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.



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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…




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I heard this song in some movie the other day and it got stuck in my mind. Maybe if I share it here I can finally stop singing it, lol.

So here you go: Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons singing “Walk Like a Man” at their Tribute On Ice Tour, 2009. He’s a lot older than when he first performed this song in 1963(!), but he’s still got the pipes!

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

Grab the beverage of your choice and settle in. This is a looong one.

FLORIDA:

CLEARWATER BEACH: Does anyone remember in 2008 when the Spyglass Motel was destroyed in epic fashion as TV illusionist Criss Angel escaped from the imploding building? That was part of a huge proposed redevelopment plan proposed for the corner of Gulfview Boulevard and Coronado Drive that contained the Spyglass Motel, a Days Inn, the Beach Towers Motel and Golden Beach Motel.

In place of those buildings Kiran Patel planned a luxury resort which called for a 200-unit timeshare resort and a 250-room Westin Hotel.

But we all know what happened to the economy and the timeshare industry that year, so scratch those plans. The site has since stood as what Patel calls a $53 million parking lot.

Patel has come back with new plans and now wants to build a 300-room Renaissance Resort and a 150-unit Residence Inn, both of which are (of course) Marriott brands.

I don’t care. I’ve lost all interest in it now that timeshare isn’t included. zzzzz

LABELLE: According to a recent post in SWFlorida.blogspot.com the folks from the timeshare transfer company Timeshare Relief are at it again, only this time they’re using the Transfer Smart name. There’s nothing new in this except that they’re working the Southwest Florida area now.

Timeshare Relief, its several incarnations and its founders have hit the pages of Inside the Gate and The GateHouse several times during the last couple of years. They even won a couple of Dead Skunk Awards in our old Road Kill Cafe column.

Here’s part of what SWFlorida.blogspot.com had to say about them:

Mailings are going out by the thousands to mailboxes around the area from a company called Transfer Smart of Torrence , California making an offer that sounds like they will purchase vacation timeshare condo units from owners.

The letter signed by Cindy MacMillan, founder of Transfer Smart claims she will “get you out of your Timeshare Forever!”

Not said it (sic) that you will be charged thousands of dollars for “transfer fees” to give away your time share apartment or condo to the company.

Not said also is that only certain properties will be eligible and there must be no payments due, including maintenance fees or taxes on the unit.

Well, you can read the rest of it here. And you can see more about Inside the Gate’s opinion about the MacMillans and their various companies here and here. Plus this notice from the Vermont AG’s office. Dead skunk in the middle of the road stinking to high Heaven? Make your own judgement…

ORLANDO: David Siegel is apparently feeling a bit betrayed about “Queen of Versailles”, the documentary about him, his wife and their massive mansion. He and his company Westgate Resorts have filed a lawsuit against Sundance Institute and the film’s creators for defamation. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the suit.

The film is scheduled for opening day at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT on January 19.

Siegel’s complaint seems to be more about the promotional materials used to engender interest in the film than about the documentary itself. The complaint says a Sundance press release called the documentary a “rags-to-riches-to-rags story”, claiming Siegel’s timeshare empire collapsed and that his house was foreclosed.

“Taken individually and collectively, these statements portray Siegel and Westgate as essentially broke and out of business,” the suit claims.

In fact, none of those claims are correct. Though Westgate was hit very hard by the same 2008 economic collapse that caused financing to dry up for all timeshare companies in the USA, and Westgate was forced to take drastic steps to survive, the company has managed to weather the storm, restructured its debt and is now both stable and profitable.

And although Siegel did place the unfinished mansion, along with other assets, on the market in the early part of the economic collapse, he still owns it and it is not in foreclosure.

The complaint says that “Queen of Versailles” director Lauren Greenfield and her husband, executive producer Frank Evers knew that. Greenfield filmed the construction of the mansion over the course of four years, during which time Siegel provided Greenfield and her crew with 165 room nights at his resorts, and accommodated them at his home as well.

The suit says the last time Greenfield and her crew visited him, in November 2011, Siegel told her “he was doing well, that he had successfully resolved his financial issues and that Westgate remained highly profitable. This fact should have been obvious to her based upon the festive mood in Siegel’s home and the fact that she was once again provided with free accommodations.”

