Welcome to the GateHouse

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse

PUBLISHED WEEKLY, EVERY SATURDAY

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)

Open All Night. No shirt, no shoes, no problem!

Just leave your tips at the bar…


EMAIL: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

Laughing
“So I asked Ben, the new guy, what happened on his table. I said it looked like he had a deal in the works. Ben said he did and they’d be back tomorrow to do the paper work.

I told him that was great and asked if he gave them the Be-Back pass so they could get past the receptionist tomorrow with the other Be-Backs and ask for him?

“No”, Ben said. “Where do I get one”?

“Well Ben,” I said, “those are very special and only the developer hands those out so you best get over to his office right now and ask for one so you can give it to your tour before they leave the gift center.” – And off Ben went!
 
 


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


It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse

For the past nearly fifty years reps have been instructed on how to ‘pitch’ the rent and resell component to prospective timeshare owners/members. It all started with the basic T-pitch brought to the game by “dirt peddlers” who crossed over, and what was to become pretty much a rent and resell global nightmare really started somewhat innocently decades ago with that pitch. Technically it is true, as any TS owner/member can rent or resell it. But not as easily as they’re led to believe. (Perhaps the word “can” should be changed to “may”, which takes the issue out of the physical ability of renting/selling and into the legal area of being allowed to sell/rent it? ;) )

So what’s the Scoop? How can timeshare sales reps use that old saw to their advantage without lying to their sales guests? Find out at Scoop du Jour: The R & R of “IT”!


Diamond Resorts International has released its third quarter 2014 earnings report, and the news is pretty good. Here are some of the highlights to whet your appetite for the full report:

  • Vacation Interest Sales, net, grew by $19.5 million, or 15.7%. This growth was driven by a:
    • 7.2% increase in sales presentations (“tours”) to 60,920 from 56,822; and
    • 6.3% increase in volume per guest (“VPG”) to $2,635 from $2,478

VPG increased by $157, or 6.3%, to $2,635 for the third quarter of 2014 from $2,478 in the third quarter of 2013, as a result of a higher average sales price per transaction partially offset by a reduction in closing percentage. The Company closed a total of 8,435 Vacation Interest sales transactions during the period in 2014, compared to 8,342 transactions during the period in 2013. The Company’s closing percentage (which represents the percentage of Vacation Interest sales transactions closed relative to the total number of sales presentations at our sales centers during the period presented) decreased to 13.8% during the period in 2014 from 14.7% during the period in 2013. Vacation Interest sales price per transaction increased to $19,028 during the period in 2014 from $16,881 during the period in 2013. The increase in average sales price per transaction, the increase in VPG and the lower closing percentage are due principally to a change in our focus on selling larger point packages and the success of the sales and marketing initiatives implemented in association with this strategy.

Here’s where you’ll find the rest of the story.


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has also released its third quarter 2014 financial report. Regarding the company’s Vacation Ownership segment:

Vacation ownership revenues were flat at $157 million for the third quarter of 2014, compared to the corresponding period in 2013. Originated contract sales of vacation ownership intervals decreased 2.4% during the third quarter of 2014, compared to the corresponding period in 2013, as the average price per vacation ownership unit sold decreased 2.6% to approximately $13,600, partially offset by a 0.6% increase in the number of contracts signed.

The company has 21 SVO resorts in operation and 16 resorts in active sales; 4,846 completed units and 92 units in pre-sales/development with a future capacity of 733 units, resulting in a future total of 5,671 units at build-out.

Counting the contribution of one unconsolidated joint venture the figures for total intervals are as follows:

  • 262,288 completed intervals
  • 4,784 in presales/development
  • 38,116 future capacity
  • 305,188 total intervals at build-out (assuming 52 intervals per unit)

Lockoff units are considered as one unit for this analysis. Units in Pre-sales/Development are in various stages of development (including the permitting stage), most of which are currently being offered for sale to customers.

