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It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse


I'm watching you...Keeping an eye on the industry, The GateHouse is a timeshare blog powered by InsideTheGate.com, your best source for daily timeshare news and information.

Some Special Features from InsideTheGate.com you might want to check out this week:

  • CURRENT NEWS HEADLINES (stuff you might have missed last week)
  • SCOOP DU JOUR (published weekly, every Friday)
  • OFF TOPIC (Just for fun, from the goofy to the profound, published weekly, every Monday)
  • ON THE ROAD Timeshare Resort destinations and reviews, travel deals and more! (Published weekly, every Monday)

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EMAIL: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

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broken pencil
Sure, sure, fair enough Billy-Bob and Mary-Lou. I do understand and appreciate that you folks, like others, never ever buy anything on the spur of the moment.

“But, since we’re getting along so well and being honest with one another, and if you don’t mind, may I ask you both a question before you bolt, er, leave?

“Other than needing to sleep on it are there any other reasons why you won’t take advantage of our program today so that you both can immediately start enjoying a lifetime of fantastic vacations with your family and friends?”

(Leave your own caption in the
Comments if you’re so inclined…)

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse

The “Swing Generation” is nearly gone; the “Baby Boomers” are aging their way out; Gens X and Y are hitting the little round tables now (and they’re digitally connected); but who’s coming up behind them to visit you at the sales office?

If you’re not prepared for the “Digital Natives”, aka the “Techie Tots” you’d better give it some thought because they’re on their way and selling to people who are accustomed to checking EVERYTHING out on the various digital devices they now possess and are likely to possess in the future is going to bring a whole new aspect to the sales equation.

So what’s the Scoop? What’s the skinny on those digital natives as it relates to the timeshare universe? Find out at “Scoop du Jour: The “Digital Natives” are Coming!”

FYI, if you’re an investor or thinking about becoming one, Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp (NYSE:VAC) declared a quarterly dividend on Thursday, October 16th, according to Stock Ratings Network.com. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, October 28th will be given a dividend of 0.25 per share on Wednesday, November 12th. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.66%.

That is all.

Mark your calendar. Interval Leisure Group (NASDAQ: IILG) will release its third quarter 2014 financial results after the market closes on Thursday, November 6, 2014. Interval Leisure Group will also host a related conference call beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET that same day, accessible via telephone and the Internet.

Craig M. Nash, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Interval Leisure Group, and William L. Harvey, chief financial officer, will review the company’s third quarter financial results. Following the review, there will be a question and answer session. The conference call is expected to last approximately one hour and an audio webcast will be available on the Investor Relations section of Interval Leisure Group’s website at www.iilg.com.

Investors and analysts may participate in the live conference call by dialing (800) 638-4817 (toll-free domestic) or (617) 614-3943 (international); Conference ID: 50742128. Please register at least 10 minutes before the conference call begins. A replay of the call will be available for 14 days via telephone starting approximately two hours after the call ends. The replay can be accessed at (888) 286-8010 (toll-free domestic) or (617) 801-6888 (international); Conference ID: 61248016. The webcast will be archived on Interval Leisure Group’s website for 90 days after the call. A transcript of the call will also be available on the website.


The Most Photographed Festival In The World… Where are YOU going this year?



Two for the price of one, this week only!

As you prepare for next Friday’s freak night, enjoy this compilation of scenes from some of the scariest movies of all time, accompanied by Concret Blonde’s “Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)”.

And as an extra special scare, watch this clip from Exorcist III, “Legion”, which was inexplicably left out of the above video but is scarier that any of those scenes. Seriously. Watch for it. Don’t take your eyes off the screen.

MY candy!

The Weekly Juke Box aims to feature good music/good fun regardless of era or genre. Send in your own favorite and if I can find a good version on YouTube I’ll post it for you! What would you like to see or hear?

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

ORLANDO: One of this blog’s “fans” ;) thought I might be interested in the sales figures for Disney Vacation Club over the last 3 months, so he sent them to me. Assuming his numbers are correct, indeed I am interested. Are you?

Here’s what he says:

In July 2014 sales of Disney Vacation Club points jumped 54.1% compared to June’s numbers. They sold 205,975 points, marking the first time since January 2014 that more than 200,000 points were sold in a month.

