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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.

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Honest Johns Dealership

It’s late August 2015 and Billy-Bob’s last few days as a used car salesman in Barstow, CA. With a 16-year run under his belt he was told when he gets to Mexico he won’t even have to go through training.

“Just show up as quickly as possible,” the sales manager told him in an e-mail. “High Season starts here in a couple weeks and that’s when we make the big bucks. You’ll ride with Paco your first time out. Then you’ll haul your first tour that day and believe me you’ll live well off your spiffs and bank your yuuuuge commission checks!”

In the meantime Billy-Bob needs to unload another clunker so he’ll have enough money to buy a one-way ticket to Mazatlan and hopefully have enough left over for a cheap Mexican motel room, a few beers, a couple shots of tequila and maybe a taco or two…

¡Buena suerte!

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It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse
We in the biz are well aware that, contrary to public opinion, not all timeshare sales reps are scumbags who pitch heat to every sales guest who graces their tables. That’s a stereotype pretty much shared by all salespersons, but it’s particularly strong in the timeshare sales world and there’s unfortunately some pretty good reasons for it.

But not counting the professional liars to whom deceit comes naturally, how do otherwise honest souls sometimes end up in that scumbag category? What happens to turn some of them into liars large and small?

So what’s the Scoop? Is it training? Example? Desperation? Lack of talent? A combination of things? Is it possible that it could all start with little white lies? See Scoop’s take on the issue at Scoop du Jour: Seemingly Innocent Little White Lies

Intrawest Resort Holdings will release financial results for its fiscal year ended June 30, 2015 prior to market open on Wednesday, September 9, 2015. The Company will host a conference call via live webcast for investors and other interested parties beginning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, September 9, 2015. Participants may access the live webcast by visiting the Company’s investor relations website at ir.intrawest.com. The call can also be accessed by dialing (877) 705-6003, or (201) 493-6725 for international participants.

The replay of the call will be available from approximately 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time on September 9, 2015 through midnight Eastern Time on September 23, 2015. To access the replay, the domestic dial-in number is (877) 870-5176, the international dial-in number is (858) 384-5517, and the passcode is 13618606. The archive of the webcast will be available on the Company’s website for a limited time.

Sept. 9 is right around the corner, folks. Put it on your calendar.


Have you seen the world yet?

Where are YOU going this year?


This week I present a cover of the Adele/Eminem Mashup, Lose Yourself in the Deep by A Band In Ship, with an extra Zeppeliny treat thrown in for good measure. Nicholas Balzano is the lead singer of this band, and he’s amazing. If you like a little hard rockin’ music with powerful vocals don’t pass this by! And if you like the sound of this Long Island, NY-based band, visit their website for more: http://abandinship.com/

What are you listening to tonight?

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?


WISCONSIN DELLS: It looks like Florida-based Capital Resorts Group is going to be bringing a new vacation ownership option to the Dells by way of converting inventory at the famed old Polynesian Water Park Resort into timeshare inventory.

The company has already completed Phase One of a $12 million renovation plan that will ultimately, over a 5-year period, undergo a complete transformation to revitalize its over 200 guest rooms, as well as its 200,000 square foot indoor and outdoor water park areas. The resort will become a part of the company’s Capital Resorts Club, available to the Club’s members.

The Polynesian Water Park Resort was originally constructed in 1994 as one of the first indoor water parks in the United States and Wisconsin Dells. Since acquiring the property in 2014, over $3 million has been spent on renovations at the resort with the next phase of improvements scheduled to kick off soon. Phase One of the renovation project included the redesign of 17 suites, the modernization of several original suites and the revitalization of some of the most popular guest amenities.

The completely redesigned suites include eight one-bedroom units with efficiency kitchens, five deluxe one-bedroom units with full kitchens and three studio lock off units. During the launch of Phase One, Capital Resorts Group also introduced the first Royal Suite at the property featuring fully equipped gourmet kitchens, washers and dryers, water park views and other luxuries.

