Tuesday, May 31, 2011

GNEX Review

Sometime ago, I declared that “2011 will be an important year in the timeshare world.”  My prediction is that in 5 years time, the industry will look back on this year as the year that they “got it” or the year that they had the opportunity to finally “get it”, but didn’t.

Having recently returned from Perspective Magazine’s GNEX2011, I feel more confident about this declaration than ever.  The rumblings about the need for change and education have grown into full-fledged discussions; some of which actually involved high-level executives talking to me in a serious manner.

For me, GNEX2011 can be summed up in one word-“groundbreaking.”

Groundbreaking because of the global makeup of the attendees; 120 people, representing 80 (!) companies from 15 countries across 5 continents.  And groundbreaking for the unique, no-barrier communication opportunities it presented for everyone, including this writer.

Due to the relative small size of the convention, the organizers were able to slot the educational and information sessions independently; nothing was running concurrently, which allowed for participants to give their full attention to the discussions rather than worry about what they were missing out on at another session.  There was also ample time for networking and I was pleased to see that people were actually taking time and interest in each other---many business conferences seem eerily reminiscent of high school where people hang out with their own cliques.

Paul Mattimoe, President of Perspective International had this goal in mind when he started GNEX2011; “to see if we could get industry leaders from around the world to come to a new conference with an idea to network and discuss global issues.  If people came from everywhere, then there would be something that everyone could take away that could be implemented in their own businesses and regions with the goal of making their businesses better and generating more revenue.”  When I asked him for his thoughts immediately after the conference ended, he stated that GNEX 2011 was “a good start, a good foundation for the next one.”

The 2-day conference was capped off with a lavish award dinner including Bahamian entertainment.  Dial an Exchange and The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana were the big winners of the night.  You owe it to yourself to check out the full list of all the winners at http://perspectivemagazine.com/blog/2011/05/17/the-2011-perspective-magazine-awards-winners-unveiled-at-gnex-conference. 

For this writer, who has a background limited to the United States and even more narrowly in Orlando, I was both excited and intrigued by the timeshare resorts and professionals in places such as Thailand, Cancun, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom and South Africa where I have yet to visit.

My one wish for GNEX2012 (purportedly being held in Cancun) is to somehow include timeshare owners and potential owners.  I feel strongly that timeshare professionals, especially at the level of GNEX attendees, NEED to hear from the people that are directly affected by the discussions and decisions that these executives make.

And while that in itself is a valid reason for including consumers, I’ll leave you with this reason---it’s the consumer that will ultimately hold the timeshare industry to the changes that were discussed and will decide the industry’s fate.  In the words of The Who’s Pete Townshend, “We’re not gonna take it, never did and never will.”  Here’s hoping that the timeshare industry doesn’t force that outcome.

My sincere thanks to Paul and Sharon Mattimoe, Steve Luba, Matt McDaniel and Susan Knox from Perspective as well as the conference attendees I met with for a truly eye-opening and worthwhile conference.

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