Friday, March 13, 2015

The Return of the Vacation Education Series

Back in 2008, the timeshare exchange company Dial An Exchange invited me and a few others within the timeshare community to speak on all matters of timeshare issues at their Vacation Education Series in Phoenix.  I had a great time and the nearly 250 timeshare owners provided great questions and subsequent feedback about these no-cost, no-selling informative meetings.

Dial An Exchange repeated this again a few years later in Orlando and again, timeshare owners appreciated the information provided by myself and the other guest speakers.

Flash forward to 2015 and Dial An Exchange is once again on the road with their VES.  This time, they begin in San Diego on March 22nd.  Although I was not invited to speak this time, I sat down with Susan Friedline, Business Development Manager with DAE to ask her some questions:

Q.        Can you tell our readers a bit about the genesis of these sessions?

DAE has offered similar education sessions several years ago.  As a consumer focused company, we feel strongly about offering on-going education to Timeshare/Vacation owners.  There have been so many changes that have occurred since the early years when Timeshare was first sold.  We are confident that by offering resources, information, and a forum to answer many of the questions, we can help the industry, and ultimately owners  find the value and satisfaction in what they purchased, and own.
Q.        What factors were involved in deciding who in the timeshare community to involve as co-sponsors and/or speakers? 
The VES has been established to be a forum for owners to learn, and ask questions.  It was important to DAE, that the co-sponsors and moderators also feel strongly about the educational need for owners, as well as to offer a vast amount of resources, rather than ‘selling’ their products. 
Q.        Who is your target audience?  Timeshare owners, prospective owners, people who are just curious?
Our target audience is focused on anyone who is a Timeshare/Vacation owner.  We welcome a new owner, but find that most of the questions are coming from owners with 5, 10, 15+ years of experience.  The San Diego location was chosen based on the large percentage of owners who reside within a 20 mile radius.   We will be traveling to locations were owners live, rather than where they own their vacation property
Q         How will the sessions be structured?
We are focusing on 5 key Topics. The structure will be arranged in a ‘round table’ format.  All attendees will get an opportunity to meet with an industry ‘moderator’, covering each of the most urgent issues today.
Q         Since there’s no cost to the timeshare owner, what does DAE and the co-sponsors hope to gain from the sessions? 
We feel strongly that an educated owner will be more satisfied with their ownership, educate their families/friends,  stay engaged with their resort, and continue to enjoy ‘what they own’.  We hope to offer resources to them for any on-going questions and/or needs they may in the years to come. 
Q         Are the sessions really “no-sell”…no one is going to try to sell anyone anything?
The Vacation Education Series has been created to maintain a neutral environment for owners to learn, and ask questions.  Each sponsor will have a table, and an opportunity to explain what they do,  the knowledge they can offer, and answer any direct questions an owner may have; whether it is concerning scams, title transfers, re-sales, how to understand the resort financials, etc….. The information during the 3 ½ hour session is based on current concerns, and providing resources and answers.
Q         Will the speakers change in each city?
This will depend a lot on the moderators choice, and schedule.  We are excited to continue to bring more information, and more knowledge based on feedback from each session.  This may mean trimming the sessions, or perhaps increasing the topic offerings.
Q         Should consumers come with specific questions?  Will they be able to get on-on-one time with speakers and co-sponsors?
We would expect owners to already have questions. At DAE, we are frequently fielding questions from member/owners.  Yes, owners will have a choice to visit with co-sponsors following the event.
Q         What do you want the take-away for consumers, timeshare owners or not, to be?
We would love for owners to leave the event feeling like they have answers and resources to call upon during the life of their ownership.  We want them to realize the industry is thriving; but changing,  and that ownership continues to offer  a  great value and an opportunity to continue enjoying vacations in condominium setting, creating life-long memories!

To register for the VES in San Diego, visit  http://tiny.c/learn1 or contact Penny Fulcher toll-free 877.822.1242 or by email:

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