In addition to the completely redesigned suites, 14 hotel units were refreshed in the spring with refinished and repainted walls and trim, new ceiling and vanity lighting, carpet, pillow top mattresses with new bedding and flat screen televisions.

Capital Resorts sells a points-based product called Capital Points, and uses as a preferred exchange option its own Capital Preferred Exchange Network which, per their website, gives each owner the ability to exchange Capital Points to over 2,800 resorts in 75 countries (don’t ask me, ’cause I don’t know…).

Their resorts are divided into two categories, the Capital Collection and the Lifestyles Collection, with resort locations in Branson, Missouri (4 Properties); Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Biloxi, Mississippi; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Kennebunk, Maine; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; Edenton, North Carolina; Hollywood, Florida; and Pompano Beach, Florida.

In case you’re wondering just where Capital Resorts Group came from so all-of-a-sudden (it’s only two years old as a company), do the names Surrey Vacations Resorts, Inc., Grand Crowne Resorts & Country Club and Grand Crowne Resorts sound familiar? Yeah, you betcha, Capital Resorts Group is what the BBB calls an “alternate business name” for Surrey et al.

The current Vice President of Resort Operations is Barney Barber, by the way; is that the same Barney Barber who used to be (or still is?) an executive with Bluegreen Resorts Management and Bluegreen Corporation? Who actually runs the company? That information is pretty elusive…

“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:

SAN DIEGO: Is Welk Resorts getting BIGGER or what!

The company has announced its 2014 revenue across all five resorts at an impressive $147 million with a projected $190 million for 2015. An increase in the number of new owners during Q1 and Q2 2015 has contributed to the company’s substantial growth, with approximately 6,800* new owners in 2014 and approximately 4,700 new owners already in the first half of 2015. That’s impressive growth, but what about the real getting BIGGER stuff?

Get a load of this:

    -In San Diego Welk has completed development of three new buildings in the Mountain Villas phase, adding 60 additional keys and introducing first three-bedroom product. In addition, Welk is building a multi-million dollar fitness center expansion, sport court upgrade, and Downtown Village refurbishment including hardscape and landscaping. Food and beverage kiosks are also in construction in Mountain and Boulder Springs pool areas.

    -In Cabo San Lucas, MX the Sirena del Mar resort was seriously damaged by Hurricane Odile last year, but not only has it been restored to its former glory but the company has added a third building, providing 40 additional keys. Welk has also expanded the existing pool area and created a new indoor restaurant, Estrella, this year.

    -At Lake Tahoe, CA, construction is underway on a second building at the upscale Northstar Lodge (expected October 2015), adding 35 keys and a new 12,000-square-foot sales center for Welk Resort Group. They have plans to break ground on a third building this year, providing 32 keys and a five bedroom lock-off option for owners and guests.

    -In Branson, MO ground has been broken on a planned expansion, including a three-bedroom product.

    -In Breckenridge, CO construction is set to begin in 2016 on a new project that will include 123 villas on 6.5 acres of wilderness on the Blue River. Amenities will include an owner’s lounge, state-of-the-art fitness center, game room, media room, indoor and outdoor pool, spa, fire pits, and barbeque areas. Opening is scheduled for 2017.

    -In Hawai’i six plantation-style buildings with 164 villas are planned for 21.45 acres of raw land on the island of Kaua’i, along with an open-air lobby, private movie theater, game room, state-of-the-art fitness center, spas, and a white sand beach pool with water slides, lush tropical foliage and lava rock formations. Construction set to begin on that project in late 2018, opening in 2020.

Did you know that about 70% of Welk’s owners are residents of California? That makes both Hawai’i and Mexico big destinations for the company I’d think, and that Lake Tahoe resort will be popular too.

Just my two pesos’ worth…

“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

SCOTTSDALE: Ah, the Wunder of it all.

