petrol vehicles with greener alternatives in 2011.
Diamond Resorts International TATOC platinum affiliate Diamond Resorts International is one of the largest vacation ownership companies in the world with more than 160 branded and affiliated resorts in 26 countries. The company is committed to sustainability and has implemented a number of environmental policies to use re-cyclables, improve energy efficiencies and build ecoawareness and sustainability at its managed and operated sites worldwide. Diamond is a member of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), founded in 1992 to develop practical and socially responsible solutions to the challenges of sustainable development. Mr Stephen J. Cloobeck, chairman and chief executive officer, explained “Our
“We are actively taking steps in finding ways to be sustainable.”
Pine Lake Resort, one of the many Diamond resorts who are making a difference
“We greatly value the opportunity to have ITP support to establish a mutually beneficial relationship toward our sustainability goals.” In October this year Diamond announced that technological advances meant that it could reduce its reliance on paper and inks by using on-line handbooks, application processes and training modules. At the company’s head office in Nevada, team members participate in Club Ride Commuter Services. This is a free programme which helps staff find alternative ways to get to work, reducing congestion and improving air quality and mobility. The head office security team also use hybrid cars which use
These are simple steps from a company with a major global footprint and will have a major environmental impact. Adds Mr. Cloobeck: “We have a fiduciary responsibility to our customers and team members to become an environmentallyconscious global organisation. “We are actively taking steps in finding ways to be sustainable.”
Langdale Estate Mr Dan Visser, director of sales and marketing, records the achievements made by Langdale and their overall approach to the environment. The Langdale Estate, a luxury four-star hotel and spa plus 100 five-star timeshare and self-catering properties has also gone from green to gold with a top environmental award.
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Auchrannie Resort “We are passionate about the environment and sustainability and are aware of the importance of this to our guests,” explains Ms. Claire Richardson of Auchrannie Resort on Arran. The resort has grown over the years from a 16 bedroom guest house in 1988 to a resort now comprising two 4 star hotels with 64 rooms, thirty 5 star self-catering luxury lodges, three restaurants, a shop and two leisure clubs with pools. It’s also a company goal to have a long-term commitment to sustainable tourism and to be an ethical employer. We are committed to all things green and encourage environmental practices among guests. This year the Langdale Hotel and Spa won the coveted ‘Green Hotel of the Year Award’ at the annual Hotel Catey’s – the hospitality equivalent of the Oscar’s - held in London. Langdale was in good company with a number of other famous hotels in the shortlist including the famous Marriott Hotel, in Marble Arch, London; Jury’s Inn, Liverpool; The Park Royal Hotel, in Warrington; and the Premier Moor Hotel and Spa, in Sutton Coldfield. But it was the work of The Langdale Hotel and Spa which most impressed judges. There are just 16 awards given out at the Hotel Catey’s, which were launched in 2007 and are recognised as the hotel industry’s independent benchmark of operational excellence.
Just over a year ago, the hotel introduced a ground-breaking high-tech boiler which is fuelled by woodchip. Millions of gallons of water used by guests, spa users, restaurants and swimming pool are heated environmentally using a clean, efficient and renewable energy source – reducing the hotel’s dependency on liquid propane gas. In recognition of this development the estate won the Sustainable Hotel prize at the annual Cumbria Tourism Awards. Mr Nick Lancaster, director of resort operations, sums up our approach: “It is the people at Langdale that make the difference. All decisions and actions which are ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ are also considered for their commercial benefit.
Millions of gallons of water used by guests, spa users, restaurants and swimming pool are heated environmentally using a clean, efficient and renewable energy source Sustainability and a green ethos has become part of the company’s DNA and all business decisions consider the impact on the environment, along with the commercial benefit to the business. Langdale is proof that you can be green and successful.
“We don’t do things just because they are green,” he adds,” but always make business decisions with commercial and sustainable business logic.”
The resort’s growth and success has not been to the detriment of the local environment. Auchrannie Resort has been affiliated with the Green Tourism Business Scheme since 2007 and has taken on many of the suggestions since the original review. This has led to the introduction of a number of initiatives including: • Installation of a 300KW biomass woodchip boiler (March 2010) • E-mailing booking confirmations, staff documentation, payslips, management reports • E-marketing to reduce paper mail shots • Increased recycling of glass, paper products and ink cartridges • Low energy lighting been used for several years • PIR (sensor activated) lighting in certain areas • Improved print management to reduce usage and costs • Pool covers on both swimming pools • Use of fair-trade products and sustainable food products – sourcing as locally as possible • Support for local wildlife festival and work with RSPB “We also changed our guest questionnaire to include feedback on green issues and, in the spirit of environmentalism questionnaires can of course be completed on-line”.
It crowns a successful year for the 35-acree Estate. As well as having large-scale recycling schemes for its thousands of annual visitors and low energy lighting systems, its approach to the environment goes much further. Home working policies for staff thereby reducing the need for car journeys, biodiversity plans, visitor payback and other schemes are in place to minimise and reduce the impact of the hotel’s activities.
Auchrannie resort has been using low energy lighting for several years
Looking after the finances of the timeshare resort by Roger Jones, TATOC board member In this final part of this series of articles, we consider a resort’s long-term plans and financial reserves.
he concept of zero-based budgeting has to be implemented as a vital element of long-term strategic planning. In fact, planning begins before you start the budgeting process. A strategic plan will cover the resort’s development over the longer term and should not be for a period of less than three years. While you should ascribe financial numbers to the individual years the accuracy of those numbers is not of overall importance. What is important for the long-term plan is having conceptual ideas, structures and direction. Putting numbers to those plans will enable you to asses their viability. If your estimate of income over each of the years is more than the expenditure then the plan is achievable. If your costs are higher than your income then you need to re-design your plan. In long-term planning financial accuracy is of less importance. But having created your structure you will be able to put together your short-term, one-year budget and properly challenge the figures for the coming year. Your one-year budget should be accurate although based on estimates and expectations. This is acceptable for a oneyear budget provided it is in your detail plan.