Siegel contacted Greenfield about the allegedly erroneous promotional materials, the suit says. She and Evers agreed with him that the description “was false, and that they would be taking all necessary steps to correct it.”

Finally, more than a month after having been notified about the inaccuracies, the description was eventually changed to read:

Jackie and David were triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America— a sprawling 90,000-square-foot palace inspired by Versailles— when their timeshare empire falters due to the economic crisis. Their rags-to-riches-to-rags story reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the “American Dream”.

But by that point the original description had already appeared on more than 12,000 websites, including (most glaringly) Greenfield’s. And as you can see, the revised description still included the phrase “rags-to-riches-to-rags story.”

Siegel claims that this has harmed his reputation and that since his name and Westgate Resorts are so intertwined that it also harms his business. The suit alleges that it has exposed Siegel and Westgate to distrust and ridicule and that they have suffered a loss of customers and diminished profits as a result.

The suit states “Sundance’s, Greenfield’s and Evers’ continued campaign and proliferation of false and defamatory statements regarding Siegel and Westgate is motivated by ill will and malice, and at the very least with a reckless disregard for the truth.”

They are asking for compensatory, incidental and consequential damages in excess of $75,000; punitive damages; Court costs; and any other relief the Court deems just and proper.

TENNESSEE:

HENDERSONVILLE: Hendersonville resident Alton S. Minton has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge that could see him serving more than two years in prison.

In 2004 Minton and two partners set up YachtOne Holdings LLC, a company that would allow investors to have a fractional ownership in yachts. But, unknown to his partners, Minton set out to defraud not only potential investors but the partners themselves.

According to records, Minton’s principal role in the venture “was to market the company and to obtain clients to purchase fractional-ownership interests in the yacht.” Instead he represented himself to investors not as an employee of the legitimate YachtOne Holdings but entities called YachtOne Inc. and YachtOne, neither of which companies existed.

In the plea agreement Minton admitted to bilking 27 investors out of nearly $900,000 by soliciting investments in YachtOne. No fractional ownership shares were actually sold, though, and Minton used “the majority of those funds for his and others’ benefit, including for living expenses, past personal debts and other purposes.”

He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 20.

This is not Minton’s first or only scam. In 2002 Minton founded FractionAir, a company that sold fractional ownership shares in private jets. Just two years later, in 2004, he was forced to relinquish control of the company when it was discovered he was selling shares in planes the company did not own. He was ousted by William P. Danielczyk, chairman of the Galen Capital Group, the controlling interest in the venture.

High-profile investors in FractionAir included former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher and former Vice President Al Gore.

In December 2011 he was indicted by a Sumner County grand jury on seven charges related to several allegedly fraudulent business ventures.

In a news release the Better Business Bureau of Nashville warned Rutherford County business from investing in one of his latest ventures. The BBB called Minton “a scammer who has a long history of deceptive business practices, shady offers, misleading marketing schemes and fraudulent investment scams”.

The plea deal has apparently worked out well for Minton because if he were convicted on the original federal mail fraud charge, he could have faced up to 20 years in prison rather than the two or so he will likely receive.




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ILLINOIS:

EAST ST. LOUIS: The ringleader of the Universal Marketing Solutions and Creative Vacation Solutions scams has finally received her sentence, and it made her cry.

A judge in East St. Louis has sentenced Jennifer Kirk of Howell, NJ, to more than 15 years in prison for heading a timeshare telemarketing scheme that bilked $30 million from more than 22,000 victims across North American and Puerto Rico.

Kirk pleaded guilty in June to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. And while most of her co-conspirators have already been sentenced, she had to sweat it out for six months waiting for her turn to arrive.

Sobbing as she addressed the judge before he handed down her sentence, Kirk acknowledged the harm she did to the victims, said she was very sorry and suggested she’d just gotten in over her head.

The judge was not impressed. He called her manipulative and aggressive and lowered the hammer on her.

Fifteen years is a painfully long time to spend in prison, but if more such sentences were handed out for various types of timeshare resale and vacation club fraud perhaps there would be less of it.

Still, reflecting on “the masters of the universe” on Wall St. and in the big investment banks who brought not only the USA but the world to its collective knees, costing millions of jobs, billions of dollars, untold personal suffering and nearly plunging us into a global depression— all for personal gain— I note that we have yet to see any of them pay for it with a perp walk. Au contraire, they have gotten bonuses and increased salaries for their fine work and they don’t even seem to think they did anything bad.