In Oct. 2013 Delta Airlines sued John Wunder, et al, in a Georgia district court for infringement of copyright, accusing the defendants of “manufacturing, importing, exporting, distributing, marketing, advertising, displaying, and/or otherwise using in the marketing of their business operations, materials bearing counterfeit reproductions of Delta’s federally registered trademarks (the “Delta Marks”), which are owned solely by Delta.”

Here’s the list of the defendants (got your popcorn ready?)

John Wunder; Bridgewater Marketing, LLC dba Tier 3 Productions; Travel Club Marketing Brokers, LLC; Classic Promotions & Premiums, Inc.; John Vanginhoven; James Curtis Lemley; Nationwide Travel Promotions; King Travel Promotions; American Travel Suppliers; Christi Wigle; Chelsee Fly; Rob Fly; Orbital Promotions; SB Global Marketing, LLC; Laurent Hazout; Sara Bayliss; Kessler Creative, LLC; Keith Kessler; Dina Kessler; Mail to You, LLC; Mailhouse, LLC; Brad Fry; Influence Direct, LLC; Andy Riddle; Jeremy Crosslin; Network Consulting Associates, Inc.; John Anderson; Jody Ritter; John Elmer; Allstar Marketing Direct, LLC; Aerie Davis; Grand Incentives, Inc.; Jose Martinez; Grace Martinez; JD & T Enterprises, Inc.; Delta Sky Rewards, LLC; Prescient Marketing, LLC; Meredith Sarver; and John Does 1-50.


Moving forward, on May 29, 2015 Delta won a default judgment against John Wunder, Bridgewater Marketing, LLC, Travel Club Marketing Brokers, LLC, Mail to You, LLC, Mailhouse, LLC, Delta Sky Rewards, LLC and JD & T Enterprises when those defendants failed “to plead or otherwise to defend in this action”. Judge Mark H. Cohen subsequently directed that they are all permanently enjoined from further infringement and ordered Wunder, Bridgewater, Travel Club Marketing, Mail to You, Mailhouse, and Delta Sky Rewards to pay Delta jointly and severally, the amount of $22,328,052.10, and JD&T Enterprises, lnc. (d/b/a/ Travel to Go, Tommy Middaugh and Jeanette Bunn’s company in case you didn’t know) to pay the amount of $20,031,691.46.

Holy crap! That’s a total of more than $42 million they’ve got to cough up — at least theoretically. On August 8 Delta moved the judgment against Wunder to Arizona, registering it there as a foreign judgment in hopes of being able to collect. The reason Delta did that is because Wunder makes his home in Scottsdale. What do you think the odds are that Delta will ever collect on that judgment?

In Arizona Wunder has a long history of timeshare-related “irregularities” related to his connection with Princeton Resorts Group, Aristar Resorts, Astoria Holdings, LLC (aka Beyond Marketing Corp.), and Cibola Vista Resort, among others. John and his brother Steve, nicknamed “the Wunder Brothers”, created quite a stir in timeshare land a few years back during the Aristar scandal, and not in a good way…

John Wunder has also made the Dialing for Deadbeats list under his Beyond Marketing Corp. name. Surprised? I didn’t think so.

BTW, other members of the Wunder family had their own issues with the law in recent years, but in Colorado and for different crimes. That was deceptive trade and consumer law violations practiced by Andrew Wunder (aka Mark Dutell), his wife Bethany, his brother Stephen (aka Stephen Andrews or Andrew Stephens) and his father Christian and their travel club Sea to Ski Vacations and Traditions Travel Group. A year ago a Denver judge branded them as swindlers and ordered them to pay $7 million of fines and restitution. He also prohibited them from ever owning or managing a travel business in the state of Colorado.

A fine, upstanding family don’t you think? roll eyes

“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

LAS VEGAS: I was looking over the LVCVA Construction Bulletin (accurate as of May, 2015) the other day, checking out stats for timeshare construction in Vegas and I thought you might be interested in what I found.

