RCI Adds Two India Timeshare Destinations

RCI has added two beautiful hill destination properties in India to its network – The Krishna Mount View-Mountain Resort, Kausani (see photo) in Uttarakhand and Kadkani River Resort, Coorg, Karnataka.

"We are very pleased to welcome The Krishna Mount View-Mountain Resort and Kadkani River Resort into RCI’s network of affiliated resorts," said Radhika Shastry, managing director of RCI India. "These beautiful resorts are a remarkable addition to the collection of hill vacation destinations we offer to our members worldwide."

Krishna Mount View-Mountain Resort is located in Kausani, a popular Himalayan destination commended by Mahatma Ghandi as "the Switzerland of India."

Kausani Mount View-Mountain Resort is known for its unspoiled natural beauty and its spectacular views of the majestic Himalayan peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi and Panchchuli.

Krishna sits at the highest spot in Kausani and offers 31 luxuriously furnished rooms, all with incredible views. Features include an international restaurant, indoor games and a dormitory facility.

Kadkani River Resort is situated 155 miles from Bangalore in Coorg, dubbed the Scotland of India. Coorg has much to offer the nature lover with "misty hills, lush forests, acres of tea and coffee plantations, orange groves, undulating streets and breathtaking views."

Situated within this picturesque backdrop, The Kadkani River Resort, set within a coffee plantation, offers 36 fully-equipped cottages, each with a private porch where you can enjoy the tranquil surroundings on the banks of the majestic river Cauvery.

The resort includes a well-maintained nine-hole golf course laid out amidst areca-nut trees and coffee plantations. Other key features include a swimming pool, water sports facility, hiking, table tennis, volleyball, indoor games and a craft center. Local culinary fare and multi cuisine dishes are served with wonderful Coorg hospitality at the 'Pride of Pachat' restaurant.

(Photo credit - rciventures.com)

Travelers Rate the Airline Companies

With Memorial Day behind us, it's full steam ahead for summer vacations. Whether you're planning a vacation at the timeshare you own, with a timeshare exchange, or at a budget-friendly timeshare rental, the odds are you'll be flying to your destination.

So just in time, Consumer Reports has released its National Research Center survey on air travel. This is the first time since 2007 that the venerated leader in consumer investigation has assessed airlines.

In the 2007 survey, 18 airlines were included, while in 2011, due to financial crises, mergers, and takeovers, only 10 major airlines make up the industry.

The survey ratings are based on the experiences of 15,000 Consumer Reports readers on over 29,000 domestic round-trip flights during the past year. Airlines were scored based on questions about overall satisfaction, check-in ease, cabin-crew service, cabin cleanliness, baggage handling, seating comfort and in-flight entertainment, as well as the issue of additional fees.

A Consumer Reports press release stated that 8 of the 10 airlines received low marks on seat comfort, and several carriers got low marks on other quality-of-flight measures including cabin-crew service, cleanliness and in-flight entertainment.

Some carriers have done a better job than others, as evidenced by a wide difference in overall satisfaction scores, from Southwest's lofty 87 to US Airways' lowly 61, stated the press release.

Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways topped the list overall. Southwest was the only airline to receive top marks for check-in ease and cabin-crew service. Passengers also gave Southwest high grades for cabin cleanliness and baggage handling. The latter, says the CR report, might reflect the fact that Southwest remains the only airline that lets you check two bags free of charge

JetBlue was the only airline to outscore Southwest for seating comfort and was the only carrier in the CR ratings to earn high scores for in-flight entertainment. Its seatback TV screens feature 36 channels.

US Airways occupies the same bottom spot as it did in CR's 2007 survey. In addition to its low overall score, survey respondents gave it the worst marks of any airline for cabin-crew service.

The CR report pointed out that the proliferation of added fees further contributed to passengers' low opinion of today's flying experience, and even to their decision of whether to fly at all. Forty percent of readers who say they are flying less listed "increased fees" as the major reason - far more than those blaming flight delays, poor service, etc. Paying fewer extra fees had a direct relationship to passenger satisfaction, the release said.

Dial An Exchange Wins Big At GNEX Conference

Dial An Exchange (DAE), one of the world’s largest independent timeshare exchange organizations, was a major winner of three prestigious awards at the timeshare industry's Global Networking Expo & Perspective Magazine Awards Gala, held recently at the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas and attended by industry leaders from five continents.

