ISSUE 17 â€˘ Spring 2014
The growing power of
Club Casablanca mixed use brings success
Celebrating 25 by TATOC executive chairman, HARRY TAYLOR This year the association reaches a major landmark - our 25th birthday.
by timeshare products and identified the exit options which might be available.
During these years, TATOC has grown into a major consumer organisation. It is recognised by the majority of the timeshare industry as a body to work with to address problems and opportunities.
The issue of exit routes is not a simple one. TATOC recognises the difficulties the ongoing commitment to annual fees can bring, especially to those who find themselves in changing or difficult circumstances.
The task facing TATOC in 1989 was to unite timeshare resort committees and work together to address the needs of fellow members in a rapidly growing market.
But consideration has also to be given to those owners who pay fees regularly and wish their resort to continue in good financial health.
As with most growing markets there were the reputable developers, but also the ‘bad guys’ who could see ways of taking advantage of vulnerable buyers. The TATOC remit was to represent resort committees and support them with education, regional meetings and advice. Since then, with the exception of regional meetings, which were withdrawn through lack of attendance in 2004, TATOC has expanded its services. It continues to be a force within the timeshare world but the needs and expectations of owners have changed dramatically. The old perpetuity clause in the contract was a great thing to have in the early days but now has become a great cause for concern for many owners. In 2009, TATOC, in conjunction with the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), appointed a panel of experts who, over a three-year period, investigated the problems caused by the perpetuity clause. A report was circulated in May 2012 but it was felt that it failed to address the key issues relating to timeshare owners’ ownership interests. Of particular concern were ageing owners and those who wished to divest themselves of their timeshare ownership but who were unable to do so because of their original in-perpetuity purchase contracts. It was recognised that some committees and developers consider the surrender of timeshare interests in special circumstances; others have initiated programmes which provide an exit route at some point.
Timeshare exit options are a double-sided coin. This is why so much effort has been put into looking for options that will consider and protect everyone. The additional issue of perpetuity involving people’s estates and beneficiaries is a further complication. TATOC and the RDO are holding a seminar in March 2014 to coincide with our annual conference. The aim is to provide advice and guidance on issues affecting owner-run resorts today, particularly the ageing owner base and perpetuity contracts. Many of you will also be aware that the European Commission has timeshare in its sights and starts a review of the directive early next year. We believe the problems surrounding ‘perpetuity’, as well as ‘escalating’ maintenance fees, will be under the spotlight. These are issues that were raised in a House of Commons Parliamentary debate earlier this year. During the free seminar, we will explain what we’ll be saying to the legislators while experts from a range of fields will share their thoughts, provide general advice and guidance, and answer questions on a host of thorny issues. There will be a full report on the seminar and the TATOC conference in the summer issue of Sharetime magazine. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked for and supported TATOC over the past twenty-five years, our member resorts and affiliated businesses that have made the association the success that it is today.
However, there are owners within existing resorts who do wish to find ‘perpetual’ exit route possibilities. TATOC has examined the challenges posed
Harry Taylor, executive chairman
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
News from the TATOC Consumer Helpline
Optimism after 2013 Helpline results
Helpline manager Mark Caldicott shares the latest news from the TATOC consumer facility
he TATOC Consumer Helpline had a great 2013 and, as it grows from strength to strength, it is clearly one of the organisation’s flagship services. I am extremely proud of the work the team does – the number of people we are able to help, the information we provide to the media, trading standards and the police and the support we can give to our member resorts and affiliates. So just how busy was the Helpline in 2013? The following statistics speak for themselves:
During 2013, the Helpline received 6,084 phone calls and 1,216 emails from consumers. This compares to 7,722 calls and 1,176 emails for 2012. We are delighted with the figures. Yes, you read that correctly – the numbers of overall contacts has reduced by nearly 1,600 in the past twelve months. This means that the new European timeshare directive and TATOC’s message about cold callers is working and finally getting through to owners.
Key findings from the last year at the TATOC Consumer Helpline: • The helpline has seen re-sale general enquiries (owners requesting information on how to sell their ownerships) drop year on year by 16 per cent. Complaints have also dropped by 30 percent. This is great news as fewer owners than ever deal with cold calling re-sale companies. • Enquiries about sales and marketing for non-timeshare products (discount holiday clubs) have remained the same, while complaints have dropped by 34 per cent. • Enquiries about sales and marketing relating to timeshare sales rose by 43 per cent and complaints about timeshare sales activities also increased by 37 per cent.
Our ‘five golden words’ campaign ‘never deal with cold callers’ is proving successful.
Consumer Helpline is doing its very best to support owners.
Statistics show that, overall, there has been a rise in activities NOT covered by the new directive – namely bogus legal firms. It is clear that the rogues have simply switched tactics targeting the same owners over and over again.
As Helpline manager, one of my regular duties is to produce the monthly list of companies reported for cold calling and published on the TATOC website. This list has grown to over 650 names and makes very interesting reading.
Overall the Helpline is seeing statistics fall in some areas, year on year, since the implementation of the European Timeshare Drective 2008/122/EC.
In 2013, over 240 cold calling companies were reported to the Helpline, 91 of which were new companies reported for the first time.
However, during 2013, the sum of £1,170,971.00 was reported to the Helpline team as lost to scammers.
TATOC cannot stress enough the importance of not dealing with these cold calling companies. If you are called, please contact the TATOC Consumer Helpline and report it on 0845 230 2430.
To assist consumers, the Helpline team sent out information to help recover £911,150.00 of this amount. This means that 78 per cent (three out of four consumers) of those that we speak to receive our information on Section 75 of the 1974 Credit Consumer Act or Visa Chargeback information. If they follow the advice in these documents they will be able to recoup their lost money. This information can be found on the TATOC website under the menu tab ‘consumer help, timeshare guide’. This is the first time these figures have been available to TATOC and while alarming, the TATOC
• Resort/timeshare club enquiries have risen by 62 per cent, which indicates that more owners are taking an interest in their ownership and asking questions. • Enquiries regarding cold calling by bogus legal firms have dropped year on year by 30 per cent while complaints have also dropped by 37 per cent. These companies target people who have been the subject of scams, failed holiday clubs, failed ‘cash-back’ schemes and reclaim certificates etc. They claim to be able to recover lost money and request an up-front payment from the consumer. Cold calling legal firms have replaced bogus re-sale companies as a major blight on our industry. As more owners have become aware of cold calling re-sale companies, the scammers have changed tactics and moved into legal services, charging
The TATOC Consumer Helpline is a free service and assists timeshare owners with any questions they may have, offers mediation services and provides information for those who have been scammed. Please pass our details to your fellow timeshare owners and together we will be able to beat the scammers and all those who bring this industry in to disrepute. TATOC members can review the full report and statistics on the members’ only section of the TATOC website.
high up-front fees (up to £10,000) but providing no assistance. • Enquiries regarding membership exit routes have increased 20 per cent together with a 43 per cent rise in enquiries from owners regarding the payment of their yearly maintenance fee charges. • Offers to ‘take over’ timeshare ownership liability on the payment of a considerable advance payment continues to be an issue. It is important for timeshare owners to recognise that the transfer of registered ownership is subject to the rules and regulations of their timeshare resort. Companies require specific procedures, documentation and transfer payment charges for this to take place. • Enquiries have dropped by 21 per cent while complaints have remained the same year on year.
Resort news Crown Resorts invests in website
he age of the internet and the introduction of touch screen pads and tablets have changed how we use technology. The way people are accessing the internet has altered dramatically, too, be it for personal social reasons or to keep up-to-date with available products. Crown Resorts is currently updating its website to meet the needs of touch screen users - integrating social media, club newsletters, on-line check-in services and personalised vacation planners. With one visit it will be possible, through a user-friendly function, to add an array of extra products to the holiday experience of members and guests. A variety of information will be capable of being processed with a couple of clicks (or swipes), be it on-line golf reservation services, car hire, airport transfers, welcome packs or meal plans. A registered user’s/member’s personal login area can be accessed, updated and an email sent swiftly to the Crown Resorts PLUS department for them to organise accordingly. This information will be saved so there will be a record of what has been booked and, if
arrival details change, the information can be simply updated. This innovation will help to save clients’ valuable time when making reservations - and updated information will be clearly visible. Not only has the look of the website changed, but also the programming/coding that supports it. The team behind the development will continue to work on both the front and back-ends of the website to keep it up-to-date with the latest changes and trends that arise over the coming years. In a natural progression of the new website, Crown Resorts Apps will be proposed for smart phones and tablets. These apps, it is envisaged, will be made available to users as a free download in either Android or IOS (Ipad operating system). A real estate website for Crown Resorts Estates has been created which will be linked to the main website and will exhibit the updated availability of freehold properties within Crown Resorts. During 2014 a new Crown Resorts ‘rewards programme’ is set to be introduced which will offer registered users and members a series of discounts on an array of services and facilities available at Crown Resorts, and throughout Spain, the U.K. and beyond. For further information on Crown Resorts including details on how you can become involved, please visit www.crownresorts.com.
DeVere increases refurbishment investment
he DeVere Resort Ownership team has launched a programme of lodge refurbishment at its Cameron House and Slaley Hall resorts. Cameron House has benefitted most from the programme. In 2012, the estate saw an investment of over £500,000 with a similar expenditure the following year. An increased investment of £600,000 will see work continue over the coming year.
The latest refurbishments at Cameron House and Slaley Hall
Fourteen of the resort’s 86 lodges have been fully refurbished and a further 30 have been partly refurbished. In 2014, a further eight lodges and a host of partial refurbishments will be completed.
Four Seasons Country Club remains Portugal’s travel favourite
he Four Seasons Country Club (FSCC) in Portugal’s Quinta do Lago is celebrating a double accolade in the TripAdvisor 2014 Traveller’s Choice Awards. It has been named in both the Top 10 hotels in Portugal category (ranked no. 7) and Top 10 hotels for families category (ranked no. 2). The prestigious award marks FSCC’s third time on the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards which are based on independent reviews from travellers worldwide. Of the accolade, general manager, Ian Pugsley, said: “For more than 25 years, the team at Four Seasons Country Club has been working hard to make the resort a home-away-fromhome for all of our guests. If our guests are happy, we are happy! “We are not resting on our laurels. We’ve launched a major refurbishment programme. By investing in our future success, we’ll ensure that guests will continue to return to stay for years to come.” The first-phase of the project began last November and, once concluded, will completely update and modernise the resort’s 96 villas. Technology will be a key feature. Properties will be complete with: inbuilt television and sound systems, Blu-ray players Wi-Fi internet and quiet and streamlined air-conditioning systems. All bathrooms at FSCC will be completely refurbished for a new, modern feel, with clean lines, glass, granite and a sense of space For further information contact www.fsccqdl.com or +351 289 357 000 or email email@example.com
luxury accommodation, our programme of lodge refurbishment sees timeless style meet practicality, as it always has done at Cameron House and Slaley Hall.” DeVere Resort Ownership has committed to using local contractors and suppliers. KG Design (based a few miles of Cameron House) has undertaken the majority of the work involved and this has proven to be a productive partnership which is set to continue.
