ISSUE 15 â€˘ Autumn 2013
More with RCI
Country cottages and more make up the widest choice of RCI exchange experiences
Front cover sponsored by RCI
Another busy year for TATOC By TATOC executive chairman, HARRY TAYLOR
very time I sit down to write my piece for the magazine it takes me some time to decide finally on the content. Not that there is too little to say but rather too much for my allotted space.
of Atlanta, U.S.A. We received an email from a customer telling us that she had only paid money to this company because it was using our logo and referred to TATOC in its contract.
I will begin by reporting that the TATOC Ambassador programme launched at the 2013 conference has been well received by members and the industry as a whole.
She was scammed for $19,000 (£12,000). TATOC is being recognised worldwide but, unfortunately, the scammers are seeking ways to exploit our success and progress.
Under the leadership of Michael Ashton, it is proving to be a tremendous aid for TATOC, spreading the word to resorts that are not yet members – and making contact with our current membership, too.
The lady concerned has followed our advice and notified the Attorney General’s Office, the U.S.A. Federal Trade Commission Department of Consumer Affairs and the FBI.
The trade organisation, RDO, has made a concentrated effort during the past few months to highlight the scammers and rogue companies operating in the U.K. and Europe. TATOC will continue to give 100 per cent assistance in providing the necessary information and data to secure convictions. It came as a complete surprise to learn that TATOC has opened an office in the city
During the summer months TATOC had meetings with the government department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) concerning perpetuity and exit policies in timeshare contracts.
Diana, a timeshare veteran of nearly 30 years, began her timeshare career working for Palm Beach Club. After working with both Global and Club Olympus in their marketing departments, she returned to work for Bob Trotta when he was the chairman of the newly formed Canary Islands Timeshare Resorts Association in 1987 as the secretary of the association. At the end of 1989 she was approached to open an office in Tenerife for RCI and in the
TATOC values these meetings very highly as they provide the opportunity for a good exchange of views and the sharing of detailed information on all matters concerning consumers throughout Europe. The TATOC team has also recently undertaken mediation between various companies and timeshare owners. This is a significant and valuable service that we can offer businesses and consumers. The talks are on-going but I hope to report back on our success in the coming months. Three resorts have taken up our invitation to participate in the TATOC health check service and initial meetings have taken place. The first report is due in the next few weeks and we are hopeful that it will assist the resort and its committee. Finally, as regular readers will certainly agree our magazine has grown in content, quality and in distribution numbers. I can safely say that this edition, number 15, ranks as one of the best. This is due mainly to our editor, Collin Collins; the person who makes it all happen, Emily Collins, and all our contributors who kindly share their knowledge, stories and news with us. Many thanks from all at TATOC.
This meeting was a follow-up to the advice we had given to Jo Swinson, the BIS parliamentary under-secretary of state, for her recent parliamentary debate. You will find more details of this debate in the summer issue of Sharetime.
Industry leader becomes TATOC Ambassador espected industry professional and chief operating officer at Silverpoint, Diana Aitchison, has been appointed a TATOC ambassador.
Meetings have also been held with the U.K. European Consumer Centre, which is cofunded by BIS and the European Commission.
first three years was instrumental in helping affiliate 45 new resorts. She was promoted and moved back to RCI’s head office in Kettering initially in a business development role working with the points system and latterly as the director of resort services for Europe. After 13 years with RCI she moved back to the Canary Islands to work with Nexus Leisure as their group managing director. In May 2013, Diana was appointed as chief operating officer at Silverpoint.
Harry Taylor, executive chairman
TATOC 2014 conference announced
he TATOC annual conference 2014 will take place from March 7-9 at the Park Royal Hotel, Stretton, near Warrington. With the theme of “Keeping the customer…” speakers will address the key issues facing resorts with a focus on the timeshare customer. From keeping customers happy and engaged at the resort to ensuring they pay their maintenance fees and enjoy their ownership, TATOC’s conference speakers will include industry professionals, committee chairmen/ women and resort managers. We hope more member resorts will attend this year to learn from our speakers and share their own experiences. Further details of the conference will be available on the TATOC website from midSeptember including great early-bird rates.
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
News from the TATOC Consumer Helpline
Invitations that are too good to be true
Mark Caldicott, helpline manager, highlights the perils of accepting ‘cold call’ telemarketing invitations to presentations.
he TATOC Consumer Helpline often receives calls from timeshare owners who have been ‘cold called’ inviting them to attend presentations on a variety of products and services. Many owners want to know what happens if they attend such a meeting.
like this. Consumers are made to believe the company will help them get out of the ownership and any future liability.
under-hand. He reimbursed the £1,000 (or as it transpired £1,029). “The next day I telephoned Action Fraud and the bank who said they could not stop the amount until it had gone through.”
Once such call came from a gentleman who had attended a presentation on behalf of his family. This is his experience.
“He then explained what he could do for my parents. For the equivalent of about five years’ maintenance fees he could pass the liability of ownership and on-going maintenance fees to someone else. While it was a legitimate course of action, he advised that I didn’t ask ‘too many questions’.
“My father owns two timeshare weeks. Since 2007 my mother has been too ill to visit the resort they own at and my father subsequently did not pay the maintenance fees. As a result, he is now in significant arrears.
“I was shown the driver’s licence of a Spaniard but when I asked if the ownership was going to be sold to someone about to be made bankrupt, he refused to confirm or deny the accusation.
“Out of the blue, my father was ‘cold called’ by an alleged re-sale company. Thankfully, he gave them my phone details and I spoke with them and agreed to meet at a hotel in Solihull. My father was too frail to attend.
‘For the equivalent of about five years’ maintenance fees he could pass the liability of ownership and on-going maintenance fees to someone else.’
“I duly attended on my father’s behalf alone and brought both my passport and a draft power of attorney. “On arrival I saw the re-sale company’s name on the board of events taking place and duly went to the respective conference room. I met a man who I assumed to be the owner and was eventually introduced to the man I had arranged to meet.
“I was then handed over to a female colleague who explained that my father’s resort was very scrupulous when it came to accepting transfers of ownership. She asked if I would like to try to reduce the maintenance arrears by asking for a settlement figure. This would be more successful, she said, if she acted as my sister.
“He showed me a Daily Mail report about how timeshare was originally sold ‘in perpetuity’ and that ownership did not die with the owner.
“She offered to contact the resort, pretend to be my father’s daughter and try to get the arrears reduced and steer them to accept the transfer. I was advised not to pay this year’s maintenance fee as this could be paid as part of the transfer arrangement.
“He then produced a schedule showing how, over the next 30 years, we could owe £168,000 – and he also showed me county court judgements against timeshare owners by the resort at which my father owns.
“At this point the first man I had met returned and scribbled down that he needed £1,000 for the company’s services. I was taken to a separate room where a laptop, printer and card machine were all in operation.
“I have subsequently learnt that this is a very common scare tactic used at meetings
“My passport number was noted down and £1,000 taken from my account. I signed the contracts and took the authorisation and surrender letters for father to sign. They asked for his passport so that my new ‘sister’ could speak more authoritatively about him. “I had discussed that I had been a solicitor in criminal practice at the beginning of the meeting and had later worked as a district crown prosecutor. “I left at about 4.25pm with instructions to e-mail the scanned documents signed by father and his passport on Monday. However, after visiting my father he was uncomfortable with the agreement and that it sounded
For too long there have been a number of unscrupulous companies who target timeshare owners saying they have a buyer for their timeshare product, often for grossly inflated prices, but require a substantial advance payment or require the owner to attend a “meeting”. These arrangements almost always end up in disappointment and loss of money for the consumer.
Partly because of new European and U.K. legislation that recently came into force and also because timeshare owners are becoming wary of the old-style fraudulent practices, new approaches are emerging. Companies contact timeshare owners who wish to dispose of their timeshare product and may have experienced problems in selling it. These types of company fall into two types: TAKE OVER: The company may offer to ‘take over’ the ownership, together with all of the liabilities, but require a considerable advance payment. 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/company which will require specific procedures, documentation and transfer payment charges for this to take place. There may also be strict rules about who they will allow to take over ownership and may refuse such a transfer if the resort believes the prospective owner is not a ‘natural owner’. TERMINATION: The company may say it can cancel your ownership or otherwise terminate your ownership agreement with your timeshare company. Terminating or cancelling your ownership will be subject to the rules and regulations of your timeshare company, and there will be specific procedures for this to take place. Your resort will not accept instructions from a third party while the ownership is registered in your name.
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- Buying Timeshare - Guaranteed competitive prices when buying your timeshare We have an extremely competitively priced portfolio of timeshares for sale worldwide and are confident of meeting your needs. Secure and flexible payment terms available on all slaes. - Selling Timeshare - Free registration, valuation and advice for sellers We will register your timeshare free of charge and give an honest and realistic valuation of your expected return both in terms of price and timescales.
Our experienced consultants are available on FREEPHONE 0800 542 4466.
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The Timeshareshop Ltd is recommended by the Timeshare Consumers Association.
- Exchanging & Upgrading for Timeshare Are you are finding that you cannot use your existing timeshare or timeshare points? Too far to travel? Too inconvenient? Management fees too costly? Why not part exchange your week(s) or points for lower management fees with a resort more accessible you and your family.
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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Sales ] 0161 794 5241 Admin ] 0161 794 5240 F ] 0161 794 5242 E ] firstname.lastname@example.org W ] www.timeshareshopresales.com A ] 109 Chorley Road | Swinton Manchester | M27 4AA
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ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013 BIOGRAPHY: Ian Goddard started his timeshare career in 1987 with the LSI Group. After two years in front-line sales he created the in-house sales division and soon became group sales and marketing director. In 1995 he left to create Universal Vacation Club, which became the largest off-site sales operation in the U.K. In 2000 he sold the sales and marketing division to Sunterra and the club to RMI Consortium where he took up a position as sales and marketing director. After four years at RMI the company was sold to Petchey Leisure.
In my view
Goddard now owns and manages Richvale Limited and Heroes of Sales and Marketing, two independent companies formed to provide a wide range of marketing and sales solutions to timeshare developers.
by Ian Goddard, owner of Pueblo Evita and Fairways Clubs
here is no doubt that the world is vastly different than it was 25 years ago when I started selling timeshare.
Back then we were selling apartments far superior to the package tour accommodation that existed at the time. Now, the range of accommodation the world over is plentiful, varied and easily accessible on the Internet. Talking to existing owners, however, shows that timeshare can still offer great value for money over the long term, providing assurance of quality and a safe and familiar destination year after year. Many owners have made lasting friendships at their resorts with staff and fellow members alike adding to the overall experience and making it more that just a holiday. The problem is getting that message across to the next generation whose commitment to the long term does not seem to be the norm.
In April 2013 Goddard purchased the Pueblo Evita and Fairways Clubs.
To continue to exist you need to keep up with or get ahead of the times and this needs ongoing investment, sales and innovation or it will not appeal to a rapidly changing audience. It does not mean devaluing the resorts by dumping space into the last minute on-line discount rental market without a plan to try to convert those renters into new members. You have to ask “what added value can I supply and why would someone commit to paying yearly fees for the privilege?” What makes the holiday experience at your resort better than renting down the road or booking with Thomas Cook? I am sure that many existing owners could write down a number of unique points about their experience with timeshare that sets it above other methods of taking holidays. This message needs to be conveyed to a younger generation.