Future units indicated above include planned timeshare units on land owned by the Company or applicable UJV that have received all major governmental land use approvals for the development of timeshare. There can be no assurance that such units will in fact be developed and, if developed, the time period of such development (which may be more than several years in the future). Some of the projects may require additional third-party approvals or permits for development and build out and may also be subject to legal challenges as well as a commitment of capital by the Company. The actual number of units to be constructed may be significantly lower than the number of future units indicated.


TWEET OF THE WEEK:

Where are YOU going this year?

 

 

I had a different musical interlude all lined up for this week, at the request of a friend, but then bassist extraordinaire Jack Bruce passed away and my plans had to change.

Bruce, who died of liver disease on Oct. 25 at the age of 71, was without question one of the greatest bass players of all time. As the New York Daily News put it, “The rocker played his electric bass guitar in a way that redefined the way the instrument was used in the genre.”

But for most of us he was probably best known as the lead vocalist for the 1960′s Supergroup “Cream”, where he performed alongside Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. Their hit songs included “In the Sunshine of Your Love”, “World of Pain”, “Dance the Night Away”, “Crossroads” and “White Room”, among others. Over the years Cream released four studio albums, four live albums, eleven compilation albums and ten singles. The first ever Platinum Album was awarded to Cream for their double-album “Wheels of Fire”.

So without further ado, here they are performing “Deserted Cities of the Heart”, with Jack on bass and vocals. Live from The Royal Albert Hall in a reunion tour, 2005.

You can get a full rundown on the spectacular achievements and career of Jack Bruce in this article in Rolling Stone, and it’s a fascinating read.

R.I.P., Jack. Thanks for the music!




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:

CAMDEN: A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the motion for forfeiture of assets for Adam and Ashley Lacerda was scheduled to be heard Oct. 24, 2014. Guess what? It’s been rescheduled AGAIN.

This time it’s because Adam’s attorney is representing someone in another trial and that trial’s date has been rescheduled to a time that overlaps the Lacerda hearing. Of course he can’t be in two places at the same time, so he asked for a postponement on the Lacerda case and it was granted.

The NEW date to hear the Motion for Forfeiture of Property is November 21, 2014 at 1:30 PM in Camden – Courtroom 3A before Judge Noel L. Hillman.

As for the motions for new trials for Ian Reznick and Genevieve Manzoni, there is nothing new on that front. The judge is still making up his mind about that, Reznick is still cooling his heels in the slammer while he waits, and Manzoni is still free on bail while she waits.

Watch this space.



“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 >> Eastern USA Timeshare News

WILKES-BARRE: Apparently there’s been some confusion about the sequence of events that led to the current situation between Sundance Vacations and Albert Whitehead, so I’m going to very briefly give you the down low.

On November 1, 2010 someone created a page on Facebook called Boycott Sundance Vacations. It attracted a small but decent amount of traffic fairly quickly as people who had a gripe against Sundance discovered it and began to post comments about their experiences with the company, etc., most of which were negative.

Sometime in early 2011 Albert Whitehead was made aware of it when he was asked to become one of several administrators of the page, under which he would have limited areas of authority. He created a Facebook page under the alias of John Flannagan for that purpose and began posting comments about the company under that name. This continued up to and including June of 2012.

This is a good place to mention that Sundance and Whitehead had a prior relationship, in that Whitehead had sued Sundance for age discrimination in 2006. That lawsuit ended with a settlement between the two parties in which Whitehead agreed to a non-disparagement clause (which he quickly attempted to withdraw the next morning and claims in court records that he believed he had effectively rescinded).

That set the stage for the current state of affairs. In the fullness of time Sundance, which was already unhappy about the Boycott page, discovered that John Flannagan was Al Whitehead and promptly sued him for breach of contract related to the non-disparagement agreement. (Note that lawsuit was filed on April 25th, 2012, MONTHS after Sundance had already made numerous attempts to remove the page and that Facebook has repeatedly held that the page and its contents are not defamatory.) Whitehead rather quickly conceded the point in a mea culpa, which should have led to an appropriate resolution and a quick assessment of damages by the court and that would have been that.

