What's New in the Industry - from ARDA's Fall Conference 2013!

American Resort Development Association's (ARDA) Fall Conference was held last week at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference is a time where (unlike the U.S. Congress!) competition is put aside, and people share ideas and best practices. During the conference, ARDA shared the progress it has made in legislation for the year. Attendees are given up-to-date analysis of the implications of industry, economic and political trends on owners, developers and consumers. Since this is a working meeting, ARDA Committees meet at this time to strategize for the upcoming year about policies affecting the industry.

One of the Busiest Years Ever for ARDA

Thursday's meetings kicked off with Howard Nusbaum, ARDA's President & CEO, moderating a discussion of the new VacationBetter.org site.  In an opening comment he stated, "It has been one of the busiest years ever for us in pushing and strengthening legislation for the benefit of timeshare owners. We have advocated for owners in 14 states this year, all the way from Arkansas to West Virginia, with the thrust of our efforts focused on providing specific guidelines related to resale and transfer company legislation."


ARDA's communications staff, communications committee leadership, PR consultants and web design consultants talked about the VacationBetter.org site's dynamic new look and feel. Participants got a sneak peak at the new site before it goes live. All noted the increased interactivity credibility, and user-friendliness of the site set to launch in January.

Vacation Club Task Force

Suppliers and Design and Construction committees got some special love during the conference. With consolidation of industry, those wishing to forge relationships with developers got some extra "oomph" from their specialized committee groups. Even the Vacation Club Task Force is its own entity, and is drawing up a code of ethics to help protect the vacation experience for owners and the entire vacation industry.  Travel to Go's Tommy Middaugh sits on the task force and is one of the people instrumental in pushing for the standard of ethics for the travel clubs.

Health Care and Immigration Reform

In this year's conference, several influential industry leaders and supporters were keynote speakers. Senator Kelly Ayotte, (R-NH) spoke at the legislative luncheon addressing health care and immigration reform, two issues of great concern to resort developers. (Ayotte has 27 ARDA member properties in her home state.) Ms. Ayotte expressed her opinion that the government shut down was "dumb", and that sequester caps across the board is not good business. Ms. Ayotte believes there will be a funding bill by the end of the year.

In a question and answer session from the audience, an audience member asked if she expected a 3rd party movement. To which Ms. Ayotte responded, "Not one that could win." Her answer was "no" to a question of was there any fear of back channel funding to insurance companies.

Howard Nusbaum, President of ARDA, asked,  "How can we support moderates?" Ms. Ayotte told the audience to get engaged and not just with resources. "Don't just go along to get along. Make choices and support everyone." When Tim Wilson, publisher of Resort Trades, asked if she thought that the country might be moving toward a single party since the Republicans are in disarray. Ms. Ayotte responded that she thought Republicans needed a unifier. "It is time to stop fighting and remember what we have together."

Chairman's League Breakfast

Charlie Cook, who bills himself as the "Political Prognosticator", was the featured speaker at Chairman's League Breakfast on the last day of the convention.  Mr. Cook in actuality is the Editor and Publisher of the Cook Political Report and a columnist for National Journal. Mr. Cook called ARDA, "the most powerful group in Washington you've never heard of."

Find out more about ARDA's Conference at: ARDA.org

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