Interval International announced the addition of OWN Montevideo, a condo-hotel in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay in South America. This property is part of the OWN Hotels Group, known for its sophisticated modern design, personal service, and state-of-the-art technology that enhances the guest experience.

Scheduled for completion next spring, OWN Montevideo will feature 44 suites with views of the Río de la Plata. Each unit will have sleek, minimalist décor that mixes hardwood floors with modern furnishings in bright colors. Among the planned on-site amenities are a restaurant and bar, gym, hot tub, swimming pool, sky deck and outdoor terrace.

Tourists from around the world visit this destination because of its beautiful beaches, mix of colonial and modern architecture, upscale shopping centers, gourmet restaurants, theaters, museums, and artisanal markets.

cheerleaderInterval International: getting BIGGER!


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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

Attention all you job seekers out there! You have a secret enemy but you may not know, until now, why you never hear back from a timeshare developer once you’ve submitted your resume. And the fact of the matter is most HR personnel themselves are unaware of this issue and how some of their ‘systems’ are outright intercepting your resume and tossing them into a cyber-file 13 (trash) before they are ever seen by them.

So what’s the Scoop? Have I gotten your attention? What’s up with that? Where’s your resume? Find out at “Computers Reading Your Resume – Cyber File 13!”


In Hawaii, HB424 (Relating to Timeshare Conveyances) has been allowed to become law without the Governor’s signature. This bill allows the Governor to appoint “such number of commissioners of deeds as the governor deems necessary for the public good and convenience.” What does that mean for the timeshare industry? Well, I skimmed the bill half-heartedly without comprehending the impact, then went to ARDA’s website to check it out. Nothing there, so I skipped on over to attorney Dave Waller’s website (Legal Aspirin – The Cure for the Common Lawyer) and didn’t find anything about it there, either.

But what I DID find at Legal Aspirin was a mention of an interesting bill working its way through the Colorado legislature which would require mandatory licensing for HOA managers.. As Mr. Waller put it:

Here is the gist of HB13-1277, courtesy of Colorado Capitol Watch:

Under current law, common interest communities and their unit owners’ associations (HOAs) are not subject to regulation by any state agency. The bill requires any person who manages the affairs of a common interest community on behalf of an HOA for compensation, on or after July 1, 2014, to meet minimum qualifications and obtain a license from the director of the division of real estate in the department of regulatory agencies. Licensees are identified as “community association managers”.

Now, that’s an interesting bill! What does it mean? What are the implications? You’ll have to go to Legal Aspirin to find out — and you should!


TWEET OF THE WEEK:

It’s hot outside. DAMN HOT! Summer in the City hot! Time for some hot music!

Of course the original 1960’s version of Summer in the City by The Loving Spoonful is the definitive version, and it comes in at number 401 in Rolling Stones’ 500 greatest rock songs of all time. But I decided to look elsewhere for a different version. Quincy Jones’ jazz version was superb but too cool. So I settled on Joe Cocker’s 1980 cover of the song, filmed at the Metropol in Berlin. He’s in fine voice, and it makes me sweat. Oh baby oh baby!

NOTE: If you are still using Internet Explorer 7 as your browser of choice you will probably not be able to see this video, as YouTube no longer supports IE 7 and won't stream it through embeds such as this. Please update your browser to IE 8 or above (or try a different browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc. It's easy and they're all better browsers anyway...). Updating or changing your Internet Explorer browser will solve the problem you may be having of seeing just a big black rectangle where the video should be.


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:

PALM BEACH COUNTY: Back in September 2012 I mentioned a timeshare fraud case (and arrest) that came about because investigators found out about the arrestee while investigating two other companies. Those other companies were Delta Corp. and G. William Clarke, P.A. — which were running a fraud in which telemarketers claiming to be working with the Attorney General’s Office asked for fees ranging from $400 to $4,000, saying they were for court and filing costs. Victims were promised repayment with funds from a non-existent “state restitution fund.” The owner of those companies, Gerald William Clarke, was arrested in March, 2012.