But that didn’t happen. What DID happen? Read on to find out

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

SAN FRANCISCO: I assume you’re aware that in 2007 when posh hotel operator Ritz-Carlton redeveloped the historic Chronicle Building at 690 Market Street in roughly half of the project’s 106 units were to be condos and the other half structured as timeshare units which could be sold and managed by the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club. That came down to a total of 49 units to be allocated to the Club, to be sold via a deeded points system.

Well, nothing went quite as planned, partly due to the financial melt-down. Though initial sales were hot, by early 2008 both resale and sales office prices were tumbling and neither the condos nor the timeshares were flying off the shelves.

Sales of the residences are showing signs of revival, though, and Ritz-Carlton has decided the best way to go forward now is to convert 24 of the timeshare units into condos, increasing the number of full-fledged condos in the building from 57 to 81. That is what they’ve submitted to the Planning Commission, and a decision on the plan is expected when the commission meets later this month.

Is this a sign of the times or is it more or less significant only to this location?


TORRANCE: I’ve mentioned David and Cindy MacMillan before in reference to their many timeshare recovery/transfer/relief companies. You probably recognize the names, right? They’re the butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-their-mouths owners of companies like Timeshare Relief, Vacation Solutions; We Collect Timeshares; Apex Professionals; Timeshare Independence; Timeshare Rescue; Pacific Property Transfer and Timeshare Cure, among others. All told, according to an article in The Daily Breeze, the MacMillans run at least 18 timeshare transfer/resale companies out of their office building in Torrance.

In the past I’ve questioned why the MacMillans need so many companies doing the same thing if what they’re doing is truly on the up-and-up, and I’ve never come up with a satisfactory answer. Way back in 2010 the predecessor to this blog, Woody’s Roadkill Cafe, even gave the couple a Dead Skunk Award because “…they (and others in the same business) are Dead Skunks of the first aroma. PEEE-UW!.”

I’m about to give them a second Dead Skunk Award. According to that article, Shelli and Jeff Hananel forked over $3,750 to one of the MacMillan’s companies two years ago to divest them of their timeshare but guess what? They still own that timeshare and they’re still paying maintenance fees. And they’re not the only ones.

According to the BBB, more than 800 complaints have been filed about the MacMillans’ transfer companies and at least two state attorneys general have prosecuted them for fraud. For example, Vermont’s Attorney General filed a legal action against the company, the result of which is that Timeshare Relief was required to refund in excess of $91,000 to Vermont consumers. Click here to see the details.

The Daily Breeze article reports that “The MacMillans, who said they have facilitated more than 120,000 time share transfers, see themselves as modern day Robin Hoods”. Sure they do. Yeah, right. And pigs fly.

ANYhow, the couple began to branch out into other businesses a few years ago, all with the same aim of “helping people” dontcha know, and (now that the heat is turning up on their timeshare transfer business model) they are saying that because the evil timeshare industry “has declared holy jihad against them” they’ve decided to get out of the timeshare transfer business and focus on business-to-business services such as direct mail, digital marketing and online reputation management.

About four years ago they were already going forward with Credit Repair IQ (“…to be a leader in the credit repair industry by helping consumers”); and Merchant Solutions IQ (They knew millions of merchants would appreciate a simple, profitable method for processing credit cards and other merchant services).

Huh-boy! Look out below!


 

“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

►►► CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE ALL OF THE POSTS IN THIS BLOG ABOUT MEXICO’S TIMESHARE RESALE/ESCROW/BANK WIRE SCAMS!

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE IN DETAIL HOW THE TELEMARKETING BOILER ROOMS IN THE PUERTO VALLARTA AREA OPERATE PLUS THE REAL NAMES OF SOME OF THE SCAMMERS!

IT’S ALWAYS A SCAM IF SOMEONE SUPPOSEDLY REPRESENTING A GOVERNMENT AGENCY ASKS FOR PAYMENT IN RELATION TO AN INVESTIGATION. ◄◄◄


EVERYWHERE: This week I’ll be talking about Minne Realty Services, NSR Services, Lakebridge Realty, Subprocuraduría de Servicios de Verificación, Brokers Group Services, Escrow Accounting Services, HVC Highlands LLC and SAGE Agencies Internacional de Turismo S.A. de C.V. All of those companies/agencies are involved with timeshare resale/recovery scams emanating from Mexico and in just a minute I’ll give you the lowdown on them.