Though July was a good month, sales of Disney Vacation Club points in August 2014 dropped to the lowest number since monthly sales data was first tracked in July 2010. Only 108,259 points were sold in August, 47.4% less than in the previous month.

Fortunately point sales rebounded somewhat in September 2014. Led by a 36.8% increase in sales for the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 128,897 points were sold in September, 19.1% more than the prior month. Despite the increase, sales in September were well below the 153,356 points that sales have averaged over the previous 12 months.

So what’s happening to sales at Disney? It isn’t like they don’t have enough great product to sell or any dearth of warm bodies at the little round tables. What’s going on? And does the drop in sales correspond to a drop in profit, or have they raised the price enough to cover that eventuality? What’s the VPG at Disney?

Inquiring minds want to know.

ALSO IN ORLANDO: Westgate Resorts has announced a company-wide increase in minimum pay for its “team members” to $10 per hour, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

The exceptions to that pay scale are commissioned and tipped employees or employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Of course. The company said that currently there are no Westgate team members paid at the federal minimum wage (other than commissioned or tipped employees) but they’re implementing this wage increase to attract the very best talent in the hospitality industry and to provide a high quality of life for all of its employees.

Westgate says they’ve added more than 4,000 team members across the country in the past year, but they didn’t break that number down by category. Even so, that’s a big deal considering the snit David Siegel was in when he threatened mass layoffs or even to shut the company down and move to the Bahamas if President Obama was reelected, lol.

Everyone’s entitled to a change of heart I guess. And this is a GOOD thing he’s doing.

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com


EAST ST. LOUIS: On October 16, 2014, John C. Nicosia, 56, of Rochester, New York, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, and ordered to pay $962,538.61 in restitution for his role in a Las Vegas based telemarketing scam operating under the names Vacation Max and Showcase Resorts.

Nicosia had previously pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud related to the timeshare resale scam.

Vacation Max and Showcase Resorts targeted owners of timeshares throughout the United States. The overall scam bilked thousands of consumers throughout the United States, Canada, and other countries of $11 million dollars. There were at least twelve victims in seven of the thirty eight counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois, which is why Illinois went after them.

Despite collecting fees from over 3,000 victims, the two companies were not successful in selling a single timeshare unit. Possibly because they never tried to sell them, ya think? Nicosia and his co-conspirators simply pocketed the money. Are you surprised? Me neither.

The Southern District of Illinois has been merciless in its pursuit of timeshare-related crime over the last few years, more power to them. They don’t care where you live or from where you operate your scam, if folks from Illinois are cheated they’re gonna come after you and chances are they’re gonna get you. Check it out for yourself.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> WESTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

CLEAR LAKE: Next month it will be five years since the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa in Kelseyville closed down and there is still no one willing to provide financing to open it back up.

I reported last June that the much anticipated sale of the resort/concert venue to Resort Equities fell through due to the lack of acceptable financing for the resort’s planned acquisition and $100 million redevelopment. The new plan at the time, which was approved of by pretty much everyone involved, would have included a timeshare component with 164 two- and three-bedroom shared-ownership units to be built on existing parking lots or tennis courts along the waterfront at full buildout.

According to various reports there’s been a lot of interest in the property but not enough to get lenders on board. Yet. But hope springs eternal, and if the economy continues to strengthen some lender or combination of lenders may see the light. It’s possible that Resort Equities might still come back on board if the stars align. The place is a mere three-hour drive for more than 9 million residents from Mendocino County to Sacramento to Silicon Valley. That alone should be worth something?

Meanwhile, Whitestar Advisors, which was assigned by the court to manage the sale of Konocti, continues to look for a buyer.

OCEANSIDE: Remember the flak that hit the fan in August when San Diego’s ABC Team 10 affiliate reported on a company called SD TLC Resorts, which was a franchisee of Las Vegas-based Timeshare Liquidators (aka TLC Resorts Vacation Club)?

Well, that report did a real number on the company and owners Bob Climer, John Hight and Carlos Hill (primarily on Climer) and their alleged sins. Click on the above link and watch the video for a refresher.

Following that report the company’s attorney, Alan Cate, told Team 10 they were working to get customers a refund, saying he expected to have their issues resolved in two to three weeks. He blamed it all on an issue the company had “with a product line that made it difficult to transfer the timeshare units”.