The question for them is, of course, was what they did illegal or just immoral/unethical? If it was all perfectly legal don’t you think it’s time to close the door on the processes they used so it doesn’t happen again?

And if illegality WAS involved and some of them finally get their just desserts, what kind of penalty— vis a vis Jennifer Kirk’s penalty— would be appropriate?

KANSAS:

OVERLAND PARK: Kansas-based Global Connections, Inc. has announced its White Oak Lodge and Resort has been awarded the prestigious RCI Gold Crown Resort property designation.

Located on 17 acres near the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Gatlinburg, TN, White Oak Lodge and Resort is a planned mixed-use property including 60 two- and three-bedroom log cabin homes and 12 two-bedroom condominiums. The resort features a tennis court, nature trails, outdoor grills, clubhouse and swimming pool with two grottos and waterfalls.

As a leader in the travel club industry, Global Connections boasts 170,000 members. Global is the owner and developer of five resorts and further owns and leases multiple resort condominium units throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

MISSOURI:

BRANSON: Bluegreen Vacations’ Wilderness Club at Big Cedar has won the City of Branson’s 2011 Green Initiative award for its eco-friendly practices.

Among the practices that won them the award:

  • Landscaping practices to reduce use of water and fertilizer to guard against runoff into Table Rock Lake, and to recycle organic materials into the soil by composting and mulching
  • The living ‘green’ roof at Indian Creek Swimming pool Pump House and the emphasis on sustainability throughout the newly constructed Indian Creek Lodge
  • Recognition by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Certified Green Lodging Program
  • Participating Property, “Clean the World” Program to recycle soap products for distribution to needy, third-world countries to provide sanitizing cleansers to combat infection transmission and to reduce the impact of these cleaning products on their landfills and groundwater
  • Encouragement to all guests to participate in their resort-wide commitment to recycling by providing convenient containers for collecting recyclable materials
  • The resort’s recycling programs divert and transport an estimated 128.5 tons of recylcable material that would otherwise be sent to a landfill
  • Use of energy efficient and solar lighting fixtures where practicable
  • Use of water/energy conserving fixtures where practicable

KUDOS! applause



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ARIZONA:

SIERRA VISTA: In the Sierra Vista Herald’s Crime Beat we find this short notice for Jan. 11-12:

12:14 p.m. A resident in the 700 block of South Sunset Vista Drive reported fraud. The victim reportedly has mailed money to an individual in Florida who has been trying to sell her timeshare. The company is fraudulent and has not sold the timeshare.

sad Sigh.

CALIFORNIA:

ESCONDIDO: Welk Resorts and Interval International have renewed their master affiliation agreement. The multi-year contract extends the relationship established in 2004 and comprises six existing properties in four markets, as well as future development.

The resort portfolio includes:

  • Welk Resort San Diego, where it all began in 1964 with legendary bandleader Lawrence Welk’s purchase of hundreds of undeveloped acres in Southern California. Today’s high-quality vacation community spans 450 acres and contains three projects: Welk Resort Villas, Villas On The Greens, and Mountain Villas.
  • Welk Resorts Desert Oasis, situated in Cathedral City, adjacent to Palm Springs, CA.
  • Lodges at Timber Ridge in Branson, Missouri, also known as the “Live Music Show Capital of the World.”
  • Welk Resorts Cabo – Sirena del Mar in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The press release did not mention the length of time the renewal is to cover.

NEVADA:

LAS VEGAS: Don’t forget! Tomorrow’s the day when timeshare will be front and center on network TV! Watch Undercover Boss on CBS Sunday, January 15 at 8 p.m. where the first show of the season will spotlight Stephen Cloobeck, the boss of Diamond Resorts International, “as he journeys to the front lines of his company for an unfiltered look into the inner-workings of his corporation”.

I’ll bring the popcorn.




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AUSTRALIA:

SYDNEY: The Sydney newspapers, especially financial news, are all abuzz about the proposed Future of Financial Advice reforms now before Parliament. Why? Because timeshare companies operating in Australia claim the new laws, designed to stamp out commissions and other conflicts of interest in the financial advice industry, create an ”immediate and devastating” threat to them if they are forced to comply.

