Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"News On Your Timeshare"

So that was the subject line of an e-mail I recently received.  News on my timeshare...sounds interesting..

"Want to sue your timeshare company?" was the headline.  Sue your timeshare company...hmmm, let's see.  It continues..

"Are you tired of paying endless maintenance fees on a timeshare that you can't or no longer want to use?  The Law Offices of _____________ has a 30 year track record of helping homeowners who have been the victim of fraud and misrepresentation.  We go after timeshare companies for misrepresentation and not letting you use the time you paid for."

It goes on to talk about free (there's word I don't like) evaluation.  Some of the questions were:

Were you told that your timeshare was an interest in real propery?
Have you had difficulty in booking dates for your travel?
Have your maintenance fees been increasing?
And my favorite two questions:

Are you willing to "walk away" and be released from your timeshare obligation?
Were you told that you were a finalist in a drawing to get you to the presentation?

I can't be certain, but I'd be willing to bet that this attorney (if he is one) is nothing more than yet another organization that will take your paid of timeshare for a few thousand dollars, leaving the annual fees unpaid, creating a burden on the timeshare resort and the other owners.

While in some perverse way, I'm impressed with this guy's chutzpah and pitch, I'm more saddened that this is probably working on many unsuspecting timeshare owners.

When will timeshare resorts step up to the plate to do something about this?  It CAN be done.  Want help?  Let me know.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Still "Gifting" at Your Timeshare?

Read this...you'll be inclined to stop it for better marketing methods.


Lots To Learn

With a background in traditional timeshare sales, I will readily admit to having a lack of knowledge on the higher end timeshare products available.

With that in mind, I reached out to Christina Markowitch, Manager of Public Relations for Wyndham Exchange and Rentals, to find out more about RCI's Registry Collection.  Future posts will cover II's high end product offerings.

I just returned from a site visit to Orange Lake Resort and Country Club where I met with Gregg Anderson, Registry's Club Global Vice President and Brooke Doucha, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications of Orange Lake Resorts and there are 3 things I can say with great certainty:  1)  there is a lot about timeshare that isn't widely known, 2)  there is a lot about timeshare that I need to learn about and 3)  high end timeshare is far removed from the standard "3 day/2 night mini-vac with timeshare tour required" that is still widely used to "pitch" timeshare.

RCI has 160+ Registry properties around the world (http://www.theregistrycollection.com), Orange Lake's Signature Collection being one of them.  The rooms themselves are spectacular; I could easily live there if I could afford the cost, which alas, I can't.  But it's not about the LCD televisions, iPod docking stations, upgraded furniture, linens and kitchen appliances.  As nice as they all were, I can't imagine anyone plopping down the necessary dollars for a 1 or 2 week vacation because of the real wood floors.

It's the service; the concierge who calls 30 days prior to arrival to find out if you're celebrating anything during your stay or if you need park tickets or groceries.  It's about, in my opinion, what a vacation experience is all about.  I don't know about you, but I don't go on vacation to get a "nice room" somewhere.  But, I do want the accommodation portion of my vacation to be as relaxing, comfortable and stress-free as possible.  And yes, I want to be made to feel welcome and special.

This isn't cookie-cutter timeshare and it is NOT for everyone in either style or, let's be honest, cost.  But, if you're the type of person who has thought that you "weren't a timeshare person" or one of the hundreds if not thousands of travel writers and reporters who still think that a timeshare restricts you to the same week every year in a high rise at beach, then you might want to check out the Registry Collections.

My regular readers know that I do not endorse any timeshare.  So understand that I am not endorsing RCI or Orange Lake.  As I mentioned, I'll be covering II's high end collection soon as well as sharing some information on the ins and outs of these high end collections.  2012 will be a learning experience for me in many ways and I will be sharing that knowledge.

In the meantime though, I'm glad I am able to add to my knowledge base and hopefully open some eyes to the many fine timeshare products out there.