In 2014 The Grandview at Las Vegas added 400 units to its inventory with its Phase 5 finale to the project. Marriott Grand Chateau Phases 1 & 2 expanded its inventory by adding an additional 240 units. Altogether, Las Vegas’ timeshare inventory increased by 640 units in 2014.

In 2015 Las Vegas will have opened 401 new timeshare units: 120 added units to Marriott Grand Chateau (Phase 3) and 281 at the new Wyndham Desert Blue plus an unspecified number of room remodels at The Westgate.

And going forward into 2016 and beyond? Well, that’s a different story. In 2017 and beyond the Construction Bulletin shows no new timeshares scheduled, but for 2016 it shows the off-Strip Silverton Hotel & Casino Lodge on Blue Diamond RD. opening 390 timeshare units.

This is not really new news, but it has proceeded under the radar so to speak. Back in 2005 Majestic Realty Co., the owners of the Silverton (formerly Boomtown Casino), planned to develop the remaining 80 acres of land around the property into a mixed-use resort that would include a second locals casino, five or more different hotels, retail and entertainment venues and a mix of hotel-condominium and up to 1,500 timeshare units. But the Great Recession came along and those plans were put on hold.

The company is currently in the process of building a sleek new 20-story, 390-room tower behind the parking garage. Vegas, Inc., in a March 2014 brief, referred to it as a hotel tower, implying it will expand the current hotel operations, but the Construction Bulletin specifically calls it timeshare and so do other reports, so I’ll go with that.

The question is this: If 390 new timeshare units will open in early 2016 at that location, who is going to brand, market and sell it?

Another question is this: Which timeshare company’s OPCs are currently pestering the living hell out of patrons in the Silverton Casino? 😉

Inquiring minds want 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 >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

CANCUN: Royal Resorts was proud to announce earlier this month that the first 2,400 turtle eggs of 2015 have hatched and the baby turtles have been released into the sea.

Clutches of sea turtle eggs are kept and protected in special “nurseries” at The Royal Sands and The Royal Caribbean in Cancun and at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun in Puerto Morelos. As written in the company’s blog:

It takes the tiny turtles several hours to struggle free of the eggshell and even longer for them to revive after the effort. By sunset however, the call of the sea reaches them and instinct tells them it’s time to go. They are literally crawling up the sides of the buckets and coolers used to carefully transport them to the patch of sand where they will be released!

It is dusk when turtle releases take place in the Mexican Caribbean. Gulls that would welcome a tasty morsel have gone to roost and lone patrolling frigate birds can be kept at bay with a carefully aimed torchlight to distract them. Here at Royal Resorts our dedicated turtle guardians watch over the tiny turtles as they scuttle down the beach towards the waves. It is a wonderful sight to witness and we hope that in years to come many of them will defy the odds and return to lay their eggs on the same beach.

I hope so, too. KUDOS to Royal Resorts and the many dedicated members who are proud to participate – even in small ways – to the rescue and release of the turtles!

SAN JOSE DEL CABO: Slightly less than a year after Hurricane Odile devastated the southern capes of Baja California Sur, Diamond Resorts is finally re-opening its luxurious Cabo Azul Resort, and it’s bigger and better than ever!

154 villas, the fitness center, the PAZ Spa and restaurants: Javier’s and Flor de Noche, and the cafe will be open on Sept. 1, along with the oceanfront tri-level infinity pool with thatched roof swim-up bar and the serenity pool with new cocoons and lounge chairs. The new Beach Club features beachfront cabanas, an outdoor shower as well as a food and beverage bar with wood decking providing convenient access to the beach.

All the original buildings and villas have been repaired. New enhancements include new furnishings throughout the resort, upgraded door locks featuring the latest technology and enhanced fitness equipment, providing our members, owners and guests with the newest accommodations and recreation options. Ongoing efforts include to be completed in November.

While the repairs at the Resort were ongoing, the company took advantage of the downtime to complete some of the building work that had been started in previous years, and improved the resort by adding new accommodation options that includes the addition of 172 new guest suites and a new member/guest lounge.

