It’s an investment in your business.
It’s an investment in yourself and your future.
Bottom Line: It’s Fun!
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is truly blessed with members dedicated to sharing knowledge and supporting one another. From May 1st through the 5th, this community of professionals drawn from resorts and associated businesses will converge at ARDA World 2016 – the timeshare resort industry’s global, annual convention. ARDA World is really unique. It’s the only meeting of its kind to draw on resort professionals and suppliers/vendors who come from all over the world. ARDA’s annual convention provides attendees with great networking opportunities, excellent educational programming, an exhibit hall full of vendors who specialize in the industry and don’t forget the many receptions and social gatherings.
One common theme we hear from attendees is how remarkable and unusual it is to find a group like this, all of whom are so open to helping one another improve and excel. When you get right down to it, most of us in this business do feel as though it’s more of a calling than a job. Take Chad J. Barker, president of Barker & Associates, for example: “I do mystery shopping, Gen Y consulting, and industry training” he says. Barker’s blog is one means he uses to build a social media presence for his Gen Y consulting activities. “I’d say the broth for this bouillabaisse is ‘edutainment.’ I just love creating and presenting content, so I’m always striving to provide useful information in fun and unexpected ways.”
Another who urges the pooling of efforts and brainpower is Wes Kogelman, president and CEO of BuyATimeshare.com, this time in reference to the resale issue. “Look,” he says, “I don’t have all the answers but, to use a football metaphor, I just need to get four yards a carry and I’ll score a touchdown. Don’t get me wrong, we’re very effective and now have a new Inventory Recovery program that works successfully in collaboration with major brands, but I’m only one part of the solution. Collectively, we can all solve the resale problem.”
Speaking of working collectively, well-known problem-solvers Tom Durkee and Lena Combs, CPAs, readily share more than just audit, tax and consulting services with their clients. The two who are partners at top 30 CPA firm WithumSmith Brown PC, formerly of Averett Warmus Durkee prior to the joining of the two firms on December 31, 2015, volunteer their time and resources to the industry by serving on ARDA committees.
“I serve on the Finance and Research committees,” says Durkee. “The Finance Committee, in particular, is a good resource for our accountancy in that it helps us stay current with the latest trends affecting the industry.”
“I find the HOA Outreach Committee very interesting,” says Combs. “Its programs are focused on providing resources and education to legacy resorts. Another committee I particularly enjoy is the Meetings Committee, even though it’s hard work. We meet three times a year and spend many, many hours working on formulating content for the annual convention educational sessions, both before and during our meetings as a group.”
“Participating in ARDA’s leadership requires attending meetings several times a year, speaking at industry conferences and writing articles about our area of specialty for Resort Trades, Developments magazine and other publications,” she adds. “But it’s well worth it as we grow our own knowledge and expertise while helping improve the business environment for the industry.”
Dave Heine, president of resort cloud-based software supplier TimeshareProPlus.com and CloseMyTimeshare.com, says, “ARDA World 2016 is a must for any vendor wanting to make an impact on the timeshare industry. Last year, I had a display booth in the exhibit hall in which I was able to demonstrate how my software can save resorts time, paper and postage when handling estoppel requests and processing the transfer of titles. It was a privilege to be able to show resort operators how it’s done in the 21st Century: they handle the touch points with their customers and let the software ‘do the walking’! I obtained additional business on the spot and look forward to exhibiting, again, in May.”
Shawn Brydge says: “Those who know Wellington, know it’s our general plan to schedule as many meetings en suite with our customers and clients, to the point where sometimes we feel we never got out of the room. I’ve learned to break away from the fixed calendar from time to time, and get down to the Exhibit Hall to see what new and exciting products are launching, go to the networking receptions and evening events because they’re a lot of fun and you’ll meet a ton of people, and sit in on as many of the educational sessions as possible. Nowhere else will you get to learn from the industry’s best about every possible topic affecting vacation ownership.“
He adds, “Coming up on my eleventh ARDA, I’ve been blessed to meet many wonderful people—some of whom turned into terrific business relationships and others who are simply great friends. In general, getting to know the ARDA staff better and meeting my ARDA LEAPS class are two big highlights for me. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with many of our industry’s leaders, and it’s always a terrific learning experience to get a little insight into how they think and what they predict for the future.”
Richard Corso, CEO of SPI Software has been attending ARDA annual conventions since 2003. “Even if you are the ‘smartest person in the room’ or about to retire, the professional growth opportunities at ARDA WORLD are unmatched,” he says. “There is something for everyone – veteran to newbie. Certifications & professional education, networking, recruiting, idea sharing, and inspiration. A change of scenery often facilitates new ideas and reinvigorates deep rooted passion.”
“We are an industry of eclectic souls. From colorful, charming and charismatic to smooth and smarmy. Hawaiian shirts to silk suits. You are sure to meet a memorable character – or two! Oh, and the legends. Last year at the opening event I was sneaking a peak at the final round of the Masters and introduced myself to a sophisticated gentleman doing the same. He shook my hand and said, ‘Pleased to meet you. I am Ed McMullen.’ At ARDA events I heard war stories and rubbed elbows with intelligent and inspiring pioneers including Rip Gellein, Craig Nash, Bob Miller, and Richard Sutton. All amazing, driven, and generous leaders.”
“This year’s event is being held in beautiful and action-packed south Florida. Enjoy the early May ocean breezes and tropical climate 84/69 F and 29/21 C. World class restaurants, night clubs, music and watersports at your doorstep. From the Diplomat Hotel they Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino is 1.6 miles; Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 11.2 miles. For all my international friends, Aventura Mall 4.6 miles, Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall 23 miles, Town Center Boca Raton 31 miles…and SPI Offices only 22 miles due south in downtown Miami!”