Congratulations to Linda MacDonald, Resort Trades’ first timeshare professional to be featured in our new Heroes & Heroines column. Richard Budnik of Hospitality Resources & Design, Inc. who nominated Linda says, “She was so much help during HRD’s recent renovation of The Ocean Club. She was more than willing to “roll up her sleeves” and do whatever was necessary to help get her resort open with all the challenges we faced as a team. The great relationship that she has with her owners was evident throughout the project.”
Our first Heroine is Linda MacDonald, General Manager of Ocean Club on Smuggler’s Beach in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, one of Cape Cod’s premier vacation destinations. Sales at this resort began in 1986 with Linda joining the staff three years later. She recently celebrated her 25th year at the property.
Reminisces Linda, “Although I was born in Canada, I grew up in Massachusetts and studied at Fitchburg State College. Like a lot of college kids, we went to The Cape for the summers. I fell in love with it and started my first hospitality job when I moved here permanently in 1983. I started at The Ocean Club in 1989. Looking back, those 25 years have really flown by. I guess it’s because I really am having fun!”
Linda initially answered an ad in the Cape Cod times for a position as a chambermaid. She served in that capacity for about three years before being promoted to assistant housekeeper. Then came an opening in the Activities Department and a manager suggested she apply for the position. Soon she was the resort Activities Director while also working at the Front Desk, adroitly handling both jobs for about seven years until she became the assistant general manager in 2004. Six years later she was named General Manager.
Today, Linda supervises a team of 25 year-round employees, hiring extra help during the busy summer months. She has a remarkable relationship with her entire staff, which considers her a friend as well as their boss. She believes her deep connection with them comes from the fact they know she has previously worked in all departments herself.
“Working together for so long, we have the utmost respect for each other,” Linda says. “We have a great crew that honestly care about their jobs and we have come to know the owners like our own extended family. Our floating use plan means owners select their vacation time within one of three seasons. Making annual reservations for the 2,500 owners can be challenging but we do everything possible to accommodate their individual needs.”
Adds Bill Young, President & CEO of SPM Resorts, “Linda’s energy and spirit is positive in everything she does and has been evident since the day I met her. She is a leader within our company, and has consistently excelled in every role she has held at the Ocean Club.”
Paul Goodrich, Regional VP of Operations for SPM Resorts concurs. “Linda believes that everyone pulling together make the Ocean Club a great place to work and vacation. She sets the example by making herself available to all team members, works side by side with her team, and always goes the extra mile. Owners and team members consistently share praise about her caring about them as individuals, which is a quality I admire most about her as a leader. “
Last year, Linda was named General Manager of the year for SPM’s 36 managed resorts. Also, Ocean Club was presented an award for the best hospitality scores, determined by guests and exchange ratings. Linda adds, “We are achieving Gold Crown scores with a silver resort. Since we do not have kitchens or large units, we make up for this by providing superb housekeeping, maintenance and hospitality services.”
Although her resort is considered a summer destination it is totally occupied to the end of October with spring and summer increasing in popularity. The 63-unit oceanfront resort features views of the Atlantic Ocean from every room. The addition of a heated glass-enclosed pool with retractable roof, hot tub and fitness room with sauna, combined with area attractions, popular restaurants and ferry connections to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket make the Ocean Club an ideal year-round destination.
What does she most enjoy about her work? “That’s easy,” she says. “It is the familiarity of the owners and seeing them year after year. Since I have been here 25 years, I have now welcome second and sometimes third generations of returning families, remembering each child who has grown up almost before our eyes, seeing them first as babies, then toddlers, and on into high school and college. Now they are coming with their OWN families to their own little piece of heaven on the Cape. That’s the true beauty of timesharing. The only sad part is losing older owners who bought here 25 years ago. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is the goal of our entire staff to ensure that every owner has a great vacation year after year.“
Ocean Club is managed by SPM Resorts, Inc. Since 1979, the company has provided full-service professional management services to fixed, floating and points-based ownership timeshare resorts, helping many associations restructure the management of their resorts with great success. Currently, SPM manages 36 homeowner associations in Massachusetts, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and St. Thomas. Properties range in size from 14 units to as large as 300 units.
“SPM is a great group of people to work with,” says Linda. “They are phenomenal and eager to help with anything I need from HR to financial to running the resort.”
When not cracking her imaginary whip at the resort, Linda is a homebody of sorts, preferring to stay home with her boyfriend of 15 years and 20-year old cat, working on her “fixer upper” home in Yarmouth. She heads for the gym each morning at 6:45 to stay in shape for the physical demands of her job. But when it’s vacation time, she heads south to the Sunshine State and escapes to Key, West, Florida.
“But when I am at home, I truly live and breathe my job at the Ocean Club. There is never a day when I wake up and say darn, have to go to work. Not me, I am very lucky because I truly love my job.”