But first here’s what you need to do if you are a victim of a scam is contact the authorities:

  • Your local police;
  • your state attorney general’s office;
  • the FBI via IC3 (a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. The IC3 not only collects complaints but also analyzes them, links similar complaints, and discerns patterns in order to help law enforcement identify the scammers);
  • the US  Marshals Service;
  • Interpol – United States Central Bureau; Interpol’s databases help law enforcement see the big picture of international crime. While other agencies have their own extensive crime databases, the information rarely extends beyond one nation’s borders. Interpol can track criminals and crime trends around the world. They maintain collections of fingerprints and face photos, lists of wanted persons, DNA samples and travel documents. Their lost and stolen travel document database alone contains more than 12 million records. They also analyze all these data and release information on crime trends to the member countries.
  • the Department of Justice – Office of International Affairs; and anyone else you can think of.

It isn’t likely to help you get any of your funds back, but eventually it might help obtain some sort of justice in shutting them down/getting some of them arrested. Click here to learn more about the companies mentioned above

This week’s timeshare sales tip:

Dark Thoughts

REMEMBER:Relative to being really good selling timeshares, how does your day start off when you wake up? What is on your mind? Before you even hit the shower how excited are you about the selling opportunities for the day? On your way to work, what are you thinking about? When you get to the office, what is your first order of business? When the tours begin to gather in the reception area and the ‘line’ forms what are you thinking?

Believe (accept) it or not, all those thoughts play into how well a rep will perform every working day and for those reps struggling to make ‘deals’ a really good place to look for cause and effect can often be found in their overall outlook (or dark thoughts) as each day starts.

Some of the best PRO’s in the ‘biz’, even those dealing with some major life issues, know how important it is each morning to eliminate any negative thoughts and concerns from their ‘thinking’ and instead focus on the reality that in the next few hours they have the greatest shot in the world at earning a big, fat and juicy commission.

Yes, ‘troubles’ hit all our lives and there is plenty of time each day to deal with those issues. But there is one part of the day, beginning the moment we awake, when every rep needs to focus solely on the positive aspect of life and work. By doing so religiously, 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: “I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.” -Reuben Blades


Well Halloween is over (how hallow was your ween?). Does that mean it’s time for Christmas decorations, sales, music, etc. already? Yeah, I know we still have Veterans Day and Thanksgiving to go, but really — isn’t it time for Christmas already? Seriously?

It’s only Nov. 1 but yesterday morning a truck full of Christmas trees heading for some tree lot somewhere passed me on the road. What’s up with that?

My inbox is already filling up with special offers for Christmas merchandise for sale and special deals for hotels and resorts, etc.

Retail stores are beginning to put up Christmas decorations. There are Christmas-related photos showing up all over Pinterest and in other social media, and God help me Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas began on October 31st, followed by the first of the brand new originals for the holiday season on November 1st. Twelve new Christmas movies, one each Saturday; and tucked in among last month’s horror movies on other channels have been, yes, Christmas movies.

My down-the-street neighbors are looking forward to their annual Christmas vacation at their timeshare in Vermont, but they don’t call it that — they call it their “Holiday” vacation. That’s because he’s Jewish, she’s agnostic and since they don’t know what YOUR religious affiliation is should they run into you, they’ve just settled on the word Holidays for convenience. Their take is that there are so many holidays over the next two months, why should they discriminate.

That doesn’t mean they won’t wish you a heartfelt Merry Christmas once they deem it appropriate though. And you should see the combined Christmas and Hannukah decorations at their house!

Like so many people, they really just enjoy the whole season for all of the good reasons you can possibly think of.

Personally I’m waiting eagerly to see what evidence the crew at Fox News dregs up this year to convince everyone that the war on Christmas is a real thing. I always get a huge kick out of how far they have to stretch and bend to come up with enough to be indignant about.

