Did you know the NTOA has changed into a professionally managed member association? Under Gregory Crist, the NTOA has made several key changes – and all for the better. While the organization has been around for nearly 20 years, Crist has refocused its priorities into a three-pronged mission:
- Owner Education
- Encouraging Vacation Usage
- Advocating for Consumer Protection
Dedicated to working on behalf of its member/owners, Crist has rallied the timeshare community to help encourage timeshare usage and is educating the public and media on the benefits and responsibilities of vacation ownership to ensure a better timeshare experience for all.
“The experience is what it is all about,” says Crist, who is working more directly with industry leaders and resort developers who seek to learn more about the new Millennial generation as well as remain connected to the current population of owners. “We’ve become an involved member of ARDA and CRDA. We’re here to participate in high level discussions and share insights on how to improve owner interaction. Our membership has told us very clearly what they want and need and that includes trust and transparency from developers,” he continues. “And they deserve that.”
Changing the posture of the organization
Realizing that conducting one large annual meeting for members across the country was not the best way to disseminate the NTOA message, Crist made a key modification to the association’s educational offerings in the form of access. “We felt we needed to develop regional programming as well as online education. Now our members can access the education portal 24/7 – whenever it works best for their schedule,” Crist adds. “Serving a national membership really required us to think regionally in order to serve as many of our members as possible.”
Admitting that the old NTOA’s web presence was once a virtual hangout for disgruntled owners, Crist now encourages owners to seek direct resolution to their issues rather than simply vent on the Internet. “A developer is not going to engage an owner online or in the court of public opinion,” he says, “but if a timeshare owner contacts the NTOA with a challenging issue, I can usually reach out to an executive at one of those companies and attempt to seek a fair resolution.” Crist says that on rare occasion if a response is not forthcoming, the case would be escalated to the American Resort Development Association. “ARDA and ARDA-ROC are now working closer with us and have helped us find resolutions when it comes to larger scale issues,” Crist says. “While the NTOA has always been an advocate for owners, that does not necessarily mean we need to be adversarial to the development community. It’s time to work together to solve problems, not create more.”
“We at ARDA applaud the work of the NTOA and Gregory Crist,” adds Howard Nusbaum, ARDA president and CEO. “The NTOA, ARDA and ARDA-ROC share the common goal to protect the integrity of the vacation ownership industry – our unity is key to its collective success. ARDA has always benefited from our strong relationship and open communication with the NTOA, especially under Greg’s leadership, and they have been great partners in working with ARDA and ARDA-ROC to support sound legislation for timeshare owners and their governing HOAs,” he says. “Harnessing the passion of timeshare owners and their desire to enjoy the benefits of timeshare vacations is the glue of our shared industry. Greg and his team understand this, and have been instrumental in elevating the voice of timeshare owners as a result.”
Last year the NTOA expanded into Canada and established new working relationships within the Canadian Resort Development Association. Crist now sits on CRDA’s board of directors, representing Canadian timeshare owners, and is pleased at the progress that is being made across borders. “One of CRDA’s mandates is to be the voice of the Canadian vacation ownership industry,” states Jon Zwickel, CRDA president and CEO. “Timeshare owners and HOAs are an integral part of our industry – and the NTOA, as a consumer advocacy organization, is able to provide CRDA with a direct owner interface,” he continues. “Greg and I are excited about working together to advocate, communicate and educate owners, developers and everyone in between.”
About Gregory Crist
Gregory Crist leads the National Timeshare Owners Association with more than a decade of professional experience in association management and non-profit development. Greg’s collaborative nature in working with other organizations who are equally committed to improving timeshare both as a product and experience has allowed him to bridge complex issues with beneficial solutions.
“If we go back to the beginning when I was first approached about getting involved with NTOA,” Crist recalls, “I just saw the same continual issues regarding resales, transfers and the secondary market. Owners still being plagued with all the problems that had been in this industry for more than a decade. I wanted to make a difference and now we are doing just that,” he says.
“I guarantee that working with good partners, we’re going to move that owner satisfaction needle higher and that’s ‘Good for Timeshare.’”