Your detail plan will be the guide for your coming year and should be challenging. Your one-year plan must also be a stepping stone towards your long-term plans. After the end of the coming year you may think you are two, three or four years from the end of your plan. This is wrong because you need to up-date the long-term plan covering the next three to five years. This process may seem to take a great deal of effort but after the initial planning it becomes easier as you are simply up-dating your plans. You should, however, undertake
every few years a complete re-appraisal of your long-term plans to keep them relevant. Resorts should have reserves that will have been built up from surpluses over previous years’ operations. While these surpluses ‘belong’ to members they should not be considered as being funds that can be returned. A resort committee must consider the level of reserves it needs to cover emergencies and unforeseen expenditure such as losses on foreign exchange. If your reserves are excessively high then consider using some of the funds to advance long-term plans or refurbishment of apartments. Using reserves to subsidise management fees is not always advisable as they can never be long-term and fee rises in subsequent years could be higher than expected. If there are no alternative spending proposals to reduce excessive reserves then only use the surplus to reduce the size of a fee rise rather than for holding rates at current levels. This will enable better planning and be more acceptable to members’ long-term peace of mind. Though we have been considering budgets in terms of the income and expenditure account we must also consider the cash flow. Your budget covers one year and shows how you should end the period. However, events during the year will be cyclical and cash paid out may not be in line with income. The result: shortage of funds at various times during the year. You will need cash flow forecasts to identify shortfalls and plans to bridge them. Financial planning for a resort committee is one of its most important responsibilities. If you do not have expertise within your ranks you need to retain expert professional support to advise you.
What is important for the longterm plan is having conceptual ideas, structures and direction. But remember: it is the committee’s responsibility and not any outside professional support to manage the resort’s finances. So take care with your advisors and be prepared to challenge any advice for greater clarity. The budget will also enable the committee to monitor the effectiveness of a resort’s management and operations. They should both be challenged by setting achievable budgets that produce performance.
f you enjoy Facebook or regularly Tweet, why not follow what is happening with TATOC on our various social media outlets? TATOC has its own Facebook page at TATOC Timeshare Association and Sharetime has a page at Sharetime Magazine. These carry the latest news from the sites so you can keep up to date with what is happening. Mr Harry Taylor, CEO, regularly tweets about his activities for the association and this is fed automatically to the new TATOC website. You can also follow him directly at HarryatTATOC. For further information and a guide to starting a social media programme, visit the Any Other Business section on the Sharetime magazine website.
ISSUE 5 • Winter 2011
Ever read your resort AGM minutes or attended an industry conference and wondered what some of the terminology means? You are not alone.
ike many industries timeshare has its own language. Here from A-H are some of the most popular words and phrases with corresponding definitions (courtesy of the RDO): Banking Through the exchange companies, you can deposit or ‘bank’ your timeshare ownership for something similar at another location anywhere in the world. Bi-ennial This indicates the use of a timeshare week every other year. Owners are often referred to as either “odd” or “even” year owners. Cooling-off period This is the period of time during which you are legally entitled to cancel your timeshare contract without a penalty. The minimum required in the EEA is ten days while countries such as the U.K., Austria, Belgium, Cyprus and German offer a longer period. The new timeshare directive, which should be implemented in all EEA states by February 23, 2011, will see a minimum cooling period rise to at least 14 days from the date of signature. Consumer Credit Act (CCA) The Consumer Credit Act (1974) is consumer protection law that requires businesses offering goods or services on credit or who lend money to consumers to be licensed by the Office of Fair Trading. Credit agreement Many resorts can provide or arrange finance for you to buy your timeshare. If you cancel your contract during the cooling off period, your credit agreement - the contract used to agree the terms and conditions of a loan regulated under the Consumer Credit Act - is automatically cancelled. Developer This is the company that owns the resort and is responsible for constructing the accommodation on-site and selling the product. Escritura The escritura system is sometimes used in Spain and Portugal whereby the consumer is given an escritura (or title deed) as proof that he/she is the owner of a particular timeshare week or weeks in a specific property. Exchange system Through the exchange system, owners can trade their week or points for different accommodation at a comparable resort around the world. Owners place their week into the exchange company’s pool of available accommodation and choose a resort and week from the same pool.
Fixed week Under this system you own rights to a specific week, usually in a specific apartment/villa, which you can either return to each year or swap through the exchange system for something similar in another part of the world and in another time period. Floating week In the ‘floating system’ (which includes points clubs) you own occupancy rights to a week or longer, within a particular season. Each year you have to book the specific week that you want, subject to availability. Fractional ownership Fractional ownership gives buyers ownership of, or occupancy rights to, a property for an agreed number of weeks each year. Typically this is more than one week but less than whole ownership. Many fractional deals are in fact timeshare but some are share based. A number of individuals buy a long lease for a percentage of a property, while the freehold is held by the management company. Others have a short lease period of as little as five years, after which the property will be sold, with the profits shared between the owners. Fractionals are usually associated with the luxury segment of the industry offering greater services and amenities. Five Star Resort This is the designation used by Interval International for resorts that offer the highest levels of accommodation and services. It is the equivalent to RCI’s Gold Crown rating. Gold Crown Resort This is the designation used by RCI for resorts that offer the highest levels of accommodation and services. Guest Certificate If you are unable to use your timeshare or points, your exchange company or resort may be able to issue you with a guest certificate so that friends or family members aged 18 years or older, may take your holiday in your place. A fee for this service normally applies. Holiday Club A “Holiday Club”, which may also be known as a “Discount Travel Club”, should not be confused with a holiday or vacation club run by a timeshare operator. Timeshare operators are bound by strict legislation and invest money into building quality holiday resorts. To become a member of a “Holiday Club”, members of the public typically pay a fee - generally around €3000 - giving rights to reserve holidays and travel at discounted rates.