In December 2012, Clarke pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering, 72 counts of grand theft and three counts of petit theft. The scam had 75 mostly elderly victims and losses of more than $103,000 over a period of a year, and Clarke was subsequently sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Fast forward. Several postponements for surrendering himself occurred over the next several months, for various reasons. One of those was due to health issues, such as having surgery to remove and biopsy a mass found in his abdomen (which thankfully turned out to be noncancerous). But finally this month Clarke walked into the Palm Beach County Courthouse to surrender himself and begin his sentence.

So why isn’t he in prison now? For health reasons. The man is so contagious with the antibiotic-resistant, staph infection called MRSA on his fingertips and genitalia that the judge and prosecutors declined to put him there, choosing instead to send him home to heal until July 22. It seems that MRSA, which lives on the skin and nasal passages, spreading through skin-to-skin contact and fluids such as sweat, is already a big problem in many jails and prisons and they saw no compelling reason to compound it.

One can almost feel sorry for the man, who has, after all, been working to make restitution to 10 of the victims and seems to be genuinely sorry. The question there, of course, is whether he’s sorry he did it or just sorry he got caught?


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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

>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

Word has spread like wildfire in Myrtle Beach concerning a proposed new Hilton Grand Vacations Club resort coming to the 2200 block of North Ocean Blvd.

The developer, working with Crystal Blue Investment Group and Strand Capital Group, plans to demolish the apartment towers currently on the land and build a 22-story, 230-unit high-rise in their place. Right across the street there are two smaller buildings that are also slated for demolition in order to make way for a new sales center. The estimated cost of the entire project is $41.5 million.

The developer is currently in the process of getting the required building permits with the Community Appearance Board. The hope is to begin demolition on August 1 and begin construction on the new Hilton Sept. 1, with an estimated build-out in about 3 years.

HGVC already has the Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Anderson Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach, located at 2600 N. Ocean Blvd. I assume that if they’re building from the ground up just down the road it must be a popular spot for their members.

Of course not everyone is happy about it. The current residents of the soon-to-be-demolished apartment buildings were presented with a surprise 30-day notice to get out. You can imagine how well that went over.

Assuming this all comes to fruition, it’ll be good to see some new timeshare construction going on in town!

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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

>> MIDWEST & SOUTHERN USA TIMESHARE:

MADISON: Mark S. Parks (aka Jim Morris, Jack Taylor and a slew of other aliases), 39; his wife, Mindy L. Parks, 34; Ashley M. Conant, 28; and her mother, Eileen M. Goltz, 51.

Those four people have been criminally indicted by the Feds for allegedly running a timeshare resale scam that operated from April 2007 to April 2010 using four different companies: National Timeshare Resales, Integrated Advertising Solutions, Administrative Timeshare Resales Inc. and Midwest Timeshares.

They allegedly used a pair of standard timeshare frauds to fleece their victims.

  1. A promise to help sell timeshares (for an upfront fee) via ads, online, through solicitation and at conventions, with a money-back guarantee if the listing didn’t sell within a certain period of time.
  2. Telemarketers called timeshare owners, telling them they had a buyer for their timeshares and that the buyers were willing to pay a premium price. The victims were induced to pay upfront fee of between $200 – $2,500 for various fees such prepaid closing costs and related expenses.

In the first scenario, according to the criminal complaint, the advertising turned out primarily to be a simple listing on a company-owned website, no effort was made to actually sell any timeshares, and no refunds were granted.

In the second case no buyers actually existed; the money was simply pocketed by the operators of the scam and no refunds were given when the alleged sale failed to materialize.

Telemarketers told investigators they were supplied with lead lists, scripts and sales tactics and trained by the owners and operators. They worked on commission, being paid a percentage of the fee they obtained from their alleged victims.

Investigators, including the FBI, have records of 523 people, many elderly, who paid fees to Midwest Timeshares and 433 customers of Administrative Timeshare Resales. A lot of those complaints came from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, which forwarded complaints to the FBI about fraudulent and deceptive business tactics from October 2009 to April 2011. The BBB had received over 100 complaints from 30 states plus Canada before turning those complaints over to law enforcement to start the ball rolling.

Each of the defendants faces a possible sentence of 20 years, but it’s unlikely they’ll be sentenced to that much time. I’m thinking they may deserve it, though.


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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

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS: The Sheraton Steamboat Resort & Villas is getting BIGGER with an $8.2 million room renovation project that will add 56 new Mountain Suites in time for the 2013-2014 ski season.

