Trades Learning Center

Our team at Resort Trades launched the Trades Learning Center in May of last year in response to the pandemic and as a way for professionals working in the timeshare resort industry to maintain a sense of community. Now that a year has passed, it’s time for a look back.

It all began with our “Trades Town Hall” sessions, which were hosted by The Contact Group’s CEO David Costenbader. These first-of-their-kind events encouraged attendee participation and generated a great deal of interest.

Our opening session, “Resort Resilience Town Hall,” was held on May 21, 2020. The event featured five industry leaders addressing issues facing resorts grappling with the restraints created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The audience was encouraged to respond to several poll questions. In response to one of these, an audience of several hundred timeshare resort professionals revealed a strong interest in resort management topics. Another poll asked callers to report on whether or not their resorts were opened, yet. At that date only a few responded that they were open or preparing to open. In the final poll, participants were asked if they would recommend the teleconferencing forum to others as a means of communication, to which there was a 70-plus percent positive response.

Resort Trades relied heavily on Costenbader’s expert leadership in organizing the event and were not surprised by their receptivity to the medium. “My team found this particularly interesting from the point of view of serving the resort industry,” he said. The Trades’ team was encouraged by this first venture and decided to continue the initiative. As shown on pages 20 and 21 of this issue, Resort Trades grew the Trades Learning Center considerably during the coming months.

7Across Plans to ‘Get Your Travel On’ Amy Lipka, Managing Director, 7Across, January 22, 2021

As our number of sessions increased, so, too, did audience participation. For example, during an event titled, “7Across Plans to ‘Get Your Travel On’,” as long-time RCI veteran and now managing director of 7Across Amy Lipka discussed Panorama’s plans for the recently rebranded DAE, audience members asked a number of questions or left friendly comments. Comments ranged from Dan Killingback giving her a shout-out, “Amy, wonderful to hear your voice and see your smiling face !” to questions such as Karen Bond asking, “Can someone use points or just weeks?” Attendees enjoyed saying hello or, as Jodie Miller said, “Love the bright fun colors of 7Across!”

ARDA 2021 – The Playbook, the Players, and the Way Forward With ARDA President and CEO Jason Gamel, January 29, 2021

When Jason Gamel stepped into the leading role for the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) in April 2019 as president and CEO, he could never have expected to face the maelstrom brought on by COVID a year later.

His leadership and strength in the face of challenge can be seen throughout the association’s performance this past year. With so much depending on ARDA’s work on behalf of the industry, Jason has a lot resting on himself and his team. He graciously shared some of ARDA’s plans for the coming year and thoughts about the future of the industry with a live audience of online attendees.

Gamel served ARDA previously as the vice president of government affairs, but left for several years to work at Wyndham Destinations as SVP of Legal. Prior to his first stint at ARDA, Gamel was an associate at BakerHostetler, one of the nation’s largest law firms, in their hospitality practice.

His Resort Trades Learning Center event generated several questions about the ARDA SPRING CONFERENCE 2021 Timeshare Together, being held online and in person, June 6-10, 2021, at The JW Marriott at Grande Lakes, Orlando, FL.

“Raising Resort Revenue” With Travis Bary, Chief Operating Officer, Capital Vacations, February 16, 2021

Travis Bary, Chief Operating Officer at Capital Vacations – one of the largest and fastest-growing resort management, development, and vacation club companies in North America — discussed:

  1. The top five things resorts can do to raise revenue;
  2. How to counter rising resort costs;
  3. Being prepared for the coming high demand in travel;
  4. How resorts can ensure strength and longevity.

Travis Bary is the Chief Operating Officer at Capital Vacations, one of the largest and fastest-growing resort management, development, and vacation club companies in North America. In his role, he is responsible for overseeing the company’s strategic business operations including the areas of resort operations, resort development, product development, owner services, sales, brand, and communications. Since joining Capital Vacations in 2018, Bary has played an integral role in developing and advancing the company’s hospitality management offerings, which provides independent vacation ownership resorts with full-service solutions for their operating needs. With more than 65 managed resorts and over 30 vacation club properties across the United States and the Caribbean, Capital Vacations is committed to delivering memorable vacation experiences to its owners and guests.

“Have you had any success with online or web-based ‘stores’ for leftover Inventory, versus traditional resale efforts?” asked Harry Van Sciver of Fairshare Solutions. SPI Software’s Stephen Green asked, “Are there any communication automation tools that you use to communicate with guests and owners, you mentioned mail chimp, but anything automated?” “You talked about your employees,” said Harrison L. Dunn. “What measures are you taking to attract and retain those employees?” Nick Borovich asked, “Are there any strategies to combat the heavy inflation of property insurance; i.e. risk and safety programs or Covid management?” To hear Travis Bary’s answers, go to the Resort Trades channel on YouTube and search for the replies he gave during his Learning Center event.

Reimagining Resorts™ – New Options for Old Resorts With R. Scott MacGregor, COO of Lemonjuice Capital & Solutions

In his talk on “Reimagining Resorts™ – New Options for Old Resorts,” Lemonjuice Solutions EVP Operations Scott MacGregor addressed a number of questions. “Has anyone designed an effective way to poll owners to get an accurate fix on how they perceive their resort?” asks John Byron. Harry Van Sciver asks, “Has LemonJuice done bi-furcated or “mixed-use” workouts where you convert part of the project to whole or hotel or fractional, while revitalizing the rest as timeshare?” Lisa Ann Schreier wanted to know, “Question about the sunset clause: Was this built into the timeshare laws in Florida? Anywhere else?”

Resort Trades’ host Sharon Scott Wilson, RRP, conducted the interview with Scott as they discussed current issues affecting mature, “legacy” resorts.
MacGregor has worked in the timeshare resort industry for more than 30 years. As a seasoned timeshare professional, he willingly shared his expertise, thoughts, and ideas about ways to support and assist suffering HOAs.

Marge Lennon inquired, “What percentage of 25-year-old resorts have been gobbled up by larger companies in recent consolidations? Do you believe the new resort owners will do what your company is doing to update the older resorts?” “HOA can be dissolved upon 75% ‘Yes’ votes among all Owners…good luck with that in a two thousand owner environment,” observes another attendee.

Check Out The Resort Trades Channel on YouTube

After one of our online events, Resort Trades was especially gratified by this comment from Nigel Lobo, COO Grand Pacific Resorts, who said, “I have Resort Trades as my home page. :)” Thank you, Nigel!

If you missed any of our Trades Learning Center events, you can find them on the Resort Trades YouTube channel. Be sure to hit the subscribe button and the notification bell to make sure you don’t miss any of the industry’s influencers.
We provide everything we do for free: the monthly print edition of Resort Trades, our weekly eZine – Resort Trades Weekly, our Business Directory and website, and our series of webinars, the Trades Lunch Bunch events.

If you’d like to support your industry, then please be sure to register for our Trades Learning Center events and consider becoming a presenter, yourself. Be sure to subscribe to the Resort Trades YouTube channel and share events you liked with your network. Write or call me with your ideas for events, speakers, and articles you’d like us to include. And, best of all, tell your suppliers you “I saw it in The Trades.”