My own experience has been to shake up the attitude towards how our sites are run. Our mindset is not that we are simply here to wash the towels and clean the sheets, but that we are here to make our clients’ stay exceptional and memorable, one they would be more than happy to recommend to friends and colleagues on their return home. Our aim is to make a visit to our resorts more than just a comfortable stay in a selfcatering apartment. We look at the whole holiday experience from what is available in our club house, the entertainment we offer, the help and advice we give on the surrounding area and the general way in which we treat our customers. All this adds up hopefully to a much more enjoyable stay than might be received elsewhere.
We have two small There is no doubt that a number of smaller resorts would be resorts and work hard The main challenge for promote our unique a great number of older better sheltering under the wing of a larger organisation that can to points. We are not part resorts is lack of funds for re-investment and an bring new ideas, modern management and economies of scale. of a large organisation with homogenous understandable reluctance services and can provide to hike maintenance fees. a much more tailor-made experience and There is no doubt that a number of smaller There is also a reluctance to entertain new deal with clients individually. resorts would be better sheltering under products to suit a younger audience and great the wing of a larger organisation that can resistance to having an on-site sales presence. While larger organisations have swallowed bring new ideas, modern management and up a lot of resorts in recent years, I strongly economies of scale. Having worked with a number of resorts believe that there is room for smaller resorts managed by members in recent years, this has to provide a different experience. But some are beyond hope and would be been a recurring theme, which is perfectly better closed down and sold off. Others would understandable but commercially unviable. But to survive they must take radical action be better served by trading on their unique and drag themselves in many ways into the selling points insofar as they may exist. Adopt this attitude in the car sales market 21st Century. and you would expect to see Ford showrooms There are many ways that resorts can fill around the world selling the Model T by And of course, having identified what can be their empty space, generate much needed placing them in a shop window with a low done to set your resort above the rest, someone income and begin to achieve new sales, but price tag and an administrator inside ready to needs to take charge and make it happen. it takes a 360-degree approach and needs the take the order! involvement of every department. For further information on the services It is my view that timeshare developments can provided by Richvale Limited, contact It certainly means embracing the on-site sales compete admirably in the modern market but Ian Goddard on 0871 423 1662. presence recognised as an integral and vital it is no longer about providing a high quality part of the future of the resort. apartment with some friendly staff on site.
Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket (WWTH) - Europe’s leading timeshare re-sale organisation - is increasing its programme of diversification and innovation.
ollowing a successful management buy-out in early 2012, group chief executive Phil Watson has used his 30-plus years of industry experience to expand the group’s product range. WWTH now offers a wide selection of services for both consumers and the industry. Last year saw the launch of eXpectations a timeshare product designed to solve two major problems: exit strategies for members who wish to discontinue their ownership, and the development of a modern, flexible holiday product designed for a new generation of owners.
The product’s premise is simple: eXpectations is a private label club that provides access to holiday accommodation in the club and to over 4,000 timeshare resorts around the world through the club’s association with RCI. This accommodation is either exclusive inventory held and owned by the club or is made available through the exchange network. Timeshare owners can apply to exchange their week/s of ownership for eXpectations points. After which the club takes over the ownership and liability for the management fees. In return, owners receive a number of eXpectations points which can be used to book holiday accommodation and products. After three years the owners can give the club six months’ notice with no further commitment or penalties.
Taking this one stage further, Watson and his team are currently in discussions with several owner-run clubs about providing eXpectations in order to control delinquency rates, increase revenues and provide an increase in inbound exchanges.
The company could also actively market inventory to potential rental customers or to existing exchange members meaning that the resort benefits from a rental stream and also from the on-site spend in restaurants, bars and so on.
As part of an overall package of services, WWTH can take care of matters that an owner-run resort may not have experience or expertise in developing.
Ensuring a resort has a well-designed and effective website is integral to engaging with clients and forms part of an overall strategy that WWTH can develop for resorts.
This include a complete website design and hosting facility, tailored and branded mobile phone apps, rental systems and even a complete reservations, invoicing and customer relationship database system.
Getting that site to the top of search engines, together with establishing a strong social media brand, ensures that the resort benefits as much as possible from today’s ‘tech savvy’ and rapidly changing world.
WWTH has been able to use the knowledge previously gained in marketing new resorts in Tenerife, Cyprus and Scotland to run and manage dedicated sales and resort re-sales programmes.
Add on a mobile app and resorts know they are reaching their target audience at every opportunity.
This solution is seen as ideal for smaller independent resorts that may no longer have an on-site sales team.
Making every interaction with clients as efficient and cost effective as possible can be achieved by utilising a custom database developed by WWTH for resort booking, invoicing, collection and administration needs.
“We are able to assist resorts in bringing a new generation of owners through either an effective marketing strategy, a dedicated sales force, or by converting the resort’s own unsold or reclaimed inventory into the eXpectations club.” Speaking on this option Phil Watson said: “As a business we are all too aware of the issues that are facing resorts in today’s economic climate and in light of what is, in general, an ageing owner demographic.
Adds Watson: “This range of options can be implemented either as a whole package, or tailored into individual elements to suit an individual resort’s current and future requirements ensuring costs are kept to a minimum.”
“We are able to assist resorts in bringing a new generation of owners through either an effective marketing strategy, a dedicated sales force, or by converting the resort’s own unsold or reclaimed inventory into the eXpectations club.”
For further information contact Phil Watson, CEO WWTH, on 01202 544870, email email@example.com or visit www.timeshare-hypermarket.com or www.expectationsholidays.co.uk
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
Silverpoint launches ‘electronic member’s pack’
ot on the heels of the SilverpointGo Travel Guide app for mobile devices, the innovative Silverpoint team has launched an ‘electronic member’s pack’. The ‘pack’ comes in the form of an Android tablet, which has been pre-loaded with a host of Silverpoint information – including purchase paperwork and product brochures. Much of this information can be accessed without a Wi-Fi connection. It is delivered in a stylish multimedia combination of apps, widgets and websites. However, once connected to the Internet, the tablet has access to Silverpoint’s suite of websites as well as opening up the full potential of the SilverpointGo app which features everything for the modern traveller. This includes restaurant guides, location maps, language translators, currency converters and information on just about every country in the world.
U.S. firm buys major stake in CLC World company
LC World has sold 75 per cent of its management business to U.S.-based Interval Leisure Group (ILG), the parent company of Interval International.
Interval Leisure Group is a leading provider of membership and leisure services and has recently expanded its interests into resort management. This has included the acquisition of several management companies in the U.S.A.under its Vacation Resorts International (VRI) brand. The company has been looking to expand into Europe for some time. The new agreement with CLC World sees the formation of a joint venture resort management company, VRI Europe, of which ILG owns a 75.5 per cent share.
This new technology reflects Silverpoint’s desire to communicate effectively with its members and follows up the successful social media platform the company has developed over the last couple of years. Building on this successful form of customer engagement the new tablet also features a ‘news widget’ which enables the company to send members up-to-the-minute news as well as information on the latest offers and holiday deals. Said Diana Aitchison, Silverpoint COO: “It’s been exciting to be involved in such an innovative and forward thinking project. “Engaging with a new, young and modern membership base is one of the aspects of our expansion strategy and this type of technology really helps us reach out to this market”. The SilverpointGo Travel Guide app, which features on the new electronic member’s pack, is available free at www.silverpointgo.com
Brand awareness campaign launched
DRI goes public on NY exchange
iamond Resorts has ‘gone public’ on the New York Exchange. Its initial public offering raised $217 million for 15.5 million shares at $14 per share.
lobal PR and multi-media company Perspective Group has teamed up with Brand Tango to launch a campaign promoting the importance of brand visibility and positioning. The brand awareness campaign comprises a series of informative and educational print and on-line advertisements, magazine editorials and blog posts. The message stresses the need to adapt the way a timeshare brand is interpreted and engaged with by its target audience. The campaign’s content will be available across social media and on-line platforms, including Perspective magazine (http://perspectivemagazine.com). There will also be editorial content and advertisements in the five regional editions of Perspective Magazine. TATOC affiliate Perspective Group provides the industry’s most comprehensive, independent multi-media marketing and publishing services globally.
The stock is trading on the Exchange under the ‘DRII’ ticker symbol. The company has also announced two strategic acquisitions, adding Island One and the remaining portion of Pacific Monarch Resorts to its network. Diamond has acquired the management contracts for each company’s properties, and added Island One’s owner families to its portfolio.
Diamond had previously acquired Pacific Monarch’s other management agreements and owner families in 2012.
The joint venture company, which will be based in the U.K., will own CLC World’s resort management businesses in Malaga and Tenerife as well as Resort Solutions in the U.K.
“We are thrilled to complete these transactions, which together add nine new properties, 13 new property management arrangements, and over 25,000 owner families to our network,” stated David F. Palmer, Diamond Resorts President and CEO.
All existing resort management business and infrastructure will be maintained as one under the VRI Europe umbrella offering management and direction to 21 resorts in the U.K., Spain, France and Portugal.
“Coinciding with our initial public offering, these transactions will benefit our business by adding significant cash flow to our hospitality management segment and enhancing our owner base.”
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
Women at the top: Linda Freer In this regular feature we talk to women who have made it to the top in the timeshare industry.
What was your first job?
I started work as a trainee accountant. I found the whole training process very boring and hated being sent out on audit to sit in a stock room and be treated like the enemy.
Linda Freer has recently retired as the owner and managing director of management company Resorts Solutions, selling the company to CLC World Resorts & Hotels in early 2013.
How and why did you get into the timeshare business? It was quite by accident really. In fact when I was first offered the position I turned it down. I didn’t want to be the subject of the next Esther Rantzen show, which at that time seemed to feature some negative story about the industry every week. But I found the opportunity too exciting and changed my mind and never looked back.
What was your first timeshare job? I was responsible for setting up all the systems and processes as well as selecting and training all the staff for the first truly independent timeshare management company, Timeshare Management Services International Ltd (TMSI).
How did you move into the world of resort management? TMSI evolved from back office services to full on-site management and again I was at the forefront of selecting and training key staff and setting up the systems, standards and monitoring systems needed to manage remote resorts.
Was this predominantly a male business?
Her first experience in the industry was with John Bush at Timeshare Management Services International (TMSI), where she later became a director. In 2001, the company was purchased by RCI Europe and Linda was appointed director of RCI Resort Management. Five years later in 2006, Linda and fellow director Rob Weston undertook a management buyout to form Resort Solutions Limited. Today the company manages the affairs of 12 clubs in the U.K., Spain, Lanzarote, France and Portugal.
Woman don’t believe in themselves and their own ability the same way as men do and are sometimes not given the opportunity to prove themselves.
Would you advise today’s young women to enter the timeshare world? I most certainly would, women will move the industry forward.
Owning and growing Resort Solutions Ltd during a difficult period for the timeshare industry and during the worldwide recession. I was and still am very proud of the ethics and success of the company.
How did you fare as a female?
What skills can women bring to the timeshare industry?
Not having enough hours in the day and enough days in the week. Owning your own business is 24/7 until the business reaches a certain size. I think this is a challenge for anyone running their own business.