But here’s the thing. Those studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites were originally slated to be Starwood Vacation Ownership units, but now they’re just going to be plain old rental suites without the timeshare component.

Dang! Twenty-one 2-, and 3-bedroom Resort Villas at the resort are already Starwood VO units. I don’t think that’s enough, do you?


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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:

LAS VEGAS: On July 9 Diamond Resorts International filed its prospectus for its proposed IPO with the SEC. The info you probably want first is this: DRI plans to raise $264 million by offering 15.5 million shares (10% insider) at a price range of $16 to $18. At the $17 midpoint of the proposed range, DRI would command a fully diluted market value of $1.2 billion.

In case you’ve forgotten, the company plans to list on the NYSE under the symbol DRII.

The shares are being offered by Diamond Resorts International, Inc., a Delaware corporation that was formed solely for the purpose of reorganizing the organizational structure of Diamond Resorts International LLC in order for the registrant to be a corporation rather than a limited liability company. In connection with, and immediately prior to the completion of, this offering, each member of Diamond LLC will contribute all of its equity interests in Diamond LLC to the new corporation in return for shares of common stock of Diamond International. Diamond LLC will then be merged with and into Diamond International.

How do they intend to use the net proceeds from this offering? (1) Approximately $62.2 million to repay the outstanding principal amount, accrued and unpaid interest and exit fees under the PMR Acquisition Loan; (2) approximately $54.3 million to pay the purchase price to the PMR Service Companies; (3) approximately $50.0 million to repay the outstanding principal amount, accrued and unpaid interest and exit fees under the Tempus Acquisition Loa; and (4) approximately $11.7 million to repurchase the warrants to purchase shares of common stock of Diamond Resorts Corporation held by an affiliate of Guggenheim Partners, LLC and another institutional investor.

They intend to use any remaining net proceeds from the offering (assuming there are any) for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

There’s lots of interesting stuff in the prospectus. Here’s a tidbit:

As of March 31, 2013, the weighted average FICO score (based upon loan balance) for our borrowers across our existing loan portfolio was 706, and the weighted average FICO score for our borrowers on loans originated since October 2008 was 759. The default rate on our consumer loan portfolio was 5.8% for 2012, and ranged from 5.8% to 9.5% on an annual basis from 2009 through 2012.

You may want to read it for yourself.


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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:

LAKE CHELAN:  WorldMark by Wyndham has officially opened its newest resort WorldMark Chelan – Lake House, which they acquired earlier this year. The company anticipates sales to begin this month and will assume property management of all units by the fall of 2013.

WorldMark Chelan - Lake HouseComprised of 30 quartershare and vacation ownership units, WorldMark Chelan – Lake House offers one- and three-bedroom condominium-style units with full kitchens featuring stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Each unit is also equipped with flat screen televisions, electric fireplaces and oversized decks for entertaining. In addition to its in-room amenities, the resort features a heated pool and hot tub, a children’s splash pad and a 4,000 square foot pool house.

Located in North-Central Washington, about 3 hours from Seattle, Lake Chelan is known for having more than 300 days of sunshine a year, which makes it very popular with Seattle residents (folks from Spokane like it, too). How popular is this new resort location? WorldMark began booking reservations in May, and within 48 hours of opening occupancy the resort was booked for the summer. That should tell you something.

This is WorldMark by Wyndham’s ninth resort location in Washington State. Other locations include: WorldMark Birch Bay, WorldMark Discovery Bay, WorldMark Lake Chelan Shores, WorldMark Leavenworth, WorldMark Long Beach, WorldMark Mariner Village, WorldMark Seattle – The Camlin, and WorldMark Surfside Inn.


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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

MANILA: A company called Philippine Landgroup Inc. (PLGI), a real-estate company allegedly victimizing citizens with an “own your own hotel room scam”, has been slapped with a cease and desist order by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC claims that PLGI is offering unregistered security investments to the public through the Grandview Tower Condotel in Angeles City, one of its real-estate projects. According to the documents, investors are allegedly being encouraged to purchase their own hotel room in Grandview Tower, then are asked to pay P50,000 ($1,152 US) for the initial paperwork and reservation fee.

And then the buyer is required to enter into a management agreement with Grandview Property Management Inc., wherein the unit bought is pooled together with the units purchased by other buyers and operated as hotel a enterprise.