However, many complaints have been made that the discounts are no greater than those available through a high street agent and that it is not easy to book accommodation of your choice. Also, unlike timeshare operators, many fail to offer basic consumer protection, such as a cooling off period.
ATOC has been working with the Economic Crime Unit of Surrey Police.
Over the past months “we have developed a great working relationship,” explained TATOC chief Mr. Harry Taylor. “The Crime Unit keeps us informed of any fraudulent activity involving timeshare so our Helpline always has the latest information to give callers. We also add any news they send us to our websites.” Mr. Ian Moram, of Surrey Police, who is a civilian fraud investigator and retired police officer, said his office received information from across the country. As a result we have disrupted a number of advance-fee timeshare re-sale scammers by closing down their websites and offering advice to victims”. The crime unit is assisted by a number of sources but mostly by the victims themselves. “Unfortunately there are many victims and the scammers are still cold calling. Fraudulent websites will be targeted and closed,” Mr. Moram added. Another scam on the increase centred on so-called law firms who purport to work on behalf of owners to get their money back. “These fraudulent firms are not registered with the Law Society in the U.K. or with any Spanish law society but have a fancy name which sounds convincing,” he said. “If you want to check if the company you are dealing with is registered there are a number of websites available such Law Society’s Find A Solicitor where checks can be made.” TATOC works with a number of public bodies to help protect timeshare owners from scammers. Trading Standards departments are in regular contact with the association requesting industry information.
Wonder what is happening at other TATOC member resorts? In this feature resorts tell us about their latest developments, facilities and services.
New reception at Macdonald Dalfaber Golf & Country Club
Macdonald Resorts £15.5 million invested in three years Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has committed significant investment in maintaining and improving their resorts in the U.K. and Spain. In the past 12 months, £1.5 million has been spent improving units and public areas, including swimming pools and restaurants. In the past three years a total of £15.5 million has been invested by both Macdonald Hotels & Resorts and the resort owners. The work associated with the refurbishment programme is being carried out by a team of external contractors and suppliers, employed specifically for this type of work. However, at the same time, the Macdonald Resorts Ltd maintenance teams at each resort have also been employed in implementing the maintenance programmes.
This is a typical refurbishment in Spain
Barnsdale Hall Barnsdale is now offering a half-board deal to anyone staying in the self-catering accommodation. Very reasonably priced, it can be taken on a day-by-day basis – you
don’t have to sign up for the full week as is the case at some resorts. This means you can try some of the local hostelries and use the offer for the other nights. You never need to cook at Barnsdale again!
In addition phases III and IV at Macdonald La Ermita have been completed and include 31 new apartments. There is also a new indoor heated pool to complement the existing leisure facilities and new underground car parking. Barnsdale Hall
Lakeview Country Club The staff at Lakeview would like to thank everyone who came to support the annual fund day and ten-kilometre charity run. Fairways Club
A total of 38 runners took part with Mr. Mark Heard coming home in first place with
Fairways Club, Tenerife Fairways Club has received its 17th Gold Crown and ninth Hospitality Award for 2011. Last year was difficult with cold weather, the Iceland volcano and the economic crisis. Everyone on site did their very best to ensure guests had a relaxing holiday. Congratulations to all staff members and owners for their help and support.
Lakeview Country Club
a time of 38m 36s. Ms. Alex Payton proudly represented the girls and ran the distance in a great 45m 35s to claim the ladies trophy. There was entertainment in plenty and more than £500 was raised for FLEET, the resort’s largest donation to date.
ISSUE 5 • Winter 2011
The team also won two awards in summer at the Dram Scottish Licensed Trade Awards. The BII training award rewards licensees who recognise the value of training and embraces it while the Benromach Award is for Business Success. The resort also received its ten year recognition award for Investors in People.
and places great emphasis on the ‘Auchrannie family’. We have had the same owners since 1988 who are on site daily. Many of our staff have been with us for a number of years, and those who do leave often seem to be drawn back either to work again or as guests. At end of January 2010, 21.7% of our staff had over 5 year’s service compared to 17.89% at March 2009, recruiting locally helps to achieve these figures. We encourage our staff to show their personalities at work and hopefully make working at the resort a pleasure rather than a chore! Input is valued at all levels and is positively encouraged on a daily basis, and via our monthly staff forum with the general manager.”
Ms. Claire Richardson, marketing manager, explains the resort’s philosophy. “Auchrannie employs a passionate and dedicated team
With another award ceremony in February the team is confident they might soon need a larger cabinet.
Awards just keep coming for the team at Auchrannie Resort. This year has been a bumper one for the hotel and luxury lodges with the Highlands & Islands Tourism 2010 Developing People award the most recent addition to the cabinet.
