CARIBBEAN:

THE BAHAMAS: The Grand Lucayan Resort on Grand Bahama Island is going to redevelop one of its wings into a timeshare/fractional ownership section. There is no word yet on when this will happen, nor much in the way of details, but you can’t beat the location.

Called Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort until Sept. 2011, there are three resorts under the former Our Lucaya’s tent: Lighthouse Point, which is closed; the 519-room Breakers Key, now called the Radisson Resort Grand Lucayan; and the Reef, which I’ve heard will be renamed the Reef Grand Bahama.

It is the Lighthouse Point resort which is scheduled for timeshare and fractional ownership. Stay tuned.

ARUBA & BARBADOS: InterContinental Hotels Group has revealed the relaunched Holiday Inn Resort Aruba and the Holiday Inn Resort Bridgetown Barbados, which was converted from an independent branded hotel, are the first Holiday Inn Resort properties to open in the Caribbean.

True to the Holiday Inn heritage, the resorts have a range of family-friendly facilities and services. For families with teenagers, the resorts offer a Teen Zone with shuffle board and plenty of board games for youngsters to unwind and entertain themselves. There’s also a KidSpree™ Vacation Club with an array of activities where younger kids can have fun under the watch of professional care takers. The brand’s signature Kids Stay and Eat Free feature makes family vacations truly enjoyable and affordable.

What I’m wondering is whether or not Holiday Inn Club Vacations might someday have a presence at these two new properties?

MEXICO:

LOS CABOS: Cabo Azul Resort, a Pacific Monarch Resorts property soon to be a Diamond Resorts International resort, has made it into TripAdvisor’s 2012 Travelers’ Choice® Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Mexico, based on reviews by resort guests.

TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice® list is annual recognition of various resorts and destinations in their specific category. The winners are chosen from tens of thousands of user generated reviews. Reviews are published by TripAdvisor, and based on those reviews, properties are assigned a favorability ranking in their geographic area.

This is a big deal. KUDOS! the wave

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

DUBAI: According to an article in Meed.com, the Government of Dubai Land Department (LD) is set to organize training courses for real estate brokers working in Dubai’s timeshare through a couple of professional courses. The programme will be presented by the Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI), the educational arm of LD in cooperation with the real estate licensing department of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).

Timeshare resorts in Dubai include The Emirates Vacation Club, Royal Club at Bonnington Tower, Bavaria Executive Suites, The Torch, Dubai Lagoon Vacation Club, Royal Club At Palm-Jumeirah and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa Timeshare.




Tip JarDo you have tips or rumors you'd like to share ANONYMOUSLY? 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

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! Today’s tip:

Live the Dream:

REMEMBER: Anyone selling vacation ownership who has not vacationed at a timeshare resort and enjoyed the real life quality that timeshare developers provide millions of travelers each year is missing out on the big picture!

As they say in the car business, take it for a test drive, kick the tires and when you actually experience the lifestyle you are providing travelers you’ll be able to better convey that message to your sales guests and laugh all the way to the bank!



Copyright InsideTheGate.com All rights reserved

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” – Frank Sinatra




I was up late a few nights ago, running the TV channels at around 1:40AM to see what was on that might put me to sleep. I landed on The Travel Channel and BOOM! There it was! An infomercial for Diamond Resorts International. Since I came into it late, I have to assume it was at least half an hour long and they did a pretty good job of it.

I first mentioned that DRI was doing this way back last August, but I had not run across the infomercial before. Maybe I just wasn’t staying up late enough, lol.

Anyhow, it was a decent production with a good special offer and they didn’t shy away from letting people know that DRI sells vacation ownership. That’s a GOOD thing. On a personal level, I’d like to have seen more people enjoying the lifestyle timeshare provides and less time showing the giant DRI logo on the side of a building, but that’s just me. In that respect the Disney Vacation Club infomercial, which is also much longer, is better; they spend a lot of time talking to happy DVC owners.

To top it all off, when I turned on The Weather Channel later in that same morning, say about 5:30 or maybe 6:30, there was a shorter version of the same DRI ad airing. You know, regular commercial length, 30 seconds or so.

So KUDOS to DRI for stepping up to the plate! hat tip

And if that infomercial has been running at least since last August it must be working at least reasonably well, wouldn’t you think?



