The Makings of a Great Resort

There’s no single element that embodies a great resort; instead, it’s a mashup. The strengths of a resort will vary depending on its assets, but all properties have opportunities to look hard at what makes them great and capitalize on them. This month I’m focusing on three properties with very different characteristics and examining what makes them great.

Hollywood Beach Tower
Hollywood Beach Tower

People Make a Difference

Even the most beautiful, luxurious resort in the world, would fail if the people running it weren’t exceptional. Hollywood Beach Tower is a legacy timeshare resort located in Hollywood, Florida – near the popular destinations of Fort Lauderdale and Miami. In a booming area with lots of competition (Jimmy Buffet built a Margaritaville resort just down the street), this resort stands out with their exceptional staff, led by General Manager Yva Saint Louis. Guests and employees both rave about Yva’s outstanding customer service, kindness, attention to detail and hardworking demeanor. She’s always attentive to guests and has trained her staff to be the same way. Under Yva’s direction, the resort has implemented a variety of customer service and entertainment initiatives such as curbside check-in for owners to alleviate the pain of waiting in line on busy check-in days.

By having a General Manager that sets a good example and motivates others to work hard and be friendly Yva creates a positive working environment that radiates from her staff to the guests – creating memorable vacation experiences through exceptional customer service.

Make sure to pay attention to the staff working at your resort and work to keep them happy and motivated. The great things about a resort aren’t always the amenities, sometimes it’s the smiling and helpful person behind the desk that makes travel more enjoyable.

Ocean View at Island Club in Hilton Head Island, South CarolinaWillingness to Pivot

In the legacy timeshare industry, one quality many successful resorts have is the ability to pivot. The world and the travel industry has changed drastically in the years since legacy timeshare resorts were first developed. If a business is unwilling or unable to pivot to meet the market, then their future is not as bright as it could be (looking at you Blockbuster).

Ocean View at Island Club in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a resort that has embraced the need to pivot and change the way they sell unused inventory. This resort decided to work with the Capital Vacations Club to sell some of their inventory. By using this vacation club, 7% of their maintenance fee collections improved by a beneficial 7%.

With this increased income, Ocean View is positioned better financially to invest in their future, make improvements, add amenities and extend the lifeline of their property well into the future.

Embrace the Sharing Economy

The Lodges at Table Rock Lake
The Lodges at Table Rock Lake

I heard ARDA’s Howard Nussbaum speak at the ARDA Conference and he said something very valuable – as an industry, we should not look at growing platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO as competitors, instead, we should take the growth of the sharing economy as a positive. Timeshare was the sharing economy before it was even a thing. While Airbnb and VRBO have made it mainstream to live and travel a little different than generations past, they also highlight the benefits of vacationing in units bigger than traditional hotel rooms – and that is a strength that most legacy resorts have which they can capitalize on.

In Branson, Missouri, there are two properties The Lodges at Table Rock Lake and Stormy Point Village that are timeshare resorts, but they were built as stand-alone cottages. This asset is a special one that truly makes them both great resorts.

By having stand-alone cottages, guests receive the benefits of renting a private house coupled with the benefits of being at a resort ad enjoying grouped amenities such as pools, a waterpark, onsite restaurant and dock access to coveted Table Rock Lake.

While your resort may not be able to be stand-alone cottages, it can learn to really capitalize on the larger units and use platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO as a tool instead of a competitor. Units, whether stand-alone or not that sleep more guests and offer more privacy through separate sleeping, living and cooking areas are in higher demand than ever before.

These are just a few things that make a great resort, from the people behind the desk to the ability to look at trends and adjust business models to meet them and looking at the physical assets of your resort a determining what makes it special and desirable. These aren’t the only makings of a great resort though. Every single property has to have something that makes it stand out from the crowd and be a place where people will have memorable vacation experiences. I encourage you to figure out what exactly makes your resort amazing and different and embrace that.


Kelley Ellert is the Director of Marketing for Capital Vacations, one of the largest timeshare management companies in North America with 71 properties for which she oversees the marketing and communication efforts. She resides in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where Capital Vacations corporate headquarters are located.