Apparently things have not improved significantly with that company in the interim, though. Team 10 has done a follow-up, spurred by a slew of new complaints they received subsequent to the original airing, and it ain’t a pretty picture.

New clients, like Masters, started contacting Team 10 as well. Masters said Climber [sic] always had an excuse about her refund.

“The most recent was his son was on life support and dying. None of it is true,” said Masters.

Here’s the new report:

The company’s LLC registration in the state of California (it was registered August 8, 2013) is still showing as active but their website — which was “Under Maintenance” in August — has now completely disappeared. The domain name has been abandoned and is available to anyone who wants to claim it. Do you suppose that has any significance? ;)

And where is Bob Climer? A lot of people would like to know.

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> WESTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

MESQUITE: There was a bit of a fire at the Oasis Grand Destinations Resort on Saturday, Oct. 18, attributed to an untended pot on the stove in a third-floor unit.

Fortunately fire suppression sprinklers doused the flames before firefighters arrived, and damage was limited to the stove top and nearby cabinets, plus significant smoke and water damage.

However firefighters found a 47-year-old man face down and unconcious on the bedroom floor and transported him to Mesa View Regional Hospital in serious condition; he was later transferred to a Las Vegas hospital. Firefighters believed that he may have had an underlying medical condition which prevented him from responding to the fire and evacuating from the building; at this time I have not been able to learn his current condition.

His 8 year old son was also transported to Mesa View as a precaution.

The Grand Destinations Vacation Club, with 34 units, and the Peppermill Palms, with 39 units, are all that remain of the original Oasis Casino Hotel development in Mesquite (plus the RV park and the skybridge crossing Mesquite Blvd.). You can learn more about its history at this link.

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: In the getting BIGGER category, Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club has made a BIG announcement: The company is expanding into Mexico through an affiliate resort relationship with Oasis Resorts, a successful Spanish-based hotel company. To accommodate the relationship they have created a new brand for Lifestyle, The Grand Lifestyle. The branded vacation experience will provide all of Lifestyle’s exclusive V.I.P services and amenities that their Members are used to, combined with the popular destination of Cancun, Mexico.

The initial launch will include the following resorts: The Grand Lifestyle at Grand Oasis Cancun, The Grand Lifestyle at Grand Oasis Palm, The Grand Lifestyle at Grand Oasis Tulum and The Grand Lifestyle at Grand Oasis Sens.

On-site vacation sales at the properties is scheduled to begin the first of November. The company also announced an affiliate relationship earlier this year with Sea Adventure Resort Cancun, rebranded as ALL RITMO by Lifestyle.

The distinct developments of Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club in the Dominican Republic include: The Tropical, The Crown Suites, The Crown Villas, The Royal Suites, The Royal Villas, The Residence Suites, The Presidential Suites – Puerto Plata, The Presidential Suites – Punta Cana, Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort, as well as the new Costa Esmeralda, and Villa Park Villas & Suites under construction and scheduled to open in 2015.

Lifestyle is on the move!

JAMAICA: Jamaica already has, what, about a couple dozen timeshare resorts? So I was a little surprised to learn that the country has just now passed a Timeshare Vacations Bill that includes a comprehensive set of rules and regulations for the local industry to follow. Was it cowboy country before? Anything goes?

The two main objectives of the bill:

  1. give legal recognition to timeshare vacation schemes in the form of right-to-use agreements which are timeshare contracts and deeds issued in respect thereof.
  2. regulates the marketing, promotion and provision of timeshare accommodations

Among other things it provides for:

  • The licensing of agents of proprietors of timeshare plans;
  • The registering of the timeshare plans under which the accommodation is offered;
  • Standardizing of information to be provided to purchasers before any timeshare contract is entered into;
  • A cancellation period to purchasers after entry into timeshare contracts; and
  • The management of timeshare plans.

In all the bill includes 27 clauses. One that is particularly important is Clause 26, which recognizes that there are timeshare contracts already established in the industry so proprietors of those developments will be given two (2) years in which to register their timeshare so they will not be in breach when the Act comes into force.

You can get a a clause-by-clause brief of that bill at this link: http://www.eturbonews.com/51722/timeshare-vacations-bill-passes-jamaica-s-parliament

The cowboy days are over, Bunky. You’ve been fenced in.

