Elvis: Back in Vegas after 40 Years!

Who could possibly be a better incentive to sell timeshares then Elvis Presley? Well, maybe not Elvis himself, but an unprecedented exhibition direct from Graceland featuring hundreds of Elvis artifacts representing the entertainer's illustrious career. Last week, the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino kicked off Graceland Presents Elvis: The Exhibition to great fanfare. The current generation of timeshare buyers particularly millenniums, want that extra something that compels them to make a purchase. The Westgate is hopeful this will be just the ticket.

The Exhibition and live shows will celebrate the life and legacy of Elvis. He holds the Vegas record for show attendance - 837 consecutive sold-out shows at the Westgate property when it was the LVH-Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Guests will experience a journey through Elvis' life from start to finish "showcasing the man, the performer and the music that revolutionized popular culture around the world".

The Elvis Exhibition is expected to be the type of quality tour generation that stimulates potential buyers' attention and brings them into the resort experience. It's open to exchange guests, hotel guests and Westgate owners, but of course, owners are treated exceptionally well, and visitors will get to see how great it is to be an owner.

The Exhibition adds one more incentive to an all-ready exciting assortment of existing incentives. The resort has a 95,000 square foot, high energy casino featuring Baccarat, classic table games and state-of-the-art slot machines. The crystal chandeliers that line the ceiling and elaborate interior evoke the feeling of stepping back into the lavish, classic Las Vegas of years past.

The resort offers a variety of restaurants, luxury accommodations, world-class spa and fitness center, pool with bar and private cabanas, and a great location just one block from the strip. A monorail picks guests up from the front steps of the resort and whizzes them to the strip.

The Westgate is no stranger to our generation. It's central Florida resorts, the Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo, Westgate Vacation Villas Resort and Spa, and Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa, provide guests with easy access to the many theme parks of Orlando. Guests are treated to complimentary transportation to attractions, and discounted theme park tickets, along with the resorts’ 5-star amenities. 

While other Vegas resorts have plenty to offer in the way of casinos, entertainment and upscale accommodations, none of them can offer Elvis. 

For more information and photo credit, visit Westgate Las Vegas.

Mixed Reviews from Industry Experts on Florida's House Bill 453/Senate Bill 932

House Bill 453 passed the House Government Operations Appropriations Committee on March 10, and Senate Bill 932 passed the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on March 11. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the bills - sponsored by State Representative Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando and State Senator Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland - make a number of technical changes to the Florida Vacation Plan and Timeshare Act. 

Is the bill good or bad for the timeshare industry?  Some, such as the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), take a positive outlook on the bill while others like Gregory Crist, CEO of the National Timeshare Owners Association, are not so sure. 

What the Proponents Say

Proponents of HB 453/SB932 say it modernizes state law. Senator Eisnaugle claims the updates provide protections for consumers, including giving owners more control to terminate or extend a time-share plan on a 60 percent vote. ARDA supports the amendments to the Florida Timeshare Act, stating it would:
  • Make needed revisions to modernize the existing timeshare statute to update new product structures (i.e. Real Estate Trusts) and how they will interact with timeshare plans. 
  • Eliminate a fee timeshare owners now pay twice. This would save owners approximately $400,000 annually. Owners would only be charged once per interest rather than per timeshare plan in which an interest is included.
  • Provide a means for owners in older associations to either extend or end their timeshare plan when the plan contains no provisions to do so.
  • Add detail to current multi-site disclosure requirements regarding the term of component sites. The term of each component of a plan must be disclosed rather than only the shortest term.
  • Add detail to existing substitution provisions limiting the amount a plan can be changed in a given year. Adds new provision that gives owners an opportunity to object to a substitution.
  • Revise requirements for continuity in the operation of a timeshare plan when there is a change in plan management.

The Opponents Say

Gregory Crist, CEO of the National Timeshare Owners Association, interprets HB453/SB 932 in a different light than ARDA and lawmakers. He says, "this is a developer-sponsored bill that strips away at consumer-protection mechanisms." He thinks it's good for developers who do not intend to comply with the law.  

In a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel, Scott Smith, an assistant professor of hospitality at the University of South Carolina, responded to a proponent statement that the bill would remove property taxes and certain types of common-area expenses from a current 125 percent cap on annual increases in assessment fees paid by consumers. Scott said, "I don't see the logic in creating the exceptions that would allow greater increases. This would harm the image of the industry and remove one of the best-selling points for timeshares, which is that they are affordable."

Another concern voiced by timeshare owners and attorneys is a provision of the bill that reduces liability for timeshare developers if they make errors in contracts. "Nonmaterial" errors or omissions would not allow purchaser cancellation rights after 10 days. According to the Sentinel article, members of a House civil justice subcommittee expressed that there is no clear definition of "nonmaterial".  Patrick Kennedy, an attorney who represents timeshare consumers, expressed his concerns saying, "that kind of murkiness will lead to increased litigation."

