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.