Morocco club joins the Registry Collection
he Registry Collection programme has affiliated The Residence Club at The Baglioni Marrakech in Morocco. This is the newest resort developed by Ajensa Developments SARL, an international property company specialising in exclusive high-end projects. The Baglioni Marrakech is an exclusive mixed-use resort set in 34 acres of parkland overlooked by the Atlas Mountains and just ten minutes from Ménara International Airport and the city centre. The resort will opens late 2011 and will offer a 72 key hotel operated by Baglioni Hotels, a luxury 1500 square meter spa operated by Six Senses Spas and 15 four- and fivebedroom villas designed by Jade Jagger. The Residences will be a mixture of wholly-owned villas and a luxury Residence Club, to be sold in five-week fractions. Residence Club membership ranges in price from €295,000 for a four-bedroom unit to €345,000 for a five-bedroom unit. “We are very pleased to welcome The Residence Club at The Baglioni Marrakech,” said Nick Turner, vice president, The Registry Collection programme in Europe and Africa.
DeVere at Cameron House and the Carrick on Loch Lomond Members and guests at DeVere Cameron House will soon be able to enjoy the latest in television technology. The resort is in the process of installing a Swisscom TV system in the Cameron House lodges. This fibre optic system brings state of the art televisions to the lounge and all bedrooms of the lodges with on demand music and movies, wireless broadband and a full messaging system that allows the resort to contact guests directly through the television system. The Cameron House team can welcome guests on arrival
and offer the most up to date offers in the restaurants and spas. The Cameron House lodges will also benefit from a seven year refurbishment programme costing in excess of £600,000 per year. The aim of the programme is to ensure that all lodges are brought up to exceptional standards of comfort and decoration. Some lodges were completed in 2010 with the help of the DeVere design team working closely with the owner’s committee and the results have been a great success. In 2010, the Carrick and Cameron House lodges received TATOC accreditation.
“It is a beautifully designed resort in a stunning location that is incredibly popular with travellers. The resort will be a tremendous addition to our collection of the very best vacation destinations.”
Interval International purchases Trading Places
nterval Leisure Group Inc. has purchased exchange rival Trading Places International, a firm that offers exchange and leisure services to timeshare owners. Trading Places currently has a customer base of 300,000 owners at around 20 resorts located in the United States and Mexico. Trading Places operates holiday properties of its own and will enable Interval to offer more exchange options. Interval said in a statement that it hopes to expand the vacation exchange segment of its business, as well as its offering of specialty lodging.
Trading Places has been in operation for some three decades and specialises in quality exchange and management services for shared-ownership homeowner associations.
Owners to decide what’s good for successful holiday stays
“Tell us all about it,” says chief executive Mr Harry Taylor. “The guides will be totally independent and written by timeshare owners for timeshare owners”.
This is the thinking behind a new Destination Guide campaign to be launched by TATOC and Sharetime magazine in 2011.
The destination guides will be available from TATOC’s magazine website at www. sharetimemagazine.com. They will be divided into specific areas such as Tenerife, the Costa del Sol, Scottish Highlands and south west England.
ho knows the area around a resort better than the owners who go back there year after year? The answer: probably no one.
The aim of the campaign is to develop a number of informative destination guides written by owners for other owners and exchange guests to read and enjoy. It is based on the wiki-model where owners can add their own information about the resort and the surrounding area. TATOC wants to hear what owners have to say about their resort and the local area. Where they recommend the best place to sunbathe at their resort, where to get the best value groceries or a great restaurant to visit
n November TATOC launched a call to action for timeshare owners – we need your happy holiday stories.
tudies have shown that significant numbers of timeshare owners are happy with their lifestyle choice.
Rather than focusing on the negative side of the industry with bad news stories, TATOC wants to hear from the millions of happy timeshare owners.
The association has sent out a request to all its members and affiliates and is looking for a story in no more than 200 words explaining what owners love about their timeshare, where their favourite timeshare destination is and why. The best submissions will be featured on TATOC’s website and in the association’s Sharetime magazine. They may also be
All comments and suggestions will be added to the master guides and posted online. Any photographs supporting your suggestions will also be welcomed.
Thumbs up from timeshare owners
Happy owners let’s hear your stories
Said TATOC chief Mr. Harry Taylor, “There is a lot of negative publicity about our industry but TATOC is an association of timeshare owners who love their timeshare and visit them or exchange every year. We know we’re not alone so we’d love to hear about the good holiday experiences of other timeshare owners”.
To add your thoughts and comments, send them via e-mail to emily@ sharetimemagazine.com or by post to Mr Taylor at the TATOC head office. Please include the name of your resort, the address and how long you have owned there.
shared with the indUStry trade body, RDO. All entries should include a photograph so that everyone can enjoy browsing through the stories and picking up tips for their next holiday.
An article in RCI Ventures newsletter reveals that 84% of U.S. timeshare owners recently reported they were happy with their timeshares and the figure is higher still in Europe, at 87%.
Added Mr Taylor: “Whether your resort is a member of TATOC or not, if you love your timeshare and have a good news story to share, then send it in”.
In another recent survey, by the Christel DeHaan Tourism and Travel Research Institute at Nottingham University, commissioned by the Resort Development Organisation, 87 per cent of European timeshare owners said they were satisfied.
If you have a good news story then the TATOC team is waiting to hear from you. E-mail your story and an image to TATOC at firstname.lastname@example.org or go directly to the Sharetimemagazine.com website and submit your article.
Nearly 75% of European owners surveyed said they felt their timeshare accommodation surpassed other selfcatering holiday accommodation they’d stayed in.