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John Ferrelli has been selected Vice President of Finance for Fort Lauderdale-based Spirit Incentives. Ferrelli’s duties will include maximizing the value of the company by optimizing cash flow through planning, evaluation, and communication of financial information. He brings direct senior level experience in financial planning and cash flow management. He has reduced expenses, prepared annual budgets, and sales tax returns in different companies such as Signature Consultants and Muvico Theaters.

Axel Jehangir has been appointed Assistant Director of Sales for The Boathouse Phuket in Thailand.

Axel began his career in timeshare in Phuket as a Sales and Marketing Executive at the Laguna Holiday Club Phuket. Prior to his current role as Assistant Director of Sales, he was a Sales and Marketing Executive at Marriott Vacation Club International, Phuket.

A Belgian National, Axel has lived and worked in several countries including South America, Europe and South East Asia, giving him a wide variety of inter-cultural experience.




Tip JarHave you been promoted or moved to a new company/location? Do you know of someone who has? Has someone been fired or demoted? Are you looking for someone? Send the information ANONYMOUSLY to The GateHouse to be included in People on the Move!
CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

Hold on to your hat! If your company runs any kind of telemarketing operation (and certain other businesses) you should be aware of a recent US Supreme Court ruling— a UNANIMOUS one for a change— that has the potential to deeply affect your operations.

It all started with one Marcus Mims of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who claimed that Arrow Financial Services LLC, trying to collect a student loan debt, violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by repeatedly using an automatic telephone dialing system or prerecorded or artificial voice to call his cell phone without his consent. Mims finally sued in Federal Court for violations of the TCPA, but the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw the lawsuit out, saying Congress did not explicitly give permission for federal lawsuits in the TCPA.

The case made it to the Supreme Court, and SCOTUS decided in favor of Mims. “Nothing in the text, structure, purpose or legislative history of the TCPA purports to deprive U.S. district courts of the jurisdiction they ordinarily have,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court.

What this essentially means is that if the consumer (NOT the business) perceives persistent phone calls as a “nuisance” then the consumer may sue in EITHER or BOTH State and Federal jurisdictions.

Relevant to timeshare/travel clubs it means consumers can submit a million sweepstakes entry forms, and the fine print on the back of the form purporting to give permission to call the consumers no longer matters. Over time this could have a devastating effect and even end most telemarketing calls, even those calls that are now exceptions to the DNC. If it’s a “nuisance” call, the consumer can sue, no ifs, ands or buts about it!

The case is Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC, 10-1195. And you can read the court’s decision here.

ARDA’s VacationBetter.org is pushing the wellness trend, saying it is “here to stay throughout the year as consumers want their vacations to reflect a healthier lifestyle factor”.

According to ARDA many timeshare resorts have expanded their offerings to include health and wellness components such as fitness programs, enhanced spa services, cuisine packages, weight-loss regimens and concierge services to customize a specific healthy vacation experience. They mention an increased consciousness of wellness is reflected in Interval’s most recent U.S. member profile, wherein nearly half of those surveyed include working out and exercising as preferred vacation activities while close to 40 percent cite spa services.

So what is YOUR company doing to attract that segment of vacationers?




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I’m embarrassed to admit I’d never heard of the British singer/songwriter called Seal until I saw him perform on one of the late night talk shows the other night. He’s been around for a couple of decades and has some major hits, so how did I miss him?

Seal has won numerous music awards throughout his career, including three Brit Awards—winning Best British Male in 1992, four Grammy Awards, and an MTV Video Music Award. He is known for his numerous international hits; the best known being “Kiss From a Rose”, which appeared in the soundtrack to the 1995 film Batman Forever.

This is the official Kiss From a Rose video accompanied by scenes from that movie. I hope you enjoy it!

By the way, Seal’s full name is Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel. He is married to German model Heidi Klum. And the scars you see on his face are the result of a type of Lupus called Discoid lupus erythematosus – a condition that specifically affects the skin above the neck.

Send in your own playlist and if I can find a good version on YouTube I’ll post it for you! What would you like to hear?

Email: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

FLORIDA:

ORLANDO: Are you a fan of the Survivor series? Then maybe you’ve already heard that CBS has announced the cast for the upcoming “Survivor: One World”, revealing the 18 castaways who will compete to “outwit, outplay and outlast” on the series’ 24th season.

