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Interval International

Interval International Donates $20,000 to Education Foundation

Interval International recently donated $20,000 to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Education Foundation, a leading not-for-profit organization.

Interval International could not provide this generous donation without the help of its affiliated resorts. 30 resorts in 13 countries donated to this year’s fundraising.

The check was presented by Interval’s affiliated resort, the Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove at the CTO State of the Industry Conference in St. Thomas.

General Manager Mr. Panna Utpaul, of the Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove said,

“Over the past 15 years, our Marriott Vacation Club resorts here in the Caribbean have been honored to collaborate with Interval and its other resort partners, to raise funds for the education of Caribbean nationals. We are committed to making a difference in the lives of others and giving back to local communities here in St. Thomas and throughout the region, and are extremely proud to help generate scholarships for young professionals who represent the future leaders of our tourism industry.”

Established in 1997, the CTO Foundation is a not-for-profit organization created for educational and charity purposes. The CTO Foundation provided its first scholarship in 1998 and has provided over 200 scholarships since that time. In total, they have raised over $1 Million in scholarships and grants for Caribbean students.

Interval’s director of resort sales and service for the Caribbean and Florida, Neil Kolton commented, “It’s been a real pleasure for Interval to work in partnership with its member resorts throughout the region to support the important initiatives of the CTO Foundation. In 2014, the shared ownership industry is once again one of the largest contributors to this cause, which would not be possible without the generosity of our industry partners.”

The Caribbean Tourism Organization is thankful to receive the overwhelming support from Interval and its affiliated partners.

Chairman of the CTO Foundation, Jacqueline Johnson shared, “The foundation is extremely grateful for the enduring commitment of Interval and its resort clients. Their unfailing loyalty has meant a great deal to us and has had a direct impact on our ability to provide Caribbean nationals with the opportunity to develop the skills to pursue a career in hospitality.”

To learn about the CTO scholarship foundation, visit their website at OneCaribbean.org.

Starwood Announces Digital Room Keys with Apple iWatch

By now you may have heard that Apple is introducing a state-of-the-art watch in 2015. The new watch, known as the iWatch, will allow consumers to access their iPhones without having to remove them from a pocket or bag.

The iWatch will have many advanced features, including some that can benefit travelers. Timeshare brands have already utilized smartphones by introducing apps for members. Starwood Hotels & Resorts, parent company of the Starwood Vacation Network, brings this technology a step forward with plans to introduce an iWatch digital room key.

The new room key will allow guests to open their unit using only the iWatch. In order to use the iWatch, the guest must also own an iPhone, but they will be able to access with just the swipe of their watch. This will become very convenient when juggling luggage and carry-on bags. Guests will also not have to worry about losing their key card or having their key deactivate because of cellphone contact.

The innovative app will be introduced at W Hotels in spring of 2015, the same time that the iWatch is expected to arrive on the market. At first, the app will only be available to Starwood Preferred Guest members, the hospitality brand’s loyalty club.

Hilton also announced recently that it is developing a smartphone room key. With this app, guest can check-in, check-out, contact concierge, and choose their room from an interactive map.

Both resorts have addressed potential privacy concerns in their statements regarding the new apps. Concerns about the safety of passwords and the possibility of hackers brought up questions from a few skeptics. Both companies stated that these apps have different safety features from traditional apps and that these safety concerns have been tested and verified.

Starwood and Hilton are two of the first hospitality brands to introduce this smartphone/watch room key. We can expect that other leading brands will follow in their footsteps in the couple of years.

Here at TheTimeshareAuthority.com, we are excited to see the innovative ways that timeshare brands will adapt to this new technology. Stay tuned for updates as these apps are introduced.

*Apple, the Apple logo and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

How to Protect Yourself While Traveling

How to Protect Yourself While Traveling

One of the most important times to protect yourself against scams is while you are traveling. Whether you are in a foreign country or just a few hours from home, it helps to be prepared. Many scammers take advantage of tourists who let their guard down while traveling, at a time when they are most vulnerable to these deceptive practices.

By educating yourself on common scam practices, you can avoid fraud and enjoy a relaxing vacation. See below to review some of the most recent travel scams:

  1. Protect Your Credit Cards

  2. Recently, the Better Business Bureau confirmed a new credit card related travel scam. While credit card fraud has always been an issue for travelers, in this scenario the card holders are willing giving their credit card numbers away.
    A variety of resorts have stated that their guests have been contacted and informed that there was an error with their credit card on file. They are asked to provide their credit card information over the phone so that they can process their payment for the hotel stay.

    In reality, this is a complete scam. These callers will typically contact you early in the morning or late at night, with hopes that you will be too tired to walk down to the front desk. Our advice is to always use your credit card in person and do not offer any personal information unless you are the one contacting the resort.

  3. Be Aware of Fake Tickets

  4. In many tourist destinations, locals will attempt to sell you fake tickets to sporting events, attractions, and group tours. Some of these groups will even go as far to rent-out an office in order to seem like a legitimate company. In order to protect yourself, contact your hotel’s concierge when purchasing these types of tickets. Even if you have to pay a bit more, at least you know that your tickets will work

  5. Say No to Phone Scams

  6. In addition to cold calling from scammers, travelers should also be cautious of people who ask to use their personal cellphone. Many travelers have had their phones, most notably iPhones, stolen by a stranger. Typically, the stranger will approach you and ask to borrow your phone for an emergency call. Then they will run off with it. By the time you realize what had happened, they will be long gone.

In addition to these red flags, to avoid theft be aware of your surroundings. If you carry a bag, make sure that it is closed at all times. Also, make sure that you keep your cash and copies of your passport on you, or in your hotel safe at all times. These small acts can make a big difference when confronted with a pickpocket or scammer.

For more travel tips, stay tuned to TheTimeshareAuthority.com.

Wyndham Vacation Ownership

Wyndham Purchases First Hotel in Costa Rica

This week, Wyndham purchased their first franchised resort in Costa Rica. Located in Guanacaste, the new resort will bear the Wyndham Hotel and Resorts® flag and be called the Wyndham Papagayo Yu Resort.

The resort, previously owned by ASECCSS, features 151 guest rooms with breathtaking ocean views. Resort amenities will include a resort pool, shopping, two restaurants, sports courts, spa, and a fitness center. The resort is current under development and is scheduled to open by the end of 2015. [Read more...]

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