ISSUE 5 • Winter 2011
The twelve months of TATOC As another New Year gets into its stride thoughts of “what’s to come?” find us looking at what happened in the past – and perhaps anticipate the future.
May is also an important month for accreditations with five Crown resorts and the Osborne Club all undergoing the accreditation process.
Discussions are held between Mr. Taylor and Mr. David Eastburn, TATOC chairman, on future developments for the association.
It happened in… January
TATOC is invited to attend the Stouts Hill committee meeting.
As chairman of Lakeview Country Club in Cornwall, Mr. Taylor chaired the SGM in Bristol to discuss the sale of the resort to new developers. TATOC is actively involved in the discussions.
o what was TATOC doing in 2010? Here we spotlight the major activities on a monthby-month basis:
The TATOC consumer helpline begins the New Year with 503 incoming calls and 140 e-mails during January. It happened in… February The TATOC team begins an important round of meetings with members at the resorts and in the Manchester office.
It happened in… June TATOC is invited to take part in a live radio interview with BBC Radio Four Counties about the activities of the Timeshare Association. The team also takes part in a meeting with Holiday Which. The TATOC consumer helpline receives 665 incoming calls and 134 e-mails during June.
It happened in… March The TATOC annual conference takes place in Nottingham with a record number of delegates and a pledge from the industry to meet and address some of the main issues it faces. It happened in… April The volcanic ash problems affect TATOC with Mr. Harry Taylor stranded in Australia for two weeks. The helpline staff send their heartfelt sympathy and continue to take calls and e-mails! It happened in… May The first all-industry meeting is held in Manchester. Discussions included the media’s perception of timeshare, the benefits of timeshare ownership for a generation of new consumers and the need to find a way out for those who can no longer use their timeshare.
It happened in… July TATOC’s new Code of Practice for re-sale companies is launched with the support of association affiliates Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket and Travel and Leisure Group. Mr. Harry Taylor is interviewed for RCI Ventures magazine. It happened in… August The new Sharetime Magazine website is launched to support the on-line version of the magazine.
It happened in… October Another busy month for the association with the launch of the new TATOC mediation service which is designed to support its helpline activities. Mr. Harry Taylor represents TATOC at the industry conference, RDO1, in Spain. The fourth issue of Sharetime magazine is published online. TATOC is invited to attend the AGM of Crown Resorts in Manchester. It happened in… November The TATOC helpline breaks all records with 797 calls taken by the team during the month – the highest since the helpline began. The number of TATOC accredited resorts reaches 21 and the association launches its Happy Timeshare Holidays campaign.
The TATOC consumer helpline receives 680 incoming calls and a record 183 e-mails during the month
The annual strategy meeting is held at Pine Lake to review the progress made during 2010 and to formulate strategies for the next five years.
It happened in… September
It happened in… December
Mr. Harry Taylor embarks on his travels again holding meetings with a number of industry professionals and members in the U.K. and Spain.
TATOC launches its revamped and updated website containing the latest news from the association and the timeshare industry.
Becoming an owner of timeshare by Katrina Disken Portugal is now our home resort. We can use all vacation resorts worldwide or deposit points into Hilton Honours or RCI. This year marks the fifth of our ownership and with good planning we have used our options as broadly as possible. Portugal was the destination for the first two years. The third year was spent on the fabulous island of Crete through an RCI exchange. Last year we converted our membership points into the Honours system which enabled us to stay in a Hilton Hotel in the centre of London with easy access to tourist attractions. Since becoming owners of timeshare we see a real difference in the quality of holidaying.
ecoming a timeshare owner was not planned but came as a result of pure disappointment with standards of holiday accommodation. As a family we enjoyed travelling and as the children were getting older we recognised that space and good accommodation were crucial for relaxing holidays.
With the ownership of course comes the responsibility of good holiday planning and making sure that membership points are managed well. Maintenance and membership fees are an extra commitment but all in all it seems to be working out for us. Standard of accommodation is now no longer a worry and we can spend more time thinking about the holiday destination. The candidates for 2011 are Florida, Hawaii or Mallorca but I have a feeling the home of Mickey Mouse might just have the edge!
In 2006 an all-inclusive holiday in a fourstar resort in Portugal’s Algarve changed the way we would plan and enjoy our holidays in the future. The booking was not what we had expected. The living room that was so attractive in the catalogue did not exist. A complaint was made but with no result. So spirits were pulled together and we focused on the beach and enjoyed the attractions of the Algarve. Then a funny thing happened. I had noticed an elegant lady in the lobby a few days earlier and saw her again as I was waiting to talk to our holiday representative. We chatted for a while and she told me that she was from Hilton. She invited me to see the show-room of the upcoming resort. Admittedly I was curious to see the plans and could not imagine the contrast I would see. The two-bedroom apartment was large with a modern kitchen. We were impressed! The quality of the apartment was an important factor when we made our decision to buy a week of vacation ownership with the Hilton Grand Vacations Club.
