Florida USA Timeshare News: August 22, 2014

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

ORLANDO: In case you were wondering, I haven’t forgotten about the recent draconian changes to Florida’s timeshare regulations (which were championed by ARDA & ARDA_ROC among other industry giants). Neither have the folks at the Florida Timeshare Owners Group (FTOG), who are keeping their members and the timesharing public at large apprised of developments via their website at http://www.tsownersgroup.com/

Tom Tubbs, one of the FTOG Board members, recently wrote an update on the situation that you might want to read. It’s logical, considered and provides his reasoned opinion on what it all means. You might especially want to read the ending of the article where it discusses what the fallout might be for timeshare owners who own outside of Florida.

Yeah. It could affect you, too, at some point down the line. Be aware.


ALSO IN ORLANDO: On Jan. 28, 2015 the State of Florida indicted Mark Gardner (28, Osteen, Florida) and Tammie Lynn Cline (32, Leominster, MA) on one count of conspiracy, five counts of wire fraud, and four counts of money laundering in a case revolving around a timeshare resale scam.

Cline pleaded guilty in July 2015 to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; she is set to be sentenced on Oct. 9. Her maximum sentence would be 20 years.

Gardner, on the other hand, appeared to be heading for trial — but has apparently changed his mind. He has now pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering for his role in the operation of a boiler room. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for the conspiracy count and up to 10 years’ imprisonment for the money laundering count. Sentencing has been set for October 30, 2015.

Gardner and Cline operated a boiler room in Central Florida. Along with the telemarketers who worked at their call center, they made unsolicited calls to owners of timeshare properties located throughout the United States. During those calls, they claimed that they worked for Universal Timeshare Sales Associates (UTSA) in Beaverton, Oregon, that UTSA had a purchaser who was interested in buying a timeshare, and that the timeshare owner just needed to pay a fee between $1,600 and $2,200 for the sale to proceed.

In order to convince timeshare owners to pay the fee, Gardner, Cline and their telemarketers sometimes claimed that an interested purchaser was present in the showroom ready to buy a timeshare, that a buyer had already deposited money into an escrow account for the sale, or that the sale would take place in about 90 days. Those representations were false. The timeshares were not sold as had been promised, and members of the conspiracy would deny or ignore requests for refunds, and would dispute chargebacks with the credit card companies.

In total, victims lost approximately $1.6 million due to the operation of the call center.

The flim-flammers of the world will always be among us. It’s up to us to get wise to their tactics and at least make it more difficult for them to part us from our money. Knowledge is power, people. Do your due diligence!


“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


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Florida USA Timeshare News: August 15, 2014

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

KISSIMMEE: Talk about moving fast! This last week we learned that Margaritaville Vacation Club is already planning a third location, this one part of a 300-acre community that will be located on US Highway 192 near State Road 429 in western Osceola County.

Specific details have not been released, but Margaritaville Holdings LLC, and Encore Capital Management are co-developers of the resort, which will include a hotel, vacation ownership and vacation homes as well as a “FinCity” arcade, a St. Somewhere Spa, a planetarium and the Son of a Sailor fishing school, paddleboarding and kayaking. It will also include a lake with a dedicated beach area and a regional water park plus 170,000 square feet of retail space.

Assuming the plans are approved, the hotel is expected to have somewhere between 175 to 300 rooms (that’s a pretty broad range), with about 200 timeshare units adjacent to the hotel. The rest of the community includes about 500 vacation-rental homes, 200 condominiums and 350 apartments.

Though Wyndham has not yet released any press about it, I assume that the vacation ownership portion of the resort will be branded by Wyndham Vacation Ownership like the previous two Margaritaville timeshare projects.

The first of those resorts to be announced (in March 2013) was the St Thomas Margaritaville Vacation Club, aka the Wyndham St. Thomas- Margaritaville Club Resort in the US Virgin Islands. That 25-acre property, a redevelopment of the former Grand Beach Palace Resort, is the flagship property of the Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham. Phase one opened just yesterday, with 62 studio and studio deluxe units; eight presidential suites; a pool and pool bar; restaurant; marketplace; front desk; dive shop; retail shop; fitness center; game room; and on-site sales office.

Following that was the Margaritaville Vacation Club Wyndham Rio Mar in Puerto Rico, located on Puerto Rico’s northeast coast just 30 miles outside Old San Juan. Currently under construction on the grounds of Wyndham’s existing Rio Mar Resort, first occupancy is anticipated for October 2015. Owners will have full access to the resort’s 500 acres of tropical fun, so what’s not to like?

Oddly enough, Wyndham has pretty much ignored the Rio Mar in terms of media releases. I wonder why?

