Get the Word Out About #Timeshare!

Media Relations Tips from ARDA

Based in Washington, D.C., the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the trade association for the timeshare industry. ARDA’s work — including proactive advocacy — touches every role within the timeshare industry. Developers, exchange companies, vacation clubs, timeshare resellers, HOAs, resort management companies, industry vendors, consultants, and legal and regulatory experts are all part of the ARDA network. Meanwhile, timeshare owners and managers connect with ARDA through the ARDA-Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

An important part of ARDA’s advocacy role is in the area of public relations. You may already be familiar with the #LoveMyTimeshare campaign, a vibrant movement fueled by personal experiences – thousands of stories, photos, and videos celebrating the positive impact timeshare vacations have on real families. This campaign has a large social media aspect, communicating directly with the American public.


Communicating to the Media

ARDA President & CEO Jason Gamel
ARDA President & CEO Jason Gamel

ARDA also takes a proactive role in communicating with the media on behalf of our industry. For example, in January, ARDA President Jason Gamel spent the day at the international Media Marketplace, which is considered the leading global networking event connecting the travel industry with journalists, editors and influencers. The centerpiece of the event has a “speed-dating” format and it matches industry representatives with journalists who have been preselected as a potential match.

At the end of the day, he was somewhat surprised by the tone and tenor of the conversations he had. What he found was most of his contacts had no opinions about the timeshare industry. “The journalists I spoke with were mostly uninformed about our industry,” Gamel said. “I was prepared to talk about both the positives aspects of the industry as well as some of the negative perceptions, so in some ways it was gratifying to see that were starting with open minds.”

Related: How PR fits into the marketing mix?

Millennials and Boomers on Bridge
Millennials and Boomers on Bridge

Journalists Ignorant About the Industry

Although almost all the journalists had some idea what timeshares are, they were unaware of the major brands in our industry, the nature and quality of our resorts, and the flexibility and options afforded by new product offerings. They were also unaware of the youth movement that has taken place (57% of timeshare owners today are GEN Z and Millennials vs. 39% in 2012), which ARDA attributes to the fact that this younger population probably enjoyed timeshare vacations as children and thus realize the benefits of ownership. The experiential nature of the product also appeals to a younger population as do the newer urban locations.

They also didn’t know that many resorts have rental programs for non-timeshare owners. “This has perhaps the biggest downside as these travel writers may want to cover timeshare resorts but don’t because they believe they are closed to a portion of their readership,” Gamel says. “This is a lost opportunity as many new owners fall in love with timeshare through a rental stay at one of our resorts.”

Related: The Surprising Millennial Travel Trend That Boomers Started

Our Opportunity to Teach

Sarah Conroy, ARDA’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
Sarah Conroy, ARDA’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

So, what does this mean for media relations going forward? “We should focus our efforts on the basics of our industry as it stands in 2023 and less about overcoming negative stereotypes,” says Sarah Conroy, ARDA’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communications. “We can grab their attention with new amenities, resorts and programs, then turn the conversation to the core value proposition and features of the modern-day timeshare product. We have a great story to share.”

But ARDA can’t do this on its own. They are urging all timeshare developers and resorts to communicate factual information about our industry with their local media. Share news about your company or resort and urge them to also cover our industry more broadly.

Related: Love/Hate Relationships with Timeshares

We Need YOU!

To assist in these efforts, ARDA has provided Resort Trades with several talking points to use in your outreach efforts.

  • Today’s timeshare experience is flexible, allowing travelers to visit thousands of locations for as much or as little time as they choose. It is not the “same place at the same time” product of the past.
  • Timeshare accommodations deliver what today’s leisure and blended travelers are looking for — more space, drive to locations, and the ability to combine work and leisure with multiple bedrooms and spacious living areas where they can set up work stations.
  • Today’s timeshare includes amazing experiences, such as sports, music and culinary events. These include the HGVC Tournament of Champions, Wyndham Championship, NASCAR Sprint Series Event (Bluegreen), private music concerts, cruise exchange, and even Superbowl access (Marriott Vacation Club).
  • The value proposition of timeshare ownership increases in times of inflation. Those who have years of experience in our industry know that timeshare by its very nature is a product built for times of uncertainty and high levels of inflation. The concept of pre-paid vacations and “locking in your price” is exactly what appeals to families looking to experience quality vacations year after year without concern for market pricing and other macroeconomic fluctuations.” And since 80% of owners have no loan obligation, their only costs are maintenance fee payments. This means they have predictable costs to plan vacations and are not subject to unpredictable rising rental rates.
  • The timeshare industry today includes the most trusted brands in the hospitality sector, including Disney Vacation Club, Marriott Vacation Club, Hilton Grand Vacations, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Wyndham Destinations/Travel + Leisure, along with timeshare brands such as Westgate Resorts and Bluegreen Vacations.
  • Timeshare delivers a consistently high level of professional management and service that owners can count on for every vacation. This focus on providing an excellent owner experience and innovating to meet the demands of today’s travelers is why owner satisfaction continues to be high. The “U.S. Shared Vacation Ownership Owners Report: 2022 Edition,” published and sponsored by the ARDA International Foundation (AIF), found that 90% of timeshare owners are happy with their overall ownership experience. Additionally, 84% of owners would purchase a timeshare product again, and 82% of owners would recommend timeshare in general.

With such a great story to share, don’t hesitate to be an advocate for our industry. To learn more about recent industry research and ARDA’s advocacy efforts, visit, where you can find a wealth of information.

Judy Kenninger is principal of Kenninger Communications and has been covering the vacation real estate industry for nearly two decades.