>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

FORT LAUDERDALE: Ashley Lowton, 24, who was indicted in April for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with the massive Mega Media and Marketing Group timeshare resale scam, has pled guilty. He was one of 41 people arrested in connection with the fraud and he will be sentenced July 29.

Ashley LowtonAccording to officials, Lowton worked for the company from July 2009 to May 2010, using the alias Scott Peterson, and called timeshare unit owners throughout the U.S., offering to help sell the time-share units, records show. He told the owners to finalize the sale that they would need to pay a deposit or closing fee for $1,996 or more charged to their credit cards that would be refundable at closing.

However, the sales were false and the money was instead kept by the company. Federal officials said Lowton collected $197,916 from more than 50 victims as part of the fraud.

This is part of the government’s case against Timeshare Mega Media and Marketing Group, Inc. that has been ongoing for a couple of years. In October 2010, a federal court halted the operation and froze the defendants’ assets, pending resolution of the case. You can read up on it, and get more names of people arrested and/or sued, herehere, and here.


LAKE BUENA VISTA: On March 28, 2013, Disney Vacation Development filed its first sales-related documents with the Orange County Comptroller for the forthcoming Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, getting everyone excited about the much-anticipated new resort. And though the Grand Opening isn’t expected until October, sales began on May 23 for existing DVC members, and will open on June 19 for everyone else.

Disney Vacation Club is building 106 two-bedroom equivalent villas on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon as part of a previously announced expansion of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa that will also include a children’s water-play area and other amenities.

Once opened, the new property will feature deluxe studios and one-bedroom villas that sleep five guests, as well as two-bedroom villas that sleep nine guests. Additionally, expansive grand villas will sleep 12 guests and will feature multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a media room with a home theater system It is within walking distance of a monorail ride to the Magic Kingdom.

You can check out the announcement and take a tour of one of the models via this video from Ken Potrock, Senior Vice President and General Manager Disney Vacation Club.

Getting BIGGER!


ORLANDO: Back in April 2012 I mentioned Premium Timeshare Depot, a timeshare resale company owned by Brandon T. Booth that had been in business since 2008. There were/are a ton of online complaints about them, and they had an “F” rating with the BBB. That company (Premium Land Depot LLC, also known as Premium Timeshare Depot) filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 9, 2012. They claimed $4.43 million in liabilities and $5,329 in assets. I found the timing of that bankruptcy suspicious, but that’s not what I’m talking about today.

You see, Brandon Booth also owns Right Price Point Property LLC (aka RTP Property LLC), incorporated in February 2011, which seems to have taken up where Premium Timeshare Depot left off. This company, a timeshare resale/rental company, also has a big fat “F” rating with the BBB.

Brandon T Booth mugshotHere’s the thing. I received a cryptic tip that Brandon T. Booth had been arrested in March, but I had some difficulty following up with the tipster so I looked it up on my own. Sure enough, on March 9 someone with that name was indeed arrested in Orlando and there is a mug shot — but there was no information available about what he was arrested for, etc. Here’s the scanty record:

Booking Number: 13008463
Booked by Orange County Corrections
Race: White
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 11/10/1980
Age at Booking: 32
Last Known Location:
Cell: BRCMBFNA
Date Booked: 03/09/2013
Time Booked: 02:46pm
Number of Holds: Contract Billing
Notes: None
Charges: (????)

Further searches only said about charges “Other”. What the heck is that? And it would appear that he must have bonded out, since he doesn’t show up as being held in jail at this time.

Nor could I find any photos online that I could positively identify as being connected with Right Price Point Property’s owner, to compare to the mugshot. So, is this a mugshot of that Brandon T Booth, or of some other Brandon T Booth? And who out there knows what the charges against him might have been?

If my tipster would kindly email me with more info (you’ll remain anonymous) I’d sure appreciate it. Inquiring minds want to know.