At Slaley Hall, the improvements programme has seen two lodges fully refurbished and three more plus three villas partially refurbished. Said resort spokesman Blair Grant: “In order to keep our lodges at the very pinnacle of
Refurbishment continues at Cameron House and Slaley Hall
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
Offical TATOC recognition reaches new heights
he new year is an exciting one and a major milestone year for TATOC’s resort accreditation programme.
The scheme was launched in 2009 with Lanzarote-based Club Las Calas the first resort to achieve official TATOC recognition. Since then, the number of accredited resorts has risen steadily to 37. On average, nearly ten new resorts each year claim the accolade of ‘TATOC Accredited Resort.’
by Geoff Chapman, TATOC director
The accreditation begins with information, discussion and help that continues at every stage right up to, and including, the actual inspection visit. Accreditation is about high standards of quality and customer focus/ expedience and not about age, location or unit numbers. An accredited resort is entitled to use the TATOC logo in all documents, publications and advertising materials.
“A TATOC Accredited Resort is the gold standard of consumer recognition. There is no other scheme in Europe that offers a similar consumer-driven programme of resort inspection with a recognised, independent, consumer-based ‘ kite mark’ of quality.” TATOC is keen to give full and public recognition to resorts that are truly customerdriven in their approach to timeshare ownership. The TATOC Accreditation award means a resort has passed a thorough and comprehensive inspection and demonstrated it is a resort delivering a quality, wellmanaged, timeshare product and a high standard of accommodation, facilities, services and overall holiday experience to all its guests. Said TATOC executive chairman Harry Taylor: “A TATOC Accredited Resort is the gold standard of consumer recognition. There is no other scheme in Europe that offers a similar consumer-driven programme of resort inspection with a recognised, independent, consumer-based ‘kite mark’ of quality.” “It is essential that this award is seen to be hard earned and meaningful. The award is only for a three-year period and is subject to review and withdrawal if necessary.”
The coveted accredited resort status is a positive statement of quality and standards that can have a major beneficial impact both to the resort and to its individual owners. This year will see a continued growth in the programme with inspection of more resorts already scheduled. In addition, 2014 is the year that the first resorts are due for reinspection. Later this year TATOC accreditation will be rolled out to all TATOC approved re-sale companies, timeshare points-clubs and other flexible holiday-ownership schemes. Still unsure about undertaking TATOC resort accreditation? Here are the views from some of the resorts that have received the award: Christine Roberts, Melfort Village: “We wanted our operation to be checked and approved by people who really know what they are talking about. The process was
detailed but not daunting and the TATOC team supported us every step of the way. “Accreditation has given the team greater confidence in every aspect of their work – we know that we are operating in line with all required legislation and can share this with our owners and guests. “They know that they are buying from, and holidaying with, a resort that is professional and serious about its activities. This gives us all peace of mind and reassurance.” Amanda O’Garrow, Diamond Resorts: “The European division of Diamond Resorts International has a strong partnership with TATOC. The TATOC accreditation programme provides our members and owners with a purely independent evaluation of the quality and standards of the resort accommodation, facilities and services provided by Diamond as the management company. “Knowledge that the resort has passed the rigorous TATOC inspection process gives our members, owners and guests confidence they will receive the high quality and service they expect, and currently receive, at any Diamond managed destination. “Pine Lake Resort was the first resort to be assessed when the programme was introduced in 2009. A total of 14 resorts are accredited to date with another two undertaking the Accreditation inspection in early 2014.”
For more information contact Harry Taylor or visit the TATOC website: www.tatoc.co.uk/tatoc-memberservices/ accreditation/accreditation-program
November 2013, just before the start of the resort’s peak ski season.
Alpine Club achieves TATOC accreditation Diamond Resort’s The Alpine Club has been awarded TATOC accreditation status. The Alpine is the 37th resort to receive the award – and joins 13 other Diamond resorts in Europe that have already been through the accreditation process successfully. TATOC CEO Harry Taylor travelled to Austria to undertake the accreditation in
Overlooking the charming town of Schladming, Alpine Club is, however, a superb place to visit at any time of the year. Built in traditional Alpine style with pinefurnished accommodation, the resort is familyfocused with its own leisure centre and restaurant. In the colder months, members have access to winter sports of every kind, while in spring and summer, when the lakes, valleys and meadows are ablaze with wildflowers, the countryside is a breathtaking place to explore.
TATOC’s Harry Taylor with Alpine Club manager, Renata Stocker
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
view Greg Crist, president of the U.S. based National Timeshare Owners Association
he timeshare community appears to be dealing with a real and growing problem in North America and the U.K. A new group of hybrid travel clubs has been springing up and wreaking havoc on the lives of timeshare owners who join these so-called ‘clubs”. First, to be clear, there are legitimate travel clubs that exist and serve the segment quite well. They charge nominal fees and don’t require timeshare owners to transfer or surrender their ownership, nor pay thousands of dollars in processing and handling charges for member initiation. These hybrid clubs appear to be merely cloaking illegal and often failing transfer entities who are being regulated out of business for their ‘viking ship’ practices. With new legislation in the United States, many of these former transfer companies have
BIOGRAPHY: Greg Crist, president of the National Timeshare Owners Association, is also president of IntervalMLS, a broker-based real estate platform for the secondary market of shared vacation ownership properties. He has championed innovation in timeshare re-sales, resulting in greater partnering, collaboration and solutions that work for buyers and sellers of timeshare.
evolved into ‘mega-renters’, who use the travel club concept to mask their real purpose. Issues recently reported to the National Timeshare Owners Association include: failure to transfer timeshare, failure to provide travel offerings as advertised and, most importantly, failure to adhere to ethical business practices which harm consumers and developers alike. So, while the response from the industry may appear on the surface to be slow, ARDA’s CEO Howard Nusbaum, says a travel club committee is in place that is observing the movement of this sub-industry. The association is making regulatory suggestions on how best to stop fraudulent organisations from fleecing timeshare owners without creating unintended side effects that would impact legitimate operators and sellers of travel.
Timeshare vs package holidays - the results are in
t’s the time of year to start thinking about holidays away from home - so the team at Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket turned to TripAdvisor to see how traditional package deals compare to timeshare. Phil Watson, managing director at WWTH, explained: “Before people splash out on that much-needed week away to sunnier climes, and if high standards of accommodation are an important factor in their decision making, we wanted to take a serious look into the holiday options open to people - including timeshare.” So, how does the standard of accommodation measure-up? To answer this WWTH turned to TripAdvisor with a list of the company’s top 50 best-selling timeshare resorts of 2013. The results were impressive. Of their top 50 best-selling timeshare resorts from around the world, no less than 40 have been awarded TripAdvisor’s ‘Certificate of Excellence’, an award TripAdvisor says “is given only to establishments that consistently
Greg’s connection to timeshare began while growing up in Tennessee. His parents started in timeshare at Fairfield Glade in the early 1970’s and his family and friends still own timeshare today.
achieve outstanding traveller reviews…and represent the upper echelon of business listed on the website, with only the top ten per cent receiving the prestigious award.” Breaking the results down a little further, the island of Madeira has five resorts in the Top 50, all of which hold TripAdvisor’s ‘Certificate of Excellence’ with the exception of one which holds the ‘Travellers Choice Winner’ award. Combining all the reviews posted on these resorts a staggering 93 per cent of reviewers rated their stay as “excellent” or “very good” and only two per cent considered their experience to be less than average. Another island worthy of recognition is Gran Canaria, which also has five resorts in the top 50, four of which have the ‘Certificate of Excellence’. Furthermore, out of over 400 reviews these resorts received, 89 per cent considered their experience to be either “excellent” or “very good”.
TATOC and NTOA have also independently issued warnings to owners about predatory and deceptive tactics used to induce owners to join these types of travel clubs. ARDA and other industry/community stakeholders are developing consumer education and awareness campaigns to further combat these issues. One thing we can share with owners today is that there is a real spirit of co-operation between the industry and community to resolve problems related to re-sale, transfer and travel clubs which will ultimately benefit everyone involved in vacation ownership. Owners contacted by a travel club offering to dispose of a timeshare, are asked to alert the NTOA at firstname.lastname@example.org and not commit to anything in writing until the company can be verified as a licensed entity.
Finally, with eight resorts in the Top 50, the Costa del Sol boasts some impressive retreats including the Marbella Beach Resort and Playa Andaluza. All eight resorts have been awarded the ‘Certificate of Excellence’ for 2013 and, of over 1,400 reviews, 87 per cent of users rated the resorts they visited as “excellent” or “very good”. “We know that timeshare isn’t suitable for everyone,” explains Watson. “Couples and families who enjoy high quality accommodation, the freedom of self catering holidays and the facilities of a well-equipped hotel are likely to be well-suited to timeshare - especially if they tend to take either one or two-week breaks. “Those with good flexibility as to the time of year they can holiday will benefit most from some of the fantastic offers available exclusively to timeshare owners through exchange companies such as RCI and Interval International.”
Taking you places for
RCI is the first exchange holiday company to give members Trading Power transparency and RCI Platinum Membership is launched to deliver a new level of exclusive benefits
RCI TV is launched, the first online video network for timeshare owners
Enhanced online search functions introduced to RCI.com and RCI welcomes its 4,000th resort to its network
RCI celebrates 30th anniversary and 3 million members
RCI Points, first global points-based exchange programme is launched
1979 1977 1975 1974
RCI established its first office in Indianapolis with 453 members
First Resort Directory was published
London Office opens
The Osborne Club in Devon, UK, was the first resort to join RCIâ€™s network in Europe and is still with us 34 years later
RCI.com gets a new look and feel for an even greater online search and booking experience
Cork Call Centre opens to service European members
RCI.com is launched
HQ opens in Kettering, Northamptonshire, in the UK
Dedicated Portuguese Call Centre and Greek Office opens
Holiday magazine – now Endless Vacation – is launched
Ten further offices open across the globe
On 4 February this year RCI celebrated 40 fabulous years of making holiday dreams come true. During those four decades RCI has shaped the timeshare owner experience by taking the lead in introducing many innovative new membership and exchange holiday services. In our timeline above we highlight some of the milestones in our journey towards ensuring RCI
members get the very best from their timeshare. Among exchange holiday ‘firsts’, RCI created the first global points-based exchange programme and we were the first exchange company to give our members Trading Power transparency. And... with 40 years’ experience there is still a lot to come from RCI. If you want the best – and more – join RCI today.