ANYhow, the folks in Kissimmee are pretty excited about the plans for the new resort. Stay tuned for more details as they become available!

 


“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

Getting BIGGER: August 15, 2015

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse

Defender Resorts, a management company based in Myrtle Beach, SC, has added two new resorts to its management portfolio.

Defender is now managing Cedar Village in Beech Mountain, in the scenic Appalachian Highlands in western North Carolina. The resort consists of 15 two-story condos which share an indoor pool, whirlpool spa and game room. All units are fully furnished, with well equipped kitchens located on the first floor. Also on the first floor are the dining room and a living room, equipped with a gas log fireplace inside each unit. Each unit also has a Washer/Dryer. The second floor has 1 bath and 3 bedrooms all with queen beds.

In Florida Defender has assumed management of South Shore Club in Del Ray Beach. This intimate little resort also has only 15 one-bedroom units, each unit offering full kitchen, separate bedroom, full living room, private patio and all units are ground floor. Private beach. Owners at the resort are pretty excited at the prospect of the resort finally getting its own website, courtesy of Defender Resorts.

In addition to adding these two resorts in 2015, Defender Resorts, Inc. also rolled out an extended exchange program called Flex and Beyond, which members of these two resorts will now get to enjoy the perks.

Defender Resorts, Inc. now manages a total of 26 resorts and 28 associations, which span the Eastern Seaboard including Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Sint Maarten and the Cayman Islands.


cheerleaderDefender Resorts: getting BIGGER!


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Florida USA Timeshare News: August 1, 2014

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

TALLAHASSEE: James Holmes, who once handled sales operations for Buy Owner Resort Marketing in Ormond Beach, was found guilty of first degree grand theft in June of this year and has now been sentenced to two years in prison for his sins, followed by 10 years probation.

Holmes, 55, was part of a ring fraudulently misrepresenting timeshare marketing services that resulted in an estimated $900,000 in losses for their victims. A criminal investigation revealed that Holmes knew the customers were desperate to sell their timeshare, but that there was no real resale market for the timeshares. Buy Owner Resort Marketing sold no timeshares over the span of nearly a year of operation and approximately 1,100 customers were charged an average of $998 for marketing services that were not provided.

IMPORTANT: The court also ordered restitution for any known victims. If you sent money to this company between April of 2009 and May 19, 2010 and believe you are a victim, contact Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Robert Finkbeiner, Jr. at 407-245-0893 or Agent Sean Patton at 386-447-4250 by October 28, 2015.




“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

Florida USA Timeshare News: July 25, 2015

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

KISSIMMEE: Vacation Village at Parkway has finished up a major renovation at the resort. They’ve been at it since 2013 and accomplished quite a lot, especially considering that this is a pretty big property.

Last year’s efforts included:

  • Replaced the hallway carpet, mattresses, and refurbished furniture in buildings 14 & 15.
  • Additional Kid’s Playground.
  • Flat screen TVs throughout remaining areas.
  • Mattresses replacement in buildings 18 & 19.
  • Cabinet upgrade in buildings 3 & 4.
  • Replaced bedding in buildings 7 through 9.
  • New dining table bases, coffee tables and end tables in building 1 & 2 “B” units.
  • Replace golf cart.

Vacation Village ParkwayRefurbishments and upgrades this year included some pretty impressive improvements to the “B” side, featuring sleek yellow and grey accents, new beds and kitchen fixtures and they replaced in-room Jacuzzis with “large, relaxing tubs and sitting vanity rooms”. The cabinets in the kitchen are dark, the appliances stainless steel, the countertops granite — it’s all thoroughly modern.

Here’s a picture.

What do you think?


ORLANDO: Back in February the State of Florida indicted Mark Gardner (28, Osteen, Florida) and Tammie Lynn Cline (32, Leominster, MA) with one count of conspiracy, five counts of wire fraud, and four counts of money laundering in a case revolving around a timeshare resale scam. If convicted, each faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each conspiracy and wire fraud count and up to 10 years in federal prison for each money laundering count. That’s a long time.

This month Cline pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; she is set to be sentenced on Oct. 9. Her maximum sentence would thusly be 20 years.

Gardner is apparently taking his chances with a jury, with a trial date tentatively set for September 1, 2015.

According to the indictment, Gardner and Cline operated a telemarketing room in Central Florida. They, along with the telemarketers who worked at their call center, made unsolicited calls to owners of timeshare properties located throughout the United States. In those calls, they claimed that they worked for Universal Timeshare Sales Associates (UTSA) out of Beaverton, Oregon, that UTSA had a purchaser who was interested in buying a timeshare, and that the timeshare owner just needed to pay a fee of between $1,600 and $2,200 for the sale to proceed.

To convince timeshare owners to pay the fee, Gardner, Cline, and their telemarketers sometimes claimed that an interested purchaser was present in the showroom ready to buy a timeshare, that a buyer had already deposited money into an escrow account for the sale, or that the sale would take place in about 90 days. Those representations were false. The timeshares were not sold as had been promised, and Gardner, Cline, and their conspirators denied or ignored requests for refunds and disputed chargebacks with the credit card companies.

You’ve all heard this story before, right? Doesn’t matter what the name(s) of the companies are, doesn’t matter what the names of the people are, doesn’t matter what state, province or country is involved — the basics of the scam are always the same and people keep falling for it.

Sigh.

In May 2013, the Federal Trade Commission and the Florida Attorney General’s Office filed a civil action against Gardner, Cline, and others in federal court. In June 2014, the district court entered a permanent injunction against them related to certain telemarketing practices.

Stay tuned for more information about the trial and sentencing as it is made available.




“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

Florida USA Timeshare News: June 6, 2015

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

ORLANDO: Word on the street is that the NTOA (National Timeshare Owners Association) is in the getting BIGGER mode in that they have appointed 6 new Advisory Board members. The new guys are: Fermin Cruz (formerly with DAE, now rumored to be with weholi); David DeShaw, Chief Hospitality Officer at Capital Resorts; John Farrow, CEO of FARROW Commercial Construction; Bruce Griffith, a Canadian timeshare owner of long standing; Paul Mattimoe, President & CEO of Perspective Group who just accepted a similar position on the board for C.A.R.E.; and Joe Nahman, Owner of RMC Resort Management.

They join an already experienced and diverse board comprised of Wes Sattenfield, Dennis DiTinno, Michelle Donato, Suzanne Harris, Wes Kogelman and Bob Kobek.

I think that’s called a scoop. 😀

NTOA has been expanding aggressively ever since Greg Crist took over the reins of the Association, and this is just the latest evidence of that.

WEST PALM BEACH: Another Florida-based telemarketer has paid the price for his part in the massive Palm Beach-based timeshare resale fraud known as C&G Marketing Associates, LLC. and Premier Timeshare Solutions (PTS).

Nathan Christian, 31, of Boynton Beach, FL, was sentenced in the United States District Court in East St. Louis, Illinois on his conviction for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. Christian, who worked as a “closer” at C&G, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. The court also ordered Christian to pay a $1,000 fine and a $100 special assessment.

PTS operated out of offices located in southern Florida. The company targeted owners of timeshares throughout the United States and Canada who wished to sell their timeshares. By falsely representing that PTS had located buyers who were interested in purchasing the victims’ timeshares, the closers convinced the victims to pay upfront fees of approximately $2,000 to PTS. During the lifespan of the scam, PTS defrauded over 7,000 people out of approximately $14.5 million. Victims were located throughout the United States and Canada.

This prosecution is one of more than 50 timeshare resale fraud prosecutions brought in the Southern District of Illinois over the past four years. The case is part of an ongoing investigation by the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. Both the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Florida Department of Agriculture have assisted in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Scott Verseman and Michael Hallock.

The big wigs in the scam have long since been arrested and sentenced. You can get the low down on everyone involved so far at this link. Get a cup of coffee and settle in for quite a read.

KABOOM! jail smilie




“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

Florida USA Timeshare News: May 23, 2015

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

ORLANDO: Here’s this week’s BIG news: Orange Lake Resorts, via its parent company Orange Lake Holdings, has purchased Silverleaf Resorts from an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.

Whoopee! I for one am glad to see it because if you judge by publicity not much of note has happened with Silverleaf ever since Cerberus bought the company and took it private. Of course it isn’t really that they didn’t do anything, it’s that they couldn’t be bothered to issue occasional press releases to tell anyone about it. I blame it on Cerberus. 😛 I’m expecting more from Orange Lake…

ANYhow, Orange Lake will not be folding Silverleaf into its Holiday Inn Club Vacations brand. Instead they will operate the two brands separately. Together the two brands encompass 26 resorts, 7,200 villas and over 320,000 owners. Club members in each brand will continue to enjoy all the benefits of their existing membership plans and I’ll bet there will be a lot of reciprocal enjoyment going on as well.

Holiday Inn Club Vacations operates 12 resorts across eight states, with another in development in Scottsdale, Ariz., scheduled to open in late 2015.

Silverleaf operates 13 resorts in six states across the eastern half of the U.S.

Stay tuned for more exciting news on this front in the future. It’s a GOOD thing!




“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

Florida USA Timeshare News: April 25, 2015

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

See the note in this week’s Odds & Ends about Senate Bill 932, and then go sign the petition asking Gov. Scott to veto it. Or just go straight to the petition: https://www.change.org/p/florida-governor-veto-senate-bill-932-florida-timeshare-act Time is of the essence, so no procrastinating is allowed. Move it move it move it!


CELEBRATION: Now that Disney Vacation Club has opened the first phase of its Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, they’ve also amended the timeshare license for them. But don’t worry, it ain’t a bad thing.

Originally the timeshare license authorized the company to sell up to 8,262 weeks, the equivalent of 162 units (at 51 weeks per unit). The new amendment authorizes Disney to sell an additional 11,118 timeshare weeks, the equivalent of another 218 units. That’s a total of 19,380 weeks of time, or 372.69 years.

So what’s it all about, Alfie? Put simply, it means that Disney is now authorized by the State of Florida to sell the whole shebang that makes up the Polynesian condominium association — 360 Deluxe Studio studios and 20 Bora Bora bungalows.

That’s a lot of inventory. How long do you think it will take them to sell out?


KISSIMMEE: In the getting BIGGER category, Westgate Resorts has completed an additional 176 new, fully furnished villas at the Westgate Town Center Resort & Spa, expanding the property to more than 3,000 luxury villa units.

With the opening of that new building, Westgate will be able to offer five-bedroom accommodations for the first time in Central Florida.

The new eight-story building includes 96 new one-bedroom villas and 80 new one-bedroom grand villas, which feature fully equipped kitchens and wet bar. The units can combine via internal doorways to offer up to five bedrooms and sleep 20 guests, all of which will be available to overnight guests as well as timeshare owners.

On-site activities and amenities at this humongous resort include 14 heated outdoor pools and hot tubs, movie theater, mini golf, paddle boat and swan boat rentals, bicycle rentals, a variety of outdoor sports and children’s activities. Dining options include Westgate Resort’s award-winning Drafts Sports Bar & Grill and Starbucks.




“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

Florida USA Timeshare News: March 28, 2015

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

FORT LAUDERDALE: Back in December 2014 a federal jury found BankAtlantic Bancorp Inc (now known as BBX Capital) and its CEO Alan Levan guilty of defrauding investors in 2007, early in the U.S. financial crisis. In a six-week trial instigated by the SEC, BBX and Levan were found liable for securities fraud and accounting fraud.

Naturally BBX and Levan promptly filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to overturn the jury’s decision. In case that didn’t work they also sought a motion for a new trial, based on what they believe are flaws in the SEC’s case.

On March 10, 2015 the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Darrin P. Gayles, said “No” to both requests, putting BBX and Levan on the hook for as-yet-undetermined penalties.

The SEC has a pending motion before the court asking the judge to impose penalties of $5.2 million against BBX and $1.56 million against Levan. They also want Levan banned from serving as an officer or director of a public company and to remove Levan as head of BFC Financial Corp. which owns the majority of BBX and timeshare developer Bluegreen Corp.

The lawsuit, filed in 2012, stemmed from loans BankAtlantic made on large tracts of land in Florida intended for the development of single-family homes and condominiums. Among other charges the SEC maintains that BankAtlantic and Levan made misleading statements to investors during BankAtlantic’s 2007 second quarter earnings conference call to hide the deteriorating state of its real estate portfolio.

The SEC also contended the company and Levan committed accounting fraud by scheming to minimize BankAtlantic’s losses.

But in a statement Levan argued, “BBX was one of the first companies to recognize the severity of the housing market crash and accept the losses most others ignored for many months. If this part of the verdict is allowed to stand, no officer of any public company could ever again safely participate in earnings conference calls.”

BBX/Levan’s attorney Eugene Stearns said, “We will now brief and argue the penalty phase of the case and, following that, an appeal will be filed challenging the outcome, which we believe to be manifestly incorrect.”

So nothing is over yet. Stay tuned.




“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

Florida USA Timeshare News: February 28, 2015

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

MARCO ISLAND: Marriott Vacation Ownership is FINALLY starting work on the long-awaited next phase of the Marriott’s Crystal Shores Resort, which was put on hold during the Great Recession (need I explain why?).

Phases II and III of this project, on Collier Blvd. where the old Radisson used to be, will consist of two additional buildings that will continue the cleaner, less cluttered, look and feel established in Phase I. According to Coleman Partners Architects, these Phases will consist of the main Lobby and Public Spaces for the Project as well as an additional 153 two-bedroom units in two new towers. The main Porte Cochere entrance will be constructed and the Pool and Deck will approximately double in size. Additionally, a new 380-car underground parking facility will be constructed for guests and there will be exterior and interior improvements to the existing tower building.

Additional proposed resort features and amenities upon build out include:

  • Two pools that cascade from an open-air lobby offering views of the Gulf of Mexico
  • Two whirlpool spas
  • Fully equipped fitness center with locker rooms and two treatment rooms
  • Owner’s lounge with large terrace and indoor/outdoor seating overlooking the pools and the Gulf

A lighted paved pathway and a showering facility with a boardwalk access to the beach will be built on the north side next to the Hilton Hotel to provide access to the beach for members of the public. Construction of the resort is currently slated for completion in 2017.

The current units at the Crystal Shores consist of 67 two-bedroom villas and three-bedroom penthouse suites in a 14-floor tower. It opened in March 2009.




“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

Florida USA Timeshare News: February 7, 2015

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

BOCA RATON: Bluegreen Corporation has completed a securitization involving the issuance of $117.8 million of investment-grade rated securities. The notes have interest rates of 2.88% and 3.47% respectively, for an overall weighted average interest rate of 3.02%. The gross advance rate for this transaction was 94.25%.

“We are pleased at the successful completion of this transaction, which was our tenth securitization of vacation ownership receivables,” said Anthony M. Puleo, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Bluegreen Vacations. “We believe that this indication of the demand for our securitization bonds highlights the quality of our receivable loan portfolio as well as the strength of our overall business model.”

Yeah, that’s fine and dandy, good on ya and all that, but what enquiring minds want to know is what is Bluegreen Vacations doing to grow their vacation ownership portfolio? What’s new, pussycat?


ORLANDO: In the “getting BIGGER” category, Timeshare Broker Associates has expanded into new offices in Orlando. TBA Managing Broker Jason Connolly says the company has been growing steadily since its inception in 2013 in Tampa, have recognized the need to expand and keep up with the demand for their commission-only broker services. What better place for that than the timeshare capital of the world, with its extensive number of timeshare professionals.

Connolly has been in the timeshare industry for the past 15 years, working in timeshare resales prior to starting TBA. Now, with the growth of the company and expanded relationships within the broker network nationally through groups such as the Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association it’s time to get BIGGER, and that’s precisely what he’s doing.




“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

Florida USA Timeshare News: December 6, 2014

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

ORLANDO: Marriott Vacation Club has been busy rolling out a new program for members and guests at their resorts. It’s called Club Thrive and boasts as its purpose “a way to help break the stress of daily life that many owners and guests carry with them on vacation and provide opportunities to benefit both their physical and mental well-being throughout their vacation.”

Completely customizable to the wants and needs of owners and guests, the program blends self-directed experiences with instructor-lead classes based on these four elements:

  • Refuel: Providing well balanced food and beverage choices and education on nutritional values.
  • Renew: Helping owners and guests achieve a “vacation mindset” through physical and sensory experiences.
  • Move: Offering cardio, strength and toning programs designed to be fun and as an alternative to a typical gym workout.
  • Explore: Providing opportunities to experience the resorts’ locale in ways that are healthy, educational and fun.

So far the program has only been launched at the Hilton Head Island resort and Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas and Marriott’s Shadow Ridge resorts in Palm Desert, CA. Additional clubTHRIVE launches will take place at Marriott Vacation Club resorts in South Florida and Hawaii by early January with continued roll-out worldwide during 2015.

It’s almost but not quite a getting BIGGER event.

ALSO IN ORLANDO: The National Timeshare Owners Association (NTOA) has retained Barker & Associates to produce interactive and dynamic content for its member education program, with the goal of encouraging new timeshare owners to get the most enjoyment out of their vacation ownership. Development will focus on presenting material in a fun and engaging way. This interactive learning approach will be especially important in reaching the key Gen Y demographic, an important step to take if timesharing is to thrive in the future.

I’ve long been a proponent of the importance of educating timeshare owners about the product/service they’ve purchased, with the firm belief that if owners truly understood how to get the most out of their timeshare ownership the satisfaction rate would rise and defaults (and complaints) would fall.

The NTOA has been focused on educating owners about the benefits and usage of timeshare for 20 years. Chad J. Barker said about his company’s new association with the NTOA, “We want Happy, Engaged, and Informed timeshare owners, who are excited about finding that next perfect getaway. Owner satisfaction is the lifeblood of this industry and by offering quality ‘education’ we can foster a vibrant online community of such people, spreading those positive stories and experiences that too often fall through the cracks. And, of course, interactive content and brand advocacy are the best ways to get the younger crowd involved. What I love is that, in this context, the brand is ‘Timeshare’.”

I couldn’t agree more.





“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