Dial An Exchange CEO Francis Taylor was named winner of the prestigious “Best Industry Leader” award and the company was selected as the “Best Place To Work” in the international competition. Recognized for their penchant for providing exceptional customer service, DAE’s strong focus was rewarded with their Customer Service Team being named the industry’s “Best Project Team.”

Dial An Exchange also received two nominations for the Best Marketing Campaign: DAE Branding of Classic Escapes Sales Decks and DAE International Press 2010.

Members of the vacation industry cast more than 2,400 votes online during a two-month search for the shared ownership industry’s elite. Online votes were tallied with decisions from an expert panel of judges. Nearly 150 entrants competed in a variety of categories.

“We are extremely proud of these awards,” said Fermin Cruz, VP of North American business for DAE, “especially the Best Leader award. Under his guidance, Francis has steadfastly modeled the DAE business to focus on keeping our members happy while constantly delivering on our promises. His leadership position has enabled him to see the industry from a unique, global perspective and bring an independent viewpoint to timeshare exchange and how best to meet the needs of changing consumer behavior”.

DAE is the largest independent timeshare exchange provider with worldwide destination availability. Formed in 1997 to support timeshare owners, membership is free and exchange fees are not charged until an exchange is confirmed. Since the company’s formation, DAE has grown from a single office in Australia to offices in Europe, the United States, New Zealand, South Africa, Asia, the United Kingdom and Phoenix, Arizona. The company has over 300,000 members around the world.

Shell Vacations Acquires Iconic San Diego Hotel

Shell Vacations has announced the addition of the iconic Park Manor Suites to its portfolio of San Diego timeshares. As part of the acquisition, the company also announced it will officially change the name to Inn at the Park in an effort to maintain brand recognition with other similar properties within the Shell Vacations collection. Inn at the Park is also the name of one of the hotel’s restaurants.

“After more than five years of searching in the San Diego area, we are delighted to have found our dream property. The ambiance, location and timeless appeal of Inn at the Park are ideal for our family of customers both current and future,” says Sheldon H. Ginsburg, Chairman of Shell Vacations LLC.

“We are very pleased and excited to announce the acquisition and addition of this historic hotel into the Shell Vacations’ portfolio. Inn at the Park will be a signature location for our Company and we look forward to serving its customers and guests with the quality and service our Company is known for,” says Tracy L. Sherles, President and COO of Shell Vacations LLC.

With a reputation for superior service, neo-renaissance architecture and home-away-from-home amenities, the Inn at the Park is an ideal addition to the Shell Vacations family of hotels and resorts that are designed to accommodate leisure vacations, business trips and everything in between.

The classic hotel features a combination of studio, one- and two-bedroom suites, ranging in size from 525 to 1,000 square feet, with 9-foot ceilings and large sage windows with postcard-picture views of the city below. Some units have balconies for enjoying the famed San Diego weather.

Designed by Frank P. Allen in the Italian Renaissance style, the hotel is closely tied to San Diego civic history. The red brick building was originally built as an apartment complex to house the architect and his family. Frank P. Allen is also known for his design of the stately Cabrillo Bridge. In 1991 it was named a Historic Site of San Diego. Keeping the original design footprint of the suites, the hotel also boasts one of the most grand and detailed lobbies in the city.

The historic hotel is situated steps away from the world famous Balboa Park and is the premier, all-suite boutique hotel in the city offering easy access to the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, the Old Globe Theatre, 15 museums, beautiful gardens and the city’s best performing arts venues.

(Photo Credit - parkmanorsuites.com)

CNBC Interviews Chairman of the Corporation for Travel Promotion

Chairman of the Board of the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP), Stephen J. Cloobeck, also chairman and chief executive officer, Diamond Resorts International®, discussed the importance of travel promotion, marketing strategies and plans for efficient and effective expenditure of CTP resources during a live interview a week ago with Jane Wells on CNBC.

The CTP initiatives include implementing a world-class marketing and promotion program designed to attract more visitor spending to the U.S. in order to drive economic growth and create jobs. Intensive market research will allow for strategic international advertising placement and deliver a culturally sensitive message geared specifically for each region.

The budget for CTP is comprised of funds from the private sector and fees from foreign tourism and will be allocated to appropriately represent all stakeholders, including all states and territories in the U.S.

“We are the only country in the world that doesn’t have a ministry of tourism or a marketing arm for our country and since 24% of our service exports are in tourism and travel, this is a simple way for us to create GDP and jobs,” stated Cloobeck.