Visit RCI.com or call 0845 60 86 360
Producing products for the ‘tech-savvy’ Two brands transforming travel and shared ownership marketing LiveShareTravel offers a dedicated marketing platform for the shared ownership industry, counts DAE and RCI as site sponsors, and works closely with TATOC.
Terry and Sarah Lee
hared holiday ownership marketing has long focused on direct selling. But with clients more ‘tech and media savvy’ and demanding products that fit their lifestyle, businesses need to take a more rounded approach to communications. So claims LiveShareTravel, a TATOC affiliate, and its publisher Maia Communications, who have gained popularity with timeshare and other travel companies.
LiveShareTravel is an on-line travel and lifestyle magazine, which focuses on timeshare and fractional ownership. The founders are award-winning journalist Sarah Lee and her husband Terry, who are also authors of The Luxury Traveller’s Handbook, and producers of a TV travel and food show. LiveShareTravel is part of Maia Communications, a company providing holiday ownership, travel, property and lifestyle companies with creative and strategic campaigns. In its first three years LiveShareTravel has continually expanded its influence, and is regarded as a leading light in the world of on-line multimedia editorial, marketing and promotion. From its inception the site quickly became a popular on-line magazine turning the spotlight on luxury travel and quality shared holiday ownership. Each month 17,000 unique visitors read LiveShareTravel and that figure rises to 755,000, when social media views are taken into account. Many of these visitors are qualified buyers targeted by the shared ownership industry – ABC1 demographic groups, aged 35 years plus and with a household income in excess of £70,000.
The site also produces tailor-made awardwinning features, video and social media campaigns for tourist boards such as Austria, Canada, Victoria (Australia) and St Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as brands like Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts. Sarah and Terry Lee were early advocates of on-line marketing and social media promotion for shared ownership and travel. Terry explained: “While traditional print media has seen a massive decline in readership over many years, the number of people now reading about the things that interest them on tablets and laptops has grown enormously. “If you want your business to be found, it makes sense to fish where the fish are.” LiveShareTravel’s readers “are passionate about travel and seek ways to invest in themselves and their families,” says Terry. “They also look for value, so we showcase great destinations and resorts while appealing to those seeking luxury for less.” An important part of the promotional work provided is to highlight clients’ products with well-written, informative features and extensive social media promotion. “As editorial content is three times more successful than advertising,” says Terry, “it pays to have it done right. People see through advertising and the hard sell and switch off. They’re more inclined towards a company once they have an idea of the people and story behind it.” LiveShareTravel is published by Maia Communications, a specialist in marketing holiday ownership, property, travel and lifestyle companies. Maia Communications works with companies of all sizes to take their messages to wider audiences and bring their brand to life. They have worked with major shared ownership companies such as RCI, DAE, Intercorp Hotels Group, and First National Trust. When RCI sought re-invigorate members to book an exchange holiday to a new destination, it turned to Maia Communications to create marketing content and destination travel guides for the RCI Destination Directory.
Two years later, when RCI sought to refresh its flagship brochure, the RCI Directory of Affiliated Resorts, it again turned to Maia for all the destination and marketing content. Maia Communications also manages PR and press relations for DAE Europe and has provided editorial consultancy on its member magazine Holiday Access.
Maia Communications services range from: • Writing magazine features to launching and managing whole publications - taking them from concept to print. • Running Twitter accounts or Facebook pages to devising and managing social media campaigns that engage customers. • Writing press releases to developing and implementing corporate PR strategies. • Copywriting leaflets to writing whole sales brochures. • Creating SEO-keyword copy for websites or blogs to designing, developing and managing them. • Taking product photos to producing broadcast quality videos. Terry adds: “Whatever the communications needs, we work with the best creative professionals to bring our client’s businesses to life and tell great stories about their brands.”
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
Timeshare Hypermarket launches client rewards programme
Affiliate news New U.S. exchange and rental affiliate
.S.-based timeshare exchange and rental organisation, Resort Travel & Xchange, has been approved for TATOC affiliation.
orldwide Timeshare Hypermarket has launched a rewards programme that aims to give customers a range of offers from discounted wine, to spa breaks and golfing weekends.
and loyalty schemes to over 150 major brands globally.
Each WWTH customer transaction will earn the customer a package of member exclusive savings which can be used through the company’s partnership with cruise, holiday and lifestyle specialist ICE Europe Ltd
Stuart Ockenden, senior vice president of ICE Europe, commented that “WWTH is looking for new ways to give customers increased value and to offer unique benefits that are within the timeshare re-sales environment. We were happy to provide just such a concept.”
In addition to the lifestyle products, members can also choose to use their rewards savings on cruise, resort and tour holidays. Launched in 1997, ICE is a world-wide travel and leisure organisation, providing innovative cruise, holiday and travel programmes as well as membership rewards
ICE Europe recently became a fully TATOC affiliated company, reaffirming its commitment to best practices within the industry.
Phil Watson, CEO of WWTH, said that giving clients “the chance to save £100 off a golf package, or £50 off wine or even £500 off a cruise means that our customers can make their money go even further in today’s tougher economy.”
Diamond delivers hi-tech hospitality
iamond branded and managed resorts across Europe are integrating their industry hospitality with new in-house technology to enhance the overall vacation experience for members, owners and guests.
events, nearby restaurant recommendations and excursion opportunities.
The new system, called Monscierge and located in the resort reception area, features a highdefinition monitor with touch screen software that functions like a personal ‘concierge app’.
Monscierge will soon be available for guests to download as an app on smart phones and personal wireless devices.
Guests can interact with the hardware, and navigate through the app to discover resort specific information and local area details including amenities, on-site facilities, local
This Diamond branded, self-service device provides guests with 24/7 access to information they will need throughout their stay.
Monscierge will first make its appearance in European resorts and, pending the results and customer feedback, may then continue to roll out at all branded and managed Diamond resorts worldwide.
Azure Malta tops TripAdvisor awards
Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Resort Travel & Xchange (RTX) is a timeshare exchange company that works with resorts and developers. Today, RTX has approximately 35,000 members and offers a range of benefits and services including some of the lowest exchange fees in the industry, discounted holidays that can be booked without exchanging and deposit life of up to four years. Other services include cruise exchanges, getaway weeks, one-stop holiday booking, holiday protection and restaurant discounts all offered at competitive prices. Through sister company VacationCondo. com rental programme, owners, resorts and HOAs can offset some of the fixed costs associated with ownership. “Our relationships with partner resorts, management companies and developers are as important to us as our members. We believe in symbiotic relationships that are mutually beneficial for all involved and want to bring this model to Europe. “TATOC affiliation is the first step to achieve this and we are looking forward to explaining our philosophy to resorts, developers, management companies and owners in the U.K. and beyond,” explained Jay Bade, vice president of resort partnerships. Harry Taylor, TATOC executive chairman, added: “Resort Travel Xchange is a well known and respected name in the U.S timeshare industry. We are delighted they understand the importance of TATOC affiliation in their plans to launch their products and services in Europe.”
zure Malta’s Radisson Blu Resort has been named the top hotel, the top luxury hotel and top hotel for romance in Malta, in TripAdvisor’s 2014 travellers’ choice awards.
“We are very proud of this achievement,” said Perry Newton, Azure Malta’s project director. “The resort location, the excellent service provided by the staff and the amenities available have evidently provided remarkable holiday experiences to thousands of travellers from around the globe.
Annual awards for different holiday categories - including destinations, beaches, islands and restaurants - are based on travellers ranking each from one to five after a visit or making use of their services.
“I would also like to congratulate the great management team, led by Ernest Barry, chief operating officer for the outstanding hospitality work they do day in day out.”
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
Women at the top: Maria Mills-Farinas In this regular feature we talk to women who have made it to the top in the timeshare industry.
What was your first job after college? After finishing my university degree in France I went to work for my godfather, the owner of an aviation company in Portugal, which in later years become Air Portugal (TAP).
How and why did you get into the timeshare business?
When I moved to England in 1978 we lived in Cornwall where my husband worked, but my job was in London. After a while it become too difficult commuting such a distance so I found local employment in the building industry and supplemented it with work at Clowance Estate and Country Club, overseeing the OPC team for a few hours a week.
What was your first job in the timeshare industry?
In 1985 I joined Carvynick Cottages, in Cornwall, issuing purchase contracts and doing the ‘button up’. This was my first real job. Later on I took a more responsible position working closely with one of the directors.
How did you move into the world of timeshare re-sales? Carvynick owners decided to split and my job become redundant. TAG, (the Tourism Advisory Group) owned by Brian Wates, offered me a job in a timeshare resort in North Devon, one of the first timeshare enterprises in England. TAG had a contract to manage the resort from a bankruptcy situation to an on-going concern.
My role was to monitor the running of the site, control expenditure and, in summary, turn the operation round. Due to delays in the management of the site, Brian offered me a temporary position in his re-sale operation. The head office was in Sudbury, Suffolk. In 1992 I started Travel & Leisure Group with my partner John Hepplewhite (now deceased) and my husband Peter Mills.
What have been your biggest challenges - and successes? Coming to England in 1978 to co-ordinate the takeover of the British operation of the American company I worked for in Portugal, GIC (General Instruments Corporation), which had been bought out by a Swiss/ Italian group.
What skills can women bring to the timeshare industry? Women tend to be more organised and able to cope with various situations at the same time.
BIOGRAPHY: Maria Mills-Farinas, Travel & Leisure Group’s managing director, graduated from Toulouse University in France. She worked in a management capacity for large multinational corporations such as The Ever Ready Company (Great Britain) and G.I.C. (General Instrument Corporation). She joined the timeshare industry in its infancy in the 80’s, working initially at the resorts Carvynick Cottages, in the south-west of England, Later she ran Clovelly Golf & Country Club for the Tourist Advisory Group, whose owner was Brian Wates, the first managing director of RCI Europe, where her interest in timeshare re-sales started. Primarily from a finance and management background with knowledge of law and legal matters, in 1992 she set up Travel & Leisure Group with her partner, the late John Hepplewhite. Both developed the company into the largest independent timeshare re-seller in Europe and the East.
