By George Leposky, Editor TimeSharing Today
Timeshare exchange companies have expanded their services far beyond their traditional exchange function, adding new solutions to help developers and owners’ associations with other aspects of resort operations. These include methods to increase occupancy through rental and other on-site revenue streams, and alternative financing arrangements to pay for long-deferred repairs and other resort projects.
At a recent TBMA conference, four exchange-company representatives presented case studies illustrating these activities.
Erica Gause, RCI’s director of business development, described the company’s RCI Affiliate Access as a flexible, customizable program that provides assistance in many resort operational areas, including accounting and insurance services, marketing data analysis, owner surveys, revenue management, and inventory rental programs. She cited several examples of RCI affiliates experiencing significant revenue increases from using the program. In one case, inbound guests increased across all seasons, with annual revenues expected to rise by $500,000. This allowed the resort to pay for unexpected costs to repair hurricane damage that was not covered by insurance.
Lori Card-King, Interval International’s vice president of member and resort service, described similar success stories of legacy resorts raising additional funds through on-site sales of II’s Club Interval Gold program. After Falcon Crest, a 37-year-old Colorado resort, began selling Club Interval Gold, its previously moribund sales improved enough to cover the replacement of 139 windows and 46 sliding glass doors with energy-efficient products from Andersen Corporation. The Falcon Crest owners’ association didn’t need a loan or special assessment to cover the nearly $500,000 cost because of the increased sales revenues, which are ongoing. Similarly, Eagle Point at Vail Resort in Colorado installed much-needed elevators and made other improvements at a cost of $400,000 without loans or special assessments.
Michelle Caron, DAE’s business development representative, emphasized the need to keep owners satisfied with the resort, because “unhappy owners affect your bottom line.” Emphasizing that exchange is not a “one size fits all situation,” she suggested that board members work with several exchange companies to educate themselves and their owners. Compare exchange options and inventory to select intelligently the company that will best work for a given vacation experience, she advised. Caron described DAE’s success in partnering with resorts to monetize non-performing inventory through rental assistance, voucher programs, and resale incentives. She described DAE’s newly minted revenue-sharing opportunities for affiliates. She also suggested that resorts bank non-performing weeks to obtain credits, which can be sold to owners seeking additional vacations or additional space to accommodate extra travelers.
Corina Violette, director of resort partnerships for Resort Travel & Xchange, acknowledged that RTX — the newest exchange company in the marketplace — has not yet amassed the types of revenue-sharing case studies presented by the others. However, she described the distinctive aspects of the RTX program which are driving its growth and success. She said RTX intends to launch programs and initiatives designed to give resorts needing a financial boost another quality exchange-company choice.
Photo by Jörg Angeli on Unsplash