Why do you think there are so very few - if any - female timeshare developers or senior managers?
What was your biggest success?
Looking back over your timeshare career, is there anything you would change or have done differently?
What were your greatest challenges?
The changes in legislation to protect consumers and the consequences of that legislation. The development of new products to avoid the legislation, new flexible products that are better for today’s owner and the consolidation of many smaller companies. In fact the industry has never stopped changing and never should.
Linda is a board member of the industry and consumer action group, is part of TATOC’s panel of experts and sits on the RDO’s Communications Council.
Yes, definitely, but then most businesses were male dominated twenty-five years ago when I started working in the timeshare industry. I remember finding RCI so refreshing with regards to this and the opportunities there for female employees. I was appointed director of RCI resort management against male contenders.
Pretty well I think. I had no problem in fighting my corner when it was necessary. I am a great believer in getting the job done and proving yourself by action rather then words alone.
What have been the biggest changes you’ve seen in the business?
No I don’t have much time for regrets, I have really enjoyed being part of the timeshare industry; it was innovative, fast moving and fun as well as hard work!
Women have great persuasive skills and are good communicators; there should be more women at the forefront of the industry on the RDO board and TATOC.
Who in the industry do you admire and why? Dimitris Manikis from RCI. His passion for the industry has never dwindled; he’s a genuine, nice guy, an ambassador and leader of the industry.
Linda recently visited the Christel House school in Cape Town
If you could make one major change to the timeshare industry what would it be? I would stop all the focus and jobs created to measure and monitor negative publicity of the industry. Try asking 30 to 40-yearolds what they know about timeshare. The answer is nothing. They don’t know about the negative publicity because they don’t know what timeshare is and they are the young families looking to secure an annual holiday for their family.
What are your plans for the future? I’m going to become a domestic goddess; I should have been a timeshare saleswoman!
More choice with RCI membership...
Nowhere else will give you such a wide variety of exchange holiday experiences! VISIT RCI.com OR CALL 0845 60 86 380 TODAY RCI is part of Wyndham Exchange and Rentals which means we can partner with our sister companies to bring you more varied and different Exchange options, such as James Villa Holidays, Landal GreenParks, Canvas Holidays or a Cottage break.
A family break in Norfolk
RCI’s association with the Hoseasons Group and cottages4you brings many idyllic U.K. holiday homes to its members.
hen Will Hall, Director of Product & E-commerce at Wyndham Worldwide, and his wife Jo became proud parents to baby Lily-Rose, they decided their next holiday would be a lot nearer to home.
English Countryside Idyll Lily-Rose Hall enjoying her UK holiday
If you’d like to take a holiday closer to home, remember that RCI has the widest diversity of UK holiday cottages available through holiday exchange – a benefit of being a sister company to the Hoseasons Group.
eing a member of RCI means you have access to a world of holiday options, but don’t forget you can also stay closer to home, thanks to our association with cottages4you, part of the Hoseasons Group. RCI is on a mission to give its members as many different holiday experiences as possible. Because the UK continues to be one of the most popular destinations, we’ve responded by working with the Hoseasons Group to make a selection of fabulous UK cottages4you properties available to our members. There is a great range of accommodation to choose from, whether you fancy a rural cottage, rustic farmhouse or modern apartment. You can also choose a short break of two, three or four nights – or opt for a longer stay of seven nights or more.
Booking a cottages4you property is easy and can be done in several ways: • A traditional cash booking – RCI members receive a 10% discount • As an RCI Exchange Holiday, using your trading power as you would with any other RCI booking • As an RCI Points reservation, using your points as you would with any other RCI booking • As an RCI Points Partner reservation. To view the choice RCI gives you, visit www.rci.com and search using Holiday Types and Vacation Homes search filters. To join RCI visit http://jointoday.rci.com/
“With a young baby – Lily-Rose was just eight months old – we didn’t want the hassle of overseas travel, so decided a break in the UK would be ideal,” says Will. “We found a lovely cottage on the North Norfolk coast, which was ideal for us. It had lots of attractive features, such as a woodburning stove, and four bedrooms enabling us to take some of our extended family and our dog too. It was a real home from home, and just a short walk from the beach.” Located at Bacton between Cromer and Great Yarmouth, the cottage was also close to Bacton Wood, ideally placed for picnics, walking, cycling and bird-watching. The nearby children’s adventure park, BeWILDerwood, was particularly popular with Scott and Amy, Will’s niece and nephew who joined them on the family holiday with Will’s sister Jackie and husband Travis. “The children were enchanted by the theme park, and we all enjoyed the beautiful Norfolk coast and beaches, as well as the seaside resorts of Great Yarmouth and Cromer,” explains Will. “We visited the pier and enjoyed traditional fish and chips at the beach – it was an ideal family holiday, especially enjoyed by Millie the Labrador.”
Macdonald opens golf clubhouse at Spey Valley
Kevin and Perry ride for charity
zure Malta’s Kevin Camilleri and Perry Newton are hitting the road again to ride in another gruelling motorbike rally to raise funds for charity. The duo from the developers of the Heavenly Collection at Golden Sands, an affiliate of The Registry Collection, will take part in the Transanatolia Rally in Turkey. The seven-day race starts and finishes in Antalya, crossing the Taurus Mountains into Cappadocia during the course of its 2,500km route of challenging terrain. Last year the duo were the first Maltese team entrants to take part in the Dakar Rally, raising money for the Malta Community Chest Fund, UNICEF and Cancer Research UK.
A Kevin Camilleri and Perry Newton
new £1 million clubhouse has been opened at the par-72 Dave Thomasdesigned Macdonald Spey Valley Championship Golf Course, in Scotland.
The contractor is cautioned to check all dim relevant site conditions before any construc DO NOT SCALE FROM THIS DRAWING.
This time Newton, project director for Azure, and Camilleri, memberships general manager, will be riding to raise funds for Help for Heroes (www.helpforheroes.org.uk) and the Malta Community Chest Fund (www.maltacommunitychestfund.org). The charities support British servicemen and women wounded in war since September 11, 2001 and a range of institutions and individuals in Malta. The duo have the support of George Abela, President of Malta, who will officially wish them good luck at a press call the week before the event, which itself is expected to attract widespread media attention. To make a donation to these charities through sponsorship, please contact Grazielle Camilleri at firstname.lastname@example.org
STATUS - PLANNIN
With a backdrop of the Cairngorm Mountain range and overlooking the first tee, the twostorey clubhouse enhances the appeal of a course that recently, for the fifth consecutive year, hosted the Scottish Hydro Challenge - a European Challenge Tour Event. View from North East
Complementing its natural surroundings, the two-storey clubhouse has sweeping views over the course and is finished in wood and local, natural stone. Facilities include changing areas, a retail outlet, lounge bar, restaurant and an additional patio terrace for al fresco dining Ruaridh Macdonald, operations director, commented: “Our decision to invest £1 million in the new clubhouse, where visitors will be able to relax and enjoy the highest quality of food and drink, further underlines our continual drive to invest and ensure we remain a fairway from your standard hotel group.”
Diamond resort achieves top ranking
Kololi Beach Club earns certificate of excellence
ew TATOC member resort Kololi Beach Club, in The Gambia, has received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing ten per cent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award. To qualify, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of
reviews received within the last 12 months. Said Martin Freestone, developer of Kololi Beach Club: “We strive to offer our customers a memorable experience. This accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive reviews on TripAdvisor.” Kololi Beach Club is located in The Gambia on the West Coast of Africa and is reputed to be the fourth safest place on earth. It is an ex-colonial, Englishspeaking country, bordered by French Senegal. Kololi enjoys an Atlantic Ocean beachfront location, overlooking miles of deserted beach and bordering the Bijilo Forest Nature Reserve. The villas are set among twenty-four acres of landscaped gardens. The resort also boasts it own par three golf course.
iamond Resort’s Jardines del Sol has been recognised as one of the world’s best hotels by leading travel website Expedia.com According to the Expedia annual ranking, which covers hotels rated by travellers worldwide, Jardines del Sol, in Lanzarote, ranks at position 138. This recognition was obtained by a number of factors, including the cumulative scores of over a million customer reviews received throughout 2012. Chosen from a selection of more than 205,000 hotel options. Jardines del Sol joins an exclusive list of 650 hotels. According to David F. Palmer, president and CEO of Diamond Resorts International: “For Jardines del Sol to consistently receive positive feedback and high guest ratings over the course of the year, solidifies our efforts to deliver a high level of commitment to service excellence. “We value on-line travel companies such as Expedia because they provide a transparent evaluation by our most valued critics: our members, owners and guests.
empire house 131 west nile stree
tel 0141 332 6804
MacDonald Hotels & Resorts PROJECT
Spey Valley Bar / Restaurant Dalfaber Aviemore DRAWING
Prespective View from North East DATE
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
Ten good reasons why a resort should join TATOC Sharetime asked Harry Taylor, TATOC executive chairman, for his top-ten reasons why resorts should become TATOC members. 1 Representation – TATOC is recognised by the media, government bodies, the police and other consumer associations as a respected and effective voice acting for timeshare owners and the committees who represent them. TATOC lobbies on the behalf of timeshare owners and member resorts on developments in legislation, works with bodies to help weed out the ‘scammers’ and builds relationships with the legitimate industry. Many members report a key benefit is the feeling of belonging, having a common cause, working together, supporting and promoting other members. 2 Advice and support – TATOC is able to help, advise and support resorts and their committees as they tackle difficult challenges. The team can provide direct assistance or refer resorts to professionals who have knowledge and understanding of the industry. TATOC also provides a mediation service, which strengthens the consumer helpline facility offered. The TATOC Consumer Helpline is open to everyone and offers information and assistance to help consumers resolve their problems within the timeshare industry. Although successful there are times when the information does not assist in totally resolving the problem. This is where the TATOC mediation service can step in. Mediators do not provide a judgement of the dispute. The mediator assists the parties in reaching an agreement. Mediation does not prevent any party from taking matters further within the law.
3 News – TATOC’s regular Sharetime magazine and website keep members informed and up-to-date with what is happening in the industry throughout the year. Available online and in printed format, all content is available to use in resort members’ communications with their owners. The magazine provides a positive and honest view of the timeshare industry and includes the latest news, stories and advice from fellow timeshare owners, our affiliates and the TATOC team. 4 Real value for money – membership is based on the number of apartments at a resort and is literally a few pennies a day. Annual fees will continue to be reviewed but will never be set too high so that the cost of membership becomes a disabling factor for enrolling or retaining membership. 5 Directory – all resort members are included in the TATOC on-line resort directory. The TATOC website receives over 12,000 visits per month and many of these check the resort members directory which lists the details and images of all member resorts. TATOC also operates a business directory that includes details of all affiliated companies. These affiliates have signed up to the TATOC code of conduct and relevant codes of practice and are regularly monitored to ensure they provide the highest levels of customer service. 6 Logo – all resort members have the right to use the TATOC logo to add prestige and quality assurance to their branding.