Opponents also question the motives of some of the backers of the bill.  Those backers include:
  • Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. –  donated $40,000, supports the bill but isn't lobbying for it
  • Orange Lake Resort Alliance (Holiday Inn) – donated $10,000 
  • Realtors Political Advocacy Committee – donated $17,500
  • ARDA-ROC – donated $5000
If you would like to express your opinion, submit your views at Timeshare Info. For more information on this legislation, visit ARDA-ROC and The Orlando Sentinel.

Everything to Love About ARDA World 2015!

The Marriott World Center's pristine course was the
perfect kick-off for ARDA World 2015!
No one has ever said the Timeshare Industry is boring, and this year's events at ARDA World continue to prove it definitely isn't! And, no one has ever said the industry wasn't charitable, which it is. The industry kicked off its premier annual event, ARDA World 2015, by exhibiting both attributes. 

Charity Poker Event

Track Results helped to start the conference off right by hosting the Second Annual Poker Night on Saturday at the Marriott World Center in Orlando. The event raised $50,000 for the benefit of Send Me on Vacation, an organization that provides women with breast cancer once-in-a-lifetime trips with their loved ones. For some women these trips provide a chance to rejuvenate after months of battling the illness, for others, it may be the last chance they have to travel with their families. The poker tournament is a way for ARDA World attendees to enjoy a night playing poker, blackjack, or roulette while raising money to send more women on these life-changing trips.

AIF Golf Tournament

The ARDA International Foundation (AIF) led the way on Sunday, with its 14th Annual AIF Open Golf Tournament. Participants had a challenging but enjoyable time on the beautifully landscaped course at the Marriott World Center's Hawk's Landing Golf Club. AIF is the entity of ARDA that fulfills the industry’s research and education needs, including identifying consistent and ongoing benchmarks, expanding research, analyzing technological changes and impacts, and enhancing the public’s knowledge of the timeshare industry. AIF relies on fundraising events like the golf tournament to produce research, studies and educational programs that advance the industry.

ARDA World Kick-Off Party

Following the golf tournament Sunday was the ARDA World 2015 Kick-Off Party. The event featured plenty of food, drink and even outdoor games. During the Kick-Off Party, ARDA-WIN Advantage, one of the sponsors of the event, presented its WINspiration Award to Lani Kane Hanan, EVP Marriott Vacations Worldwide. ARDA-WIN advantage is a women-centric group that focuses on networking, mentoring and diversity/inclusion within the vacation industry. The WINspiration Award is given to the member that has shown excellence in philanthropic service, leadership, and in contributions and support made to WIN. 

ARDA World continues until Friday with educational sessions, committee meetings, an Awards Gala Dinner and the closing Breakfast of Champions featuring two-time NHL Stanley Cup Champion, Bill Clement. More information can be found directly on ARDA's website!

Top Five Spring Break Hot Spots

Pictured: Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino
It's springtime and if you're like most people, your thoughts turn to sunshine, beaches, and outdoor activities. What are the hottest spring break destinations in 2015? After consulting several of the top travel companies, there seems to be a general consensus on these five cities:

1. Las Vegas

The city with something for every age group, Vegas has been in the top five of the most popular spring break cities for a few years.  It's not just the gaming that attracts visitors, it’s also the premier entertainment, gourmet food, world-class golf, numerous outdoor activities, family fun, and much more.   

Where to stay

Hilton Grand Vacations has several locations in Las Vegas.  Hilton Grand Vacations Suites is located in the heart of the Vegas Strip. Spacious studios and two-bedroom suites have all the conveniences of home and the resort offers multiple amenities for singles, couples and families.

Stay at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino and you'll have something to brag about to the folks back home. The resort was formerly the LVH-Las Vegas Hotel and Casino where Elvis performed 837 consecutive sold-out shows that broke all Las Vegas attendance records. 

2. Cancun

Another city that takes a top destination spot year after year also takes the #3 spot for Best Beaches in Mexico. Cancun offers something for everyone. It appeals to your party side with its numerous bars and clubs, and to your intellectual side with its archeological and historical sites, but is also family-friendly.

Where to stay

Guests don’t need to leave the premises if they don’t want to at The Royal Cancun Resort. Everything they need is there - sheltered beach with views of the gorgeous Isla Mujeres, restaurants and bars, spa and fitness center, water sports and even a market to stock up on supplies.

3. Orlando

Orlando's top attraction and the reason most people visit is Disney World. It actually could be called the theme park capital of the world if you add its numerous other parks besides Disney World. There’s also plenty of golf courses, and professional sports teams play frequently at Orlando stadiums and arenas.