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

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>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

MANHATTAN: The Timeshare Backyard has reopened for the summer season (every Saturday and Sunday through July 22), much to the delight of backyard-starved New Yorkers. Don’t tell me entrepreneurship is dead!

Founded by Jacqui Kavanagh and Jessica Resler, this faux backyard operates on a 3,200-square-foot vacant lot at 145 Ludlow St. on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It’s decked out with everything you might want if you had your own backyard, such as trashy magazines, hula hoops, squirt guns, lounge chairs, sun umbrellas, pink flamingos, coolers and a grill. Slip ‘n’ slide to your heart’s content!

Timeshare Backyard- photo credit: www.BoweryBoogie.comIt rents at $100 per hour with a 2-hour minimum, and the maximum capacity is 30 persons — so you can get a bunch of your friends and neighbors to chip in and have a party on real grass for a couple of hours (or more, depending on how backyard starved you all are) and pretend you’re in the suburbs (except for the graffiti-filled walls surrounding the lot. (Note that the backyard will shut down each night at 8 p.m. sharp, to avoid angering the neighbors with excess noise. Also, Timeshare Backyard does not have a liquor license so please plan your rentals accordingly.)

Apparently there are enough big city dwellers who want to do just that; word is that many of those 2-hour time slots have already sold out.

I can hear it now. “So where will you be summering this year, dahling?”

“Why, on the Lower East Side, my dear, on Ludlow Street. Do come and join us!” :)


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"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

>> WESTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS

BRECKENRIDGE: On May 20, Vail Resorts, Inc. and an affiliate of Breckenridge Grand Vacations finalized the sale of approximately 2.1 acres of land at the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 8. The sale price was $11.1 million in cash.

Located at the site of the Bergenhof Day Lodge, which will be torn down this spring, the property will be developed as a 75-unit, ski-in/ski-out timeshare resort with a host of amenities including a public restaurant and full-service spa. The project will also improve skier circulation at the base of Peak 8 by widening certain key ski trails.

Some grading and utility work in the area will begin this summer and vertical construction of the timeshare project will begin in the spring of 2014.

Breckenridge Grand Vacations is the developer of several premier timeshare properties in Breckenridge, including the popular Grand Timber Lodge and Grand Lodge at Peak 7.

Getting BIGGER!


STEAMBOAT SPRINGS: Back in 2005 Starwood Vacation Ownership launched a project to convert rooms in the Sheraton Steamboat Resort‘s east hotel tower into luxury timeshare units.

In 2008 the first phase of the new Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas opened with 21 new two- and three-bedroom villas.

Unfortunately, that was also about the time when demand for luxury timeshares evaporated and the total project, only 60% completed, has been in limbo ever since.

The good news is that Starwood will be restarting the conversion in June with an $8.2 million investment, mostly involving moving some walls and building some exterior decks. At build-out there will be 56 suites.

Did I mention luxury? The Villas offer a choice of three large floor plans. Each villa is completely furnished with flat panel televisions in both the living room and master bedroom, two-sided gas fireplace, modern dining tables with seating for eight, stainless steel appliances — including a full-size refrigerator with ice maker — and a laundry room with full-size washer and dryer. Each guest room has a full bath with a double or single vanity and shower/tub combo, while the master bathroom features double vanity sinks, a whirlpool tub and separate shower. Rooms also feature the signature “Sheraton Sweet Sleeper II” bed with luxurious mattress, a redesigned ensemble of all-white, 300 thread count pillow cases and sheets, and a new duvet.

No word yet on a date for the completion of these villas, but I don’t expect it will take very long.


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"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

>> WESTERN USA TIMESHARE:

LAS VEGAS: Diamond Resorts International has expanded its ever-growing portfolio of resort offerings by introducing AGORA Hospitalities hotels as an affiliate in Japan.