So what does that have to do with the SEC? The SEC contends that the investment scheme has the elements of an investment contract, a form of security which must be registered with the commission before it is sold to the public but the company failed to secure that registration.

AND both PLGI its salesmen must also secure a secondary license to act as broker-dealer or salesmen or associate persons thereof in securities, but they have not complied with that requirement either.

In its ruling the SEC said that because of those issues it became necessary “that a cease and desist order be issued to enjoin the company from further offering and selling securities to the public.

“Otherwise, allowing PLGI to continue its business operations will operate as a fraud on investors or is otherwise likely to cause grave or irreparable injury or prejudice to the investing public.”

It kind of reminds me of how the notorious Michael Kelly was selling his big ponzi scheme in Mexico several years ago. In the end, he had swindled more than 7,000 people (most of them elderly) out of nearly $500 million. Now, there’s a man whose dirty deeds are suitable for the TV show “American Greed”! Gives me the willies, it does!


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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:

Two Assets:

REMEMBER: In our business, where reps aren’t cold-calling, the bottom line is that everyone in the marketing and sales departments is equally important to the overall effort and to one another.

However when it comes to making the ‘deals’ happen, the most critical time in the entire process is ‘on the tables’ when the rep interacts with the prospect. At that point those two become the most important assets in the timeshare food chain!

Unfortunately some timeshare reps will, at some point during the presentation, cop an inappropriate attitude towards their sales guests, treating them almost as if they are insignificant and/or in a less than respectful manner.

The ultimate problem with doing so is that attitude can then spill over to the next prospect and so on, and not too long down the road these reps are likely burning through more sales than they would otherwise be making.

At the end of the day every prospect in our sales centers should be treated like the asset that they are and in such a manner as each rep would like to be treated (by their peers, developer, etc.). It is indeed the savvy TS Pro, who handles each sales guest as the invaluable asset that they are, who will be laughing 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: “By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.” -George Carlin


I watched the closing arguments in the George Zimmerman trial on Thursday and with all due respect the prosecutor (Bernie de la Rionda) did a lousy job in his presentation. It’s hard to describe all the things he missed, did wrong or didn’t do at all. I kept finding myself muttering “Idiot!” at the TV. He rambled, he talked past the close, he failed to hammer home important points, his delivery sucked and his grand finale was weak as milk. It was major suckage.

Now, I understand the gentleman in question has successfully tried a lot of cases and won, but if that closing argument is his modus operandi I have to wonder how. And maybe he’ll win this time, too, but if he does it won’t be because he’s good at closing arguments. If that had been a timeshare presentation he’d have found himself at the bottom of the line the next morning, you know, like right after he’d tried to close a deal by saying something like “What do I have to do to get you to buy from me today”.

On Friday I got to see the defendant’s lead attorney, Mark O’Mara, give his closing argument. (It was the other defense attorney who started his opening statement in this murder case with a knock-knock joke. eek ) O’Mara, who did a great job during the trial itself, was measured, linear and presented his case calmly in closing. It was so measured and calm, in fact, that the monotony nearly put me to sleep. I was not impressed by either his argument or his delivery. And toward the end, IMO, he insulted the jury. No sale.

And finally a second prosecutor, John Guy (who also gave the opening statement for the prosecution at the trial), gave the closing rebuttal argument. OK, I’ll concede on this one. John Guy brought it home. He had me at Hello. It was a thing of beauty to watch, as good as I’ve ever seen. Was it enough to convince the jury that George Zimmerman committed either murder or manslaughter? Time will tell, but that isn’t really the issue I’m addressing here.

This isn’t the first time I’ve shaken my head in disbelief at the incompetence of many trial attorneys (both prosecution and defense) during closing arguments, and I have come to the conclusion that they not only don’t know how to sell their cases, they especially don’t know how to close.

So for any good closer/trainer in the biz looking for a new career, may I suggest you start a training service for trial attorneys? They sure the hell need it!


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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

Interval International has announced the affiliation of Residence Waterfront, an elegant condo-hotel in Alagoas, Brazil. The property overlooks the ocean near Maceió, the capital and largest city on the state’s coast, which is known for its miles of beautiful beaches.