7 TATOC annual conference – the TATOC conference is unique as it attracts timeshare owners and industry professionals from far and wide to learn from each other as well as from outside personalities and experts in tourism. A member of the TATOC team or an Ambassador can also be present at resort annual meetings to talk with owners about their experiences, share stories and provide the latest legislation and consumer protection news. 8 Member benefits – The TATOC ambassadors are currently working on a range of new and exciting benefits for resort members. There will be more news in the next issue of Sharetime. 9 TATOC health check – under the guidance of the TATOC chairman and board, a team of professionals will provide a free check-up of a resort and produce a report which details how it can improve and prepare for the future. More details on this service is available below. 10 Resort accreditation – TATOC resort accreditation acknowledges the very best customer service and hospitality and gives credit to resorts that comply with all legislation. Flying the TATOC accredited flag shows owners and guests that the resort has achieved the very best in all aspects of resort management and sales and marketing operations. The accolade that helps resorts stand out from their competitors. To become a TATOC member resort contact Harry Taylor (email@example.com) for further information.
Free resort health check service launched
free business health check service has been launched by TATOC for mature resorts to help them tackle the challenges they face in today’s operating environment. Aimed at independent, mature resorts and those that no longer operate with a developer, the health check service is chaired by TATOC and provided by a group comprising experienced professionals and experts from the timeshare sphere. They include an accountant, solicitors, trustee and an analyst. The late Ron Haylock recently highlighted problems facing the industry in what he called the “timeshare demographic time bomb.” In his recent article (Sharetime Spring 2013),
Haylock wrote: “If these issues are not tackled now, the numbers of ageing owners for whom timeshare 25 years ago was an asset but has now become a nightmare, will increase to such a level the media will leap on the prospect of really negative publicity for the timeshare industry.” Said Harry Taylor, TATOC executive chairman “We know that the industry has to face up to the issues of an aging ownership base and there are mature resorts that are struggling with the problem. “Past attempts to tackle the issue have not been as successful as we hoped but we are certain that, under TATOC, we will be able to address the issues and make a real impact.”
The health check service is free of charge and looks into every aspect of a resort’s current operation, including financial projections, membership opportunities and business threats. The team then provides a report forecasting where the resort will be in five-to-ten years’ time and makes recommendations and suggested solutions. “It is not just the industry problem. Owner committees have to fully understand their responsibilities and act accordingly,” Taylor added. “The new health check service provides a free analysis and professional advice and we urge all resorts to take up the offer.” To date three resorts have signed up for the service.
The holiday exchange club with so much more! Member benefits that add up!
FREE MEMBERSHIP No fees to pay until you find the holiday you want to book!* *Premium benefits available for only £35 with Gold Advantage.
Welcome to the Club
NO RESTRICTIONS Travel to a different property on each exchange, or visit the same resort over and over again. We’ll never impose any quotas for visiting popular resorts, so the choice really is yours.
BOOK FOR YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS You can give your exchange to friends and family at no extra cost!
LONG LIFE HOLIDAY CREDITS valid for a full 3 years! We offer the longest life holiday credits of all the major exchange companies. When you deposit your week, you have 3 years in which to book an exchange.
GREAT VALUE It’s just £84 for a European exchange, or £99 long haul, so our exchange fees are the lowest around. Bonus weeks from between £129 - £249!
Special Offer for early deposits Deposit your 2013 week now and book a Bonus Week for just £99*
SIMPLE Deposit a week, exchange for a week. It’s as simple as that! There’s no complicated ‘trading power’ system at Dial An Exchange, and we won’t restrict you to certain times of the year, or size of apartment.
*See website for full terms and conditions
OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE Unlike some of our competitors, our members are not just a number to us. We know you by name, we know your likes and dislikes, and we strive to give you the things you ask for.
Telephone: +44 (0)1756 749 966
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.dialanexchange.com
Dial An Exchange Ltd, 21 High Street, Gargrave, Skipton, United Kingdom, BD23 3RA Company Registered in England 3756394
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
Travel blogger visits Las Calas
ravel blogger Kim Nash, who writes for the ‘Have a Lovely Time’ blog, shared on line her enjoyment of a holiday at the Resort Solutions- managed Las Calas resort, in Lanzarote. U.K. based Resort Solutions, which in May became part of the CLC World Resorts & Hotels group, has provided long-term management services to the 145-apartment resort. Las Calas is Lanzarote’s most popular timeshare and self-catering holiday resort and holds the prestigious Gold Crown status awarded by international exchange company RCI. The travel blog site has 15,000 followers and Kim, who visited Las Calas with family and friends, gave a highly positive review of the resort… adding that her five-year-old cried when it came to leaving. Her trip had been organised by the shared ownership industry’s trade association, RDO and Resort Solutions. Brad Revell, managing director of Resort Solutions added: “This is great news for Las Calas and Resort Solutions and my congratulations go to all the staff at Las Calas and to Vicky DuBois Sandy at Resort Solutions who helped to co-ordinate the visit.”
CLC World expands on water
analtime, the narrowboat timeshare brand developed in 1997 to offer holidays on U.K. waterways, has been bought by CLC World Resorts & Hotels. Its four locations bring to 32 the number of resorts in the company’s worldwide portfolio.
HGV invests £4.1 million at Craigendarroch
stablished Scottish timeshare resort Craigendarroch has undergone a £4.1 million investment by Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) as it becomes an exclusive timeshare property. The Deeside destination has been a timeshare resort since 1985 with 99 luxury lodges. However, due to a significant increase in the number of families joining its vacation club, HGV has transformed the 45-bedroom Hilton hotel also on the site into 32 vacation club suites, known as the Craigendarroch Suites. Richard McIntosh, HGV managing director of Europe and the Middle East and Asia, who is based at Craigendarroch, described the timeshare concept as “generally recession-resistant as once people have purchased [a share in the property], they continue to use it. “The existing timeshare part of this property had around 90 per cent occupancy, whereas in the hotel the figure would have been 7075 per cent. “We are definitely seeing the market move
“We are delighted to welcome Canaltime and their owners into the CLC World family,” said Lucien Le Moing, CLC World product & business development director.
Consumers were probably having more breaks in the year, “which is a good thing as the suites product is geared towards that.” The company has invested significantly in new bar and restaurant and leisure facilities, which are expected to attract an additional 5,000 tourists a year, and significantly boost spend in the area. The Craigendarroch Suites will feature the Keiller Brasserie and Keiller Lounge; named in honour of the Keiller family (Keiller’s Marmalade) who originally built the house in 1891 as a family home. Hilton anticipates that around 30 per cent of Craigendarroch’s ownership will be from Scotland, 40 per cent from the rest of the U.K., and 30 per cent from overseas. The U.S. remains a key target market – traditionally, American timeshare owners have had a long, love affair with Scotland and timeshare resorts located at or near golf clubs are particularly attractive to U.S. visitors.
Accessibility training videos free to view
The fleet of narrowboats, which sail out of U.K. marinas Sawley, Chirk, Whixall and Festival Park, will continue to be managed by Canaltime. However, the team headed by Jamie Hill, will have access to the skills and support of CLC World’s resort management and sophisticated systems.
towards the shorter stay, the two-to threenight break.”
he Institute of Hospitality has produced three short training films to help employees fully understand the value of improving service for disabled guests. Hosted by former hotel general manager and permanent wheelchair user Arnold Fewell FIH, the videos are designed for staff and management training. The videos have now been endorsed by VisitEngland and are available to watch on VisitEngland’s Business YouTube channel. VisitEngland research shows that disabled people and their travelling companions spend over £2 billion a year, accounting for
11 per cent of all domestic overnight stays in the U.K. Disabled people stay longer on average (3.6 nights) than non-disabled people (three nights) and are more likely to travel with carers, relatives or friends and stay during quieter times. To watch the Institute of Hospitality’s ‘Accessibility – The Bottom Line’ films go to: www.youtube.com/VisitEnglandBiz For further accessibility training resources go to: www.visitengland.org/access
SHARETIME Heated swimming pool at Club Calahonda
Crown Resorts Sharetime speaks with committee chairman David Francis about the past, present and future of Crown Resorts in Spain.
What difficulties has the club faced over the past five years and do you see any signs of improvement?
available that enable the club to provide holiday products and ownership possibilities that are sufficiently flexible to meet the demands and requirements of today’s consumer.
We have suffered in the same way as many other Spanish timeshare resorts over recent years.
In addition, Crown Resorts attempts to buck the Spanish trend of being a seasonal club, by focusing on offering an impressive array of services and facilities all year round. We invested substantially in indoor heated pools and other facilities such as a spa.
These include a reduced income due to a falling membership (in many cases caused by losses of ageing members); a drop in the value of the pound against the euro; the internet offering easy access to alternative holidays; guests wishing to take advantage of shorter breaks; increasing labour costs; and a need to refurbish apartments that were built in the 1980s. Looking ahead, Spanish tourism does seem to be showing some signs of recovery. Visitors absent for a number of years are now deciding to return - perhaps enticed by fine weather, great food and that traditional Spanish welcome. In addition to those who traditionally call Spain their second home and who visit frequently, visitors from a number of emerging markets are also evident. We have guests from many Scandinavian, Russian and other northern European countries. The number of Spanish nationals holidaying in their home country is also increasing.
How has timeshare at your resort fared over the past five years?
What are the key reasons you think you have succeeded? We believe that the club’s success has been based on the fact that we offer a quality and ‘value for money’ holiday experience. Also, when our owners and guests check into the resorts we often hear phrases such as “welcome back again” and “it’s nice to be back in our second home.” These clearly depict the philosophy upon which the club’s success has been built. Since we gained ‘independence’ in 1996, Vacation Care has managed the club and, with the committee, has focused on the need to provide a high level of service together with commercial management. Occupancy has changed from being almost entirely members using their own time plus exchange guests to a situation today where
The low-down on Crown Crown Resorts is a group of six separately named clubs situated in five distinct locations on the Costa del Sol. All sites are within a few kilometers of each other - and individually the clubs are known as Calahonda, Caronte, Delta Mar, La Riviera, Marbella and Regency Palms. They benefit from being situated approximately halfway between the well-known holiday town of Fuengirola and the glamorous Marbella and Puerto Banus. They are close to shops and restaurants and within a mile or so of the beach. Our five locations offer differing holiday experiences. Architecturally, some are built in a traditional Spanish style whereas others have a more cosmopolitan look and feel. The leisure facilities/activities vary from site to site, some being geared towards those who like an active holiday and others towards those who prefer a quiet relaxing location. In total there are 454 apartments (with 23,154 weeks of saleable occupancy) and the vast majority have two-bedrooms (sleeping six). Considering the overall size of the club, it is perhaps surprising that we are entirely ‘owner run’. In 1996 the owners gained ‘independence’ from the developer - and since then the club has been controlled by a committee of six elected members for the benefit of the membership as a whole. Taking these two facts together, we believe that Crown Resorts is the largest independently run timeshare club in Europe.
Continued on page 17, column 1
The club continues to be popular among its members, with many returning on more than one occasion each year. However, compared with a few years ago, we now have fewer owned weeks and this has required us to focus on increasing the number of rental guests. One of the steps we took a few years ago was to move from being a fixed week/fixed apartment resort to a fixed week/floating apartment which allows us more flexibility. The club was one of the first to recognise the ‘points revolution’. With the services of Diversified Resorts as our on-site marketer, we have a range of points-based products and weeks
Heated swimming pool located at the Delta Mar Leisure Centre.
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
rental guests make up a noticeable percentage of the occupancy (which we measure by the night, not by the week). Income from the rental market is now a very important revenue source.
