ARDA Regional Meeting Emphasizes Timeshare Solutions and the Importance of Timeshare Resales (Part I)

This week I had the opportunity to be part of the 2010 ARDA New England Regional Meeting that was held at the Marriott Providence Downtown in Providence, Rhode Island.

First, let’s give well-deserved accolades to all of the sponsors of the event.

Presenting Sponsors: Interval International and RCI.

Event Sponsors: Customer Count, and Gallagher, Callahan and Gartrell.

National Sponsors: ARDA-ROC, Aspen National Collections, Concord Servicing Corporation, MasterCorp Inc., Ski and Sea International, and TimeShareWare.

Regional Sponsors: BiddingForGood, Inc., Centron Data Services, Inc., Colebrook Financial Company, LLC, Continental Central Credit, Inc., Cotapaxi Custom Design & Manufacturing, GScf Furnishings, Lodging Kit Company, Magna Timeshare Software, Meridian Financial Services, Reservation Services International (RSI), TRITON Timeshare Software and

2010 Signature Sponsors: American Express, Equiant Financial Services, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Systems International (HSI), International Cruise & Excursions, Inc., Interval International, RCI, ResortCom International, Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., and VacationGuard, Inc.

The Timeshare Sales, Timeshare Resales, and Supporting Industries Work Together

The weather in Providence was spectacular (vacation weather!) and it is always great catching up with your colleagues who inevitably wind up becoming your friends. One of the very best parts of meetings and conferences when representatives of the timeshare industry get together is that you’d think it was a family reunion.

There’s a great deal of camaraderie in the business, which is part of the reason timeshares, as a vacation product, are constantly being improved—the industry works to together for change that is beneficial to timeshares and timeshare owners. Working together is a natural process that happens to be becoming a real business model for the timeshare industry—which leads into the points made by the event’s keynote speaker Howard Nusbaum, ARDA’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Howard Nusbaum stressed five important directions that are the American Resort Development Association’s top priorities for 2010. In summary, here is key point number one:

1. Seeking solutions to help ‘unfreeze’ capital.

In 2008, timeshare sales reached $9.7 billion. In 2009, they slipped to $6.3 billion. Did people suddenly decide timeshares were not a desirable or affordable product? No. Far from it. If anything, consumers, realizing the potential for long-term vacation savings by buying timeshares and timeshare resales, had an increased interest to learn more. But because lenders were simply not lending, and access to capital for timeshare developers and timeshare financing was so locked up, new timeshare development and new timeshare sales took a hit.

Although it would be easy to assume that actual demand in timeshare sales declined, this just isn’t the real issue. Instead, there has been little to no access to capital by developers and limited money available for financing timeshare sales. And as with many aspects of economics, the problem fed other problems. As timeshare sales and development declined, so did the funds available within timeshare companies for maintaining and supporting sales and marketing. As outreach from the timeshare companies weakened, so did response, which led cyclically to smaller staffs that inevitably led back to decreased timeshare sales. The problem is now self-perpetuating, greatly in need of lenders to free up more growth and investment capital.

I’ll publish “ARDA Regional Meeting Emphasizes Timeshare Solutions and the Importance of Timeshare Resales (Part II)” in tomorrow’s edition of The Timeshare Authority. In it, I’ll be sharing ARDA’s Top 5 Priorities for 2010, numbers 2-4, as well as my thoughts and comments.