Now, go explore

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Of Course Consumers Are Confused

Yesterday I received two postcards from the same company claiming to take my timeshare off my hands for only $585, although "some" may be higher.  The postcard had the Better Business Bureau's logo on it.

This joins the pile of other postcards and mailers from other companies, the list of phone calls from companies claiming "no upfront fees" and of course the Facebook and other ads from similar companies.

I often marvel at the fact that so many timeshare owners are taken for a ride over and over again, oftentimes costing them thousands of dollars each time.

But then I thought about it and it becomes quite obvious why this continues...and it's not because there is a lack of consumer information out there...quite the opposite...it's because there is so much information from so many sources that consumers continue to be confused.

There are so many so-called experts and sources of information out there, including myself, that consumers give up and do the wrong thing.  What do I mean?  Well, let's start with the fact that timeshare owners became timeshare owners for fun and vacation, NOT for meetings, information and getting involved.

So, if you own a timeshare who do you turn to for information?  Do you join the National Timeshare Owners Association for $100 a year?  Do you pay to go to the Florida Timeshare Owners Group three times a year?  Do you join TUG?  Do you read the information that SellMyTimeshareNow.com puts out or subscribe to TimeSharing Today?  Do you turn to the LTRBA or read the information that ARDA-ROC puts out (or CRDA if you live in Canada)?  Do you read the forums on RedWeek.com?  Do you hire Timeshare Insights to give you unbiased information?

And if you do one or more of these (and I'm only mentioning a handful of the organizations that I have no qualms endorsing),do you discount the information from the others?  Because as you know, the LTRBA doesn't play well with SMTN.com, TUG doesn't like the NTOA and on and on.

The timeshare owner need to have ONE body to represent them and that ONE body needs to speak with ONE voice.

Timeshare Insights has been working for years to bring these various organizations (and others) together for some time now...but it's not working.

I hope to be able to bring home some workable ideas from next month's TATOC's (http://www.tatoc.com) Conference.  In the meantime, what do you think?

Monday, February 6, 2012

OK People, We Have A Whole Year To Get Our Act Together

30 second spots on yesterday's SuperBowl were going for about $3.5 million.  There are about 1,500 timeshare resorts in the United States.  I'll need a full :60 seconds to tell a really compelling story.

Do the math...if every US timeshare resort coughed up about $5,000 (or roughly twice the cost of the special assessment that DRI recently levied on each of its Popui owners...sorry, I digress) the timeshare industry would be able to reach a huge audience with a positive, truthful message.

Add to that the media buzz that these SuperBowl ads generate and the You Tube replays and we might be able to do some real good.

I'll donate my time to write the thing.

Who's with me?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Another Fake RCI Meeting

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to stop.  Here is the latest information that RCI has sent out about fake RCI meetings taking place in the Bradenton, Florida area:


RCI has learned that a third party has invited certain RCI subscribing members residing in the Bradenton, Florida area to an "RCI update" meeting at a local Perkins restaurant some time this week.  RCI has not arranged for these meetings or contracted with any party to provide an update at such meetings on RCI's behalf.  Please exercise caution if you are contacted by anyone claiming to be related to RCI and call RCI directly at 1-877-968-7476 (RCI Points Members) or 1-800-338-7777 (RCI Weeks Members) with any questions.

RCI values its members and supports efforts by the American Resort Development Association Resort Owners'  Coalition (ARDA-ROC) to help timeshare owners navigate through the secondary market.  While some entities are legitimate resellers or rental agents of timeshare inventory, others are not.  For additional information, RCI members may wish to consult with their club or resort or visit ARDA-ROC's Timeshare Resale Resource Center at http://www.arda.org/roc/resource-library/default


Gordon Gurnik

PLEASE be wary of these fake RCI meetings.  RCI doesn't have meetings, at least outside of an affiliated resort.
If you know of any other instances, please pass them along to me.