Owners and potential buyers may be more likely to feel at ease and less threatened by a woman. When you have a combination of timeshare owners, exchanges, rentals and potential buyers all at the same time things can get hectic for sure. In a re-sale organisation, mostly run by telephone and mail, we find that women can be more reassuring to consumers. They’re also more patient in dealing with all the technicalities re-sale involves.
What do you love about your job and what frustrates you most?
I love the financial side of the business, which is basically my forte, and the legal transfers of ownership. I also enjoy creating and placing advertisements in the many newspapers in the U.K. and abroad, TV, videos and the travel shows. We used to have many agencies abroad. I loved setting up licence agreements and monitoring performance on a monthly basis. Today most of our agency work has been replaced by the internet. What I dislike most is the internet and the continual fight to optimise our website so that we’re visible to timeshare buyers or consumers in general.
The aim is to offer our advertisers the best possible outlets to attract potential buyers for their timeshare and there is no doubt that the internet is a very important part of it.
Looking back, is there anything that you would change?
Yes. When I set up Travel & Leisure Group it was with the purpose of buying Clovelly Golf and Country Club which was out for tender in 1992. Unfortunately, we were out-bid so decided to set up our own re-sale company instead. As I very much prefer site work, in hindsight I should have looked around to invest in another timeshare resort rather than in the re-sale market with all its problems of price depreciation and other issues.
Who in the industry do you admire and why? Frank Chapman. Frank is a pioneer of the industry and is known for his involvement in struggling businesses and his success in turning them round. He is a sound businessman who I admire and respect.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the business?
In my opinion, the biggest change is that the consumer today does not want to enter into a long-term commitment - hence the introduction of holiday clubs or short-term ownership. Some actually base their sales success rate on the fact that there is no annual maintenance fee: you only pay if you holiday in a particular year. In the re-sale market these packages are not popular for obvious reasons; we tend to sell more specific long-term ownership.
What are your plans for the future? I am trying desperately to retire but I want Travel & Leisure to continue growing, giving our clients, buyers and sellers the service we are well known for in the industry. It is not easy because both my husband and I have been running our re-sale business for over 21 years and one always thinks no one can do it the way we do. I am confident that Sarah Bond, our operations manager, a veteran in timeshare who joined us in early 2013, John Pearce, buyers and conveyancing manager, sales manager Kellie Hammond and Jim Wilson on the IT/ internet side, will make it happen.
Mixed-use success of Club Casablanca by Charlie Millar, chairman of Club Casablanca. Swimming pool area at Club Casablanca
Club Casablanca statistics: Location: Puerto de la Cruz, North Tenerife Products: Fixed weeks and points Total number of timeshare apartments: 161 Total number of apartments in resort: 287 Staff: 75
lub Casablanca opened 28 years ago and comprises 11 connected apartment blocks, each with its own lift, which creates an inner amphitheater with well-tended gardens. Resort facilities including the pool, bar and bowling green are contained within this spacious amphitheater. For a small fee, secure parking is available in the basement beneath the resort. Other facilities include a restaurant/bar with regular live entertainment, games room, laundry, 24-hour multi-lingual reception, Wi-Fi connection throughout, gym (subject to payment of a small fee) and satellite television.
Tell us a little about the history of Club Casablanca? The resort opened in 1986 and, from its concept, was set up to run as a dual operation - timeshare and tour operator. The timeshare side has 161 apartments and the hotel has 126 apartments. The same company, together with the club’s committee, has managed the whole resort for the last 28 years. This relationship has proven to be beneficial to both sides, contributing in no small way to the resort’s success. Although originally conceived as a ‘Britishmember’ resort, the club’s membership base
now comprises 40 per cent British, 25 per cent German, 25 per cent French, 10 per cent Italians and Scandinavians.
With the club offering to transfer weeks at almost nil value, it is very difficult to offer members a re-sale service.
How is the resort managed?
However, the club will allow members to return weeks they no longer wish to use at no further cost to that member. The club does not pursue maintenance fee debts from resigning and defaulting members, but will always attempt to recover any debt by renting or transferring these weeks to a new member.
From its conception, the club has used the services of the developer as its management company. It was always the intention of the developer to operate the resort both as a timeshare and an aparthotel. The club does, however, have its own administration company, undertaking services such as rental of club weeks, invoicing and collection of management fees, public relations and so on,
How have timeshare sales fared over the past five years? Like the majority of other resorts, Club Casablanca experienced difficulty in maintaining a sales department and it is now some six years since it employed the services of an external sales company. The main reason: the developer no longer wishes to make new apartments available for sale. The only weeks now available being either returned or confiscated weeks. The club did however set up an internal ‘sales’ team to transfer these weeks at a greatly reduced price to members, their families and friends - with some initial success. As these transfers slowed, the committee adopted the innovative practice of making weeks available to members from distressed resorts for little more than the cost of our trustees certification of ownership. To date, this practice has offset some of the weeks being returned to the club and will continue to be available to anyone who enquires.
How do you keep your product attractive to today’s holidaymaker while still making ownership financially viable? Despite the fact the resort is 28 years old, continual up-grading has ensured Casablanca apartments and grounds maintain their quality appearance. From the start, prudent management/committee decisions taken throughout those 28 years have allowed the club to make sufficient money to finance its annual planned maintenance work. Even throughout the financial downturn which started in Spain and the Canaries some six years ago, the partnership between developer and club in the early years provided savings which allowed the club to maintain management fees at the same level for five of those years, while maintaining the high quality of service. Recent small increases in the management fees of a few Euros were applied simply to cover increases in VAT, electricity and gas oil. In quiet times, the partnership allowed the management company to close blocks, thereby making major savings in the annual budget. With income set for full occupancy
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
of both timeshare and aparthotel, the annual surplus has provided the finance for our planned maintenance programme, without affecting any available reserves. This provides us with a resort of quality, well recognised by our members both old and new. Coupled with this is the fact that we continue to charge what is probably one of the lowest levels of annual fees in the timeshare industry. A resort of continually maintained quality, low management fees and an excellent staff in all areas of the resort, will always means happy members.
What are the key points of Club Casablanca’s success – and what are your challenges? Without a doubt, the success of the club was due, almost entirely, to those who set up the resort. Those early years of planning have resulted in a successful resort. The resort has held RCI’s Gold Crown status almost from the beginning and is now rated by TripAdvisor and Holiday Check within the top five resorts in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife.
What are your views on the ‘Timeshare Demographic Timebomb’?
The committee realises that the success of a rental programme relies on the goodwill of our members. Their wilingness to move out of their own specific unit allows management to realise the full financial potential of a particular unit. Management and committee recognise and commend the members who unselfishly agree to these changes which benefit the membership as a whole.
How important is your resort website and do you get involved with social media? The resort has two websites one for ‘members only’ and the second for the developer’s rental blocks. While both are in their infancy, we recognise their importance and fully expect to develop them further over the next few years. The resort director makes full use of TripAdvisor and such-like sites to the benefit of the resort.
This facility allows our admininstration staff to post a variety of material relevant to members, including committee minutes, newsletters, site plan, annual calendars, methods of paying management fees and occasional warnings of scam companies targeting our members. Our newsletters, often pictorial in content, allow members the opportunity to view work that is taking place within the resort. How to encourage members to return? Casablanca seems to be blessed with a membership that prefers to use its home resort rather than exchange.
When in Tenerife, I hold a pre-committee meeting with my fellow elected members prior to the full meetings. As elected members, we take a full and active part in all aspects of the business of the resort.
How do you fund refurbishment and what is your approach to this? Refurbishment is on-going and planned annually. We create an annual budget that assumes 100 per cent occupancy throughout the year in both the timeshare and developer’s blocks.
What do you think the future is for timeshare in general?
Plenty of sun bathing opportunities at Club Casablanca
How do you keep your owners engaged? Up until about six years ago, the only contact the resort had with members was mailing committee and AGM minutes. Since then, and as part of a cost-saving exercise, the committee has introduced a members-only website and newsletter, available in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
As a committee, we believe it is this relationship that has produced a very successful resort. As chairman, I am in constant contact with the administration company, dealing with any problems by e-mail and Skype, taking decisions after discussing matters with my fellow committee members.
Block closures during the quieter summer months result in a surplus being made available for planned work in the resort. The surplus usually provides sufficient money to cover this work, any remaining surplus being retained as reserves.
Success does not just rely on the quality of its management but also in the quality of its staff, many of whom have worked at Casablanca from its opening in 1986. Members of Casablanca, along with the clients of the many tour operators who use the resort, recognise this fact. Along with an ageing membership, an ageing population and any future financial downturns, the challenge that we face is simply to maintain this high quality of service.
None of the elected committee lives in Tenerife and therefore travel three times a year to Tenerife for meetings.
I believe the future of timeshare depends a great deal on how individual resorts were set up. Timeshare resorts will only succeed if they can maintain the quality of accommodation and service they offered when the product was first purchased. Far too many resorts fail to consider from the outset the cost of maintaining the fabric of their apartments, and when that happens, the resort deteriorates and becomes too costly to refurbish and therefore unsalable.
The comfortably furnished apartments at Club Casablanca
How important is the owners’ committee to your business activities? Casablanca committee does not regard itself as an owners committee since the club will never own more than 49 per cent of the resort. The club does, however, hold a majority vote on the committee. It is comprised of three elected members, myself as chairman and a U.K. citizen, two other elected members, one from the U.K. and one from Denmark. The fourth member of the committee is a representative of the management company/developer.
Good trustworthy management is the key to a successful resort. Unfortunately, many resorts have failed, giving timeshare bad press. Add to this the ‘all inclusive deals’ and the last minute bargains on the internet, and we have competition that didn’t exist many years ago.
As a resort, what are you most proud of? There are many things which we can be proud of. We have been able to maintain our resort of 28 years to a standard that has attracted Gold Crown status year upon year, members are happy to return year after year and client groups from our various tour operators also return on an regular basis and are happy to provide good comments to companies such as TripAdvisor.
The power of a picture on social media by Mark Caldicott, TATOC Helpline manager
L The lodge photo posted
ast September I travelled with a friend to Lakeview Country Club, in Bodmin, Cornwall for a five-night stay so we could visit the Eden Project.
