Sunny Skies Ahead: Vacation Ownership Leaders Optimistic About 2016

At ARDA’s 2015 Fall Conference, attendees heard that the AIF’s quarterly pulse studies were showing strong growth over 2014. While final numbers aren’t in, we expect this was the sixth straight year of industry growth. There was a definite note of positivity as developers and vendors alike savored the opportunities. As the New Year begins, Resort Trades asked industry leaders to tell us what they expect in 2016.

Loren Gallagher
Loren Gallagher

Loren Gallagher, President Vacation Resorts International and Trading Places International
We anticipate continued growth in 2016 in number of resorts managed and net revenue generated from ancillary programs. We’re very bullish about 2016!!

This year, we’ll accelerate our introduction of sustainable resale solutions to our legacy resorts to ensure their continued viability and sustainability. We’ll be introducing several new programs and will provide details once they’re ready for roll-out.

Francis Taylor
Francis Taylor

Francis Taylor, CEO DAE
We’ve had a solid year, and look forward to continued growth in 2016. Recently, we’ve worked to create greater consumer and industry brand awareness – most importantly in the North American market – positioning DAE as the “go to” service provider of exchange and vacation options. We’re also a strong partner for HOA’s, management companies, developers, and marketing and sales organizations.

As part of the brand roll out, we’re enhancing our internal reservations and exchange systems, our consumer-facing website, and online services for resort and industry partners. These long-term projects will stretch past 2016, however they’ll bear fruit this year, delivering new benefits for both consumers and industry partners. That’s all we can say for now, but watch this space!

Mike Pnematicatos
Mike Pnematicatos

Mike Pnematicatos, Chief Architect Merlin Software
The New Year is looking great! Last year, we concentrated on delivering an exceptional experience to each client. This year, we’re launching two exciting initiatives that do just that. The first provides live chat plus screen-sharing functionality within our software. When clients request live help, a screen-sharing session instantly begins allowing our Support Team to view the client’s screen while conversing. This saves time and eliminates frustration.

The second integrates our training and operations manuals within our software, so clients access the information directly on their screens. No need for screen shots, the screen is the one they are working on. And as they complete each step, the next appears. This will also reduce training time.
We believe we’re the first timeshare software company to provide these innovative services.

Dave Heine
Dave Heine

Dave Heine, Vice President TimeShareProPlus.com
Timeshare Pro Plus is a system of cloud-based software modules used by resort operators in handling title transfer activities, estoppel orders, account verifications and owner deeding requests. Ours is the only timeshare-oriented software package in its genre to have received a patent from the United States Patent & Trademark Office. We just recently launched a new marketing program to expand our services in 2016. One of our products, in particular, that saves resorts time and paperwork, while virtually eliminating postage, is RequestMyEstoppel.com. It’s free to the resort (the seller pays a small fee) and we guarantee it will reduce the number of phone calls to sellers and new owners, help resort operators remain compliant with state and Federal guidelines and provide faster, better customer service. We are looking at helping resorts step into the 21st Century technology while they save on costs and create greater efficiency.

David Brown
David Brown

David Brown, Co-President and Co-Owner Grand Pacific Resorts
In 2016, we’re opening 32 new units at our Hilton Grand Vacations Club at MarBrisa Resort in Carlsbad, California. We have 160 units finished, and there will be 386 at buildout, so we’re halfway there. Our legacy resorts are doing well; we have 20-year-old resorts that are thriving. We’re also expecting strong growth in resales. We’ve been able to maintain high prices, which preserves value for owners. This allows us to grow our management company because resorts looking for new management want a resale solution.

Rentals will also increase as online brokers such as Airbnb and VRBPO.com are introducing more people to the beauty of having a full kitchen and living room.

In 2016, we’ll continue to grow our internal exchange program, which helps engage the next generation of potential timeshare owners as they appreciate the flexibility.

Jim Casey
Jim Casey

Jim Casey, SVP, Managing Director of Commercial & Specialty Finance Capital One
As a large financial institution, Capital One has the industry expertise and commitment to be here for the long haul. As we look ahead to 2016, we’re continuing to see indicators that interest in timeshares will be stronger or on par with last year. In addition, we’ve seen new sources of funding and strong liquidity in the market, which we think this is a great indicator of growth and stability.

We bring a wide variety of financial solutions to meet our client’s needs – everything from receivables, inventory and construction loans to treasury management services and corporate credit cards. We’re continually looking for ways to put the full capabilities of Capital One to work for our clients.

Jordan Beckner
Jordan Beckner

Jordan Beckner, President of Sales Fiberbilt Umbrellas and Cushions
Our sales grew about 18 percent in 2015, and now we’re gearing up for 20 to 25 percent growth in 2016. We developed a new umbrella for Carnival Cruise Lines that can remain open at sea at 25 to 30 knots, and the Carnival Vista ship is changing all their umbrellas to ours, which is great.

We have umbrellas ranging from $100 to $1500 each, so we have product for many different clients. The timeshare industry is building again; for example the new Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham. Resorts are using our umbrellas, and we see that product expanding in the Caribbean. HOAs are also refurbishing as their budgets are healthier. So, we see great things ahead this year.

Melanie Gring
Melanie Gring

Melanie Gring, VP, Strategic Alliances and Public Relations Global Connections Inc.
Global Connections, Inc. is unique in the vacation industry as we’re both a resort developer and a membership travel club. In 2015, we increased sales distributorships by 50 percent, and we expect to exceed that in 2016. As our members travel more, our combined strategy of resort developer and travel club provider allows us to meet their travel demands.

We believe the vacation industry is clearly strong and that will continue in 2016. The industry must remain focused on the challenges associated with direct marketing and provide product offerings that meet consumers’ travel and vacation needs.

In 2016, Global Connections plans to expand outside our “direct-to-consumer” model with exit programs for vacation ownership companies and an employee vacation and benefit package for non-participants.

Richard Corso
Richard Corso

Richard Corso, CEO SPI
The outlook for 2016 is very exciting. SPI made significant investments in 2015 – most notably adding support and development personnel and technology.

This year, we’re introducing new browser-based dashboard analytics that delivers real-time key performance indicators to mobile devices. This business intelligence tool serves the obvious audiences – marketing and sales, but there are also tools for operations and finance.

SPI has strengthened partnerships with industry leaders including Dial-An-Exchange, LeisureLink and RCI, meaning 2016 will be “the year of interfaces.” Other partners may include iHotelier, Concord, Equiant, SaveOn, Vacation Guard and Generator.
The industry continues growing – especially internationally. SPI is the clear technology leader with the Spanish-speaking market, where growth is very strong.

SPI achieved double digit revenue growth in 2015, adding dozens of new client partners; we project even more growth in 2016.