One of those castaways, 22-year-old Kat Edorsson is a timeshare rep for an unnamed timeshare company in Orlando. She will be a member of the all-female tribe called the Salani Tribe.

In her bio for the show she says:

My skills to manipulate and socialize will ultimately help me survive Survivor. I have always taken the “leader role” with my friends, family and co-workers. I build relationships, talk my way out of tickets, and socialize my way to the top. My skill set is very strong and it comes to me naturally, like breathing. I definitely think I will be an important member of the group.

Kat Edorrson Mug ShotWell, leave it to the super sleuths who dig into such things to discover that in April 2010 she was arrested for “petit theft”, translated petty theft. Unable to talk her way out of that one, in November 2010 she gained an official mug shot courtesy of Orange County, FL.

As mug shots go, it ain’t half bad.

Anyhow, petty theft isn’t much of a record. I hope she learned her lesson from that and I hope does well in Survivor.

And that’s it for timeshare news this week in the Eastern USA. It’s been real dullsville out there lately…




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ARIZONA:

SEDONA: Sedona Pines Resort recently made the news, and not in a good way.

3 On Your Side took up the case of an 80-year-old man and his bride of one year, who had gone to Sedona to celebrate their anniversary. You can guess the rest, I’ll bet.

They were enticed to a presentation at Sedona Pines and ended up purchasing a $17,000 package. Apparently they didn’t understand (or weren’t told about?) the additional expenses such as maintenance fees and he discovered that his total expenses added up to nearly $1,000 a year.

This elderly man is living on a pension of $9,800 per year!

He tried to cancel, but not within the 7-day window so his request was refused. He then filed a lawsuit and contacted 3 On Your Side.

3 On Your Side attended a presentation at Sedona Pines to check it out, then talked to the resort about the man’s purchase there. Long story short, the resort agreed to return around $9,000 to the man. Wasn’t that big of them?

So, all other issues aside, who was the genius who even allowed an 80-year-old man living on $9,800 per year to tour? smack head

CALIFORNIA:

ANGEL’S CAMP: Crime doesn’t pay— at least not when you’re stupid. Up in Calaveras County three people allegedly smashed a car window and stole a purse containing credit cards, among other things. They then went on a shopping spree at a local Rite Aid drugstore, an establishment called Angels Nails, a Save Mart and Altaville Market, using the stolen credit cards to make purchases.

Naturally there was surveillance tape at a couple of the locations showing the alleged crooks in action, and when two of them went back to the Save Mart to buy some more stuff the local authorities were notified and arrested them on the spot on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property.

The investigation then moved to the WorldMark at Angel’s Camp, where the trio had rented two units, and the alleged mastermind, 35-year-old John Steven Clark, was arrested inside.

During a search, investigators found the stolen purse, credit cards and keys from the vandalized car and the items that had been purchased by the suspects using the stolen credit cards. They also recovered about $700 worth of stolen property from multiple burglaries in Angel’s Camp, and suspected methamphetamine and a glass smoking pipe were found on Clark’s person.

Clark had recently been released from Contra Costa County Jail where he was serving time for burglary. The other two involved were his girlfriend and her sister.

Arrested were:

  • Elizabeth Perry, 27, of Concord, on suspicion of second-degree burglary, vandalism to a vehicle, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of stolen property.
  • Amanda Balco, 25, of Concord, on suspicion of second-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime.
  • John Steven Clark, 35, Rio Vista, on suspicion of second-degree burglary, vandalism to a vehicle, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of stolen property.

Let’s see. Very small community. Multiple burglaries. Alleged thieves stick around and use stolen credit cards at local establishments instead of fleeing to less obvious territory. What’s that they say? Stupid is as stupid does…

COLORADO:

DENVER: Did you know the Denver District Attorney has a Facebook page? Well he does, and he recently used it to warn people about timeshare resale scams.

DA Mitch Morrissey said in Facebook that timeshare resale complaints ranked as the eighth most common scam reported to the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau in 2011.

He also said:

Victims, particularly those eager to sell their interests in timeshare properties, are being contacted by people claiming to be timeshare buyers who are making sizable offers that may or may not require an upfront fee.