(with meal options) as well as mid-week and weekend breaks.
Prudent forward buying arrangements have meant that exchange losses have been minimised - and labour costs have been reduced with more reliance on part-time staff.
In addition, we recognise the need continuously to add additional membership value and this we address by offering our members an array of ‘perks’.
Our achievement of investing year after year in order to improve the apartments and facilities, while at the same time protecting the club’s viability, is also fundamental in its success story.
These include unit choice, a soon-tobe introduced rewards programme and membership to ‘Crown Resorts PLUS’.
Consistency in how the club is presented on a daily basis is paramount and our on-site employees work hard as a team in order to achieve this. We believe in investing in our staff, ensuring that by bettering themselves they at the same time adopt the Club’s overall philosophy of “going the extra mile” (or 1.609kms). Furthermore, resulting from the club being committee-run, great emphasis is placed upon the service, professionalism and the transparency that exists between the club and its membership.
How does your website support your business activities? We recognise that actively using our club website results in it becoming a platform to both maintain affinity between the club and its members and a place to steer potential rental guests (each being a potential future member). Our growing interface with social media and the compilation and distribution of regular e-shot offers and e-mails also assist.
Overall, annual rental revenues and achieved average nightly rates have increased year on year.
Swimming pool located at Club Delta Mar
How has the marketing and sales approach changed over the years? With the ever-increasing influence of the internet and the never-ending array of holiday options available, on-site marketer Diversified Resorts has had to meet the challenge and assure product flexibility, transparency and value for money in order to remain competitive. Compliance with timeshare legislation is an important part of our marketing model, which is geared towards ensuring on-going membership satisfaction. It is important for the club to have a good knowledge of its members and their needs and holiday aspirations. In order to obtain this, online customer satisfaction questionnaires are now circulated to all occupants soon after their departure. We recognise that member retention is paramount. At the same time we appreciate the needs and aspirations of today’s primary consumers are different to those of 20 years ago.
We monitor customer satisfaction relative to near-by competitive options, we are aware of the prices for similar services that are available elsewhere and we read our guests’ feedback. This information is recognised as being invaluable. Crown Resorts embraces and looks to further its social media and general web presence.
We are proud of the fact that even in today’s challenging market we are a club that has managed to maintain a focus on protecting the interests of its members. Even in these difficult times the club continues to be viable and has a healthy management and sinking fund represented by cash in the bank. This has been achieved at the same time as continuing apartment refurbishment as well as other improvements such as introducing new facilities for the benefit of members and guests. We are proud of the industry status we have achieved and maintained over recent years - including RCI Silver Crown, Interval International affiliation and TATOC Accreditation.
Irrespective of whether they are staying for just one night or for a longer period, or whether they are first-time visitors to the club or have been on numerous previous occasions, the welcome and service are the same.
You mentioned social media - how have you embraced this?
TripAdvisor is an important tool to measure our success in the rental market.
What are you most proud of as a club?
We are proud of our service philosophy and the rapport that our staff has with our members and guests.
We recognise that we still have a long way to go in order to have the website exactly as we would want, so modifications, enhancements and features are constantly being introduced.
Social media continues to be important in the way we manage the reputation of the club and this looks set to increase. Many members now enjoy using our Facebook page to communicate with the club.
This is our hassle-free, one-stop shop that provides a range of membership services such as car-rental, airport transfers, meal plan options, green fee reservations, rental of additional time as well as use of our internal exchange system.
Finally, we are proud that we are good employers. Sizzling BBQ at the Delta Mar Leisure Centre
Cheap package holiday deals can affect a resort both in sales and rentals. What are your tips to handle this challenge? The self-catering aspect of our product gives us the edge over local hotel options - as does the fact that most of the club’s apartments sleep six people. We have met this challenge by increasing the number of nights that are available for rent and reached into new markets by offering a range of options from week-long stays
How important is the owners’ committee to your business activities? The very existence of the committee and its function within our club is the single, most unique selling point we have. Crown Resorts is directed by its owners’ committee in order to best represent all members’ interests. The committee’s input and dedication is fundamental in the running of Crown Resorts’ affairs. For further information on Crown Resorts Website: www.crownresorts.com Facebook: facebook.com/CrownResortsSpain
SHARETIME Indoor swimming pool at Four Seasons Country Club
However, the investment is unlikely to be realised as our children want to take over our membership and use our weeks for their family holidays!
James Twiss has owned at Four Seasons Country Club in Portugal since 1991 and became a director of the club in 2009. Here, James shares his views on timeshare, gives advice on purchasing and explains why he believes his resort is so successful.
our Seasons Country Club is a successful private members club owned and run by its members for the benefit of its members. It is also a timeshare. Many people view timeshares with suspicion – pressurised selling, invitations to ‘free’ presentations, rapidly increasing costs after the sale has been made and poor maintenance. We shared this view.
The Twis s family at the Fou
r Seasons Country Club
Never look on a timeshare as an investment. It is a prepayment of future family holidays. It may turn out to be an investment, but don’t buy on that basis. Calculate the number of years it will take to recover the price of your weeks by dividing the price plus the annual management charge, by the average cost of an alternative, similar quality, family holiday.
Only ever buy a timeshare in a four- or five-star resort. They are much easier to rent or exchange if you do not wish to use your purchased weeks. Carefully consider the management structure of the project. Where there is an outside management firm, it will need to make a profit from operating the club. Annual maintenance charges are likely to rise more quickly.
Let me share the key points they made:
Always inspect the resort before purchasing. How well is it maintained? Are the staff pleasant? Talk to other owners. Try renting for one holiday before deciding.
Secondly, incomplete projects (often identified by Phase 1) could mean that several years of construction lie ahead and re-sales will be more difficult.
Four Seasons is an outstanding resort with well-spaced units, excellent clubhouse facilities and is always in demand for exchanges. The club, part of the wellmanaged Quinta do Lago resort, cannot be extended beyond its current 97 units.
You can also make a comparison with the cost of purchasing and running a family holiday home. (How many weeks will you really use it in a year?).
However on a five-hour flight to the Gambia, many years ago, the couple sitting next to us gave us some outstanding advice on timeshares. It has proved totally correct. Ironically their good advice to us was based on their bad timeshare experience.
Always purchase a re-sale unit in a completed development. This is because a significant part of the original purchase price includes the developer’s marketing costs. The original company has to sell each unit at least 26 times (assuming two weeks are purchased by each buyer) – that is a lot of work.
Some years after buying our summer weeks, we purchased additional time in May and November. The club is very different outside school holidays. I really enjoy playing golf in warm sunshine when it is freezing or wet in Northern Europe. Flights are cheaper and the restaurants less crowded. Given the Algarve climate, any time of the year can be a great getaway.
So how does Four Seasons Country Club stack up against these ‘tests’? First, having been a member of the club for more than 20 years and having used our weeks almost every year, we have done very well ‘pre-paying our family holidays’. More that that, the value of our units has risen so it has been an investment as well.
The apartments at the Fou
r Seasons Country Club
The members own the club. There is a board of directors, who are all members, to whom the club management reports. There is no external management company. Due to exchange rate movements, it is only fair to compare the annual management charge over time, in Euros. Over the last six years the annual euro management fee has risen by an average of 2.6 per cent a year. LIKE a closer look? Visit our website: www.fsccqdl.com or contact us on: +351 289 357 000 or email email@example.com
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
How to secure the future of your resort For struggling resorts with a waning ownership base and falling maintenance fee incomes, protecting the long-term future of the resort might seem a hopeless case. However, according to trustee Chris Allen, from Hutchinson & Co, this doesn’t need to be the case. Sharetime asked Chris how trustees can protect timeshare owners and ensure that the holidays they bought continue to be available. What is the role of the timeshare trustee? In principal the aim of a trustee system is to give legal security to the purchaser in respect of the rights of occupancy they have acquired in timeshare or fractional accommodation. This is usually achieved through the transfer of the legal ownership of the said accommodation from the developer to the trustee, by using a non-trading owning company solely controlled by the trustee or its nominees, hence protecting the purchasers’ rights against the possible demise of the developer. The trust structure is also normally established by combining local property law with English trust law, providing maximum protection to the purchasers. Once the legal structure of a project has been agreed upon, the trustee will also get involved in drafting the relevant documentation such as the deed of trust, the rules of occupation, the purchase agreement, the management agreement and any other disclosure documentation that may be required. Once a sale is effected, the trustee will often take on a stakeholder role and receive the purchase monies on a dedicated client account, to be held until the trustee is satisfied that all release criteria have been fulfilled as per the terms of the project documentation; then only the funds in question are released to the relevant parties.
About Chris Allen: Chris Allen has been in the shared leisure industry for over 20 years and has a wealth of experience with exchange organisations and developer resort operations. Having previously worked as regional director for Interval International and quality assurance director for Petchey Leisure, he now holds the position of director for business development with Hutchinson & Co Trust Company Ltd., which has been operating in the shared leisure industry for over 25 years. He joined the Hutchinson Group in 2008 as associate director and since 2009 has held a position on the board of directors.
Where has Hutchinson & Co been able to support resorts and developers in the past? Thankfully, over the years, we have not had to deal with many difficult situations whereby the future of a resort is at stake. However, where support has been needed, we have stepped in and provided the necessary assistance. For example, one of the resorts we were appointed trustees for came across serious financial difficulties due, in part, to a declining membership. A transfer of the membership was the only viable option for the members to continue enjoying future holidays.
This is shortly followed by the issuance of a holiday ownership certificate in the name of the purchaser evidencing their rights of occupancy in respect of their timeshare or fractional purchase.
Our role was pivotal in overseeing the whole process, communicating with all parties involved, including the membership, drafting the relevant agreement and ensuring the smooth transfer of the membership.
It is also important to highlight that the role of the trustee is on-going and continues long after a resort is sold out. One of the key functions of the trustee is to ensure that the legal structure of the resort/club is maintained and the rights of the owners and members are fully protected for the duration of the ‘life’ of the club, or resort, which in some cases can be in perpetuity!
We have also provided our support in instances of management companies’ changeovers and consolidation of inventory and are always willing to discuss the best solutions for our developers and their owner/members.
In conclusion, the trustee system is highly sophisticated and refined; it offers numerous advantages to both the resort developer and the purchaser, giving security and credibility to the product, as well as playing a key role in the industry.
If it is a new resort, I would say that, firstly, they have to take into account not only what their product is going to offer now but how they envisage it evolving in the future.
Because, no matter where in the world a resort is located, the trustee system can provide all-round protection to the end product and its user.
All too often, we have seen the mistake of rigid structures been put into place at day one which do not allow the product to develop in the future, i.e. what may be attractive now may not be in the future.
What should a resort consider when choosing a trustee?
Secondly, they need to consider how they wish to be perceived by the potential purchaser i.e. trustworthy, professional and with a credible product – a trustee can provide the security over the assets being held in trust, the safe receipt and distribution of funds and is there for the long term relationship.
What other services can a trustee offer a resort? Aside from consultancy services which assist a developer from the initial set-up stage through to launch and our custodial services which allow the assets to be held in trust for the duration of the project, we offer a variety of key back-office administration services such as contract processing, escrow services and management fees collection. Additionally, for deeded resorts, we can offer a registrar service whereby while the trustee does not hold the assets in trust, it maintains control over the inventory sold and provides annual reviews of the legal documentation.