Here’s the thing. Timeshare products in Australia are currently regulated as managed investment schemes (did you know that?) and timeshare companies— such as Accor Vacation Club and Wyndham Vacation Resorts— are required to hold financial services licences. And of course the industry relies heavily on commissions for sales reps, so pushing a commissions ban on them could force the companies to abandon Australia entirely. That would throw thousands of people out of work as well as jeopardize future investment in tourism infrastructure.

The industry says its salespeople are more like real estate or travel agents than financial advisers, that they are well-regulated and sell more of a lifestyle than any kind of financial product.

Barry Robinson, CEO of Wyndham Vacation Resorts, said, ”The way the legislation is worded, it doesn’t matter if it’s commissions or bonuses or any other incentive – they are basically banned under this legislation. For our sector it will be very detrimental.”

The government has met industry leaders to discuss their concerns and determine whether any changes need to be made, but the government also isn’t making any promises.

Stay tuned…

CARIBBEAN:

ARUBA & ST. MAARTEN: Chapel Hill, NC-based Divi Resorts has signed up with RCI to give its members at all five of its RCI-affiliated resorts in Aruba and St. Maarten the opportunity to opt for RCI Points Platinum memberships.

“We recently began offering the RCI Platinum membership to our new owners,” says EJ Schanfarber, president, Divi Resorts. “It’s an exciting value added program in the RCI product line. We’re confident that the RCI Platinum membership will be a great new incentive for our sales teams to offer potential buyers.”

Does this mean their resorts on the islands of Bonaire, Barbados and St. Croix will also be given that opportunity? Is it just for new owners, then, or do “old” owners also get to sign up?




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:

Rainbows!:

REMEMBER: All around the world every day of the year people get online or walk into a travel agency seeking to fulfill a lifelong desire to visit and experience a specific vacation destination, and many of these ‘globe-trotters’ are more than eager to spend what it takes (and do!) to make their dreams come true!

You may be with a sales guest today in (e.g.) Branson, MO and as fine as Branson is your guest may long to travel to Greece or Tahiti, etc. And although that desire has been discovered during the initial phase of the presentation, it is the real Pro who will probe their prospect’s longing in order to distinguish it from a mere thought or fantasy to a real ‘want’. And when that is accomplished the ‘dream-maker’ will laugh all the way to the bank!



Copyright InsideTheGate.com All rights reserved

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Whenever you fall, pick something up.” – Oswald Avery




I’ve about had it with everyone who insists on perpetuating the myth that the timeshare industry is the only business that bribes people to get them in the door. What got me in this snit was the following paragraph from a press release I saw a while back: “The problem is that the public still believes that there’s something wrong with it based on the way they’re bribed to come in and attend a presentation. No other product or service is marketed this way and until the industry lets consumers buy the product instead of insisting on selling it, it will always be the step-child of the travel industry.”

Oh give me a break! This is so patently false that it’s ridiculous, yet it is repeated ad nauseum by people who profess to be “experts” about the timeshare business. Think about it, and I’ll bet you can come up with a ton of businesses that offer bribes/purchase incentives to draw in potential customers. Here are just a few.

The Auto Sales Industry: 0% Down, 0% Interest and No Payments For Six Months just to get you on the lot. How does that work out? See this… Some car dealers even offer free pancake breakfasts or barbecues, etc. Bribe?

Banking: Remember when banks used to give away free toasters and other stuff to get your business? Nowadays they offer free checking or savings accounts and/or low/no interest for a period of time to get you to transfer your accounts to their establishments. (Ever checked the fine print on that super deal Credit Card Companies offer?) Bribe?

Retail: What other than a “purchase incentive” is that super sale at Department Stores if not a way to get you to come in the stores and purchase their products? Especially the ones that get hundreds of goofs to line up at 5:00AM for their special “3-hours-only sale? And what about the “free” things they give away if you buy X-amount of goods at their stores? And the free things they give you to fill out a form to get the store’s credit card? Think of all the come-ons from grocery stores, offering buy-one-get-one-free. Even companies like Pep Boys do it, with “Buy Three Tires Get the Fourth Tire Free”–– like anyone is going to buy three tires… Bribe?