The resort is in a perfect location to visit this leading tourist destination as well as many of Cornwall’s other key attractions. My friend had never visited a timeshare resort before and was amazed at the standard of accommodation. It was a ‘home from home’ and better than any hotel previously visited with everything provided for our stay. On our first morning at the resort we posted a picture on Facebook of our lodge to inform
friends that we had arrived safely after our long drive from Manchester. Within minutes our mobiles where buzzing with updates of ‘likes’ and comments about the picture. We received 53 likes and 15 comments - all from our friends who are non-timeshare owners. Comments included: “wow that looks amazing”, “looks fabulous, can you message me the details I would love to go’ and “Wow, I want to come now.” This clearly shows the power of social media. With a simple status up-date and the addition of a photo, 53 non-timeshare owners are now aware of the quality and location of this resort. There is nothing better than free advertising – and just imagine if your owners were encouraged to do the same when they visit. Social media is not scary, it is not just for the young and it could just be a great, free way to promote a resort.
The findings, from TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer, indicate that on-line marketing continues to capture a share from off-line spend. Less than one in ten U.K. hospitality businesses now use off-line operators, such as high street travel agents, as a marketing platform. The study found that nearly half (44 per cent) of U.K. hoteliers allow bookings through a mobile device, and four in ten (40 per cent) ensure their website is mobile-friendly. Around the same percentage of travellers globally (39 per cent) say they expect hospitality businesses to provide a mobile-friendly site, which suggests that U.K. businesses are quickly responding to consumer demand. In fact, nearly a third (32 per cent) plan to expand their mobile offering next year, while 30 per cent also plan to invest more in their use of social media platforms.
t has long been held that in order to make a sale you need to listen to what your customer has to say, and from that information you can help them choose the product that best suits their needs. Silverpoint has taken this philosophy and woven it into all aspects of its business. From customer service to product development it is the customer who drives the company’s planning and vision for the future. By listening to what customers have to say and by responding to that feedback, Silverpoint has created a range of products and services that are tailored to the requirements of its client base. New Silverpoint Club Paradiso destinations in the United Kingdom and Thailand have filled the demand for both long-haul and ‘staycation’ holidays while the personal service and flexibility of the constantly evolving Silverpoint Vacation Club ensures members have a range of choice and an ease of use. Combining product innovation with technology has also been a key priority for the company. From its state-of-the-art sales centres and broad on-line presence to mobile phone apps and digital members’ packs, Silverpoint is leading from the front in its effort to ensure customers can get the very best from their holiday products.
U.K. hospitality looks to change in marketing ripAdvisor has reported that half of U.K. hospitality businesses are devoting marketing spend on mobile and social media channels.
Listening brings results for Silverpoint
Nevertheless, over a third (38 per cent) of those surveyed admit they don’t optimise for mobile, with nearly half of those (41 per cent) admitting they felt they did not have the knowledge to do so. A quarter of global travellers relied on social media to plan their last trip, to get recommendations (72 per cent), see pictures and videos of where they’re going (67 per cent), find inspiration for what to do and see while they’re there (60 per cent), and to look for deals (45 per cent). Encouragingly, many resorts and hotels have seized upon this opportunity and are using social media to engage with current and potential guests (global: 82 per cent; U.K.: 72 per cent) with Facebook and Twitter being the most popular social networks. Over half of hoteliers globally say they get the most value from using Facebook (global: 59 per cent; UK: 49 per cent). “Travellers’ reliance on mobile devices and social media is consistent with the trends we’re seeing at TripAdvisor,” said Marc Charron, president of TripAdvisor for Business.
This use of technology has been instrumental in attracting a new generation of younger members who see the benefits in products which leverage the latest technology to enhance the customer experience, says Diana Aitchison, Silverpoint COO. “While there is still a very human element to our range of products – great staff and customer service – we have focused on utilising the latest technology to make using these products even easier and to appeal to a new generation of members. “However, we have found that it is not just the 25-40-year-old market segment that is responding in a positive way. The last year or so has seen a massive upsurge in older customers embracing mobile and on-line technology. We have noticed a marked increase in product sales and moreover, in customer retention”. This upward trend has had a knock-on effect for those customers who no longer need a lifetime holiday product and are seeking an exit strategy. With an influx of new members there is a significantly higher outlet for the re-sale of their memberships. Download the free SilverpointGo Travel Guide app for mobile devices: www.silverpointgo.com
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
2014: optimistic outlook for the timeshare industry
Paul Gardner Bougaard from the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) shares his thoughts on the European industry in 2014.
DO members have, like other industries these last five years, been battered by the world-wide recession that has led to the catastrophic drop in property prices in Spain, record unemployment across the E.U., the Euro crisis and the near bankruptcy of some E.U. member states. Hopefully all this is behind us now. Last year saw a definite improvement on previous years in terms of new sales and the timeshare industry, represented by RDO, looks forward to an even better year in 2014. The fact that members have survived relatively unscathed through the worst recession since the 1920s is due to a combination of factors: even tighter budgeting with regard to on-going resort maintenance costs; a move towards new, shorter-term products to meet consumer demands; and the development by RDO of new policies to enhance consumer confidence that will ultimately lead to a “buy only where you see this sign” policy. Most importantly, 2013 saw the advent of the requirement that RDO members develop exit strategies for owners who can no longer use their timeshare whether through death of a partner, illness and so on.
European timeshare leaders create new task force
eading businesses and organisations in the European timeshare sector have launched an initiative to tackle issues that potentially affect hundreds of thousands of timeshare owners and consumers. Set up and funded by the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), the Timeshare Task Force brings together the RDO’s own enforcement operation, resorts, timeshare owners, consumer organisations such as TATOC and law enforcement agencies to achieve common goals. Top of the priority list is tackling the rogues that have been defrauding timeshare owners and consumers to the tune of millions of Euros. The new initiatives include identifying the perpetrators - many of whom are serial offenders - and preparing prosecutions.
This has become an increasingly important issue as the generation who bought in the 1970’s and 80’s finds they can no longer travel as they used to and the media has started to publicise the problem. We also saw the entrance into the market of two new ‘exit clubs’. The issue of club ownership and the rule against perpetuity as it operates for clubs based on the law of England and Wales will become an increasingly important issue in 2014, not only for RDO but also for TATOC and the smaller owner-run resorts, which operate independently. Both organisations recognise that this issue has to be tackled head-on for the sake of the reputation of the industry and are consulting on how they can best help those who are not members of either group. This challenge is being headed up by TATOC’s working group and a seminar to look at the whole question has been fixed for the start of the TATOC March conference. Finally, the on-going problem of fraud, particularly the on-line variety, continues to plague the legitimate industry.
the police arresting a large number of people in Gran Canaria. These investigations are on-going. Further, the realisation that the authorities in both Spain, the U.K. and elsewhere in the E.U. had neither the resources nor the ability to track down many of these ‘serial fraudsters,’ led to the setting up of the Timeshare Task Force run by Kwikchex and financed by RDO, of which TATOC is a leading and vital participant. The TTF is just starting to gain traction with the media and the new ‘Timeshare business check’ website has the backing of both the National Fraud Office and the European Consumers Centres in both U.K. and Scandinavia. There is much still to be done. A shortage of good re-sale companies continues to remain a problem and the continued weakness of the secondary market, as reflected by the weakness still of many economies, will continue to present us with a challenge.
August 2013 saw the culmination of months of work by RDO’s enforcement team, with
With the review of the working of the second directive scheduled for 2014, both TATOC and RDO will, I suspect, have a busy year as we continue to work together and co-operate for the benefit of both owners and developers.
In the most serious cases, information is being passed to law enforcement agencies such as the U.K. National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
on businesses selling within the timeshare and related sectors.
The plan is, through a co-ordinated effort, to make life very difficult for those who have targeted the timeshare sector - every website, every advertisement run on Google, every cold call is likely to result in an investigation, sophisticated tracing and criminal charges.
Much progress has been made in terms of dealing with issues such as those needing to exit the industry, for example deserving timeshare owner exit cases involving bankruptcy and death.
Every time a fraudster contacts a timeshare owner or consumer, he or she will be running the risk of talking not to a potential victim - but a private investigator or law enforcement officer In addition to the major cases involving the police, the Task Force will also use private criminal prosecutions to ease the burden on the authorities and speed the process of apprehending the perpetrators. Every day practical measures are also being offered, including new on-line advice resources, such as the Timeshare Business Check which will provide information
“The next year we expect to continue to work on significant initiatives in the timeshare sector - bringing benefits for consumers and timeshare businesses alike,” said Calvin Lucock, chairman of RDO. Those responsible for initiatives include the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), TATOC, Mindtimeshare and the European Consumers Centre. Law enforcement agencies and politicians across Europe will also be a key part of the strategy. The Task Force is being managed by KwikChex, the renowned on-line investigation and verification business.
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Our experienced consultants are available on FREEPHONE 0800 542 4466.
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As silver afﬁliates of TATOC, The Timeshareshop Ltd will adhere to the code of conduct issued in 2011. All companies wishing to afﬁliate to the Timeshare Association are thoroughly vetted beforehand and continually monitored. Further details of the code of conduct can be found on the Associations website: www.timeshareassociation.org
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ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
Stouts Hill a review of the resort by Steve Burton Timeshare owner and regular exchanger, Steve Burton, shares his thoughts on his visits to Stouts Hill, a TATOC member resort in the Cotswolds.
have been looking forward to writing my review about Stouts Hill because it is my favourite timeshare resort of the many I’ve visited in my home country, the United Kingdom. My review of Stouts Hill is totally impartial. I am not an owner there because, by the time I first stayed in the mid 1980’s, I already owned ten timeshare weeks so I had no need to buy further - even at such a superb resort as Stouts Hill.
Due to my extended stays in the U.S.A., I have many American friends who enjoy watching Downton Abbey on TV. Staying at Stouts Hill is in my view rather like staying at Downton, such is the scale of the country house and the extensive grounds. A typical Cotwolds village
In my view there are three important items to look for in a timeshare resort (and, yes, I have heard about location, location and location).
The amenities are by far the best of any timeshare resort that I have stayed in and they include twenty-seven acres of private grounds in which to stroll.
However, I would say that the essentials are location, quality of the units, and amenities/ activities. I have visited many resorts where we have two of these and, as Meatloaf would say, ‘two out of three ain’t bad’.
In these grounds there are two rose gardens; a three-acre lake for fishing; a nine-hole pitch and putt golf course; a nine-hole putting course; croquet lawn; tennis court; swimming pool and a Jacuzzi.