Often, the buyer claims to have a ‘buyer waiting.’ In the interest of making the deal as simple and painless as possible, the buyer initiates all ‘necessary’ documents, and emails them to the seller to sign and send back.

One unique feature of this scam is that it involves a third-party escrow account from which ‘foreign taxes’ and other questionable fees collected from the victim are deposited. The so-called fees are substantial, usually in the range of $3,000 or more.

Sellers are told they will be reimbursed for these fees at the time of closing, only to find that the buyer and escrow account company have vanished before they have finalized the deal.

Ya know, if some of those scammers spent an equal amount of time and effort to do something legitimate they could make just as much money without the risk of arrest…

HAWAI’I:

MAUI: This is just a note to say that Diamond Resorts’ Kaanapali Beach Club and the UNITE Here Local 5 employee union have ratified a new three-year contract that covers approximately 200 workers.

The new agreement includes hourly wage increases amounting to $1.85 for nontipped workers and 65 cents for tipped workers over the life of the contract, retroactive to April 2011 and effective until April 2014.

For example, the nontipped workers will receive a 65-cent hourly wage increase retroactive to April 2011, an increase of 60 cents this April and then an increase of 60 cents in April 2013.

The contract also included agreements on housekeeping workload and subcontracting, which were key points for the union.

This agreement closes out the last contract negotiations for Local 5 on the Valley Isle.

It’s a GOOD thing!




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CARIBBEAN:

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS & CAICOS: The lovely Alexandra Resort, located on the exquisite curve of white sand that is Grace Bay, has long sold whole ownership, and last year began pre-selling fractional ownership in anticipation of a new ordinance permitting such sales. Reservations were taken for one and two-bedroom oceanview condominiums in six-week fractions starting at only $89,000.

But the developer has taken things one step further. The resort is now offering traditional timeshare, in one-week increments, starting at a mere $10,000.

Available in the program are 32 units in the beachfront Chelsea Building, which underwent a $4 million renovation that was completed in 2010. There are eight studios, 16 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom units, all of which have views of the bay. The resort is affiliated with Interval International.

As the first and only shared ownership resort in all of the Turks & Caicos, the location and the price ought to be a serious temptation for potential owners. If you have never been to the Turks & Caicos, particularly the island affectionately known as “Provo”, you owe it to yourself to visit before you shuffle off your mortal coil. The place is simply gawjuss!

SCOTLAND:

ABERDEEN: Back in 2007 Donald Trump outlined a plan for a massive, 2,000-acre complex near Aberdeen that included two 18-hole championship golf courses, four blocks of 950 timeshare flats, 500 exclusive houses, 36 villas, a golf academy and housing for 400 staff. It also included heavily altering rare dunes legally protected under conservation legislation.

A protracted battle ensued between Trump, several local landowners and environmentalists. For the most part Trump prevailed, and he began developing the first golf course rather quickly (it’s set to open in June this year).

Last year, in June, Trump announced that the rest of the project was being put on the back burner because of the economic crisis. I wrote at the time: “Here’s the irony: Despite fierce opposition to the project it was approved because the First Minister of Scotland said “In tough economic times, substantial investment of this kind is at a premium.” And now it’s being postponed because of tough economic times.”

Well, The Donald has come up with a better excuse now, one that perhaps would better suit his massive ego than admitting that he can’t afford to move forward with the project.

Wind Farms.

An article in The Guardian says:

Donald Trump is on the brink of abandoning his plans for the “world’s greatest golf course” near Aberdeen after claiming his £750m project is being threatened by an offshore wind farm.

The billionaire property developer has disclosed he has frozen plans to build the second 18-hole golf course, the five-star hotel, the luxury villas and houses and the timeshare apartments that make up the planned resort until a final decision is made on the wind-power project.

Of course there’s more, and it turns out I’m not the only one who is suspicious of his real motives for threatening to abandon the project. The article goes into some detail. You should read it.

And by the way, if you want to know what the man is really like you might want to take a look at “You’ve Been Trumped”, the award-winning documentary that was made about this whole disreputable affair.

Donald Trump: One of the “Greedy Bastards”?




Tip JarDo you have tips or rumors you'd like to share ANONYMOUSLY? 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

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! Today’s tip:

$-TVM-$:

REMEMBER: The “TVM” (Time Value of Money) equation is sometimes brought into the timeshare sales presentation by a prospective owner who often considers such formulas in order to justify (or not) the expenditure of funds.

