Monday, November 29, 2010

Vacation Ownership Education Session

If you own a timeshare in Florida or will be visiting a timeshare in Florida towards the end of January, plan on attending the Vacation Ownership Education session that is slated for Saturday January 29th.

There will be no selling of anything at this session and no membership is required. You'll learn the best ways to use your timeshare, the options you have when purchasing timeshare, tips for exchanging and of course, we'll leave plenty of time for questions and answers.

The list of featured speakers and companies is being worked on and we're interested in your feedback. Who would you like to see at this session?

E-mail us with your questions, comments and suggestions and stay tuned for details about this unqiue opportunity to learn what you need to know about timeshares.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lisa's Thanksgiving Post

We all know that I rant and rave about the need for positive changes within the timeshare industry. Of course lately, I'm not the pariah I once was at the various timeshare conferences and conventions that I attend as more and more industry leaders are suffering the consequences of years of bad marketing, negative press and other things that could have been avoided had they paid attention. But I digress. The point of this post is to give a public "thank you" to people within the timeshare industry that I have either learned from, received help from, learned a lesson from (good or bad), received encouragement from, etc. No, this does nothing to diminish my unbiased stance, no one paid to be a matter of fact the people mentioned in here probably don't even read my blog (!) so they don't know anything about it.

There's no reasoning behind the order of these names, but they all deserve a hearty thank you and on this Thanksgiving Day I though it appropriate:

Lou Ann Burney and Howard Nussbaum from ARDA
Ross Perlmutter from CRDA
Fermin Cruz, Ramy Filo and Francis Taylor from DAE Live
Jim Lewis and Diane Hancock from Disney Vacation Club
Stacey Patrick and Rachel Ortinau from ICE
Jay Wilson, John Sanginei and Christine Boesch from Interval International
Tammie Kaufman from the University of Central Florida
Edward Kinney from Marriott Vacation Club International
Ed and MaryLou Hastry from the National Timeshare Owners Association
Frank Debar from the Florida Timeshare Owners Group
Paul and Sharon Mattimoe, Steve Luba and Matt McDonald from Perspective International
Tim McLaughlin, Shane Flannagan and Jessica Kornacki from Group RCI
Maurice Aubrey, Gary Prado and Alisa Stephens from
Brian Rogers from TUG
Barry Brown, Freda Stemick and Carrie Vandever from Resort Trades
Karen Donohue from Trading Places International
Joseph Holland and Randy Upchurch from the University of Wisconsin-Stout
Judi and Jay Kozlowski from the LTRBA
Jason Tremblay from
Keith Trowbridge from Executive Quest
Ray Jacobs and Shep Altshuler from TimeSharing Today
Dave Thackeray from Word and Mouth
Helen Foster from RCI Ventures
Georgi Bohrod from GBG and Associates
Kathy Hernandez from Kathy Hernandez and Associates
Sharon Drechsler from Drechsler Communications
Nelson Cienfuegos from Westgate Resorts
Rod Hackman from Inside The Gate

and countless others who I'm sure I missed.

A shout out to some of the fine people that I've been fortunate enough to work with at various resorts many years ago when I first started off in timeshare: Amy and Shawn Bush, Connie and Johnnie Jett, Frank Gilmore, Sherri Brady, Frank Gilmore, Curtis Boyer, Jean Kilani, Adriana Santos, Donna Dampier, Roger Piper and Janet Hartog to name a few.

And a special "thanks" to the many timeshare owners that I've been privilaged to meet over the years either through direct timeshare contact, various owners' groups or who have worked with me at Timeshare Insights...I got started in this writing, consulting and education business because of you...I hope that I have done you all some good.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

RCI Platinum Points

So, it has been a few months since RCI launched their Platinum Points program.

Among the benefits members receive are unit upgrades, rebates, priority access and various travel related discounts.

Has anyone upgraded to this new level of membership? If so, what are your thoughts? Have you received better service? Is is worth the money?

Speaking of the money, I'm curious to find out if everyone paid the same thing or if resorts are milking this for everything they can and charging more than what RCI charges.

Let us know.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Not "Exactly" Timeshare Related

OK, not at ALL timeshare related. I just felt the need to vent.

I just returned from my local grocery store where I had to show my drivers' license, be entered into a database and sign a release in order to purchase 24 nasal decongestant pills. This is presumably so that the authorities will be able to find me in the event that there is an increase in the amouth of meth that they may find in Clermont in the near future. Of course, the fact that I also purchased cough medicine, diabetes medication for Julian the cat, Honey Nut Cherrios and Earl Grey tea did nothing to indicate that I might NOT be the meth dealer that they are looking for.

I write this three days before I have to endure the TSA screenings at the airport before being allowed to fly home to enjoy Thanksgiving with my friends and family. Yeah, I know, I REALLY fit the profile of people who are likely to do something sinister while flying. Thank goodness that the cough medicine I purchased is in tablet form, or else that would likely be confiscated.

I know that as Americans, we take our freedoms for granted and the minute that anything "interferes" with that, we bristle. I'm not like that. As the child of immigrants whose family was persecuted, no, make that slaughtered by the Nazis, I don't take my freedoms for granted and I thank God that I live in the society that I do.