However, in the case of Stouts Hill it has everything - and I mean everything. Let’s start with the apartments: nine of them, a mix of one- and two-bedroom units and a studio. They are in a Gothic country house mansion that was constructed in the 1740’s. A further five two-bedroom units are located in a separate block constructed in the early 1990’s. The units are all decorated and equipped to a high standard so I guess it’s a matter of personal taste to be located in the Gothic mansion or the newer outbuilding. In the mansion there is a superb library, drawing room and a dining room. I would like especially to mention the dining room because most Wednesday evenings there is an opportunity to have a meal and meet other guests.
Indoor amenities include a badminton court, swimming pool and a games room, which has snooker and pool tables, table tennis and air hockey. So far I have talked specifically about the resort but not its location. Stouts Hill is situated in the Cotswolds, an area of outstanding natural beauty that many would consider to be the most beautiful part of England. (It’s so beautiful that several members of the British royal family live just miles from Stouts Hill. Prince Charles’ home Highgrove is in nearby Tetbury). The Cotswolds area is how many Americans imagine all of England to be with country lanes, quaint pubs and rose-covered cottages. Visiting the Cotswolds is like going back in
time to how England used to be many years ago. I would also recommend day trips to historic Bath, Cheltenham and Gloucester. A further point is that, as there are only 14 apartments at Stouts Hill, you never feel overwhelmed by the number of other guests staying there. In February one year I did not see any other guests and felt I was ‘Lord of the Manor’ having all that Stouts Hill has to offer to myself. I will not pretend that exchange availability is good at Stouts Hill because most owners don’t want to exchange but return to their weeks every year. After staying there on ten exchanges since the mid 1980’s I can understand why. However, because of the excellent indoor amenities it is worth considering visiting Stouts Hill in the out-of-season winter months when availability may be greater. I remember being there one February when it started to snow lightly and yet I was enjoying a swim in the warm water of the indoor swimming pool and apart from my friends had the pool all to myself. This is a feeling you get time and time again at Stouts Hill, as there is so much to do and so few other guests around. It truly has an exclusive feel to it and I cannot wait to return there next June.
Expanding world-wide and celebrating 30 years This year sees CLC World Resorts & Hotels marking 30 years in the business with three exciting new resorts... in Turkey, the U.S.A. and, back where the company story first unfolded, southern Spain. Reaching further CLC’s resorts are located in the U.K. – with three distinguished hotel and lodge properties in Cornwall and Scotland; Spain, concentrated upon the Costa del Sol; Tenerife; Austria; Turkey; Australia and the U.S.A. The leap across ‘the pond’ started in 2009 with its first resort Encantada quickly followed by a second - Regal Oaks. Both are located near the major theme park attractions of Orlando, Florida. Turkey too has seen CLC World embarking on a third resort in sea-facing land in the major destination of Kusadasi. Both Ramada Resort Kusadasi, in Turkey, and Regal Oaks, in the U.S.A., are scheduled for 2015 full completion.
The restaurant and swimming pools at California Beach Resort
any fondly recall 1984 as the year ice skaters Torvill and Dean brought home gold for Britain in the Winter Olympics! For CLC World it was also an exciting year: the first steps of a journey as a resort developer and holiday ownership provider. The nascent company, founded by chairman Roy Peires with just a handful of apartments in Spain, grew quickly to become one of Europe’s biggest success stories. The company, with offices in Britain and Spain, today has a portfolio of 32 mixed-use resorts across the globe; more than 50,000 members of its vacation clubs; approximately 2,000 owners of CLC World freehold property; and a staff of 3,000-plus across its operations.
Diversity and delivery “From fixed and floating timeshare weeks to destination clubs and points, CLC World expansion has been based on delivering products to fulfill the wishes of its members,” says Roy Peires, CLC World managing director When demand for holiday homes at its resort locations surfaced, the company’s freehold division was launched and continues to flourish offering luxury properties in choice destinations. For many who wanted a stake rather than to buy outright, CLC developed a fractional ownership product. Net proceeds, including potential profits, are returned to owners when the property is finally sold. During the mid 1990s the company introduced further holiday flexibility with a points-based programme, developing the
Living area at Hustyns, Cornwall
concept with additional and enhanced benefits through its Vacation Club. Holidays are not all land-based... The Club La Costa Yacht Club, launched in 2007, offers experiences sailing the Mediterranean aboard luxury catamarans, with Venice and the Greek Islands featured in its 2014 itinerary. More recently, the acquisition of English narrow boat company Canaltime has opened up opportunities for family adventures on Britain’s historic waterways.
Building better holidays “Providing memorable holidays that exceed customer expectations is the company’s philosophy,“ says Peires. Resorts have mushroomed along the Costa del Sol site where the company has created Club La Costa World. It is here, too, that CLC’s luxury brand, California Beach Resort, featuring trademark interior design and quality fixtures and furnishings, was formed. Honed management and operational skills have benefited the group. The newly formed VRI Europe has acquired CLC World’s European resort management business, including that of U.K. based Resort Solutions. VRI Europe is a joint venture with U.S.- based Interval Leisure Group and makes available their joint resort management expertise to other developers and owner committees.
Bringing it ‘home’ News that CLC World is to re-commence development at its impressive Costa del Sol site has created a frisson of excitement across the company. With the current property market showing early signs of recovery following the slump of 2008-2012, demand for quality holidays with the benefit of a controlled and secure resort environment are already beginning to resurface. CLC World is preparing to meet this demand with a new up-scale project that takes its brand to new heights, says Peires. Sold as whole and fractional ownership, the resort is planned as a twin site of ultra-high quality duplex penthouses and apartments with associated leisure and commercial premises. Finishes will include aesthetic glass staircases, ‘intelligent’ iPad- controlled lighting, heating, ventilation and security. There will be a pool option for some units and direct access to a ‘lazy river’ pool system flowing through the resort from ground floor apartments. Says Roy Peires: “We have achieved much and much remains to be achieved, that is what inspires me every day in the constant quest to be bigger AND better at what we do. “We want to build outstanding holidays from the ground up, developing resorts worldwide that fulfill both the holiday and the holiday property owning aspirations of members and new customers. “It’s a matter of 30 years and counting!”
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
Exciting times as Resort Solutions joins VRI Europe
new resort management company has entered the European timeshare market featuring a familiar and respected name. VRI Europe was created in autumn 2013 as a joint venture between CLC World Resorts & Hotels and U.S.-based Interval Leisure Group. It has a portfolio of 21 resorts in Spain, France and Portugal. The new company incorporates TATOC affiliate and leading U.K. management company Resort Solutions Limited (RSL), based in Market Harborough.
“These are very exciting times for our industry and especially in the evolution of all the companies involved. The combination of management strengths, experienced staff, technology, and leverage power will create a management force within Europe of unparalleled sophistication,” said Brad Revell, managing director of RSL. With the support of VRI Europe, Resort Solutions will continue to provide costconscious, service-oriented management designed to help resorts run efficiently and competitively in the modern shared ownership and holiday marketplace.
RFS celebrates ten years of timeshare protection
Registrar services: RFS maintains the members register for the club and issues membership certificates after checking that the weeks/points sold are available against the weeks available for sale. Credit card services: RFS provides its clients with a facility to take payments for registrations, exchanges, and administration and management fees (but no sales deposits). All monies are paid into designated stakeholder accounts. Said RFS managing director Andrew Horton: “Since RFS was set up we have enjoyed continued growth and our client base increases year on year. Today we handle business in Europe, China, Africa and the Far East. We closely guard our reputation of providing a cost effective range of services delivered in a timely manner.” In 2013, RFS announced that its was providing trustee services to TATOC member resort, Underscar.
“Our clients retain their independence and remain in control of their resorts while delegating the everyday management on a long-term basis.” Further information from Vicky Du BoisSandy on +44 (0) 1858 431 160 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
eading originator of point-of-sale finance to the leisure industry, HMC Funding, has become a TATOC affiliated company.
RFS’s primary role is to provide protection to purchasers of various timeshare products by acting as an independent third party. Their services include:
Trustee services: RFS acts as custodial trustee for properties that form the club. It will either hold the freehold title or a lease over the property for the duration of the club.
“It is a win-win for our clients,” added Revell. “Not only do we benefit from our links with VRI Europe, but RSL continues to provide a tailor-made service to resort committees.
HMC Funding becomes TATOC affiliate
esort Fiduciary Services (RFS) is celebrating its tenth anniversary.
Stakeholder: RFS controls and administers the bank accounts for a client into which monies are paid or transferred by purchasers. RFS will only release such monies to its client upon completion of the transaction to the purchaser.
RCI’s Andy Miln and Marj Anderson with Simon Jackson, Macdonald Resorts
Macdonald Resorts receives RCI accolade Macdonald Resorts is the latest recipient of RCI’s prestigious President’s Club Award, which was presented to the company’s CEO Simon Jackson. The award recognises RCI’s top performing affiliates around the world and is designed to honour companies that share a commitment to transforming the holiday experience and growing their business. Affiliates that achieve President’s Club status receive a crystal award and a wall plaque along with other rewards and benefits to commemorate their success. Jackson said the award was a testament to Macdonald Resorts’ efforts to deliver high quality holidays and reflected its strong longterm relationship with RCI. “It was a great honour to receive the President’s Club Award from RCI, which recognises our two companies’ partnership over the last 25 years,” he said. Marj Anderson, RCI affiliate services manager, presented the award during Macdonald Plas Talgarth Holiday Resort’s AGM.
The company’s principal directors, Ron Howell and Barry Bailey, have over 30 years’ experience in the finance sector and both held senior positions with First National Finance Corporation, Abbey National and G.E Home Lending. Today, HMC’s primary focus for the timeshare industry is its Leisure Guard service, a travel insurance product that provides unique, comprehensive and valuefor-money timeshare cover. Providing protection for owners up to the age of 79, Leisure Guard covers pre-existing medical conditions that are controlled by medication. Policies start from £12.54 for seven nights and £47.50 for an annual multi-trip policy. Said Harry Taylor, TATOC executive chairman: “HMC offers a range of services to the timeshare industry and its Leisure Guard insurance policy is going to be of great interest to members as they struggle to find travel insurance.” HMC Funding and Leisure Guard are trading names of Business Brokers Limited which was established in April 2004 and is a company authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and holds a consumer credit licence issued by the Office of Fair Trading. For further information visit www.leisureguardtravelinsurance.com or contact them on 0844 8003609.