This work, although in its final stages, will continue until late November, and may mean there will be some noise, building work and visible equipment but hey! They’re open for the season!

It’s a good thing! Welcome back Cabo Azul!

“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

This week’s timeshare sales tip:

Is or Does?:

REMEMBER: Most sales reps in the timeshare business who have had any sort of training are usually taught to describe and/or detail the ‘mechanics’ (aka: ‘what it is’) of being a timeshare owner and that is the extent of the information they share with sales guests.

What most timeshare reps are not taught (or do not do), however, is to share with sales guests how being a timeshare owner will actually benefit (aka: ‘what it does’) and improve the quality of an owner’s life, health, family relationships, perspectives, etc.

A good place to ‘chat’ about that lifestyle is while on ‘tour’ because it is there that the prospects will actually be able to see themselves in the ‘picture’; and often in ‘surroundings’ that may be a notch or two up from their own ‘homes’ and neighborhoods!

‘On Tour’ is a good time to talk about how vacationing in such surroundings can relieve stress from the day-to-day rut, how vacationing on a regular basis can help keep people stay healthy, become rejuvenated and avoid burnout as well as strengthen family bonds and that there are actual University studies that found couples who vacation on a regular basis are more satisfied with their ‘relationships’ than couples who don’t vacation.

There is no shortage of vacation ‘benefits’ (aka: ‘what it does’) to share with each sales guest, and it is the savvy Timeshare Pro who does that in detail who’ll 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: “I’ve also studied deeply in the philosophies and religions, but cheerfulness kept breaking through.” -Leonard Cohen

I recently saw an online comment from someone who, apparently in all seriousness, referred to President Obama as “that Muslim Atheist”.

I laughed so hard coffee came out of my nose.

I hope you can see why that’s so funny; I’d hate to have to explain it because that would mean you don’t understand the meaning of those words or why they don’t belong together and I don’t like to imagine my readers as being that ignorant.

When selling timeshare it’s important to have a good grasp on language, on the meaning of words and how they fit together properly to form a coherent picture, and to use the right words in the right places to get your point across. I dread to think that any of you sales or marketing reps, regardless of your political bent, would be dumb enough to put those two words together and not understand why the people around you explode into general hilarity.

If you are that ignorant, you’d do well to find another line of work, one that does not require a certain expertise in wordsmithing to keep yourself well fed.

Just saying… roflmao

“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

Resort Travel & Exchange (RTX) is reporting record transactional growth the first half of this year, with timeshare exchanges up 36%  over the first and second quarters of 2014.

In addition, RTX set a company record for discounted travel services, which shot up 393% over the year-ago period. Last-minute getaways rose too, marking an impressive 16% gain.

During the first half of 2015, the global timeshare exchange provider facilitated 1,811 exchanges; 1,176 getaways; and 1,362 discounted travel transactions for hotels, cruises, car rentals, dining and attractions. The average time to fulfill all requests was 4.4 days, well below the industry average.

These gains follow on the heels of record-breaking, year-over-year transactional growth for RTX in 2014.

While RTX is primarily an exchange company, it has also expanded operational support for homeowners associations, management companies and resorts. The company now offers cost-effective member services, assistance with delinquent and unsold inventory, a rental platform and preferred alliance vendor relationship to assist with other areas of resort management.

RTX opened for business in 2012 and now serves 80,000 members.

cheerleaderRTX: getting BIGGER!

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? Help fill up the Tips Jar so we can share it with the whole Timeshare World! CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

Vacation Time

Anticipating a big fat juicy paycheck that will be handed out at precisely 4:59:59 EST on this sunny Friday, John is bragging to the payroll department of all the big deals he wrote this pay cycle.

Sadly, John doesn’t know — and won’t for the next 7 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds — that because of kicks and charge-backs he will be receiving one of those notorious $1 paychecks, so he’s probably gonna have to cancel the weekend getaway he had planned to the Bahamas.

Image courtesy of PicGifs.com

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