Where to stay

One of the best ways to take in the whole experience would have to be from Disney Vacation Club’s newest addition, Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows. You'll enjoy a nightly fireworks display over the Magic Kingdom from your own private bungalow overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon. You’ll also have a ring-side seat for the Electric Water Pageant - think watery version of the traditional Disney Main Street Electrical Parade. All are just a quick monorail ride away from the world-famous Magic Kingdom.

Also an Orlando favorite, the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas is a calm oasis with seven outdoor pools, tennis courts, scuba diving, fitness centers and numerous amenities.

4. Punta Cana

Located on the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is a paradise with white sand beaches, water of multi-hued blues, tropical breezes and swaying palms. It’s the ultimate beach vacation location for all ages.

Where to stay

Stay at the Occidental Grand Punta Cana, an all-inclusive resort set on 700 yards of stunning beachfront property on the most popular beach in the country. You'll never have to leave the property and you'll never want to with its nine themed restaurants, seven bars, lagoon style pools and endless water sports, daily activities and nightly entertainment.

You might not be a rock star, but you will definitely feel like one at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The Hard Rock Punta Cana boasts 5 Star accommodations, international cuisine, and Body Rock® fitness center, glamorous entertainment, the Rock Spa® and so much more. Bring your guitar!

5. New York City

What more can possibly be said about New York Cit - it has world-class everything - dining, art, culture, entertainment, shopping and architecture, plus the most amazing people watching ever. Accommodations are numerous, but here's a couple to try.

Where to stay

The Hilton Club has two locations in the city. The one located in the heart of midtown Manhattan’s Plaza District is close to destinations like Lincoln Center, Central Park and Fifth Avenue. The other Hilton Club is a unique private retreat in the center of Manhattan. Both offer extensive upscale amenities and services.

Another option is the Manhattan Club, a residence-style Boutique Hotel in midtown, a blend of a vacation ownership retreat with a luxury hotel suite. The club is also convenient to many of the city’s attractions.

Enjoy your spring break!

Look What’s Happening at ARDA World 2015!

It's that time of year again - time for you to update your skills, find out about the latest trends and best practices, make new connections and renew old ones at ARDA World 2015, the timeshare industry's top event. Head out to Florida's Orlando World Center Marriott, April 12-16, for an opportunity to meet hundreds of timeshare professionals from around the world, take part in numerous educational sessions, committee meetings and networking events.  Have fun at the ARDA World Kick-off Party and the Awards Gala Dinner. Here are some of the highlights:

ARDA World Kick-off Party

Opening day, Sunday, April 12, the event gets started with the all-day AIF Golf Tournament, followed by the ARDA Kick-off Party that evening featuring food, drink and games. The Kick-off Party is sponsored in part by ARDA-Win Advantage. The women-centric group aims to advocate, educate and connect its members with a focus on networking, philanthropy, mentoring and diversity/inclusion within the vacation industry. ARDA-Win Advantage will present its Winspiration Award at the casual event.

A Session for Everything

The event features so many sessions, we can't mention them all, but here's a few to get you interested. A hot topic right now, how to handle defaulted inventory, will be covered in a Wednesday session called, Defaulted Inventory, Inventory Recovery and Protecting Owners and the Association. Grand Pacific Resort’s Nigel Lobo will be one of the speakers talking about all the legal, regulatory and practical aspects of dealing with timeshare inventory in default status. 

Another session on Wednesday, Short-term Fever: Variable-term vacation products – Time for a new approach? Innovators like Tom Lyons from Global Connections, Inc. will discuss various short-term products for those buyers not interested in long-term commitments. 

Don’t miss Thursday session, Is Your Yelp showing? Led by moderator/speaker Robert A. Kobek from CustomerCount. Learn how to make your message more impactful through the right multimedia content.  

Find Your Committee

One of the more important parts of ARDA is the behind the scenes work of the committees. There are a number of them meeting during the event. These committees are not just for industry professionals, but they are also for owners. For instance, the HOA Outreach Committee will meet during the event on Monday, April 13. This ARDA committee works both to provide information about timeshare plan owners associations and its members. It also assists HOA Board of Directors and Board officers in their efforts to oversee or partner with a professional manager or management company in the successful operation of a vacation resort property.

Congratulate your Award-winning Colleagues

Kick back and have some fun at the Awards Gala Dinner and Entertainment event Wednesday evening. Be the first to congratulate the winners of the ARDA Circle of Excellence (ACE) awards honoring those that have attained the very highest level of excellence in the resort industry through their accomplishments and dedication.

Breakfast of Champions

If you take off early on Thursday, you'll miss an inspiring speech from Bill Clement, Two-Time NHL Stanley Cup Champion and Television Broadcaster. In Mr. Clement’s recent autobiography, EveryDay Leadership: Crossing Gorges on Tightropes to Success, he calls on readers to seize all leadership opportunities and transform the way they look at leadership as a whole.  So stick around Thursday morning and you’ll be sure to leave ARDA World 2015 even more inspired then the day you arrived!