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

LOS CABOS: The news coming out of Los Cabos following September’s Hurricane Odile is encouraging. A little more than a month after Odile leveled much of the area, businesses of all kinds are rebounding at an impressive rate.

The International Airport, which resumed limited flights on Oct. 8, is currently expected to receive between 1,500 and 1,800 tourists from 12 flights a day, six of which are of national origin and the other remaining six international. Full service is expected to resume well before the end of the year. Normally, this is the 7th busiest airport in Mexico.

Nearly 70% of the destination’s restaurants are already in operation and some of the remaining restaurants are just awaiting the arrival of enough visitors to make it worthwhile.

As far as timeshare resorts go, most of them sustained more cosmetic than serious structural damage, though of course that mileage varies.

Diamond Resorts’ Cabo Azul Resort apparently sustained structural damage, though the information on their website is scant, saying only that availability at the resort has been suspended until March 15, 2015.

AMResorts has this schedule for the reopening of its resorts:

  • Zoёtry Casa Del Mar Los Cabos Reopening date: December 20, 2014
  • Secrets Marquis Los Cabos Reopening date: December 20
  • Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort Reopening date: November 15
  • Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa Reopening date: December 20, 2014

All five hotels in the Solmar Hotels & Resorts portfolio, which officially re-opened their doors on October 12, are fully operational as of today (Oct. 25). Those resorts are:

  • Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa;
  • Playa Grande Resort & Grand Spa;
  • the Ridge Luxury Villas at Playa Grande;
  • Solmar All-inclusive Resort & Beach Club;
  • and Hotel Quina del Sol

According to a prepared statement, Grand Solmar Land’s End was the hardest hit of the five, but it’s back up and running. Don Luis Restaurant, the resort’s fine dining option, is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner through October 25, when Grand Solmar’s signature La Roca restaurant is expected to reopen. The property is also working on upgrading the Sea Spa area located at the Land’s End Terrace, which is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2014. Also new to this public event space is a full outdoor kitchen, which will be able to serve wedding receptions and events of up to 40 people right under the Cabo moonlight, preparing delicious cuisine right on Land’s End Terrance.

Club Regina Los Cabos – Raintree Vacation Club, which sustained some significant damage, is currently working with contractors and insurance professionals to determine a realistic date for operations to resume. They will publish that information as it becomes available. Currently they are cancelling reservations through December 31, 2014. How bad was the damage really? See pictures of it at TUG.

Welk Resorts’ Sirena del Mar will be closed until further notice. Reservations are now being taken for arrivals starting March 1, 2015.

Cabo Villas suffered minimal damage and is open for busines.

Club Cascadas expects to begin welcoming guests starting with those whose scheduled arrival is on Week 44, (October 30 – November 6) and who own or have reservations in any villa that was not damaged by Hurricane Odile. This excludes buildings 2, 3, 5, 7, 14 and 15 which suffered the most damage, and which will require more time to restore to a level acceptable for accommodating guests. Owners of villas in those buildings who wish to come to Club Cascadas during that construction period will be accommodated as space allows.

Grand Mayan Los Cabos suffered significant damage from the looks of the images I’ve seen, but I couldn’t find any reference to the hurricane on their website so I don’t really know.

The Pueblo Bonito collection of resorts suffered no structural damage and have all reopened. They include:

  • Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos
  • Pueblo Bonito Montecristo Estates
  • Pueblo Bonito Rose
  • Pueblo Bonito Pacifica
  • Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach

And here is a 30-second video purporting to show former Pueblo Bonito Resorts sales manager Dirk Meyer and his girlfriend Christina looting at Costco after the storm. Did you notice I said “former” manager? Word is they were both fired almost immediately after that video was published because, you know, that kind of thing is not how Pueblo Bonito rolls. :D

Villa del Palmar is open and 100% operational, and so is Villa La Estancia.

Sandos Finisterra expects to reopen Nov. 1

WorldMark Coral Baja suffered significant damage and is not expected to reopen until at least Feb. 1, 2015.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Does anyone still working down there want to weigh in with news about their resort?