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
A Concept That Evolved Out Of Change
The Club Leisure Group is proud to announce that their latest product, AROMA, will be made available to interested parties in the field of sales. Already masters in the realm of timeshare and points club products, the Club Leisure Group felt that although timeshare was the best method of pegging holiday costs over the past 30 years, flexibility has become limited, even with the advent of the exchange organisations. It was evident that a new product presence was needed which had all the positive attributes of timeshare but none of the negatives. This led to the formation of AROMA in December 2010. AROMA falls within the sphere of the timeshare industry but it is not timesharing in the true sense. AROMA members receive certain rights that enable them to holiday in many destinations throughout the world. Members of the club do not acquire individual timeshare weeks but purchase holiday points. Although this may seem very similar to other points schemes, the four distinctive selling points of AROMA ensure that the product practically sells itself: • With AROMA, members enjoy more than one free exchange. • AROMA is EU compliant. • All approved marketers have access to credit card facilities and consumer finance. • AROMA is the ideal exit point for timeshare owners who have grown weary of their timeshare product. AROMA has a unique facility allowing timeshare owners to trade in their timeshare in 40 Perspective Magazine Europe July-September 2012
the name of the club for points to the value of the week - a useful option as needs change. For example, a young, newly married couple bought an out-of-season studio week at a cost of possibly £5 000, while a family man acquired a large, three bedroom unit in peak season at a cost of £30 000. Ten years later, the couple now has three children and the other family’s children have all left home. Ideally, the two families now need to swap weeks with each other. With AROMA, the family with a studio unit would be allocated points amounting to the current market value of their unit and they could purchase additional points which would be added to their trade-in, enabling them to holiday during school holiday periods. The couple with the three-bedroom unit would have a large number of points, enabling them to take four or five out-of-season holiday weeks. Alternatively, they could cede points to their children or surrender surplus points back to the club. In February 2011, a new directive in respect of timeshare and long term holiday products came into force around Europe. This directive has been welcomed by AROMA as it finally allows for a level playing field within the industry. Sales have slowed down considerably as many entities struggle to adapt, however AROMA believes that this legislation is exactly what was needed in the industry and has always been a firm supporter of considerable consumer protection. Thus, AROMA finds itself in a strong position to become the Club of our time. The industry is moving more and more towards the points system and the majority of the sales within the timeshare industry are on a points basis. Club Leisure Group, pioneer of the points system, has shown phenomenal
growth over the last 25 years and introduced many exceptionally well-received products. The AROMA system is the most flexible holiday option available and allows members to holiday anywhere and anytime, in any size unit. Each week of holiday accommodation is valued on a points basis - from week 1 to week 52 throughout the year, resort by resort. The number of points required for each week depends on the time of the year, the quality of the resort and the number of bedrooms per unit. No restriction is placed on the number of points the member may acquire and the member may purchase additional points at any time. The asset made up of holiday accommodation owned by the club represents the total of the members’ points in the club. Once the member has been allocated points he can book a holiday. AROMA’s policy has been to acquire holiday properties during sought after holiday periods and a high percentage of the points held are in peak periods. The system can easily be compared with that of a bank, where you deposit money into an account and it continues to grow until you withdraw it, as and when you need to and however much you need. Each year you are re-credited with the number of points that you have acquired. The points are held to the credit of the member’s account and can be accumulated for up to three years. At any time the member can make a reservation and his account will be debited with the number of points required for the particular unit in the particular resort of his choice. For convenience and flexibility, AROMA has no equal in the international market.
RCI brings in 21 new resorts to European portfolio
CI is bringing more resorts to its members with 21 new affiliations in Europe as well as many more across the globe. Among the latest resorts affiliating to RCI are: Hotel Interstar, located in the Austrian ski resort of Saalbach-Hinterglemm, an area with 60 ski lifts, numerous cable cars and top-class pistes as well as an array of aprèsski options. Hitit Ayaş, in Turkey, which is set in an area famous for its health-giving thermal springs, yet only 58 kilometres from the capital Ankara. The property is less than an hour’s drive from many historical monuments and archaeological sites.
Empark Grand Hotel, China
Empark Grand Hotel Group, eight resorts in China – in popular tourist areas such as Chaohu Lake, the Gui’an Hot Spring Resort area, Kunming, and Xi’an. Grand Palladium Bávaro Resort & Spa, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, which offers all-inclusive options.
Hotel Interstar, Austria
Bedroom at the Empark Grand Hotel, China,
Interval International adds Club Michelangelo to Global Vacation Exchange Network
nterval International has affiliated Club Michelangelo, a points-based vacation club with resorts in two of southern Italy’s most popular holiday destinations. The 54 apartments of Meridie Village are steps from the Ionian Sea in the small town of San Sostene, on the south-eastern coast of Calabria (the ‘toe’ of Italy’s boot). The resort’s studios, one- and twobedroom apartments are furnished in the Mediterranean style. Hotel La Fenice has 70 apartments near Costa Smeralda, on the north-east coast of the island of Sardinia. The modern hotel has been built in keeping with the local architecture and its studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments are furnished with handcrafted fabrics and accessories.
DAE claims regional focus benefits customers
ial An Exchange is making localised customer service a priority as it expands its services into key timeshare markets around the world.
It features a poolside restaurant and is nearby the prestigious Povero Golf Course and area marinas.
DAE now has offices in 12 locations including Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Bulgaria, Germany, South Africa, India, Thailand, China, the United Kingdom and the United States, with a new office in Egypt opening last year.
Both resorts have large outdoor swimming pools, air conditioning, and offer daily housekeeping. They also offer family-friendly amenities, including sightseeing tours and on-site children’s activities at Hotel La Fenice, and a playground within walking distance at Meridie Village.
CEO Francis Taylor said their customers’ best interests guided the company’s growth. “As a company that listens to what our customers want above all else, DAE has always understood that our members want simple, quick service that delivers results in one phone call,” said Mr Taylor.
Hotel La Fenice is 18 km (11 miles) from Olbia-Costa Smeralda International Airport. The resort offers a shuttle service to and from the airport. Meridie Village is 70 km (44 miles) from the nearest international airport at Lamezia Terme.
“The opposition to centralised call centres has grown stronger in recent years, which is why DAE is committed to a decentralised approach to customer service. “Our localised service providers can cater to the cultural needs of members in their region and are sensitive to how different cultures prefer to travel.”
ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
Forty years of friendship
Exchange news Milestone year for Wyndham family
s RCI celebrates its fortieth birthday this year, it is joined by a number of its sister companies in Wyndham Exchange & Rentals.
RCI’s Kate Karagholi (left) and Jo Hobbs (right) with Christel DeHaan
RCI Christel House Open – regarded as the world’s largest multi-day charity golf event.
orty decades later and the ties between RCI and co-founder, Christel DeHaan, are still close. Christel is pictured, centre, with European marketing team members, Kate Karagholi (left) and Jo Hobbs at RCI’s U.S. global headquarters during a recent visit. Christel established The Christel House Charity 16 years ago and is RCI’s charity of choice. In 2003, RCI launched the annual
The tournaments have raised an amazing $8.2 million for the charity, which gives underprivileged children around the world food, care, education and a future. Christel explains: “Christel House focuses on lasting transformation, not temporary sustenance. It is the difference between giving a man a fish for a meal today and teaching him to fish to provide for himself and his family in the future.” To learn more visit christelhouse.org
New Bali holiday resort for Interval members
Milestone anniversaries are planned for James Villa Holidays and Chez Nous (30 years), Canvas Holidays (50 years), Landal GreenParks (60 years) and Hoseasons (70 years). All have become well-known and recognised hospitality brands across the U.K., mainland Europe and beyond. Staff share a ‘count on me’ mind set and dedication to customer service, priding themselves on sending their customers and RCI members on the best holidays possible. Geoff Ballotti, president and chief executive officer, Wyndham Exchange & Rentals, said: “When we think of the heritage of these storied brands and their decades of dedicated service to returning customers – it is indeed a tremendous source of pride.”
expect or aspire to on vacation,” said Iwansja Gunawan, owner of Mahagiri Vacation Club.
Interval affiliates Mahagiri Vacation Club
nterval International has affiliated Mahagiri Vacation Club, in Sanur, on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Hidden within a maze of narrow lanes, Mahagiri Vacation Club is laid out in the tradition of a Balinese village and constructed in the local style with stone walls and thatched palm roofs. The complex has 18 units set within landscaped, gated grounds and is linked by paths to a fullservice restaurant and spa. Guests are a short walk from a white-sand beach. “We wanted to blend the cultural traditions and spiritual atmosphere with the high standards that many modern travellers
The interiors of the one-, two-, and threebedroom villas have hardwood floors and Balinese art and include a kitchen, where breakfast is prepared daily by a cook. Each opens on to a serene tropical garden with a private pool. Villas are air-conditioned and include daily housekeeping service. En-suite amenities include a large, flat-panel TV with cable and DVD player, Wi-Fi, and a stereo sound system. “Mahagiri Vacation Club is a spectacular addition to Interval International’s exchange network,” said Joe Hickman, Interval’s vice president and executive director for Asia Pacific. “It achieves that rare combination: providing an extremely high standard of luxury, along with a truly authentic cultural experience.” The Club is situated close to a beach and golf facility, as well as local warungs (familyowned cafes), restaurants, cultural shows, and nightlife.” Mahagiri Vacation Club is 25 minutes from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.
A fair way to more benefits
CI has recently introduced new benefits for RCI members renewing or upgrading to RCI platinum.
For each year of RCI Platinum they purchase, members will receive a free golf membership with Open Fairways for one year worth £89. Members can share the benefits and enjoy two rounds of golf for the price of one or receive a 50 per cent green fee discount for up to seven guests. More than 1,500 locations including leading courses – are accessible to RCI members. Log in to www.RCI.com for full details and to upgrade.
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ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
Why I love my timeshare: the day our resort pool had a royal visitor
imeshare is something of a family affair for Peter and Jacky Rawlinson, who purchased their week at Hilton Grand Vacations, at Craigendarroch in Scotland, from her parents. The couple, RCI weeks members, now holiday at the resort with their own children, as well as sharing it with their extended family. “My parents bought at Craigendarroch when I was very young because they loved it so much,” said Jacky, who recalls seeing royal guests due to its location next to the Queen’s summer residence of Balmoral. “I remember they closed the swimming pool once so that Princess Diana could go for a swim with Princes William and Harry, who were both very young at the time,” she said. ”On another occasion, I swam in the pool at the same time as Zara Phillips, another member of the Royal Family.”