Diamond guests will have access to seven affiliate resorts in Japan including Nojiriko Hotel El Bosco, Hotel Agora Osaka Moriguchi, Hotel Agora Regency Sakai, Oncri Hotel and Hot Springs, Imaiso Hotel and Hot Springs, Nanzanso Hotel and Hot Springs, and Agora Place Asakusa.

This affiliation follows formation of Diamond’s exclusive partnership with Hong Kong-based Dorsett Hospitality International, announced last month. Dorsett is one of the largest hotel developers, owners and operators in Asia focusing on the 3- to 4-star segments.

And of course we have Diamond’s potential purchase of Island One Resorts in Florida to look forward to, which will add 9 properties to the mix:

  • Barefoot’n Resort
  • Bryan’s Spanish Cove
  • Charter Club Resort Of Naples Bay
  • The Cove On Ormond Beach
  • Crescent Resort On South Beach
  • Liki Tiki Village
  • Orbit One Vacation Villas
  • Parkway International Resort

Getting BIGGER!


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"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

>> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

GOLD COAST: Well, that was a good idea! Classic Holidays held its inaugural Classic Holidays Directors Conference May 15th and 16th in Surfers Paradise, attended by directors from all over Australia representing 17 resorts and clubs managed by Classic Holidays.

The focus of this year’s conference was timeshare products and their appeal to the next generation. Key objectives were to provide continued education, networking with peers and strategic planning in the stewardship of premier timeshare resorts in Australia.

With continually changing laws and responsibilities, the conference agenda covered a range of topics of particular relevance to directors of resorts and public companies, Classic Holidays arranged for industry specialists in Legal, Accounting, Directors responsibilities and Sustainability to speak at the two day event. There was also an extensive brief on the current trends in timeshare around the world, with particular reference to points based clubs.

However, the topic discussed most was how the timeshare product could be made to appeal to the next generation of holiday makers. In uniting the Directors together, the conference allowed for strategic discussion of the future of traditional timeshare resorts, ensuring both management and the Boards are in harmony moving forward.

This seems like something that could be of great value to many timeshare companies, don’t you think?


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"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

>> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

ENGLAND: According to TATOC, the Lakeview Country Club in Cornwall has been sold to a company called Lakeview Country Club Ltd, headed up by chief executive Andy Thomson.

It is Mr. Thomson’s aim to completely revamp the property, starting with the current facilities and then developing the rest of the property to in order to attract more local people to use it. Immediate plans included a major overhaul of the clubhouse, sports facilities, gym, bar and restaurant areas. He’s willing to spend some £20 million to get the job done, so it sounds like he’s serious.

The resort’s lodging currently consists of 2- and 3-bedroom lodges and bungalows on 220 acres of Cornish countryside. Amenities include an indoor pool, a spa, a bar & restaurant, a Game Room / Video Arcade, a playground and tennis facility, with a lake, fishing, horseback riding and golf onsite or nearby.

Lakeview was formerly owned by Club Domaine.


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"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:

Piece of Cake:

REMEMBER: There is a belief held by one sales trainer guru in our industry who taught that if sales were easy everyone would become a sales rep, mainly “because of the earning potential”. This person also tells the audience that closing is the most difficult aspect of the presentation.

Wrong on both counts!

If an individual is sufficiently trained, managed and all sales tools are provided to be successful, then with the proper personality and attitude, etc. almost anyone who treats and respects their sales position as being that of a real professional and continues honing their skills, techniques, knowledge, etc. does in fact have one of the easiest professions in the world!

As for closing the deal, that, too, is a piece of cake. BUT ONLY if the ‘deal’ was sold in the first place. When it was ‘sold’, closing is a matter of following prescribed procedures and steps and every real closer (and F/B’er) knows that as well!

So for those fairly new to our industry or those who’ve been around awhile but have yet to reach their maximum performance (and income), you must take a look inward for a little self evaluation.