Biography Katrina Disken is founder of the internetbased Vacation Ownership Site which reviews resorts and provides interesting information for owners or potential buyers of Vacation Ownership. She graduated from the University of Cheltenham with a BA Hons. in Professional Media. She has lived in the UK, Ireland, Spain and the U.S. before moving to Germany where she currently lives. Through her interest in travel she began writing about the holiday and timeshare industry. Contact: katrina.disken@ thevacationownershipsite.com www.thevacationownershipsite.com
Good news for English resorts
ngland is the most popular tourist destination for European travellers. The range of things to do, historic sites to see, its culture and hospitable citizens are the reasons. According to a new survey from CNN, England should prepare to welcome more visitors than ever as it becomes the destination of choice for European travellers. The latest ‘Consumer Connect’ survey has found that more Europeans are planning to visit England in the next 12 months than any other country worldwide, drawn – according to the survey – by England’s “vibrant city life,” “rich culture” and “tourist-friendly” welcome. “This survey proves what we have always known – that England has a unique appeal as a tourist destination,” says James Berresford, chief executive of Visit England. “The news of the up-coming Royal Wedding has added to the excitement already building for the 2012 Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee, and I am delighted that these spectacular events are encouraging people to come and explore all that England has to offer. “We may be a small country, but we offer an unbeatable combination of beautiful rural landscapes, vibrant towns and cities, a rich heritage and an eclectic mix of personalities that create a particularly diverse and warm welcome.” London continues to be a major draw for visitors to England, with the city coming third behind New York and Paris on the global travel destination wish-list for European travellers. However it is England’s rich history that particularly attracts visitors, with 66% citing history and culture as their favourite way of spending time on a visit to England. The survey provides excellent news for the U.K. tourist economy, suggesting that consumer spending patterns have remained strong, with almost half the respondents spending more than £1,200 on their holiday, and three-quarters of respondents planning to spend the same or more on their holidays in 2011. The English tourism industry is currently worth £97 billion and supports over two million jobs, with a growth target of five per cent over the next ten years.
Best ‘Club’ for Golf? Club La Costa! Club La Costa Resorts & Hotels is achieving a triple golfing first in Turkey by: building the company’s first golf resort, being the first to combine the sport with residential options, and having the first 18-hole course serving the popular holiday area of Kusadasi.
ith 28 mixed-use resorts in some of the best holiday golfing destinations in the world – including neighbouring the world-famous Gleneagles course in Scotland – they are the ‘club’ of choice for members who play - with an exceptional array of on-resort activities for partners and families that do not.
Golf & Country Club, and the adjacent Kusadasi International Golf course, swing into operation in 2012. For the golf connoisseur The par-72 course has been designed with the sport’s connoisseur in mind. Following the undulating contours of the hillside terrain, it overlooks a protected national park with sweeping vistas down to the Aegean.
And not just golf… At Kusadasi Golf & Country Club, a top class spa facility will allow guests to pamper body, mind and spirit, enjoying a selection of modern and traditional massages and treatments - including an authentic Turkish baths or hammam. Several Club La Costa resorts - Apollonium Spa & Beach Resort, on the beautiful southwest coast of Turkey, along with Hustyns and Trenython Manor resorts in Cornwall, U.K. - also have excellent spas. Now in its 27th year, Club La Costa has built a reputation for offering wide ranging resort activities and facilities. These include feature swimming pools, multi-sports - including tennis, seasonal live entertainment, shops, restaurants, bars and cyber cafés. Alongside these are the always popular kids clubs and Team Marina activity programmes. Chairman Mr Roy Peires said the new Turkish resort will offer golf directly when Kusadasi
out of Kusadasi town, has been designed by ‘GolfPlus 1’ of Marbella, Spain. This company was involved in the design of the Aloha and Santa Clara courses, on the Costa del Sol, as well as Jack Nicklaus’ Polaris golf development, in Murcia, and the Islantilla course in Huelva. Luxury homes close to the pin Club La Costa freehold properties at Kusadasi Golf & Country Club have been in hot demand, with a third phase of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom air-conditioned apartments now selling. Some 750 luxury apartments are being built just 500m from the golf course and clubhouse.
Fairways flow gently between mixed stands of 50-year-old pine, oak and olive trees in a mature forest setting, and other than the stunning 2,700m2 clubhouse, there are no buildings to interrupt play. Measuring a challenging 6,450 metres from the silver tees, the course layout will feature several lakes, numerous water hazards and dozens of bunkers, with many holes completely lined by mature trees on both sides of the fairway, and around the green. Greens have been designed to meet stringent PGA specifications and daily pin positions will test the nerve of both high and low handicappers. A full-time PGA professional will oversee the extensive pro-shop and academy activities, which include a superb 350m driving range and short game practice area comprising a putting green and a bunker. The project, which lies just 15 minutes’ drive
These stylish homes will feature Club La Costa signature brand quality interiors and the resort will have communal swimming pools and an aqua park, as well as the spa. The site will also have a commercial centre with shops including a supermarket, restaurants, and an Irish Pub. Golfers who want to ensure that future holidays can always include a round or two, should check out Club La Costa Resort & Hotels (www.clublacosta.com) with its mixed-use resorts in America, Austria, Tenerife, Spain, Scotland, England, Australia and U.S.A. For more information on Kusadasi Golf & Country Club, or any of Club La Costa’s freehold resort developments, call CLC Estates Tel: +34 952 55 99 77 Fax: +34 952 66 99 78 or E-mail: email@example.com HYPERLINK “http://www.clcestates.com” www.clcestates.com
The time(share) of their lives
Purchasing timeshare means great holidays at quality resorts: add in the element of exchange and you have something even more special. Steve Adams meets two couples who have really made the most of their purchases.
t’s a quite phenomenal fact that nearly seven million people across the world are timeshare owners. They enjoy access to high-quality accommodation – and a home away from home – without the expense and maintenance of owning a second property. People buy timeshare for a variety of reasons, and the ‘home away from home’ idea is certainly one of them. Another major factor for many buyers is the opportunity to exchange their timeshare weeks or points to visit resorts of similarly high quality all over the world. That probably explains why so many timeshare owners – 3.8 million – are also members of RCI, the world’s largest exchange organisation, with over 4,000 affiliated timeshare resorts in more than 100 countries worldwide. The choice and flexibility of being able to exchange and try out new resorts is all part of the timeshare experience. It’s a benefit that many owners recognise as a major contributor to the fantastic quality of life that timeshare ownership can bring. Two such owner-families are Pip and Jane Parsons, from Plymouth, and Norman and Kay Simmonds, from Torbay. They have each made the most of their timeshare – and RCI membership – albeit in quite different ways.
