Helen Foster Marketing Manager – Publications, RCI Europe)
What was your first job in timeshare?
Editor of the RCI Ventures Magazine (European, Middle East, Africa and India Edition). Though I wear many RCI hats in my role today, the business magazine and its supplementary website, www.rciventures.com are my ‘babies’. I love Ventures because we need new resorts, experiences and brands to come into the market to grow our industry, organically, and it is both my plan and hope that the RCI Ventures media encourages and inspires existing resort developers to expand their operations, as well as offering reassurance to potential new entrants that timeshare is a business model that works well – and that there is a support network in place to help with the mysteries of sales and marketing! It is my goal that RCI Ventures is seen as a ‘virtual’ community where all that is great about this business is shared and showcased.
What was the greatest lesson you’ve ever been taught?
That to try and to fail is better than not to have tried at all. That was my Mother’s mantra. Her greatest fear was that you should leave this world wondering what if… It’s worked for me. Another important learning for me is that timeshare is an amazing product. Yes, I believed all of the negative press before I started looking into it properly in preparation for my RCI job interview 14 years ago. Now I totally believe in our product and find it frustrating that so many struggle to see its many benefits – especially as a perfect family holiday solution.
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
I have two. Austria – Salzburg and surrounding area. It really is picture postcard pretty and the people are so warm, welcoming and gentle. The clear air, sparkling colours of the hills and cute little houses on a summer’s day – simply exhilarating. The Salzburg Christmas Market with festive stalls, living statues, choirs by night in the square and concerts up at Fortress Hohensalzburg make it a real winter wonderland. Tenerife is up there too. Before joining RCI, I had a very poor perception of Tenerife from hazy recollections of press articles around it being a Mecca for ‘Brits’… Being in timeshare, Tenerife was top of my list of visits as the European heartland of the industry. I was so completely taken with the island I soon returned. Such a lot of variety on so small an island. We always hire a car and explore the many different landscapes, from the expansive ‘cowboy’ territory of Mount Teide, to Santa Cruz with its majestic squares and architecture, wonderful window casements (love them) and its air of old island grandeur.
If you could change one thing about timeshare, what would it be?
A shake up of the holiday experiences offered by resorts. Having interviewed John Spence of Royal Resorts several times now for RCI Ventures, I am so impressed with what he has done with the Karma brand. Karma represents fun, beach parties, live DJs, and everything to attract a younger, affluent professional demographic. I would like to see that Karma approach to resort experience – the Karma DNA, as John terms it – infused into more resort offerings. In-resort entertainment is more important than ever – and it can be tailored to family groups and middle-aged couples just as effectively – to distinguish timeshare from rental and other hospitality products. The increasing popularity of the all-inclusive model proves that people are prepared to pay for the right package and, having been on those holidays and talked to my fellow holidaymakers on resort, the nightly shows and entertainment is just as big a pull as the drink being on tap.
What is your favorite color?
Sky blue – a Tenerife sky that is, as opposed to a UK sky. A very calming colour, it suits my skin tone and reminds me of great holidays I’ve had!