By Phil Hixson, Board Member, Stoneridge Resort
What was the best way to plunge into the fall 2017 Timeshare Board Members Association conference in Las Vegas, NV? By attending a Meet & Greet session on Sunday afternoon, of course!
Two sessions run concurrently, one for board members, the other for resort managers. During these sessions we meet with our peers and discuss issues common to most resorts. I am a board member at Stoneridge Resort in north Idaho, so I also have the opportunity to pick up some good ideas during this get-together.
The Meet & Greet sessions are designed for attendees to meet the other board members or resort managers and learn about the resorts they represent. Sponsors are not involved in these sessions; ample opportunities are provided to meet them later in the evening or during the next two days.
These sessions are meant to allow for interaction and discussions of topics of importance to all resorts. Occasionally one person will ask about an issue that has been troubling his resort, only to discover that someone else in the group has already dealt with that matter. Some issues that arise have multiple methods leading to a successful resolution. After listening to your peers, you may go home with several ideas on how to deal with your current concerns.
As usual, a number of attendees in Las Vegas had participated in one or more previous TBMA conferences. These people like to share what they learned in the earlier conferences and explain how they applied their new-found knowledge at their home resorts.
Also present were three industry experts who could provide information to help participants evaluate the ideas they were hearing from their peers. The experts frequently asked questions that helped generate more participation by the board members.
As moderator of the board members Meet & Greet session, I started by posing some questions to the group:
- What is an issue currently plaguing your resort?
- Do you have access to information relating to your board meeting agendas prior to your meetings?
- What responsibilities do you have outside your board meetings?
- How are board decisions communicated to your owners?
- How do your owners communicate their desires, concerns, or questions to your board?
- For those who have attended prior TBMA conferences, what “take-aways” have you shared with your fellow board members, managers, or management companies when you returned home?
As the meeting moved along, more and more participants jumped into the conversation with questions or ideas they wanted to share. By the end of our time together, the attendees had developed a rapport that would enable them to continue their dialogues with other board members throughout the conference.
In my past life as a natural-resources manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, I learned early on to develop my own “network” of people with whom I could share ideas and ask questions. They became life-long professional friends. I promote this concept at each conference by asking people to sit by others whom they don’t know, rather than just their fellow board members or their resort manager, during the rest of the conference.
Attendees also had opportunities during the rest of the conference to mix with exchange and management-company representatives, other resort board members and managers, insurance-industry representatives, and professionals who specialize in such topics as reserve accounts, cyber security, social-media applications, maintenance-fee collections, Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, and improving sales and marketing. These people are all friendly and more than happy to share their expertise with attendees.
Participants also are highly encouraged to fill out the evaluation forms for each session. The comments and suggestions on these forms are invaluable for planning future conference topics and speakers.
The Meet & Greet session is always the place to begin developing one’s personal network of people who share a common goal of supporting and nurturing the timeshare industry. Get to know these people and call on them as needed. I find the board members, managers, and conference sponsors to be very helpful in dealing with a wide range of resort issues. TBMA’s goal is to provide educational opportunities for board members and managers to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Establishing your own network of timeshare-industry people will help each of us achieve that goal.
If you’re new to TBMA, plan now to attend the next conference, May 20-22, 2018, in Orlando, FL and bring other board members and your resort manager. They all can benefit.