COVID-19: The most dangerous disrupter in our lifetime

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By Shep Altshuler

While the COVID-19 situation is dire, we must continue taking a forward-looking approach. In every war or natural disaster, a key element for overcoming challenges has been communication.

In the past, families gathered near their radios, and later TVs, to hear inspiring leaders such as Franklin D. Roosevelt (“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”), Winston Churchill (“It is no use saying ‘we are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”), and John F. Kennedy (“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”). These messages still resonate with many of us today.

Today our lives and interactions with each other have changed. A new norm of quarantine, social distancing, personal protective equipment, testing, and scientific data gathering determines how we must conduct ourselves. Our personal and professional economies have crashed. So, now, we watch and wait.

Many channels

Today, in the face of COVID-19, we have a multitude of communication channels. No pandemic can keep us from interacting with each other to inform, to unite, to entertain, and to inspire. Even in the worst of times, we must maintain an optimistic perspective that we will persevere as individuals, as families, as organizations, as a country, and as a species. Communication will enable and empower us to meet the challenges we now face.

Younger generations are continuing their education through online study. Businesses of all sizes are scheduling webinars and online meetings. Physicians are seeing their patients through Telehealth. Just about anything that’s needed can be ordered online for fast delivery.

It’s too bad we did not fully appreciate the importance of the vision Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates shared in 2015. To watch this prophetic video, Google: Bill Gates 2015 Ted Talk Pandemic Video.

Now Microsoft Teams serves as a primary communication medium for many organizations. Companies such as Google Hangouts, Go to Meeting, and Zoom also have made video conferencing commonplace—a way to fill the void in face-to-face gatherings.

All across the hospitality industry, we see the importance of communication media for keeping travelers, timeshare owners, owners’ associations, and resort managers aware of constantly changing mandates and scientific data.

TBMA’s response

In response to COVID-19, The Timeshare Board Members Association (TBMA) has cancelled its 2020 onsite conferences. With the support of its sponsors, TBMA has repositioned those meetings to online educational webinars, social media, enewsletters, and emails that are being scheduled through the end of the year. Information is available at www.tbmassoc.org.

To help us understand how the safer-at-home mandates are affecting you, please send us articles of up to 500 words with details about your activities, challenges, and solutions. Especially, please tell us how you are using the available communication resources. Include a 1mb photo or a video if possible.

We welcome articles from timeshare owners, boards of directors, resort managers, and industry professionals.  If you send us such an article by May 30, 2020, you will receive a $25 shopping/dining Suite Vacations eGift card that can be used for online ordering. Send your articles to: staff@tstoday.com.

We must remain optimistic. In time, this pandemic will pass, and we should plan for the future. We are all in this together, so let’s collectively stay in touch.

Stay well and stay safe.

Shep  Altshuler is president of TBMA and publisher of TimeSharing Today, 201-924-7435, www.tbmassoc.org, www.tstoday.com.