Do trustees offer value for money for today’s cash-strapped resorts? Having worked in the industry for many years, and as a director of Hutchinson, I sincerely believe that we do offer flexible and cost-effective solutions through our open and transparent way of doing business. The additional protection and peace of mind that a trustee provides to purchasers and to developers is invaluable, and through our close working relationships with our clients, we are able to provide economic and efficient solutions to today’s challenging economic climate.
If a resort is unhappy with its current trustee set up, how easy is it to move to another trustee? It is certainly possible to move from one trustee to another and it is a relatively straight-forward process. The project documentation will usually allow for such change and, in our experience, while it can sometimes be a long-winded process, through co-operation with the entities involved, transfers can take place without too much of a headache. We have, over the last twelve months, noticed an increase in transfers of trusteeship, mainly from banks who no longer wish to act as trustees for shared ownership resorts, and have welcomed several new resorts to the Hutchinson portfolio of clients.
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
CONTACT US TODAY: | tel: +44(0) 151 515 3014 | fax:+44(0) 151 515 3015 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.cbc-international.co.uk
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
- by Francis Taylor
The Dial An Exchange managing director talks about his love of Australia and just why so many Brits take the long trip down-under.
s part of my job I get to travel extensively around my own country as well as around the world. For me there is no better way to understand different cultures and get a first-hand feel for how other nationalities cope with everyday life.
In 2012, the U.K. was Australia’s third largest inbound market for visitor arrivals and the second largest market for total expenditure and visitor nights. The ‘pound’ still buys lots of Aussie dollars and so Oz is a good destination to get the most ‘bang for your buck’!
Away from the ‘human’ element of travel, I never take for granted the wonderful opportunity I have to explore different countries and see the natural and man-made wonders that mark their unique DNA and appeal for visitors.
If you’re wondering why the ‘Land Down Under’ is so popular, Tourism Australia’s recent research indicates that, when selecting a holiday destination, U.K. visitors are wanting (in order of importance): a safe and secure destination; value for money; good food and wine; friendly and open locals; and rich history and heritage.
I have always really enjoyed travel and believe it is one of the greatest educational tools available to any of us. But as much as I enjoy all my travels, I also love the feeling I get when I arrive back home in Australia.
As an unofficial ambassador I’d have to say that Australia ticks all the criteria.
Well, perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch on the ‘safe destination’ point when you take into account that we have Great White Sharks... I’m always delighted to play ‘ambassador’ for Australia and explain why visitors will enjoy making the long trip ‘down under’ to experience a holiday in a place like no other on earth. Australia has always been considered a great country to explore (once we got over the ‘penal colony’ tag), and ever since our first free settlers established their home here, we’ve been inviting our ancestors to come visit us. According to 2012 findings from Tourism Australia’s inbound tourism taskforce, Australia ranks seventh among all ‘out of region’ outbound destinations for U.K. travellers. Obviously we’ve grown up and allowed our ‘convict’ past and bad habits to be left behind as we’ve developed Australia into one of the most modern and multicultural societies on the planet today; and as such we love to share our country with the world. You might be surprised at some of the tourism numbers connecting the United Kingdom and Australia last year alone!
Well, perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch on the ‘safe destination’ point when you take into account that we have Great White Sharks frequenting the oceans around us, oh, and then there’s the Red-bellied black snake and it’s cousin the Eastern brown snake; the Box jellyfish and the Irukandji jellyfish. There’s a couple of saltwater ‘crocks’ up in the northern parts of Australia; some spiders, and poisonous fish, but really, rarely do they set themselves on tourists as we try and look after our visitors so they come back and spend all their money on things other than medical procedures and hospital stays. The combined efforts of Qantas, British Airways and Emirates flew 60 per cent of all U.K. visitors to Australia in 2012. Of the nearly 600,000 U.K. visitors that made the trip to Australia last year, 62 per cent were repeat visitors, 82 per cent of all visitors from the U.K. came ‘down under’ for a holiday, and the largest demographic of those visitors was age 60+.
The average stay during 2012 of all U.K. arrivals was forty nights. The state capitals of Sydney (#1), Melbourne (#2), Perth (#3) and Brisbane (#4) ranked as the cities attracting the most U.K. visitors. Regional tourism areas such as tropical North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef; the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast (also in Queensland); and Hobart and other parts of Tasmania ranked as the most visited. Unique Australian ‘experiences’ that rank among the best by U.K. visitors include: • Aboriginal Australia: sharing the world’s most ancient living culture which is best expressed through art, storytelling, dance and music and the land itself; • Aussie coastal lifestyle: more than just the beach and the surf – it is a way of life; • Food and wine - inspired by fresh, natural produce and influenced by our multicultural society; • Outback Australia: Australia’s heartland characterised not only by spectacular colours and dramatic landscapes, but also by the spirit and the resilience of its people; and • Nature itself: from the deserts to the sea, World Heritage areas covering reefs, forests, buildings, convict sites and manmade iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House. Whatever you like to do on holidays, I believe you’ll do it better and cheaper in the land of Oz.
RCI Christel House European Golf Open:
Driving Out Poverty Vivienne Noyes-Thomas from the industry charity Christel House reviews the annual golf day where the industry and its public come together to raise funds for this amazing charity.
European timeshare industry who passed away prior to the event.
adgemore Park Golf Club, near Henley on Thames, was at its glorious best for the 11th RCI Christel House European Golf Open which took place in June. After the terrible rain that blighted last year’s event, the weather was much kinder to all those who took part. Thirteen teams set off under warm and sunny conditions competing for the coveted first prize, the Ron Haylock trophy.
It was especially poignant to welcome Ivan Rhodes, his Club Olympus team and family members, who despite their sad loss were able to join the group and enliven the day with their fantastic spirit. Jon Colby, Lee Dowling, David Blair and Lee Hughes
managing director of RCI Europe, the trophy was won by team RCI 1 represented by Andy Miln, Steve Dow, Pete Joyner and Emelyn Heaps which scored a magnificent 93 points.
Diana Aitchison, Dimitris Manikis and Sue Colby
Play began at noon with each team recording their scores (and keenly watching those of their fellow contestants) on iPhones linked to the GameBook Live Scoring system managed by Clarion Golf.
Seventy people attended the evening dinner which was preceded by a drinks reception featuring a specially filmed video from Christel DeHaan highlighting some of the latest achievements of some Christel House students. Master of Ceremonies Robin Mills paid special tribute to Ron Haylock and to Hedley Rhodes, two stalwarts of the
Dinner was followed by a raffle, an auction for great paintings by children from Christel House India and Christel House South Africa and, of course, the prize-giving. The theme of ‘Driving Out Poverty’ was certainly appropriate this year: net proceeds from the event were just over £33,000 which will be split between schools in India and in South Africa. All money raised goes to programmes that directly support the children whose lives are being transformed, thanks to the generosity of Christel House sponsors and supporters from the European timeshare industry.
The leaderboard in the clubhouse reflected the struggle for the top prizes with the teams’ positions constantly changing. Named in memory of Ron Haylock, a tireless champion of Christel House and past
Henrik Fiil, David Walmsley, Robin Mills and Guido di Lucia
Results were: Winning team: RCI 1 – Andy Miln; Steve Dow; Pete Joyner; Emelyn Heaps – 93 points Runners up: RCI 2 – Matt Holmes; Marj Anderson; Jerry Cobb; Will Hall – 88 points Third place: Silverpoint – Mark Cushway; Ulli Petresis; Dave Howard (3 ball) – 87 points Individual prizes: Men’s straightest drive: David Hall Men’s nearest the pin on the 4th tee: Dave Little – 7ft 6in Men’s nearest the pin on 13th tee: Pete Joyner – 7ft 6in Men’s longest drive on 9th tee: Emelyn Heaps 280 yds. Men’s longest drive on 11th tee: Lee Hughes 295 yds. Ladies’ longest drive on 9th tee: Sue Colby Ladies’ nearest the pin on the 4th tee: Diana Aitchison Silverpoint’s Mark Cushway played the best individual round - an amazing achievement after his recent battle against very serious illness.
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
Angry Birds Activity Park to open in Gran Canaria
ATOC affiliate Holiday Club Resorts is set to open its latest ‘Angry Birds Activity Park’ in Gran Canaria this October. The Parks are a creative co-operation between Finnish market leaders Rovio, Lappset and Holiday Club and based on the world-renowned game.
Warm welcome to ICE
he European office of ICE Europe has become affiliated to TATOC.
International Cruise & Excursion, launched in 1997, provides innovative cruise, holiday and travel programmes as well as membership rewards and loyalty schemes to over 150 major brands globally.
After the successful launch of three parks in Kuusamo, Saariselkä and Saimaa, in Finland, Holiday Club decided to expand this concept to Gran Canaria.
The ICE platinum rewards programme provides members with a number of valuable benefits including travel savings, cruise and tour exchange, experiential holidays, travel planning and a ‘best price guarantee’ on hotels, cruises and holidays. Said Stuart Ockenden, senior vice president, ICE Europe: “ICE works very closely globally
with industry bodies and associations and it was imperative for me to ensure that we reengage completely within the industry. “TATOC has grown into a very strong influence and voice over the years for the members throughout Europe. Innovations, such as the introduction of the TATOC Ambassador programme, are a welcome addition to the strength and bonding that is needed for members and consumers alike. TATOC executive chairman Harry Taylor, said: “ICE is a well known and respected name within our industry and we are delighted that we will be able to add their name to our directory of affiliated businesses.”
“The European travel industry should concentrate more on content. Too often the focus is on accommodation – of which there is already an oversupply”, says Vesa Tengman, CEO of Holiday Club Resorts. He continued: “Active holidays are pivotal in Holiday Club. The Parks complement our concept, which offers high quality holiday accommodation and services and year-round activity possibilities.” The park in Gran Canaria will appeal to both local residents and to international travellers and will increase and complement the current leisure offerings in the south of the island. Calvin Lucock, managing director of Holiday Club Canarias, said: “This new endeavour will certainly add value to Puerto Rico and attract more visitors to the area. Apart from being a significant tourist attraction, it will also serve the local people and create new job opportunities.”
First Resorts joins TATOC
imeshare management company First Resorts has become a TATOC platinum affiliate.
First Resorts is one of the world’s largest resort management companies and manages over 50 holiday destinations throughout South Africa. The team is committed to “delivering a complete holiday experience to all guests, exceeding their expectations by developing programmes that indulge the senses and create long-lasting, happy memories.” Stuart Lamont, chairman, explains: “Our management is based upon creating and retaining great memories and experiences by engaging the various senses including touchable finishes, therapeutic aromas, scintillating tastes, heart warming music and soothing sounds, among many others.”
The First Resorts team is now bringing its range of services to resorts in Europe. These include: • Comprehensive accounting systems • Maintenance fee collection • Payroll administration • Rentals • Project facilitation • On-site management • Budget control • Quality control inspections • Maintenance • Refurbishment • Customised training • World-class entertainment To find out more about First Resorts visit www.firstresorts.co.za or telephone on +2731 717 7593
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.
Spanish police arrest scammers
fficers of the Special Crime Unit for Organised Crime in Gran Canaria have made over 60 arrests at the offices and sales centres of various holiday companies for allegedly scamming tourists.
discount travel membership club. To join the club, customers paid between 5,000 – 30,000 Euros which would give them discounted access to luxury holiday accommodation for between five and 30 years.
Two of the offices are in the town of Arguineguin, Mogán and the other is in San Bartolomé de Tirajana.
Spanish-based MindTimeshare registered a formal complaint with the police after years of investigating the alleged scammers and collecting customer testimonials.
The group, which has been active since 2007, has its main base in the apartment complex Club Puerto Atlántico, in Arguineguin. The organisation is accused of scamming tourists by selling a long-term holiday product that turned out to be a complete fabrication. Operating under a variety of names, including Voyager Travel, Lifestyle Holidays, Reclaimgc and Timeshare Refund Network, it is alleged there have been more than 2000 victims. The total amount of money lost to the scam is believed to reach five million euros. Those allegedly responsible for the scams have been identified as German Eugen Friedrich Kaiser, who has been living in Gran Canaria since the 1980s; and Britons Paula Beatson and Kieron Day. It is believed the scam, which has allegedly been defrauding visitors for more than six years, is based on a product known as a
There have been numerous consumer complaints to the Offices of the European Consumer Centre in Madrid and at the Municipal Office of Consumer Information (OMIC) of the municipality of Mogán. The scam is claimed to have operated in the following way: Tourists were first targeted by touts (OPCs) with scratch cards on the streets of San Bartolomé and Mogán. The OPCs posed as employees of the Tourism Office of the Canary Islands and claimed they were promoting a new tourism product for the island. The OPCs would use the illegal scratch card trick with offers of great prizes for tourists who would then be transferred by taxi to the sales office. Once there the tourists would go through an intense sale pitch lasting for several hours.
Where tourists mentioned they owned a timeshare week, the scammers would offer a ‘complimentary service’, adding them to an alleged legal action against the timeshare company where the customer owned. After the evidence of more than 60 victims and investigations conducted by MindTimeshare, it is believed this supplementary activity performed by the sister office ‘Reclaimgc’ could also be fraudulent. Information has been provided on 15 lawyers from Gran Canaria and Tenerife, two of whom have been involved in the Reclaimgc plot since 2010. The police and judges will determine their level of involvement.
EU proposes package holiday reforms
he 1990 Package Travel Directive is to be reformed with a cap on price surcharges and easier cancellations.
Current laws, says Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, fail to encompass the growth of tailor-made ‘DIY’ holidays consumers are buying on-line, compared with holidays booked through travel agents.
right of compensation and repatriation if any of the service providers goes bankrupt while the consumers are on holiday. Ms Reding said the new proposals would create a “safety net and peace of mind” for holidaymakers.
The new legislation is yet to be approved.
The European Commission’s plans also include a number of additional benefits under the new proposed laws, including:
Plans include a ten per cent cap on price increases (such as unexpected hikes in fuel prices) and a legal requirement for any actual price cuts to be passed directly on to the consumer.
Better information on liability: consumers will need to be informed In a plain and intelligible language that the organiser is responsible for the proper performance of all included services.
The new rules would also entitle holidaymakers to cancel their holiday contract free of charge pre-departure in the event that their holiday coincides with a natural disaster or outbreak of civil unrest.
Better redress: in addition to price reductions, consumers can also claim compensation for any ‘immaterial damage’ suffered, in particular in cases of a spoilt holidays.
This also means travellers who book their accommodation, flights and transfers with various providers would have an automatic
A single contact point if something goes wrong: consumers will be able to address complaints or claims directly to the retailer (travel agent) from whom they bought their holiday.
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
The timeshare re-sale problem - by Aunty Betty
was sitting in the deckchair on the patio, G&T in one hand, watching the sun go down and listening to the sound of a blackbird singing its heart out.
This is what a British summer is all about: sunshine, strawberries and cream and Andy winning Wimbledon. What more could anyone ask for? My eyelids were getting heavier and heavier when I heard “Coooeee Betty, are you there?” That was it: the peace shattered as my neighbour Doreen’s dulcet tones (more like the screech of a cat) echoed over the garden fence. Well, I thought, what action can I take? Do I hide behind the holly bush, pretend I am out – ah, no, too late! “Betty, there you are, have I got some news for you.” I will spare your sensibilities and refrain from detailing the conversation – or rather 30-minute monologue. The upshot is that Doreen’s friend had unfortunately lost her husband. They had owned a timeshare together in Tenerife but as she didn’t want to go there any more had tried to sell the week.
You know what is coming next. Yes, the supposed buyer withdrew from the sale but she was told not to worry as there was another buyer and that if she wanted to improve her chances why didn’t she buy - and so on.
And did you know that even the recent EU legislation also covers the activities of re-sale companies so you are more protected than ever? It must be one of the most useful laws that have come out of the ‘straight bananas’ gang!
Needless to say she has still not sold her week and is now out of pocket.
So Aunty Betty’s advice to anyone thinking of selling is to read TATOC’s advice and guidelines beforehand, find out if any family or friends would like to take over the timeshare week and then talk to your resort to see what they can suggest.
Once Doreen stopped to take a breath, I told her a few facts. First, her friend could have kept her week and used an exchange organisation to travel to a different resort and still enjoyed a holiday every year. Secondly, had she thought about transferring the ownership of the week to a member of her family or a friend for them to use? I know what we have enjoyed as holiday accommodation is different to what our grown up children want today – but it is an option and should have been considered. But as usual, this got me to think about what do you do when you really have come to the end of your timeshare experience? Will the developer take it back for nothing? Do you say “thanks for 25 years of great holidays, we don’t want anything for it”? Whether this is possible depends on your resort’s legal documentation and you may not be able to simply give the week back.
It appears that a re-sale company had been in touch and offered to sell her week if she paid them a fee – and in fact they had a buyer already waiting for the week at her resort.
I know some people believe they can make money from selling their weeks. However a quick look on eBay shows that this isn’t always the case with some weeks selling for as little as £100.
Obviously she had not read Aunty Betty’s recent comments on ‘cold calling’ and, without checking with anyone, had paid them a substantial amount of money. She had even gone to the expense of travelling to a meeting where this sale was to take place.
TATOC has put together some really useful information on how to sell your weeks. They also have ‘affiliated re-sale companies’ that have signed up to abide by TATOC’s strict code of conduct and re-sale code of practice so you know you are safe to use their services.
Three TATOC men in a boat
n early June a TATOC team of Harry Taylor, Mark Caldicott and Ian Kerr took to the water to help deliver two new Diamond Resort timeshare canal boats from Alvechurch to their new home at Anderton Marina.
Most importantly do not pay any money to a ‘cold calling’ company which says it has a buyer ready and waiting. Don’t let desperation lead you astray and do not be greedy. You will not recover all the money you paid for your week - but you have enjoyed your holidays and your memories are priceless. I hope Doreen’s friend managed to sell her week if that is what she wants to do. Life throws us some ‘googlies’ and we have to make tough decisions. It is a shame there are some who take pleasure in feeding off the misfortunes of others but it is important that you don’t let yourself become a victim by not being prepared. I drifted back to Doreen’s diatribe about the local supermarket. She was warming up nicely - just like our summer. ‘Til next time
You can download TATOC’s guide to timeshare re-sales and the list of affiliated re-sale companies from the TATOC website (www.tatoc.co.uk) or by calling the helpline on 0845 2302430.
“It really was like three men in a boat. We were even accompanied by two dogs on our travels north,” said Harry Taylor. “It was a slow convoy of two but we repelled all attempts to board. It was a miracle one of us didn’t fall in”. Taylor is a Diamond points member and is retiring after six years on the DRI committee. Mark Caldicott is manager of the TATOC consumer helpline and Ian Kerr is a TATOC individual member.
The team travelled just over 90 miles in five days and tackled 61 locks. There were 32 small aqueducts or underbridges and six tunnels - Wast Hill (2726 yards long), Edgbaston (105 yards), Galton (122 yards), Coseley (360 yards), Wolverhampton (109 yards) and Cowley (81 yards).
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ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
Reaching the demanding modern consumer
The one c o n s ta n t in to d a y ’s w o r ld is c h a n ge, th a t in c a n d lu d e s h o li d a y s .
by Terry Lee from TATOC affiliate LiveShareTravel
s society has changed over the past 30 to 40 years so have consumers. Their lifestyles, needs and tastes have become more rounded, more complex and more demanding. Holidays are a perfect example of the changing wants and desires of the modern customer. Those families who could afford a holiday in the 1950s and 60s were most likely to choose a bucket and spade trip to the seaside for a week. The advent of holidays to Spain at the end of the 60s changed the face of travel and heralded a new era. The timeshare model met the needs of many and offered the prospect of affordable, quality holidays for all. Fast-forward 40 years or more and change is apace again. Travel today is about lifestyle. Every advert we see appeals to image and shows travel as a lifestyle accessory. Timeshare can be that perfect travel lifestyle product. If it adapts its marketing, timeshare can be the future for so many families. In this time of economic hardship, life can be challenging and we all need time to
recover from the stresses of the daily grind, to rejuvenate and refresh our batteries. Timeshare provides quality, flexibility and value, especially important for families on a budget. We need to restate the benefits in a modern way to a modern audience.
But over time as clients are able to dip their collective toes, they will grow to love the product and sales will prove strong. This shows good forward planning, which will ensure the long-term future of resorts.
The traditional static week or even two weeks away is less and less appealing to the modern holidaymaker. And timeshare, like the whole travel industry, has to adapt again to the new reality.
The use of on-line marketing is also growing and its influence is a major driver of new business and reputation management. From on-line content to videos and social media more developers are recognising the need to get their product on-line.
An aging timeshare ownership needs invigorating with younger blood.
Some are even using daily deals websites to generate fly buys and fill rentals inventory.
But that younger blood is more aspirational and demanding than previous generations. To stay relevant and help mould the future, the timeshare product has to meet the needs of the modern holidaymaker. We can’t expect them to defer to us - they won’t.
Meeting the demands of the modern holidaymaker is within your power. In the end it is about giving the people what they want. Short-term, less commitment products, and communicating with people in the way they increasingly choose to find their information – on-line.
Thankfully, new timeshare products and marketing techniques are already underway. A number of developers are promoting short-term products, attractive to younger buyers. This allows for greater flexibility and yes, less commitment a feature which is essential to the younger buyer, even if not as attractive to developers.
About LiveShareTravel: Terry Lee is managing editor of LiveShareTravel.com which promotes timeshare and fractional products to readers aged 35 plus. LiveShareTravel works with the biggest exchange companies in the industry and also has marketing and advertising packages for developers.
TripAdvisor reveals top attractions in the U.K.
ripAdvisor has announced the winners of its inaugural Travellers’ Choice Attractions awards.
place goes to North Yorkshire’s gothic cathedral, York Minster.
The winners are based on millions of reviews and honour a wide range of top attractions such as landmarks, parks, museums and amusement and water parks.
London dominates the U.K. museums list with six in the top ten but it’s Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland which is crowned number one. The Scottish museum also ranks sixth in Europe and 18th in the world.
The U.K. has winners featured in the Europe list for all four categories. Parks and museums are winners in both the European and world lists.
The British Museum is runner up and is top in London. The museum, dedicated to human history and culture, also comes seventh in Europe and 19th in the world list.
Durham Cathedral has been crowned the number one landmark in the U.K. One of Britain’s first World Heritage Sites, the cathedral is also placed 20th in the Europe list.
The results show that the U.K., and in particular London, is home to some of the best parks in the world with six of the top ten located in the city. St James’ Park is number one in the U.K., fourth in Europe and 13th in the world.
Runner up is Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, which offers visitors optical experiences and unrivalled views of Edinburgh’s skyline, while third
The 23-hectares park is the oldest of the capital’s eight Royal Parks and includes The Mall and Horse Guards Parade. It is at the
heart of ceremonial London, providing the setting for spectacular pageants including the annual Trooping the Colour. The Princes’ Street Gardens, in Edinburgh, follow closely behind in second place as well as taking the ninth spot in Europe and 24th in the world. London’s world-famous Hyde Park comes in at third place in the U.K. and tenth in Europe. Paultons Park, the family theme park in Hampshire which includes Peppa Pig World, takes the top spot in the U.K. Water & Amusement Parks category as well as placing 11th in Europe. Blackpool is home to the second and third place winners. The famous Pleasure Beach, which includes the roller coaster The Pepsi Max Big One, comes in close second on the U.K. list and 14th in Europe while Sandcastle Waterpark takes third position and 15th in Europe.
Wychnor Park – a resort with a surprising history
Roger Hailwood, a Diamond Resorts member and a co-opted committee member at Thurnham Hall, talks about his visit to Wychnor Park, one of the U.K.’s most popular resorts. Originally involved with Wychnor Park when timeshare company LSI owned it, Roger wanted to contribute to where he owned. He has now written the histories of Woodford Bridge and Broome Park; Cromer Country Club is in preparation.
ychnor Park is a secluded rural holiday resort in Staffordshire which provides peace and quiet in very attractive surroundings. However, there is much for visitors to see and do in the area. William the Conqueror gave the manor of Wychnor to Gualter de Somerville, one of his Norman knights. In the following 950 years, just six families held the manor before part of it was developed as a timeshare resort. The first fortified manor was built beside the river Trent to defend the river crossing. Four hundred years later the old dilapidated building was replaced by an Elizabethan brick manor house which attracted the attention of King James I who used it when he came to hunt in nearby Needwood Forest. After a fire reduced the building to a shell, the house was rebuilt in the Queen Anne style we know today. So what does the local area have to offer? Leaving the resort, a footpath that at one time brought estate workers to the manor house, leads to the village of Alrewas. Here, streets display black and white half-timbered houses and a 12th century church which records the history of the village in its building styles. The first part of the journey back to Wychnor is along the towpath of the Mersey Trent canal, originally built to help the transport of goods made in the potteries of Stoke on Trent to their markets.
The canal now has colourfully painted narrow boats dropping down through the lock to the level of the River Trent. The working boats are now few and far between, and most of the traffic comprises private or holiday hire narrow boats. Leave the canal and climb the footpath to the small Wychnor Church. It was the manor church and some of the fragments of stained glass in the east window are five hundred years old, showing the coat of arms of the Black Prince. Also in the parish of Alrewas is the new National Memorial Arboretum. The first plantings on this reclaimed gravel pit took place during the winter of 1996/97, so that the 70-hectare site with its 50,000 trees and over 250 memorials now has a distinctly wooded feeling. The welcoming volunteers are enthusiastic mines of information as guides to the site. The chapel features a daily act of remembrance: there is the playing of the Last Post, a twominutes silence and then the playing of reveille. Contrary to expectation, this is not a military memorial site. There are many civilian memorials as well. While some are sad and even harrowing - such as the Far Eastern Prisoners of War Museum, the Shot at Dawn Memorial and the SANDS garden - others are a celebration of the life and achievements of such services as the police, RNLI and Rotarians Clubs. The Armed Forces Memorial, with its gleaming white circular walls, is set on a mound in the centre of the Arboretum. Here one of the volunteer guides explains the full significance of this impressive memorial with its sixteen thousand names. Six miles from the resort, along the A38, is the City of Lichfield. From Cathedral Close you can see the two spires that reach
skywards, with a third spire hiding behind them. It is the only English mediaeval cathedral with three spires. I would recommend a tour with one of the cathedral guides who make sure that none of its treasures is overlooked, particularly the library with the ancient Lichfield Gospels. Back out in the Close there was the opportunity to visit the museum, which was the home of Erasmus Darwin. Here the life and work of the multi talented grandfather of Charles Darwin is on display. In the marketplace visitors will find a large statue of Samuel Johnson, which stands outside the house where he was born. This is now a museum of his life and work. Leaving Lichfield and turning north towards Rugeley along the A51 the road leads to Cannock Chase, a mixture of forest and open heath land with views over Stafford from Coppice Hill. Startled deer dashing across the road between the woods either side leads to an even more startled drive home! Another day trip from the resort travels north into Derbyshire’s Peak District. Leaving the A38 at Derby, the winding A6 finds its way along the Derwent valley through Matlock and some spectacular scenery. Ahead is Chatsworth and the full grandeur of this stately home. After viewing the many treasures the house offers there are the equally spectacular gardens, with their secluded grottoes and two impressive water features. Wychnor is superbly located to enjoy all that the midlands has to offer and with the Potteries, the Black Country Museum, Birmingham, Warwick Castle and Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford on Avon on its doorstep, I will definitely return for another visit.
ISSUE 15 • Autumn 2013
Brits revealed as food-obsessed holidaymakers When it comes to a beach holiday Brits have one thing on their minds: food. From pre-holiday diets to sampling the local cuisine, food is at the heart of the British beach holiday.
hile the Germans are wearing their speedos with pride and the French are waxing, the Brits are sampling local food products. These are findings reported in the Flip Flop Report, Expedia’s annual global survey into world beach holiday habits The annual report polled over 8,600 holidaymakers across 21 countries looking at areas such as sunbathing strategies, beach fears and beach activities. It found a number of surprising global beach trends. Andy Washington, managing director of Expedia UK & Ireland, said: “These many small cultural differences make travel so interesting and give us the best stories to come home with. “It’s clear that in the U.K. we’re experimental when it comes to trying new food and local cuisines, but I don’t think we’ll ever be as brave as Germans in our beach attire!” The majority of Brits claim sampling the local Its Simple, Buy, Sell, Rent advert 210x148.5mm cuisine is a top holiday priority, with almost
80 per cent of us looking forward to trying the local dishes on offer.
21 per cent; waxing: 18 per cent; tanning: 14 per cent; and spa treatments: six per cent.
The Brits place great importance on becoming beach ready ahead of their holidays, with more than 20 per cent admitting to going on a diet in the run up to a holiday and more than a quarter beginning a fitness regime. This compares to just ten per cent of French holidaymakers.
While Brits are dieting, the French are global leaders when it comes to waxing where, for 43 per cent, a pre-holiday wax is de rigueur. This is topped only by the world’s most-renowned waxing nation, the Brazilians (45 per cent).
Brits take this so seriously that more than 20 per cent of us would even consider postponing a holiday by up to five months or cancelling completely (14 per cent) if we didn’t feel ‘beach ready’. In their eagerness to experiment with foreign cuisine, the British also admit to overdoing it, with 60 per cent confessing to overeating when away. In comparison only one in four of French and 39 per cent of German holidaymakers admitted to over-indulging. The top items Brits ‘get prepped’ and invest in before heading on holiday to the beach include: New beach outfits: 40 per cent;· working out: 26 1 10/12/2012 16:29 per cent; getting hair done: 24 per cent; dieting:
When on the beach, Brits opt for a subtle sunbathing strategy with a third of British women going topless, lagging behind the body bold Danes where 40 per cent go topless. The same percentage has no qualms about sharing photos of themselves in their swimwear on social media. Only one in five Brits would happily allow their swimwear photos to be shared in social media. Where 21 per cent of Germans opt for speedos as the preferred beachwear, less than two per cent of Brits would be seen wearing them. And it seems that Brits are becoming more sun savvy, too, with a quarter preferring to stay in the shade under an umbrella instead of developing the classic ‘lobster’ tan Brits are famous for.
DAE offers ‘unusual’ holidays
ial An Exchange has added a range of unusual holiday options to its portfolio to complement its more traditional holiday resorts. Yachts in Turkey and Italy, Ethiopian resorts and even classic VW Camper vans in the Scottish Borders are now available for exchange.
Interval partners with discount group
ood news for ‘food-loving’ members of Interval International’s Interval Gold or Interval Platinum membership programmes. Interval has launched a new collaboration with the Gourmet Society giving U.K.-based members access to a variety of discounts at more than 6,500 restaurants. The Gourmet Society operates a U.K. subscription-based dining club, offering members discounts of up to 50 per cent off meals at participating restaurants. As the first national dining club, The Gourmet Society now has over 500,000 members. Upon receipt of their Gourmet Society membership cards, Interval Gold and Interval Platinum members can start choosing restaurants from the on-line
Happy landings with RCI
CI has launched FREE travel guides giving members information on their holiday destinations. Following the July launch, 30,000 guides were downloaded in just one month! RCI partnered with ArrivalGuides to bring members travel guides for more than 400 destinations. They are designed to provide full of useful information “to get holidays off to the best start”. The guides can be downloaded and printed free of charge to be taken on holiday. The guides cover popular destinations such as Tenerife, Spain, Finland, Hungary, Portugal and Italy. They are packed with information about ‘must visit’ places, restaurants and events, with handy maps and much more.
guide or mobile app, check out the relevant offers, book tables mentioning the Gourmet Society, then arrive at their selected restaurants and dine. Simon Leonard, managing director of the Gourmet Society, added: “Having worked together in the past, we know how much Interval members will value the quality and quantity of the restaurants that we offer. “We look forward to enabling them to enjoy great savings whenever they dine out with us.”
See the city lights and sights
CI has introduced improved benefits to its Platinum membership. RCI’s upgraded membership package now includes exclusive priority exchange access to city break destinations such as Paris, Dubai and Chicago. Big cities are rarely available using the exchange system so this benefit gives platinum members a range of holiday opportunities in some of the world’s most famous cities. Visit www.RCI.com to find out more.
Managing director, Europe, Oliver Green said: “People want greater choice and variety in their holidays today. We like to focus on the needs of our members and provide them with a great mix of interesting holidays. “The traditional resort holiday or hotel break will always be available, but we’re also offer yachting breaks in two premier regions of Europe, accommodation in the immensely beautiful Ethiopia, and timelessly popular VW Vans to the many other resort options we have around the world.”
It’s good to chat
CI has launched a ‘Click to Chat’ service enabling members able to talk on-line with an RCI guide to clear up any questions they have in real time. RCI guides are trained to help with any enquiries and the interactive on-line service is available Monday to Friday from 9am-6pm – subject to guide availability. Sue Nixon, an RCI member from Kettering, clicked to chat and was delighted by the service she received. “After confirming an exchange on RCI.com to get a discounted exchange fee I noticed the ‘live help available’ option,” she said. “Almost immediately I was chatting online to an RCI agent who was very helpful and cleared up an enquiry I had instantly. What a brilliant service to offer!”