Devising marketing initiatives for "Brand USA," the CTP is a new non-profit corporation that will promote travel to the United States, and communicate and improve the entry process so that visitors want to return. The eleven travel and tourism industry leaders who serve on the CTP Board of Directors were appointed in September, 2010, by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

Diamond Resorts International, with global headquarters in Las Vegas, Nev., is one of the largest hospitality companies in the world with more than 190 branded and affiliated resorts in 28 countries with destinations throughout the continental United States and Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

Offering "simplicity, choice and comfort" to more than 385,000 owners and members through the branded hospitality service of more than 5,500 team members worldwide, Diamond Resorts International is dedicated to "providing its guests with effortless and relaxing vacation experiences every time, for a lifetime."

Diamond Resorts Delivers Worldwide Service Training

Diamond Resorts International®, a global leader in the hospitality and vacation ownership industry, strengthens its commitment to exceptional customer service by building upon the foundation of The Meaning of Yes® with the launch of a 30 minute brand video featuring an in-depth conversation with Chairman and CEO, Stephen J. Cloobeck.

The Meaning of Yes is a service excellence platform that empowers Diamond team members to deliver a branded hospitality experience to every owner, member and guest worldwide, as the company continues to grow and expand globally.

Diamond Resorts International thrives upon the service excellence platform set forth by Cloobeck. By responding to customer feedback and engaging in cost efficient and effective solutions, Cloobeck has successfully developed a hospitality product that is much more than vacation ownership, but guarantees a lifetime of memorable vacation experiences to all owners, members and guests. The Meaning of Yes ensures that every guest receives the vacation they deserve.

According to Cloobeck, “As we grow one thing won’t change, the Diamond team will always deliver the same level of hospitality and the same level of The Meaning of Yes to our guests, each and every time, at each and every resort. Even if we double or triple in size I will still insist that we deliver great guest service. I want us to be renowned worldwide for our customer service.”

Diamond Resorts International, with global headquarters in Las Vegas, Nev., is one of the largest hospitality companies in the world with more than 190 branded and affiliated resorts in 28 countries with destinations throughout the continental United States and Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

Annually, nearly 1.4 million owners, members and guests enjoy the simplicity, choice and comfort Diamond Resorts International offers through our branded hospitality experience.

Timeshare rentals are available at many Diamond resorts including: the Flamingo Beach Resort, Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten & Saint Martin, the Royal Regency, Paris-Vincennes, France, and at the Scottsdale Villa Mirage, Scottsdale, AZ.

Corporation for Travel Promotion Names CEO

The Corporation for Travel Promotion named Jim Evans, a longtime leader in the hospitality industry, its first CEO. Evans will be responsible for leading the Corporation's efforts to promote the United States as a travel destination and strengthen the U.S. tourism industry.

"I congratulate Jim on his appointment as the first CEO of the newly created Corporation for Travel Promotion," U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. "Promoting tourism is an important part of the President's National Export Initiative and the overall U.S. economy, and we are fortunate to have Jim's leadership in growing this industry. I look forward to working with him to bring more visitors to our country."

"After considering dozens of candidates, Jim stood out to us as one of the most accomplished executives in the industry today, and he is the Board's unanimous choice to build America's first national program to attract international travel," said Diamond Resorts CEO Stephen J. Cloobeck, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Corporation for Travel Promotion. "Jim's deep knowledge and decades of leadership in the travel industry are exactly what we need to build this organization."

Travel and tourism is one of the world's largest and fastest growing industries. Over the next 10 years, travel and tourism's total contribution to global GDP is forecast to rise to $9.2 trillion, bringing with it 65 million new jobs. By 2021, travel and tourism will be responsible for one in 10 jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Each overseas visitor to America spends an average of $4,000 per trip on hotels, restaurants, attractions, retail and other activities.

"Attracting more international travelers to the U.S. will benefit the industry and our country by creating jobs, growing exports and spurring economic growth," said Evans. "I am proud and excited to serve the travel industry - and our country - in carrying out this important mission."

The Travel Promotion Act, which created the Corporation for Travel Promotion, was signed into law in 2010 in order to help the U.S. capture a greater share of the global travel market. Once it is implemented, the entity will have a budget of up to $200 million, with half of the funding coming from the private sector and no cost to U.S. taxpayers. The program will be responsible for using advertising and other marketing tactics to help increase visitor spending in the U.S.

(Photo credit - photos.prnewswire.com)