But even that conservative network can’t seem to make up its mind about the proper way to address strangers during the “season”. On its website, under its 2013 War on Christmas heading, it says: Once again this holiday season, the right to celebrate Christmas is under attack. Click the icons on the map to see where the latest challenges to religious freedom are taking place. (emphasis provided)

Yeah, howdy! That’s some kind of “War on Christmas” goin’ on alright! laughing out loud

So let me get an early start. HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE! :P


“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>> TIMESHARE PEOPLE ON THE MOVE:

Stuart Coakley has been appointed as Director of Real Estate for Absolute World Group. Based at the group’s Thailand headquarters in Phuket, Stuart is tasked with overseeing the real estate division.

Stuart has a diverse skill set, having formerly held a senior management position with Thomson Directories, and has been responsible for the set-up and operation of Vacation Ownership companies in Russia and South Africa.

Stuart is backed by a fully trained international sales force and customer service and operational teams on-the-ground in Phuket.

Joining Stuart and the team is Nichola Rasdale, former National Account Manager at Icelolly, who will be based in the UK with responsibility for managing European Agents.


Alvin Jemmott, general manager of Divi Southwinds Beach Resort in Barbados, was appointed the first chairman of the board of directors of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI). The new BTMI agency recently emerged from the former Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and is responsible for the island’s destination marketing. Jemmott’s term as chairman began October 16.

Jemmott is a well-regarded personality and proponent of the Barbados tourism industry, starting as a waiter 32 years ago and rising to a general manager position 14 years ago. In 2006, he joined Divi Resorts as general manager of their two Barbados properties: Divi Southwinds Beach and Divi Heritage Beach resorts. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Revans University and is a Fellow of International Management Centres Association. He is enthusiastic that his career path will be a motivation to local young hoteliers and students to embrace the industry and make a positive impact on the island.




Have you been promoted or moved to a new company/location? Do you know of someone who has? Has someone been fired or demoted? Tell us about it! Send the information to The GateHouse to be included in People on the Move!
CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse

The Villa Group, has announced that it is readying to break ground on a new property called Villa la Valencia, situated on the beach and featuring in-pool aquariums and a lazy river. Located on the corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, Villa la Valencia by Villa Group is slated to feature 260 luxury suites, including studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with penthouses.

The Villa Group is expected to break ground on the project this holiday/winter season, with construction projected to be complete within two years.

The new resort will join the Villa Group’s collection of existing properties in Los Cabos, including Villa del Palmar Cabo San Lucas, Villa La Estancia and Villa del Arco.

DAE, (Dial An Exchange), has announced its affiliation with South African timeshare company, Leisure Portfolio Association (LPA), as a preferred exchange partner.

“Launched in December 2013, LPA offers its South African customers the best aspects of vacation ownership through a customer-centric online vacation platform.

“LPA provides members with maximized timeshare benefits and freedom of choice, offering annual vacation weeks alongside various alternatives, including DAE exchange, to ensure that members can make the most of their ownership.”

What does that mean? Darned if I can interpret that, but one thing it means is DAE is getting BIGGER!

AMResorts is growing its footprint in the popular destination of Playa Mujeres with the announcement of Dreams® Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort. This is the fifth deal closed by AMResorts in 2014, which has grown 20 percent in the past year.

Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort is set to open in early 2016. The family-friendly resort will feature 500 spacious rooms and suites, offering ocean views and private beach access, and is located only ten minutes away from downtown Cancun. Guests will have access to the complex’s amenities, including a marina and a championship, 18-hole Greg Norman designed golf course.

This is the 14th property for the award-winning Dreams Resorts & Spas brand, and the second AMResorts property in the area, following Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, which is slated to open at 90 percent occupancy on November 15, 2014 in the private Playa Mujeres Resort complex.

AMResorts is the fastest-growing provider of sales, marketing and brand management services to six individually unique concept resort brands with 37 properties throughout Mexico, Jamaica, Curaçao, St. Thomas, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica,


cheerleaderThe Villa Group, AMResorts and DAE: 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</a>

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…)