You’ll likely discover some areas that could use a little buffing out, and when those flaws are corrected you’ll continue in one of the easiest professions in the world, close more sales and 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

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Religions change. Beer and wine remain.” -Harvey Allen



What if you owned a company, let’s say a sophisticated software company that boasts of providing instant sales and marketing analytics with insights delivered in real time. Suppose you’re very proud of the traffic your website is getting, too, although the stats of which they brag have me scratching my head.

Then suppose that your website, of which you are so proud, is kind of a mess, neither browser friendly (across all browsers) nor particularly user friendly. Remember: They’re a high tech software company that’s really on top of all things Internet.

Suppose also that you’ve placed a banner ad on a website that serves your target market, but you neglected to click on that banner to make sure it works right. (Remember: They’re a high tech software company that’s really on top of all things Internet.)

Suppose potential clients click on that banner, for which you have paid good money, and this is what they see.
OOPS! screen capture click
(Note that this has been the case for at least a week, and perhaps I should mention that all the other banners I clicked on at that website gave the same result…)

How much business do you think you might lose due to that banner ad for which you paid good money but never thought to check (how long has it been that way?), and from the general discombobulation of your website, which you apparently think is top notch?

smack headBut remember: They’re a high tech software company that’s really on top of all things Internet…

Nah, I’m not naming names. But would you buy a used car from that lot? ;)


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"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

Brand TangoTechnology, a Deerfield, FL-based provider of customer-relationship management (CRM) software, has announced that four new companies are adopting its Tango CRM system, an enterprise cloud-based technology. The four new clients include hospitality firms Sirenis Hotels and Resorts of Ibiza, Spain; Caribbean Marketing Services of Miami, Fla.; and Yucatan Holidays of Cancun, Mexico; as well as Nightingale Nurses of Boca Raton, Fla.

The Tango CRM Marketing Suite is a collection of Web-based contact, lead, campaign, sales, vendor, relationship, and content-management modules that streamline complicated tasks, automate manual processes and increase productivity. Users have access to detailed standard and custom reports, executive and role-based dashboards, and the statistics needed to measure return on investment.

According to Larry Talley, president of Brand Tango Technology, other new client announcements are forthcoming.

Brand Tango Technology was incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary parent company Brand Tango in 2011.

Interval International has announced the affiliation of the vacation ownership units at the Hotel Club Residence La Castellana in Calabria, the “toe” of Italy’s “boot.” The resort is set on a promontory overlooking the Tyrrhenian coast two miles from the historic centre of Belvedere.

The timeshare units are part of a larger complex that includes a 68-room hotel and 160 apartments. During the summer season, Hotel Club Residence La Castellana offers guests a wide variety of on-site amenities. In addition to three large swimming pools, tennis courts, and volley ball, there are three restaurants, two bars, a gym, a spa, supermarket, and shopping bazaar. Only a half-mile away, the resort has a privately equipped beach offering a choice of water sports, a restaurant with bar, swimming pool, and live entertainment at the seaside amphitheatre.

cheerleaderBrand Tango & Interval International: getting BIGGER!


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Juan Pablo Saiz has been chosen to lead Dial An Exchange‘s business development efforts in the Latin America and Caribbean regions.

Juan Pablo SaizSaiz brings to his new role over two decades of industry experience and has worked directly with developers including Pacifica Ixtapa Club, timeshare marketing companies, exchange organizations – such as RCI – and financial services firms, including Concord Servicing. He received his Bachelor’s degree in hotel management from the School of Tourism at the Universidad Intercontinental in Mexico City, graduating in 1991 and has been professionally involved with the hospitality industry since college.

In his new position, Saiz will be responsible for establishing relationships in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean with resort developers, management companies and resorts that may or may not be in active sales to help build a base of customers in the Latin Americas for DAE to supply its respected services.




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

Every day, throughout the timeshare universe, sales reps reach out to shake the hands of the newest sales guest they’ve just met and begin the multi-step process of attempting to persuade an often suspicious prospect that being a timeshare owner or member is the best thing since ‘sliced bread’ –– and when the rep doesn’t make the sale some of their peers will ask them ‘where’d ya get weak’?