Many subscribe to this investing methodology, but when they buy their vacations and lay out (e.g.) $24-K for a Grand Duplex Suite on the QM 2 (Queen Mary) so that they can cruise the high seas, visit exotic ports of call and explore this precious beautiful planet we call home, I can assure you they are not likely sitting in front of their travel agent pondering TVM formulas.

What is on their minds would be their perspective of the “TVV” (Time Value of Vacations), and the more a timeshare Pro builds on a prospect’s specific travel dreams, wants and desires (throughout the sales presentation) the more those Pros be laughing all the way to the bank!



Copyright InsideTheGate.com All rights reserved

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Don’t tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.” – Mark Twain




Did you see this week’s Bill Maher show on HBO? If not, make it a point to at least tune in for his New Rules segment at the end of the show.

Why? you ask.

Because a picture of Stephen Cloobeck, of Diamond Resorts International, made it on the show, in the disguise he wore for Undercover Boss. It was a short bit, but funny.

Watch it.

ALSO: Be sure to read this week’s Scoop du Jour about what is happening to the commission structure in the timeshare biz. Join the conversation there, and/or leave a comment here.



Tip JarDo you have tips or rumors you'd like to share ANONYMOUSLY? 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

Is there any truth to the rumor– that Diamond Resorts International is looking to expand its Hawaii Collection by acquiring two new properties in the islands? Word on the street says they are in discussions to pick up a non-timeshare property on O’ahu and another on the Big Island, both of which would then be converted to timeshare.

For reals? Or is this just wishful thinking by Hawaii Collection members?



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Robert M. Sinnott, former chief financial officer for Silverleaf Resorts, has moved out of the timeshare business to accept the position of chief financial officer for Romacorp Inc., parent of the Tony Roma’s restaurant chain.

He will report directly to Ken Myres, Romacorp’s president.




Tip JarHave you been promoted or moved to a new company/location? Do you know of someone who has? Has someone been fired or demoted? Are you looking for someone? Send the information ANONYMOUSLY to The GateHouse to be included in People on the Move!
CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

This is not (necessarily) timeshare-related, but The Better Business Bureau has released its Top 10 Scams of 2011 and here’s one you should pay attention to if you, or someone you know, has been scouring sites like Craigslist for jobs:

Top Job Scam

BBB sees lots of secret shopper schemes, work-from-home scams, and other phony job offers, but the worst job-related scam can dash your hopes and steal your identity. Emails, websites and online applications all look very professional, and the candidate is even interviewed for the job (usually over the phone) and then receives an offer. In order to start the job, however, the candidate has to fill out a “credit report” or provide bank information for direct deposit of their “paychecks.” The online forms are nothing more than a way to capture sensitive personal data – Social Security number, bank accounts, etc. – that can easily be used for identity theft. And, of course, there is no job, either.

Unfortunately, Craigslist and many others are rife with this kind of scam. Especially where posting an ad is free. Watch yourself…

Don’t forget this year’s annual ARDA Convention, in Las Vegas this time, coming up April 1-5.

The keynote speaker will be Frederick Reichheld, sponsored by RCI. Reichheld is a Bain Fellow and founder of Bain & Company’s loyalty practice, which helps companies achieve results through customer and employee loyalty. (And before you ask, no this is not the same Bain associated with Mitt Romney. THAT Bain is Bain Capital, a private investment firm specializing in private equity, public equity, leveraged debt asset, venture capital, and absolute return investments. It was founded in 1984 by several former Bain & Co. partners that include Mitt Romney, and Bain & Co. does still maintain “a strong institutional relationship” with Bain Capital but they are two totally separate companies.)

Anyhooo, Signature Sponsors of the ARDA World Convention include: Capital One, Hilton Grand Vacations Company, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, HSI (Holiday Systems International), ICE, Interval International, Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp., RCI, ResortCom International, Starwood Vacation Ownership, TimeShareWare, and Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

Did you notice the little name change this year? ARDA World Convention and Exposition? So the American Resort Development Association is now officially global…




Tip JarDo you have tips or rumors you'd like to share ANONYMOUSLY? 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