Pip and Jane Parsons enjoy a family holiday in Tenerife with children Jonathan and Elizabeth
Canal boat enables couple to see the world!
ip and Jane Parsons first purchased timeshare in the form of a Nottinghambased canal boat in 1999. They took their first RCI exchange holiday to Florida in 2001, and ended up purchasing a week while they were there. Since then they have bought timeshare at resorts in Florida, Cornwall and Tenerife – all of which have now been converted into RCI Points – enabling them to travel all the over the world using the RCI exchange system.
Pip and Jane Parsons at the Grand Canyon
“We converted all our weeks into quite a lot of points which we endeavour to use, holidays from work permitting,” says Pip, a civil servant working for The Land Registry.
He believes having Points enables them to make the most flexible use of their ownership, including using it for, or with, family and friends. “As our children are now young adults we tend to take separate holidays, which means that while Jane and I are off in the United States, our daughter Elizabeth and her friends are in Tenerife. Our son Jonathan also uses timeshare in Orlando and Tenerife,” he says. Three years ago they used two, two-bedroom apartments at Pearly Grey Ocean Club (Tenerife) for a family get-together – oldies in one apartment and young adults in the other. The same year we also spent a fortnight in Madeira, again using two apartments so that friends could join them. As well as spending time with family and friends, the Parsons have used their timeshare to see the world – in style. The couple are particularly fond of the U.S.A. and have visited every year for the past three, including a memorable trip last May that saw them spend a week each in Las Vegas, Arizona and San Diego. “Timeshare is so easy to use, especially with points,” says Pip. “I pay the maintenance fee
ISSUE 5 • Winter 2011
up-front in January, and after that it’s just the exchange fees. We do all our bookings online, and when we do call up, the RCI Guides are always very helpful and knowledgeable.” Pip believes the consistent high quality of accommodation is the key to timeshare exchange. “You can always turn up at your holiday destination feeling confident that the timeshare accommodation will be first class,” he says. “I would love to own a property abroad one day but my wife does not want to stay in the same place every year. Timeshare is the perfect compromise because it means you can go anywhere.”
Norman Simmonds relaxes in one of the lodges at Craigendarroch
Norman and Kay Simmonds
The gift that kept on giving...
hen Norman Simmonds purchased a week’s timeshare at Manor Court Club, in Devon, as a birthday gift for his wife Kay, little did he know it would ultimately change their lives. The couple, who have two sons, lived in Hertfordshire at the time they bought. They loved the resort so much they not only purchased more weeks, they even encouraged friends and relatives to do the same. “We both fell in love with the resort - set in the grounds of Bovey Castle - the first time we visited,” says Kay. “Our first purchase was a summer week, then one at Christmas. Finally we added a second adjoining week to our summer holiday - so ended up with three in all.” “Our neighbours and family have also bought, some in the summer and others at Christmas. This was great, sharing time with them in such lovely surroundings.”
Kay’s snowy picture of Craigendarroch
The Simmonds first purchased in 1986 and fully intended to use the exchange system afforded by the resort’s affiliation to RCI, but it took another 12 years before they actually did so. “RCI membership was a key element to us buying, because even though we loved the resort, we knew we might not want to go every year,” explains Kay. “In the end we used all our weeks, got to know the area and the locals, and made some great friends. By the time we’d been coming for ten years we knew we wanted to retire to the area.” When the couple left their careers in aeronautical engineering and hospital planning, respectively, they made good on that promise, moving to nearby Torbay 15 years ago. They ended up selling some of their timeshare but kept the Christmas week for exchange
purposes, and immediately found another resort to call home, according to Kay. “We travel a lot worldwide but we mostly exchange to Scotland, as we love it there,” she says. “We’ve been to Cameron House, at Loch Lomond, but keep returning to Hilton Craigendarroch, which is a wonderful resort. “We always go in February as it’s a great place to visit out of the main holiday season and the staff are wonderful. Last year it snowed heavily and it was really beautiful.” Kay is full of praise for RCI, even though she usually books her exchange holidays on-line. “We’ve always been dealt with very efficiently,” she says, adding that another benefit of being an RCI member had come in handy when they were able to give a Bonus Week to their son and his family. “They went to the Canary Islands and had a lovely family holiday,” she said. “It worked out very well, and again the resort was of a high quality.”
Re-launch of TATOC website “We are absolutely delighted,” said Mr. Harry Taylor on the new Timeshare Association website which was launched on 1st December. The website has had a complete overhaul by the team at EVC Marketing and focuses on the core objectives of TATOC – providing advice to timeshare owners and consumers, supporting hard working owner committees and telling the good news about timeshare.
The new site still contains a membersonly area and logins can be requested by contacting Mr. Harry Taylor. Mr. Ross Parsons, from EVC Marketing, explained “we have used the latest CMS technology to build the site. This means the TATOC team can add new copy to the website when they want to and respond to comments without assistance from the design team. This makes it much more cost effective.” For further information about the website, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
haring Success is the theme of the TATOC annual conference set to take place from March 11 - 13 at the Park Royal Hotel, in Stretton, near Warrington.