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS




EVERYWHERE: As promised last week, here’s a personal account of how David Benson (real name?), who claims to be the owner of known scam company Realty Centre ltd, pretended to acquire power of attorney over one of his victims then tried to blackmail her with that in a final effort to gain any monetary crumbs he might have missed during the rest of the scam. Of course it was ALL a scam, including the alleged “power of attorney”; I’ll show you those documents, too. (This is edited slightly only for ease of reading). Note that the thief David Benson is also attached to a similar scam using the company names of Sentinel Properties and Realty Services Group. Google them for more information.

I recently got scammed for $45000.00 all maxing out my credit cards and lines of credit. The escrow company is: First Referral Network and the buyer is supposedly Maracuya Events and Getaways.

It first started with a phone call from Realty Centre ltd, located at 903 N 21st Ave Melrose, IL 60160, and asked if we’d like to sell our timeshare. They sent us the Resale Proposal Aug 25 2014, which we signed for them to continue the sale. Then another document, Revised, which we both had to sign.

Then we were contacted by First Referral Network (the escrow). They then sent us a bunch of formal forms, with steps to be taken, for the whole sale process. Step by step. We had to provide the banking info as well. We opened up a joint US acct strictly for the sale of our timeshare. Read more if you have the stomach for it

This week’s timeshare sales tip:

Sex Sells

REMEMBER: Among all the attributes of being a timeshare owner and the vacationing lifestyle that is provided millions of vacationers every year (worldwide), one of the few, and admittedly sensitive, subjects not discussed during the presentation is that of love making while on vacation!

Testosterone levels, sexual preferences, libidos, etc. aside for the moment, sex is on most people’s minds more than once a week and throughout their lives it is a pretty safe bet to suggest that a significant number of folks (aka: sales guests) at one time or another have engaged in sexual activity in the back seat of a car, in an RV, a swimming pool, a lake, the ocean, while camping, taking a shower, in front of a fireplace, joined the ‘Mile High Club’…

It is also likely that most people would rather make love in a comfortable, spacious and beautifully decorated, quiet and secure 1/2/3 bedroom ‘suite’ than, say, the standard four wall drab 300 sq. foot motel room with about as much ambience as a fast food restaurant bathroom.

That is why it is important, while on tour, to delicately talk about the benefits of rekindling relationships, adding some ‘spark’ and romance to vacations with candlelight dinners, strolls along park trails or beaches, etc. and that owning a 1- 2,000 sq. ft. villa timeshare gives vacationers that highly desired additional privacy aspect (over a hotel) should the kids be tagging along while on holiday.

Make no mistake about it! Sex ‘sells’! But at the same time many people are not comfortable talking about love making with their own partner let alone a stranger (aka: sales rep). That is why the rep who diplomatically and nonchalantly points out intimacy aspects while on tour will click that little proverbial light bulb in most prospects’ minds and by doing so the savvy TS Pro will laugh all the way to the bank!

Join us for a pithy morning meeting timeshare sales tip of the week, originally published in InsideTheGate.com, to help you to greater success in selling timeshare. Brief and to the point, these sales training tips are designed to get you thinking, to expand your knowledge, to help you to become all that you can be in the timeshare sales arena.

Whether you’re an industry veteran or a green pea, it never hurts to brush up on your skills!

Copyright InsideTheGate.com All rights reserved

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouseQUOTABLE QUOTES: “Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.” -Robert Green Ingersoll

Divi Resorts, without any fanfare, has rolled out a new website design that is majorly different from the old one. Seriously, when I dropped by the other day to see if they had anything new to report I was so surprised I had to double check to make sure I was at the right address.

It looks pretty and it’s certainly an improvement over the previous website in many ways, but if I may say so (in the spirit of helpfulness), the home page is more than a little overwhelming with the amount of stuff they’ve crammed in it and the amount of scrolling required to see all of it. And the humongous images in the top carousel are a bit much, especially for mobile devices or PC’s with a screen resolution that’s, say, 1024×768 or less (yeah, there’s still lots of them around). They slow down the page load time, too.

You know what they say; just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you should…

At least, that was my experience. What do you all think?

And say, Divi, don’t forget to add some news/press releases to this page from time to time? I’ll be looking for it, and I’ll complain if I never see any. ;)

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

Henry Hawk and Foghorn Leghorn
My name is Henry Hawk and I’m your t-t-t-t-tour guide today.

“Are you coming quietly you big balooka or do I have to mess you up?

“Come on now, I ain’t got all day!”

(Leave your own caption in the
Comments if you’re so inclined…)