Wider horizons As well as taking holidays at their home resort, Jacky says her family regularly uses the RCI exchange system to travel further afield, particularly to the U.S.A. Her parents loved it so much they ended up buying a home in Florida. “They wanted to spend more time there, so we bought their timeshare in Scotland,” she explained.
ABTA publishes 2014 Travel Trends report
BTA has released its ‘Travel Trends’ report 2014 which predicts cautious optimism in the holiday market for the year ahead with consumers continuing to holiday and planning to spend more than they did in 2013. It also reveals that value for money will remain a priority for many and that package holidays will perform well again in 2014. As well as market trends, ABTA’s 2014 report highlights destinations to watch for in the coming year. Key trends include: • Same country, different destination – consumers are expected to choose a different resort or destination in favourite countries
Jacky has visited Summer Bay in Orlando, Florida and Craigendarroch
“We bought the timeshare just as we were leaving university. All our friends were buying houses and cars, but holidays were always more important to us. We knew we’d be spending the next 30 years of our lives working and holidays needed to be a priority.
the RCI exchange system,” she said. “For us it’s an opportunity to go places we hadn’t dreamed of.”
“We wanted to ensure great holiday accommodation for the rest of our lives – knowing we are going somewhere every year that is good quality. We both work so many hours that having that time and space to look forward to is invaluable.” The couple, from Sudbury in Suffolk, now have three children of their own, Suzzanah, Caitlin and Astrid, and make the most of their timeshare. Using RCI guest certificates enabled Jacky to give her sister-in-law the wedding gift of a week’s honeymoon in Gran Canaria. “We love everything about our timeshare and
Jacky and her family on their last night in Florida
For more information on RCI visit www.rci.com
they know well, providng them with a mixture of familiar and new holiday experiences
aged 55-64) look set for another strong year in 2014, after notable growth in 2013
• Package holidays – these will continue to be popular, driven by consumer demand for value and the ease of having arrangements taken care of, as well as the greater choice and flexibility now offered by the package holiday market
• Tried and tested destinations close to home – these will continue to do well in 2014 as consumers seek well-known, good value holidays. Short haul favourites including Spain, Greece, Italy, Turkey and France are likely to benefit from this trend.
• The simple life – while 5-star luxury will continue to appeal to many who can afford it, holidays that are perceived as more simple and authentic, which remove people from their hectic daily lives, are also set to be popular in the coming year
In the report ABTA has identified its ‘Destinations to Watch’ 2014. These include a mixture of long-, mid- and short-haul destinations, holiday favourites and emerging destinations which are expected to capture the public’s imagination.
• Domestic tourism – home-based travel is expected to remain in strong shape in 2014 with the feel-good-factor created by the success of the Jubilee and Olympics in 2012 further bolstered by 2013’s sunny summer • Age groups – the baby boomers (those
The destinations are: Brazil, Caribbean (Antigua), Costa Rica, Greece, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, the Pacific Coast and Baja, Oman, Portugal, Slovenia, Sicily, Italy, The U.S.A. (Texas/New Mexico/Alaska).
Timeshare Management Fee Collection Resort Recoveries, developed by CBC International, is a specialist in the recovery of overdue accounts in the timeshare sector, and, in particular, the collection of outstanding
finance payments from owners.
Today, Resort Recoveries works with a number
assisting with the collection of fees both in the U.K. and Europe. Key to their success is the understanding that resorts value their owners and want to enjoy a long-standing relationship. Tact, diplomacy and empathy are key skills and crucial to the operation.
Resort Recoveries Specialist Timeshare Fee Collection
So why choose Resort Recoveries? Roy Caligari, managing director, explains: • We are TATOC affiliates so you are guaranteed that owners will be treated fairly and professionally while ultimately recovering what is owed; • We only charge when we are successful in collecting fees - if we are unsuccessful then the resort does not pay for our service; • We have experienced collectors who understand your business & get results; • We hold the internationally recognised Quality Assurance Accreditation ISO 9001:2008; • We are licensed by the Office of Fair Trading and registered under the Data Protection Act; and • We offer online, telephone and traditional cheque payment options making it easy for owners to pay their outstanding fees
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ISSUE 17 • Spring 2014
Click here for Cheap Flights
Battle of the low-cost airlines
By Sharetime reporter When it comes to low-cost airlines, many believe that Ryanair is the cheapest. But recent research shows that this isn’t the case. Famous for their hidden fees and additional charges, an enquiry has shown that these costs have a major impact on the final flight price. Indeed, when all costs are counted, three lesserknown airlines have proved to be cheaper: Even though Ryanair is considered to be the cheapest airline, this is true only when comparing the basic fare without fees. When the total fare is counted, including transaction fee and checked baggage fee, the cheapest carrier is Pegasus Airlines with a total average price of €63.19 Next is Wizz Air (€75.74) and Blue Air (€82.45). Ryanair comes in at fourth place with €83.45.
At the other end of the list there are airlines with relatively high prices. For example, the average flight with fees operated by Fly Thomas Cook costs €206.76, making it three times more expensive than Pegasus and more than twice the price of Ryanair. Low-cost airlines make considerable money on the various fees charged - and their creativity seems to be endless.
Top tips for travellers: When booking your flights with Ryanair, be careful in every step of the booking procedure. Ryanair hides some of the fees very smartly (travel insurance, for example). When adding checked baggage to your booking, think twice before you choose whether you want to carry 15 kg or 20 kg. If you buy the smaller one and bring five excess
kilos to the airport it will cost you €100! Do not forget to print out and bring your boarding pass, otherwise you will have to pay a €70 boarding card re-issue fee. Try to fit everything into hand baggage and pay with a debit card, as payment with credit cards often leads to extra transaction fees. Travelling low-cost can be a minefield with all the companies trying to “offer” you extras. These optional features can cost you a fortune and their real value is questionable. Do you really need priority-boarding, reserved seating, sms confirmation and more legroom for a short flight to Spain? Priority boarding for example will not make your journey shorter. You will spend the same time waiting for your flight, just more of it in the aircraft itself instead of at the gate.
News Luggage Mule attacks Ryanair charges Baggage courier company Luggage Mule has claimed that a family of four travelling with Ryanair will pay more than £1,200 extra in ancillary and luggage charges.
One upmanship: how TATOC looks after by Aunty Betty clients, resorts Over the last few years I have been able to share the ups and downs of life and introduce you to some of my friends and neighbours. This time I am going to introduce you to a corker – Winifred Annabelle Linford-Inkpen (do not forget the hyphen). A lady who has an opinion on everything and who cannot let a statement go by without comment.
“TATOC puts together experts to help committees and resorts deal with important issues. There’s also a mediation service so people can avoid large legal bills and solve their problems.
From politics and scandal to general knowledge and the weather, she knows it all. So imagine my glee when I managed to get one up on her.
”There is a business directory of approved and affiliated companies who provide services to the industry and a board of directors voted for by the members. It is all done legally, properly and democratically.”
It all came about when we were discussing the lack of help and advice available to small associations and committees. Winifred was going on and on about the local Citizens Advice Bureau and how wonderful they were. “Well, what about timeshare,” asked Beryl, looking up from her knitting? A deadly hush descended.
he home-to-hotel luggage service stated it can save passengers £50 off the cost of a Ryanair fare with checked-in luggage.
“Timeshare,” Winifred replied with her aristocratic nose quivering as if there was a rather nasty smell, “why would they want to deal with timeshare? It is full of fraudsters and who in their right mind would even buy timeshare?”
Ryanair disputed the findings saying that customers would not be interested in the service because 80 per cent of their customers do not check-in luggage.
“Well, actually it is quite easy to understand and I am sure you must have heard of TATOC?” I asked Winifred.
However, Luggage Mule’s poll of users showed that almost half (46 per cent) would have chosen to take 25kg of luggage at Luggage Mule’s £74.99 charge if it had been available at the time of booking.
“Taytoc?” she replied, looking around for support. “Oh yes, The Association of Timeshare Owners and Committees,” I continued. “They have been in existence since 1989, are a U.K. company registered by guarantee and the work it does for the industry is quite unbelievable. Do you know it has its own helpline?”
Company co-founder Steve Endacott added: “The Luggage Mule service now means travel agents can sell Ryanair flights, plus a reasonable amount of luggage allowance, far cheaper per family of four, than customers can buy them directly from Ryanair and avoid those nasty excess baggage fees, bag drops and foreign baggage carousels.” Luggage Mule offered a comparison between the prices a family of four would pay for standard holiday extras with Ryanair, compared to what they would pay if they purchased them online or via travel agents. Based on return flights from Stansted to Barcelona for seven days, in July, Luggage Mule charges £74.99 for 25kg of luggage whereas the Ryanair equivalent is £170 each way, with excess baggage fees - an over-charge by Ryanair of £265.
“Well, I am sure it is only available to members of the association.“ Winifred sensed a weakness. “Oh no,” I replied quickly. “Anyone can call them and receive impartial information on all sorts of subjects. Even you could call them Winifred.” “Over the years the association has grown and when the U.K. government was looking at drafting timeshare legislation, TATOC even made a presentation to the House of Lords.” I paused for dramatic effect and Winifred went paler. “The House of Lords said how important TATOC was as it represented consumers and timeshare owners. Their website is full of information and they have an annual conference where consumers and the industry meet, discuss matters and listen to professional speakers. It’s unique.
I explained to Winifred that timeshare resorts apply for membership, pay a small annual membership fee and can enjoy a host of benefits and support from the TATOC team. The executive chairman is in regular contact and the quarterly magazine keeps timeshare owners updated with the latest news and stories. Member resorts can apply for TATOC accreditation and the process is robust and comprehensive. “My resort applied for accreditation and we had to provide significant amounts of information on areas such as health and safety, legal compliance and our sales procedures. “But when you get to fly the TATOC accredited resort flag then everyone knows your resort is of a certain standard,” I continued. Over the years, TATOC has built good relationships with the Office of Fair Trading, government agencies, the police, trading standards and the media and regularly features on local and national radio. “So, I think you will find that there is more than enough information and help to be found at www.tatoc.co.uk - the only real timeshare association, Winifred. “This year TATOC celebrates its 25th anniversary so I am going to wish them many happy returns and congratulate all those involved and their members. May they grow from strength to strength.” And with that I picked up my handbag and, with Beryl and her knitting in tow, left a very subdued Winifred Annabelle LinfordInkpen. One up to Auntie Betty.