The first phase of the purpose-built Residence Waterfront features 26 spacious one- and two-bedroom apartments. Six of the units are penthouses with covered roof terraces that afford room for relaxation and offer magnificent views of Ipioca Beach.

Along with a private beach, on-site are a large oceanfront swimming pool, restaurant, open-air terrace bar, and fitness area with floor-to-ceiling windows. Laundry facilities and private parking are also available. Nearby services and amenities include a market and pharmacy, as well as a number of sports activities.


Dial An Exchange has been selected by Royal Aloha Vacation Club (RAVC) of Honolulu, Hawaii, to provide a new vacation exchange benefit for its more than 9,000 members.

Founded in 1977, Royal Aloha Vacation Club is one of the oldest independent Timeshare clubs in the U.S. and was the first vacation club to register in the State of Hawaii. A pioneer in the timeshare industry, the member-owned and managed club started out with a few units in Waikiki and expanded to over 200 units in nine locations including Kona and Maui, Hawaii; Neuva Andalucia, Spain; Lake Tahoe, Nevada; Otter Creek, Oregon; Branson, Missouri; Chandler, Arizona; and Acapulco, Mexico.

DAE is currently working indirectly with thousands of resorts worldwide. Because DAE does not employ a typical affiliation model, consumers are free to utilize their services to conduct a direct exchange. With eleven offices worldwide and almost half a million members, DAE has enjoyed dramatic growth within the vacation ownership industry. As a new generation of owners and a new secondary market becomes available, providing choices, options and excellent service means more to the success of the industry than ever before.

cheerleaderInterval International and Dial An Exchange: getting BIGGER!


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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

According to the MPA – The Association of Magazine Media – nearly 75% of all readers of electronic magazines like ‘Inside The Gate’ spend more than one hour each week pouring over the information/content. And of course, content has always been KING – and reports indicate that online magazine advertising is one of the most cost effective, productive and tractable forms of advertising in the digital era.

So what’s the Scoop?What’s the real showstopper these days? Find out at “How’s Your Video?”


The other day I chanced upon a thread in RedWeek.com about VO Financial, Inspired Vacations & Take My Place that has me scratching my head — as in I can’t figure out for the life of me exactly how VO Financial is making money.

Perhaps in response to the fact that the company’s founders are set to face trial on multiple counts of fraud they allegedly committed when the company’s name was VO Group, a disclaimer has been placed at the bottom of their website that says:

DISCLAIMER: VO Financial is not a resale or listing company. VO Financial does not sell timeshare or rent any timeshare for a fee. VO Financial is not affiliated, or in any way associated with any U.S. Bank or lending institution. As such, our services shall not be construed to be paying off any existing timeshare debt or any mortgage that may be associated with a customer's timeshare ownership. Additionally, VO Financial is not affiliated, or in any way associated with any timeshare developer or any timeshare resort. (emphasis mine)

Yet their website also says,

"Using the Debt Reduction/Deed ReplacementTM program, VO Financial works closely with clients to eliminate their large debt accumulated from purchasing timeshare or vacation ownership. VO Financial was created to offer the guidance and support these owners need to eliminate their timeshare debt and acquire affordable vacation ownership that meets their expectations for beautiful properties and incredible destinations without breaking the bank."

They also say they have developed a “service to eliminate a timeshare owner’s original ownership and substantial debt and replace that ownership with an Inspired VacationsTM membership.”

And:

"Once the Debt Reduction Deed Replacement or Debt Reduction Inspired Vacations service is complete, the client's original timeshare ownership will be eliminated as well as the original debt. The original ownership and debt will be replaced with a deed free of all liens and encumbrances or an Inspired Vacations membership."

It just sounds a lot like here comes another one just like the other one, to me. Especially after reading that thread on RedWeek.com it’s all very confusing. And reading through their website didn’t help unconfuse me one bit.

But here’s the absolute worst thing for a consumer as regards their website: They have a Credit Application they want you to fill out and send electronically. This credit application has 20 mandatory fields you must fill in, such as name, address, phone, etc. AND YOUR SSN NUMBER. Asking for this info is bad enough, but to make it worse THE WEBSITE IS NOT SECURE, which means that ANYONE could easily hack it and get all your private information, including your SSN Number.

Is it just me? Scratching my head


TWEET OF THE WEEK: