Friday, April 29, 2011

Update From Vancouver-Timeshare Will Be Changing!

Kudos, congratulations and a great big "yeah" to Ross Perlmutter, everyone at CRDA and all who participated in this year's conference which just concludd in Vancouver, British Columbia.

From the Keynote Speech by Jim Madrid, to the final "Changing Gears" interactive session, the entire ocnference, or "summit" as it was officially called, focused on change, honest and the need for more and better consumer education.

As The Timeshare Crusader, I've been sounding the "a better educated consumer is this industry's best friend" call for so long without any positive reinforcement from either the timeshare industry or in most cases, consumers that I honestly planned on giving this whole thing up later this year.

And while that undoubtedly would have made many people (including my long-suffering family and non-timeshare savvy friends as well as some people in the industry) VERY happy, that plan has been tabled.

People at the summit didn't think I was a nut job!

There were serious discussions about the need to stay in touch with timeshare owners throughout their lives to insure that the legacy of future vacations stays just that and doesn't become the "I don't want the annual fee" whine that is all too common nowadays.

I heard people question the sanctity of the 90-minute timeshare presentation, gifting, fake TO price drops and forcing people to make a purchasing decision now having received no information prior to walking in the door.

With GNEX2011 less than 2 weeks away, with the promise of even more possibilities of significant change to the "we've always done it this way" timeshare system, The Timeshare Crusader is positively giddy with the prospects.

And that hasn't been the case in a very, very, very long time.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Lots of updates to report:

1)  The July 31st meeting of the Florida Timeshare Owners group promises to be wonderful with featured speakers Woody Cary, Rich Muller and Andrew Sparks.  Andrew is from the Attorney General's office here in Orlando.
2)  CRDA, the Canadian Resort Development Association's annual meeting begins on April 27th in Vancouver.  I'm honored to have been chosen to moderate the exciting "Meet The Owner's" panel and will be reporting.
3)  Perspective International's GNEX2011 is less than a month away.  This is shaping up to be an extraordinary meeting of worldwide timeshare leaders and professionals.
4)  On May 16th, I'll be talking about the issues facing timeshare owners and timeshare resorts alike when I speak with The Villages Timeshare Owners Group.
5)  I'm delighted to start a professional working relationship with Sharetime and TATOC in the United Kingdom as well as provide material for the RCI blog.  Look for my first contribution to those organizations later on this year.

Happy travels to all, and stay tuned for updates from CRDA and GNEX.

The Real Truths About Timeshare-Part 5


No one ever said that using a timeshare was going to be free, did they? While I happen to disagree with the rising exchange rates that both RCI and II charge for a transaction that most owners do themselves, i.e. online; in the long run, those fees don't add up to that much. Any any savvy owner better be checking out the many other timeshare exchange companies that are available. Just because the resort is affiliated with one of the 2 major exchange companies, doesn't mean that you are limited to using them.


The author makes a point of saying that developers are not interested in updating and/or remodling resorts. That is just not true. Of course, there will always be some unscrupulous developer out there, but it really is up to the consumer to ask questions beyond, "how much does it cost?" And with all the resources out there for consumers, it is a very simple thing to get other owners' views on a particular resort.

As for the ridiculous statement, "let's just hope you don't buy a timeshare in hurricane country", again, comsumers need to ask good questions about what type of insurance the resort has and the fees associated with that insurance.

In closing, let me reiterate a few points:

* No timeshare, even real estate based timeshare, should ever be purchased or sold as a real estate investment. As I said in my first book "Surviving A Timeshare Presentation...Confessions From The Sales Table" "timeshare is not Donald Trump type real estate."
* It is imperative for consumers to ask a lot of questions before making any purchasing choice. For a list of these questions, see my second book, "Timeshare Vacations For Dummies" and stay tuned for my next book, "Timeshare By The Numbers"
* Understand the exchange or trading system, whichever trading system you are going to be using. An off-season week in Alabama is simply NOT going to trade for a high-season week in Hilton Head. No matter what the salesperson said or no matter how much you want to believe it.

The Real Truths About Timeshare-Part 4


Yes, you can stay in some timeshares for les than the cost of owning them same timeshare, particularly if you purchase from the developer. When you purchase from a legitimate reseller, I can almost guarantee you that you will save money over renting.

If you like to rent, then by all means, continue to rent. Basic Timeshare 101 people. If you like to own your vacation, vacation in nicer places than before, have something to hand down to future generations, have more control over your vacations, timeshare is the way to go.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sorry, But I Don't Believe It

Here's a piece that I saw in Consumer Affairs:

Why would anyone buy a timeshare, you ask? Left to their own devices, they probably wouldn't.

"My husband was told that he won a vacation, but that he had to go listen to the pitch and he was not going to be pressured to buy anything," Alehandra, of Los Angeles, told "Well they accompany you to the restroom, they even accompany you to the bank. I did not get a chance to discuss it with my husband because we were being watched over by the sales guy from Pacific Monarch Grand Vacations."

Alejandra said she and her husband were told one thing, but the contract said something else. They thought they were being offered a week's stay at a Las Vegas resort, but it turned out to only we one or two days.

"I think $2,300 a year is a major rip off for 1- 2 nights every two years, Alejandra said.

Sorry, but I don't believe this story at all.  Especially the piece about the people accompanying the clients to the bathroom and to the bank.  I think it is bogus.  And in the rare event that this is true, WHY WOULD ANYONE NOT JUST WALK OUT?

Stories like this that get national coverage burn me up.

The Nominees Are...

As you may know, Perspective International is hosting GNEX 2011 in the Bahamas next month.  Members of the industry have nominated their peers in several area; best timeshare development, best place to work, best management company, best industry leader, etc.

Today I wanted to let you know who is in the running for Best Resort Development-Timeshare.  Do you own at any of these resorts or have you exchanged into any of these resorts?  If you do, I'd love to hear your input.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino-Punta Cana
Grand Velas Riveria Maya-Mexico
The Royal Club at Bonnington Tower-Dubai
Royal Savoy Resort-Madeira
Sunset Royal Resort-Mexico
Marriott's Playa Andaluza-Spain
Marriott's Mai Khao Beach-Thailand
Grand Melia Palacio de Isora-Tenerife
Mondi Holiday GmbH & Co. KG-Germany
Grand Solmar at Land's End Resort and Spa-Baja Peninsula
The Palmrya Jamaica-Jamaica
Marriott's Club Son Antem-Mallorca
The Pestana Promenade Ocean Resort Hotel-Madeira
Emirates Vacation Club-Dubai
The DeVere Carrick Resort-Scotland
Ron Jon Cape Caribe-Florida
Sunswop at Beacon Island-South Africa
Porto Marina Resort-Egypt

The Real Truths About Timeshare-Part 3


Yes, if you purchase from a developer and pay the average of slightly over $20,000, you can turn around in two years and expect to get considerably less than that. But look at anything else other than your house (and these days you might be able to include your house) buy a car for $30,000 and finance it. The second you drive it out of the dealer's lot, you take a $5,000 hit. Drive it for a year or two and you're down $10,000. Drive it until you can't anymore, say 15 years, sell it for $2,000 an dthen you have to start all over again.

It's the same thing with furniture, computers, clothing, CDs, electronics and everything else.

Timeshares should NEVER be purchased with an eye for selling them at a profit or even at break-even. Timeshares should be purchased with an eye for using them. And unlke the car, the furniture, the computer, the clothing, the CDs, the electronics and everything else, they don't have a shelf life, they don't expire, they don't have to be just have to pay an annual fee to keep your home rsort up to date.

Of course, if you buy a timeshare on the legitimate resale marekting you are going to pay considerably less than $20,000 so the "depreciating asset" myth is just that, a myth.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Today's Timeshare Radio Interview

Kudos as always to Dave for doing a fabulous inteview.

I'm Angry

I'm angry.  Really angry.

Before I tell you why, let me again set the record straight on a few issues:

1)  I was a timeshare salesperson/manager from 2000 to 2005
2)  I have written two successful book of timeshare information for consumers
3)  I have co-authored a college level textbook on timeshare
4)  I do not sell, rent, buy, broker, list, transfer or represent any timeshare or any timeshare company
5)  I don't get paid for my articles and blogs
6)  In my role as The Timeshare Crusader, I try to be the voice of the timeshare consumer as well as a catylst for positive change in the timeshare industry
7)  I have a very small ego and feel honored that consumers trust me and that I'm occassionally allowed to play with the big boys in the timeshare sandbox
8)  I am not anti-timeshare nor anti-developer, nor have I ever been

I mention items 1, 2 and 3 because they do give me some credibility.  I actually do know what I am talking about.

Does everyone FINALLY understand #8 now?  Excellent, now let's get back on track and talk about why I am so angry.

Several months ago, I came up with an idea for a short interview series with important and influential people in the timeshare industry.  The idea was simple; to let the timeshare consumer get a glimpse of the personal side of the people who have such an impact on the timeshare product.

The questions were:

1)  What was your first job in timeshare?
2)  What is the biggest lesson you've ever been taught?
3)  What is your favorite vacation destination?
4)  If you could change one thing about timeshare, what would it be?
5)  What is your favorite color?

Not exactly hard hitting questions, but that was not the intent.

The answers were going to be published in this blog because timeshare owners and consumers don't get or read any of the nice, shiny, glossy, 4-color magazines that these professionals read.

I sent out more than 100 e-mails to people at ARDA, RCI, II, Hilton, Starwood, Marriott, Wyndham, ICE, Disney, resellers, resort managers, exchange companies, writers, PR people, people in timeshare finance companies, timeshare collection companies, etc.  And I handed out a bunch of  "interview slips" two weeks ago while attenidng the ARDA Convention.

So what was the response?  99% of the time I was totally ignored.  Repeatedly ignorned.  1/2 % of the time I was given an answer similar to, "we have to run this past legal."  Yeah, I can see why answering that your favorite color is blue would need a team of lawyers to review.  The other 1/2 % of the time, I did get an answer, and those answers will be out starting the first week of May.

Back to the anger...I'm ignored by these people because I don't print fluff, because I'm not employed by magazines that print fluff and accept ads, because I ask questions and raise issues on behalf of timeshare owners and because I don't kiss ass.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Real Truths About Timeshare-Part 2


Again, the author makes these fees out to be specific to timeshares only. Let's be serious. When you rent a hotel room for $150 a night you are also paying your maintenance fees, unless you are doing landscaping work, cleaning the pool or overhauling the roof. How much of the $150 a night is for the room and how much is for the maintenance fees? They keep that from you.

At least with a timeshare, you know upfront what the fees are. Again, shame on anyone who purchases a timeshare without knowing what the fees are, what they were last year and the year before that and knowing what the cap, if any, is.

If you buy a car for around $30,000 would you expect to not pay maintenance fees? When you buy a house, don't you pay to keep the place up?

Can you rent a hotel room for less than maintenance fees? Of course you can. The average annual maintenance fee last year was about $650. That comes out to about $90 per night. Then again, if you are happy with a $90 hotel room, then by all means, stay away from timeshare.

Lakeview Manor Resort-Bahamas

I was made aware of this situation at Lakeview Manner in the Bahamas through an e-mail that one of the owners sent to me.

It seems that the resort has been dis-affiliated from RCI because they "had not met the enrollment quota." I'm checking into this issue to see what the true story is.

What is equally troubling is the fact that a representative of the resort sent an e-mail to about 350 individual owners, but instead of a) personally addressing each e-mail or b) using the simple "bcc" feature she made individual names, e-mail addresses and unit numbers available to everyone.

The entire situation sounds weird at best. I'm doing some checking to see what the true story is but in the meantime, if you own at Lakeview Manor, work at Lakeview Manor and/or work at RCI and can shed some light on this situation, please let us know.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Real Truths About Timeshare

A recent piece floating around the internet lately entitled "The Top Five Reasons Why Timeshares Are A Bad Investment" has me hopping mad. I am SO sick and tired of listening to the same old stuff about how timeshares, whether tied to real estate or not, are poor investments.

If you buy a timeshare, any timeshare, as a real estate investment, shame on you for not understanding what you are buying. And if you sell timeshare, any timeshare, as a real estate investment, you should be fined and prohibited from selling it in the future.

I won't divulge the author of the article in question; he has done enough disservice as it is. However, I will rebut his points one by one.

If someone came up to you 10 years ago and offered you a deal whereby for $5,000 you could receive all the gasoline for all the cars you would ever drive, would you consider this a good deal? The answer for most of us would be a resounding "YES." Back when I started driving (in the Dark Ages), gas was $.74 a gallon. Today, I filled up for $3.76 a gallon.

Timeshare operates on the same premise. You are in fact pre-paying for tomorrow's use at today's prices. If, 10 years ago you were offered an opportunity to pay $5,000 for one week's quality vacation every year, forever, wouldn't you have taken it? If vacations were important to you, then you would have been foolish not to take this offer.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Timeshare Conventions-What They Mean For Consumers

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA), just wrapped up their annual convention in Orlando and the Canadian Resort Development Association (CRDA) is holding their annual convention later this month in Vancouver.  Next month, Perspective International will be hosting the first ever GNEX convention.

Now, as a timeshare owner, you may think that these annual conventions have no impact on you and serve no other purpose than a convenient excuse for timeshare professionals to run up their expense accounts and have some fun in some wonderful locale for a few days.  You would however be very wrong.

Today, I'm going to introduce you to GNEX, why I's so excited about it and what impact it will have for you.

GNEX 2011 is being put on by Perspective International (  By the way, if you do not subscribe to Owners Perspective, check it out.  I'm all about sharing as much information with timeshare owners as possible.  The goal of this year's convention, is to quote Paul Mattimoe, "getting together all of the industry leaders on a global basis to share best practices and move the industry forward."

That seems like a tall order at best, but it serves as a great illustration of why this event in particular is important to timeshare owners worldwide.  Sharing of information on a global basis.  Timeshare, as you can imagine, means one thing in Orlando and quite another in Dubai.  Timeshare owner and potential owners are concerned about one thing in Hilton Head and another thing in France.

GNEX will be making great use of the delegates' time by making the convention as interactive as possible.  I can tell you that it is this interactive format that to me, hold the most promise.  I had the good fortune to participate in "The Timeshare of the Future" session at ARDA last week, and while I did find the general education sessions interesting, I found that once the audience was participating and exchanging information, FAR more good ideas were generated.

I'll be writing more about GNEX in the following days.  In the meantime, visit their site at

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Got Milk"-11 Years Later and an Update

Many, many years ago, when I was still quite naive about the timeshare industry, I wrote the following piece for an online publication called "The Timeshare Beat." About a month ago, I received an e-mail from someone who had read the piece and wanted to know if I still had a copy I could send to him. I found it and re-read it. There's still a lot of sense in what I wrote, however naive I may have been back in 2011. I'm posting it here and including an update.


GOT MILK? No, this week's column is not about good nutrition, although having seen too many timeshare salespeople's diets, it could be. No, today, I'm going to ask a simple question of you with the knowledge that someone from a resort or from ARDA is reading and paying attention. I've talked previously about truth in advertising and why its so important.

We, as timeshare professionals also know that there is a lot of bad talk on the streets about our industry and many misinformed consumers. So why doesn't ARDA come up with a national advertising campaign to educate people about timeshare? Yes, ARDA is there to serve the industry, but as the governing body, shouldn't they bear some of the responsibility for saying good things about timeshare to the vast majority of people who don't know about timeshare?

A web site is a nice adjunct to an advertising campaign, but who exactly is hitting the website? My very educated guess is that people who access the ARDA website don't need to be sold on the timeshare concept.

Just as the National Dairy Board developed their wonderful "Got Milk?" campaign, ARDA can and should do the same thing. Something quick to remember, something catchy, something to make people smile. I can see everyone scrambling around right now, pen and paper in hand trying to come up with an award winning campaign. STOP. Yes, right now...stop. The idea is NOT to come up with something that is designed to win awards. The idea is to come up with something useful, educational and memorable.

After many years in advertising, I've discovered one simple truth...if you try to create something award winning, you will miss the boat. If you stick with KISS-Keep It Simple, Stupid and think as consumers do, you may succeed. The campaign needs to be carefully thought out, simple, easy to remember and most of all, informatie without giving away too much. ARDA needs to concentrate on selling the concept, or more specifically, un-selling the negative concepts that put many consumers on full alert.

Here's just one of a variety of ideas that I a family on vacation using a hotel room vs. a timeshare. Simple enough. Plant the seed. UPDATE... RCI has done some great commericals that clearly illustrate timeshare vacations and non-timeshare vacations. Great stuff! And since I strongly believe that the timeshare industry has to acknowledge the fact that there is still a negative image out there, I would strongly urge everyone to take a look at the latests spots from Chrysler...the ones with the tagline "Imported From Detroit." THAT is how you get over a negative image and move on. Who's going to be first?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Soon Available on Kindle

We're pleased to announce that The Word From The Timeshare Crusader will soon be available for download on the Amazon Kindle! Modern technology never ceases to amaze me. Thanks to everyone for their continued support.

10 Reasons To Buy A Timeshare-#10

You like and use the many discounts that timeshare offers you. Bonus Weeks, Getaway Weeks, discounts on airfare, car rentals, attraction tickets, restaurants, dinner shows and travel services just to name a few. When was the last time you renting a hotel room for a week and they gave you access to another week for only $259? When was the last time you used, or even looked at all those perks that came with your timeshare way back when you bought it? And if you haven't taken the jump into timeshares yet, remember to ask about all of these discounts and perks. Timeshares are NOT for everyone. And no, timeshares can't be sold for a profit. But they will give you better vacations, they will open the door to vacations that you never thought you would be able to experience, they do make total financial sense and the vast majority of regular vacationers can find affordable ones by doing some simple searches.

What If Apple Owned A Timeshare

With Apple stock toying with new highs every month, their ful retail stores, people waiting in line to buy their newest products and the fact that you don't hear a whole lot of bad things about their people, their products or their service---it got me thinking---what if Apple owned a timeshare?

First of all, there would be no gifting, i.e. bribery to get people to come in and see what everything was about. Maybe some cool advertising, but no free stuff. There would be no price could either afford the timeshare or you couldn't. It's called holding the value of your product. There would be less of a chasm between a "new" timeshare and a "used" one...sure you could save some bucks, but there would be significant differences between the two.

The people who sold the timeshare and the people who worked at the timeshare would be staunch supporters of the timeshare and owned one or more of them. The people that worked at the timeshare would know their stuff and wouldn't have to exagerate any of the benefits of the timeshare. It would work the way they said it would. If you had questions on how to best use your timeshare, you could sign up for a few free classes where you'd actually learn and no one would try to "upgrade" you.

Timeshares would be...what's the word? Oh yeah, cool. Timeshares would be cool and you would want to own one. Prehaps Mr. Jobs is looking to expand?

10 Reasons To Buy A Timeshare-#9

You want more of a home feeling when vacationing. One of the reasons people, maybe you, don't enjoy vacationing is that you move yourself and your family from a 3 or 4 bedroom home into one small room for a week or more and find all you all suffer from cabin fever. You don't live in one small room at home, why do you settle for that on vacation? If you like to make snacks at midnight and watch movies at home, 15 stale bags of Cheetos and flat Coke from the vending machine down the hall at the hotel isn't going to cut it, is it?

10 Reasons To Buy A Timeshare-#8

You want more control of your vacations. Get involved. You can run for a seat on a hotel's Association Board because it doesn't exist. You can, and should, have an active voice in vote on your resort's HOA. Understand the trading process...which gives you more control; deposit first or request first? Understand your trading power...which gives you more control; weeks or points?

10 Reasons To Buy A Timeshare-#7

You can cut through the bull and understand exactly what timeshare will and won't do for you. Don't believe everything you hear, good or bad. Get yourself some education, talk to other owners, do your homework, do some research, hire a consultant.