There is a section dedicated to the latest news from the association, a news feed from TATOC’s sister website, Sharetimemagazine. com and an area featuring the latest “TATOC tweets” from Mr. Taylor, CEO. The consumer guides, frequently asked questions and the list of cold callers have been included from the old site. “We know how important the list of cold callers is so it was essential that this was still on the homepage,” explained Mr. Taylor.
With more than 20 accredited resorts, recognition from legislators and consumer groups in the U.K. and Europe, a new website and member magazine, ”the association has plenty to share with delegates; it’s been a successful year,” said TATOC chief Mr Harry Taylor
Disney Vacation Club renews affiliation with RCI
CI and Disney Vacation Club have announced the renewal of their affiliation relationship. This multi-year agreement will continue to allow subscribing members access to a broad array of exciting vacation opportunities.
Geoff Ballotti, CEO, RCI, added: “We are absolutely thrilled to continue our relationship with Disney Vacation Club, one of the most internationally recognized and revered brands on the planet.
“We expect the conference to be more popular than ever and urge our members to take advantage of discounted member rates and learn more about the industry”. Speakers this year will include industry professionals and board members and the event will be moderated by Jennie Thompson. For information on delegate rates, booking forms and sponsorship packages, visit the TATOC website at www.timeshareassociation.org or contact Harry Taylor at harry.taylor@ timeshareassociation.org. Early bird delegate rates are available until 31st January.
RCI will continue to be the exclusive third-party exchange provider for Disney Vacation Club’s more than 150,000 member families. Similarly, RCI’s 3.8 million members will also continue to enjoy the opportunity to exchange into Disney Vacation Club resorts and may rent at Disney Vacation Club resorts throughout the year. “Renewing this relationship with RCI will allow us to continue to provide our member families with diverse experiences beyond our signature Disney Vacation Club resorts,” said Jim Lewis, president, Disney Vacation Club.
TATOC 2011 conference update
Show your support
ATOC has developed a number of website banners that members and affiliates can add to their own websites.
“We’ve enjoyed our relationship with Disney Vacation Club and look forward to working closely with them as we continue to build new and innovative programmes that provide even more member benefits and vacation opportunities.”
The banners for TATOC and Sharetime magazine will link directly to these sites making it easier for timeshare owners to visit. For further information on the banners and how you can access them please contact Mr. Harry Taylor at email@example.com
ISSUE 5 • Winter 2011
TATOC consumer helpline breaks record
Wanting to sell? Deed transfer is a lottery
rying to sell your timeshare? If so you’ll be aware that it can be a difficult and stressful experience. Whether you are using the services of a trustworthy re-sale agent or if you have chosen to sell it yourself you may be faced with an unforeseen obstacle – high charges for transfer of ownership and lengthy administrative processes. When a timeshare owner sells their weeks to a new buyer the old ownership certificate has to be returned to the resort. Checks are then
process on behalf of owners are also unhappy with the situation. In some cases the high costs make the sale of the week almost impossible; some re-sale companies will not take weeks for re-sale where the difficulties and costs of transfer are too great. The problems of re-sale do not end there. Some resorts deny owners of re-sale weeks access to the same product that the original owners enjoyed. For example, some resorts prevent owners of re-sale weeks from joining any product enhancement programmes.
In the best case it should take a month to complete and either the seller or the new owner should be responsible for the associated charges. made to ensure that there are no outstanding fees and no finance agreements still in place. Once these checks have been completed a new certificate of ownership is issued to the new owner. This should be a simple process especially for European resorts based on the right-to-use timeshare model. In the best case it should take a month to complete and either the seller or the new owner should be responsible for the associated charges. But processing time and charges per week transferred can vary significantly between companies and the length of time for the transfer of ownership to be completed can impact on the success of the sale. In some cases, transfer of ownership can take over 12 weeks to complete. Mr Harry Taylor, TATOC CEO explains: “We understand that it is perfectly reasonable to charge an administration fee to cover up-dating records and issuing a new certificate but the costs imposed by some resorts and trustees are just too high”. Re-sale companies who undertake the transfer
Developers justify this action by saying they are trying to discourage re-sales but the result for the owner is a further devalued product. It’s also doubtful that owners were made aware when they bought that, should they need to sell in the future, their buyer would not have the same benefits.
So what would TATOC like to see happen? “We would like to see developers working together with re-sale companies so that they can offer a real exit programme for members and encourage new, happy owners to take up the membership,” said Mr. Taylor. “These owners will be willing to pay their management fees and use the facilities.” “Developers need to look at re-sale owners in a positive way as potential buyers of extra weeks and be thankful they no longer have an unhappy owner who, usually due to a change of circumstance rather than the product, needs to sell”. Sharetime magazine would like to know what your experiences are. Send them to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ATOC’s consumer helpline received a record number of inbound calls in November.
Calls answered successfully by the helpline team have risen to their highestever monthly figure. A total of 797 calls were received, 15 per cent (106 calls) above the previous highest monthly number recorded in January 2009. Other statistics for November: • Longest call duration was 24 minutes • Busiest day was Wednesday, November 8th when 56 calls were answered • Average time waiting for a call to be answered was 15.7 seconds • Only 15 calls were missed • The association also received and handled 176 e-mail enquiries through the website and directly to their office. This is the second highest amount of email enquiries to date. “The guys on the helpline have been really busy this month and the service we provide is proving invaluable to owners. We have also updated our cold callers list which covers all the companies undertaking cold calling activities over the past four weeks. This is generated by the helpline team from all the calls they receive,” said chief executive Mr. Harry Taylor,