So what’s the Scoop? What’s up with that “where’d ya get weak’ misnomer? Find out at “Is There a Sociopath in the House?”.


TATOC, the Timeshare Association focusing on consumers based in Manchester, England, has issued a Consumer Alert, as follows:

It has been brought to the attention of TATOC that Access Legal Services is cold calling timeshare owners with reports of calls made to Silverpoint members.

The cold callers offered to assist the timeshare owners to relinquish their ownership. A home-sit style presentation was part of the process.

TATOC urges all timeshare owners who receive a cold call from any company to proceed with extreme caution. No ownership or personal details are provided by the resorts, exchange companies or government bodies so please question how and why they have your information.

If you have been contacted, then please call the TATOC Consumer Helpline for assistance or contact your resort for confirmation of any inferred business relationships.

You can contact the team on 0845 230 2430.

Access Legal Services. Apparently a timeshare transfer/relief outfit. Got it?


Keith Trowbridge’s Executive Quest has announced the completion of its 13th annual industry salary survey. The results originated from the 27,000+ contacts maintained by the company through its monthly newsletter subscriptions and include salary, commissions, bonuses, and perks earned in 2012 for reporting in 2013. Many executives received non-cash perks such as a company automobile, health and life insurance, contributions to a 401(k), or housing for family-visitors. The survey results are available for purchase at http://www.execq.com/salarystudy.htm .


TWEET OF THE WEEK:


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"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

Have you seen this video yet? If so, it’s worth watching again. This is Canadian astronaut / International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield performing a revised version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity (aka “Major Tom”)inside the space station! Called “the Space Cowboy” by friends, he did a great job of singing and the video editing is outstanding.

Seriously, this video is a lot of fun!

Find out more:

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtGG8ucQgEJPeUPhJZ4M4jA
Twitter: twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AstronautChrisHadfield?­­­fref=ts
Google+: plus.google.com/113978637743265603454/po­­­sts/p/pub


The Video of the Week 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?

>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

MADISON: This is interesting. The Madison-based non-profit advertising watchdog group truthinadvertising.org (TINA) is accusing Washington-based Resorts360 Vacation Club of operating an illegal pyramid scheme.

According to TINA, Resorts360 tells prospective participants that by purchasing one of its four membership plans (ranging in price from $795 to $9,995), they can receive travel discounts and, more importantly, an opportunity to earn a substantial income. Advertising that membership “offers unlimited opportunities” and that participants can “earn a five-figure monthly income,” Resorts360 presents itself as a lucrative business opportunity for the ambitious self-starter.

BUT, according to Bonnie Patten, Executive Director of TINA, the company’s compensation program is based exclusively on providing payments to members for the recruitment and enrollment of new participants, and not on the retail sale of any product or service, making its business plan the quintessential pyramid scheme.

Some might just call it multi-level-marketing, like Pre-Paid Legal, but “pyramid scheme” sounds reasonable, too, I guess.

ANYhow, according to the FTC, pyramid schemes are inherently misleading and deceptive and thus in violation of the FTC Act. And while the method of regulation varies, all 50 states have laws that prohibit pyramid schemes. In Washington, where Resorts360 is based, the Attorney General’s office has noted that “pyramid schemes are among the most persistent and troublesome rip-offs facing consumers today.”

Consequently, TINA has sent a letter to Rodger Rutter, founder and CEO of Resorts360 (and a former commercial airline pilot with Frontier Airlines), demanding that the company immediately cease its illegal operation. TINA has also sent complaint letters to Charles Harwood, acting director at the Federal Trade Commission, and to Bob Ferguson, Washington Attorney General. In addition, TINA has contacted the Better Business Bureau, urging that it reevaluate its positive rating of the company.

Stay tuned…


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"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