But this decongestant, 3 ounces of liquid, inappropriate patdowns nonsese is just that...nonsense. It does nothing to make us any safer from anything. All it does is provide good humor for the terrorists and drug dealers out there who are, no doubt, thinking up new ways to go about their dangerous business.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Anatomy of a Timeshare Tragedy

Start with a nice little resort with great potential. The first mistake is to have RCI allocate this nice little resort a point value far beyond other resorts in the area with far more amenities.

1. Hire people with no timeshare experience and put them in semi-important positions, suh as managing the contracts department when they have no understanding of legal issues and/or managing the front desk when the difference between a hotel and a timeshare escapes them.

2. Assess a special assessment in the midst of one of the country's worst financial crunches.

3. Lie to your owners about what the special assessment will be used for.

4. Spend the special assessment funds on anything and everything BUT what you told your owners you would spend it on.

5. Make it nearly impossible for owners to attend the annual HOA meeting by burying the meeting details in another document, holding the meeting at an inconvenient time and holding the meeting off-site.

6. Lower maintance fees, don't maintain the property properly and allow your sales staff to tell clients; "oh, you buy here so that you can trade, I'd never stay here, it's a dump."

7. Take a hands-off approach, don't be pro-active, listen to people who don't have the resort's best interest at heart multiple times and hide your head in the sand.

8. Allow your "sales force" to sell a vacation club rather than timeshare.

A tragedy for the owners, for the handful of qualified, dedicated personnel still employed trying to make the best of it and a tragedy for the timeshare industry as a whole.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And Now A Word About Timeshare Consumers

I'll admit it, I carry on about the need for positive change within the timeshare industry. And I'm quite vocal and direct about it. Things need to change and need to change quickly if the industry is to ever get to the level of acceptance that I believe it is capable of.

But there is enough nonsense and shenanigans going on I'd like to point the finger at the consumer. More specifically to timeshare tour junkies and consumers who just like to bitch and complain.

As an unbiased, independent, non-sales oriented consultant, I get e-mails daily from frustrated consumers. Some have legitimate concerns. I'm focused today on the ones that don't have legitimate concerns, don't learn from their mistakes and are crying "foul" when they share the blame.

I have no sympathy for instance for consumers who come crying to me saying that they "bought" two theme park tickets in Orlando for $25 and didn't know it involved a 3-hour high pressure timeshare presentation.

For those of you who don't know, I was a timeshare salesperson for more than 4 years and I came across my fair share of these "crybabies" who cried foul and wanted out before the required 90 minutes. They know full-well what's going on and most of them schedule 2 pitches per day in order to supplement their meager financial allottment for vacation.

I also find it hard to sympathize with the consumers who fall for the "timeshare transfer" schemes, who I gracefully give my time and thoughts at no cost to, but when I suggest that they take a look at my services (MODULE 3 to be specific) or join the National Timeshare Owners Association or subscribe to TimeSharing Today or any number of organizations that I point them to, don't do anything.

More often than not, I hear from these same people again, now telling me that they were taken for another $2,500 yet STILL don't take my advise.

As I said, there is enough nonsense going on on both sides. I sense changes are coming. And all the guilty parties had better watch out. Stay tuned.

What If Timeshare...

Between the talking at the timeshare conferences and the online chatter these days you would think that the people actually running the timeshare industry would have come to some solid realizations and taken the opportunity to do something radically different...that is radically different in the timeshare world.

There's talk about the so-called "new marketing fundamentals" which any first semester college student could easily grasp. Then there's the chatter about some companies looking to "change the tour qualifications." Again, really basic stuff here. If your product is $25,000, chances are that a couple with 2 kids under the age of 8 making $40,000 shouldn't be buying it and more importantly, you shouldn't wasting your marketing dollars on them.

What if all the time, energies and yes, money...timeshare companies are actually paying "thinkers" to come up with these first semester marketing ideas...were spent on actually making the product better, addressing the very real issues of pricing and the resale market and policeing the small, but vocal dishonest sales persons?

Do something about the lying, do something about the pricing, do something about the over-promising and under-delivering issues, do something about the increasing annual fees, do something about the inability to exchange when rentals are readily available, rather than wasting time on "should we OPC, should we tour single men, should we verify income before touring."

In short, do something that will make a significant, positive difference to timeshare owners and potential timeshare owners. Let people buy timeshare, stop selling it to them.

I believe that timeshare is a great product. Let's hope that it can flourish in spite of itself.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


When I wrote and conducted the first "Timeshare 101 Training for Non-Sales Employees" at an Orlando area timeshare earlier this year, I stressed the importance of communication to and on all levels.

Sure, it's nice to have a quarterly newsletter going out to all your owners with the resort updates and new information. And it is equally nice to have a monthly newsletter for your employees. But do the two "mesh?"

Communications at and about the resort should be integrated so that the message, or messages are conveyed in an appropriate way to the outside world as well as the internal world.

For example, if the resort is having an increase in the annual fees, this is news that needs to be communicated to everyone. Obviously you don't want to issue a Press Release focusing on the exact numbers, but you should not shy away from a Press Release focusing on the improvements that will be made using the funds. Your employees need to know about the increase so that they feel comfortable discussing it with owners. And don't forget the other employees such as housekeeping, engineering, room service, etc. They need to know about the increase as well although in a bit of a watered down version.

Today, people both inside and outside of your resort are already talking about you. Your only choice is to join in to make sure that your message is getting across or sit back and let everyone else determine your future course.

Communication has never been more important.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No Great Ideas Today, But Two Public Services

VOTE...enough said.

Someone you should be following if you aren't already...brilliant insights...