The Fast Food/Restaurant Industry: Want to Super Size that? Get two-for-one. Get a free soft drink with every purchase. Get free toys for your kids with every Happy Meal. At Denny’s, IHop and other restaurants kids eat free. And so forth. Bribe?

Lodging: Free Continental Breakfast. Kids stay and eat free! Bribe?

Bars: Ladies’ Night, Happy Hour, free snacks (salty ones so you’ll buy more drinks)… Bribe?

beat a dead horseSheesh! Enough already! Next person I hear saying the TS business is the only industry that incentivizes its products/services that way is gonna get a sternly worded letter…



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

In Memoriam Valerie Dean Kubo
June 13, 1958 – December 28, 2011

Valerie Dean Kubo, of Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, passed away on December 28, 2011 at Maui Memorial Medical Center. She was 53.

Visitation will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, January 16, 2012 at Ballard Family Mortuary, memorial service at 4 p.m., reception to follow.

Valerie worked in the timeshare business in Hawaii for about two decades, starting with Lahaina Ticket Company/Consolidated Resorts in 1991. In 2001 she went to work for Robert Bluh when he formed Activities 4 Less, the brokers for Wyndham Vacation Ownership until 2007 when Wyndham bought the company out. Valerie stayed on with Wyndham until 2010, when she left Wyndham to go back to work for Robert Bluh as Vice President of Operations with his new company Activities Outlet.

She is survived by her husband, Todd K. Kubo; son, Preston Kubo; daughters, Jaymie White, and Lauren White; mother, Eloise Condon; sisters, Diane (Bruce) Linton, and Nancy (Blaine) Olsen; grandchildren, Chelsea and Joshua.

Valerie had deep ties in Hawaii and many friends who will miss her kindness and sweet smile. Our sincere sympathies go out to her family and friends.



If you have an In Memoriam to share with the timeshare community, please send it to: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com Thank you.

Did you know that asset-backed securities involving debt on timeshare payments are considered “esoteric”? Well, they are and they are among several so-called esoteric bonds that are being touted for investment in 2012.

A forecast from Credit Suisse Group AG says esoteric asset-backed securities issuance may soar 12.9 percent to $35 billion, compared with debt linked to more traditional collateral such as auto and credit-card loans, which will grow 8.75 percent to $87 billion. Esoteric bonds currently make up 16 percent of the $620 billion market for asset-backed securities outstanding.

Wells Fargo analysts led by John McElravey in Charlotte, North Carolina specifically recommend debt backed by timeshare payments and fleets of rental cars for 2012.

I guess that might be good news for timeshare companies seeking securitization?

“Meet the modern-day Marie Antoinettes” screams the headline in the New York Post. “Let them eat $129-per-ounce caviar! Even in a bad economy, New York’s big spenders are living large — and unashamed”.

From custom made suits with diamonds and other precious gems woven into the material to $8,900 – $10,500 leather Hermes Birkin bags (a red crocodile version just sold for $203,150 at a sale in Dallas) to Royal Osetra caviar (which goes for $129 per ounce), the uber rich are living large and loving it.

Even Jacqueline Siegel got a mention, because before she moved to Florida and married David Siegel (of Westgate Resorts) she was a Manhattan-based model. That mention, of course, referred to the 90,000-sq. ft. house the Siegels were building before the economy went into free fall and the documentary about it called “Queen of Versailles” (screening at Sundance later this month).

PonderBut it isn’t just the mention of the Siegels that makes this article worth a read. What I want from you is a good suggestion for something I could sell to those people to make ME one of the uber-rich!

A Bain & Company study commissioned by Italian luxury trade group Altagamma predicted luxury sales in America will grow 6 percent this year, adding that the sector “is in good health.” Come up with a good idea and I’ll cut you in on the profits. Cross my heart and hope to die… ;)




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

Are you familiar with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals yet? Maybe you’ve seen them perform on one of the late night talk shows? No? Then let me introduce you to them with this performance as they blew the audience away at the Boston Music Awards in 2005. The song is “Nothing But the Water” from the album of the same name.

GPN, as the band is called by its fans, has a little bit of a raw edge to it and Grace’s voice is a bit reminiscent of Janis Joplin. I hope they don’t get too polished as they continue their rise in the world of music.

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