What Happens at the ARDA Fall Conference?

Hmmm…Let’s see. November in Washington, DC, city prices, travel headaches, registration expense, wearing a suit…these obstacles might pop into your mind when you consider attending the ARDA Fall Conference scheduled for November 8-10, 2017, at the Fairmont. But here’s your incentive: this is the only opportunity you have each year to gather with your peers in an intimate, one-on-one environment.

The atmosphere is relaxed, but professional. There are no wild parties with thumping music or twirling disco balls. (Thank goodness!) There are no lengthy product presentations or sales pitches. What you will find are resort professionals – actual decision-makers in their respective companies – ready to discuss real-life business matters. If you want to get to know your peers, there’s no better opportunity.

On a broader, more magnanimous, scale, those who attend the Fall meeting have an opportunity to affect the direction of the entire industry. First, you are able to make meaningful connections. Second, those who participate in attending and joining working ARDA committees help direct the association’s activities, including being able to help determine its educational, lobbying and self-regulating objectives.

Educating Timeshare Professionals

Valuable work is done both prior to and during this conference to support ARDA’s educational efforts. The Meetings Committee will have sketched out the various educational sessions for the May 6-10, 2018 ARDA World 2018 Annual Convention & Expo, to be held at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, during its summer meeting. The group will hold a lengthy meeting during the Fall Conference to determine speakers for each session. Attendance at this meeting is closed to those not on the committee, however, you know what they say: Out of sight, out of mind. Your attendance shows your involvement and interest. Besides, members of the committee were appointed for the most part because they showed up consistently and because they asked to participate. If you wish to join the committee one day, your ongoing dedication will go a long way.
ARDA’s education, research and fundraising arm, the ARDA International Foundation (AIF), will doubtless share information gleaned from the various research projects it sponsors such as the “2017 Second Quarter Pulse Survey: A Survey of Timeshare & Vacation Ownership Resort Companies,” “State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry: United States Study 2017 Edition” and “The Management of Sold Out Resorts; State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry Special Executive Summary.” (These publications are available for purchase at arda.org/researchlibrary.)

Members of the 2017-2018 ARDA Leadership Development Program (ARDA LEAPS) will be in attendance. This is an interesting program. At first glance it looks a little expensive. (The fee to participate in ARDA LEAPS is $3,500.) But when you look at all the benefits, it’s a steal. The fee includes the “Timeshare Industry Resource Manual,” the AIF Qualification Test, Timeshare 101 eLearning, Partnership Strategies eLearning, the ARP/RRP Designation fee, one ARDA regional meeting registration fee, an ARDA fall conference registration fee, two ARDA convention registration fees, plus additional convention activities. It’s a one-year program designed to develop and educate future leaders of the association and the industry. Training is conducted through activities which include ARDA meeting attendance, monthly webinars, on-line learning and use of the “Timeshare Industry Resource Manual.” Plus, association training, itself, takes place at a seminar conducted at ARDA’s DC offices.

Advocating For You

At Resort Trades we occasionally hear questions from our readers about the relevance of ARDA to their businesses. Perhaps it seems to them like the “Big Twelve” (or whatever might be the latest number of larger development and exchange companies) absorb all of ARDA’s attention. But, believe me, this is not the case! Yes, of course they are heavy supporters and influencers in the association’s course of affairs. But take a look at ARDA’s focus and amazing track record. Unquestioningly, your resort company or related business is benefitting from the association’s many successes over the years. Plus, ARDA’s the ‘gift that goes on giving’.

Take ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC), for example: ARDA-ROC was established in the early ‘90s as a grassroots lobbying coalition of owners dedicated to preserving, protecting, and enhancing vacation ownership. Go online to ARDAroc.org and review the coalition’s numerous achievements. Supported by more than 1 million timeshare owners who contribute less than $10.00 annually, the group monitors legislation, proactively fights bills that will have an adverse effect on timeshare owners and works to promote beneficial legislation.

You may be interested in attending meetings of the Federal Issues and State Legislative committees, during the DC conference. As their titles would indicate, each is concerned with keeping a watchful eye on matters which might adversely affect our businesses. Each of these groups work on a year-round basis to help ensure we have the most favorable environment for our industry. You will be amazed at the depth of our association’s reach and influence.

How to Get Involved

While most of the committee meetings are available only to their members, there are still some others that are open and offer opportunities for you to become part of the greater effort. Here are a few of them:

Wed, Nov 8
8:00 – 9:00 am — Education Committee, Sulgrave (3rd Floor)
11:30 – 1:00 pm — Research Committee (Sulgrave)
1:00 – 2:00 pm — Construction, Design, Suppliers (Potomac 3rd Floor)
3:00 – 4:00 pm — Member Experience (Culpeper)

Thurs, Nov 9
9:00 – 10:00 am — Technology – Latrobe
1:30 – 2:30 pm – Resort Management & Operations – Latrobe
2:00 – 3:15 pm — HR Council — Latrobe

If you are a relative ‘newcomer,’ the Fall Conference is an ideal venue in which to meet the major players in the industry. Or perhaps you’ve worked in the vacation ownership industry for some time but are ready to become more involved. This, then, is your opportunity. Was it Woody Allen who said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up”? If the adage is correct, then once you commit to attending the ARDA Fall Conference, you’ll be more than halfway done in creating a presence for yourself and making an impact on your profession.