Looking Out for Owners' Best Interests

It's good to know that as a timeshare owner you are not alone. There are industry organizations that have owners' best interests at heart. Groups like the Florida Timeshare Owners Group (FTOG), The National Timeshare Owners Association (NTOA), American Resort Development Association’s special owner’s group ARDA-ROC and Timeshare Board Members Association (TBMA), make disseminating information to owners their priority. They work to keep owners aware of industry-related news and activities nationwide, changes in the industry and legal issues that may impact owners, as well as information on industry research and ongoing studies to improve the industry.

State Groups

Most states have their own timeshare owner group. These groups are particularly important because each state has different laws affecting timeshare that may change from time to time and owners need to be aware of any changes. Their meetings often include legal updates and other valuable industry information. 

As an example, the Florida Timeshare Owners Group's upcoming November meeting features the head legal counsel of a Florida law firm whose specialty is representing owners who experience disputes or differences with their timeshare resort, the management company or the resort developer.  The FTOG meeting also has scheduled guest speakers representing various exchange companies who will update owners on the latest benefit options. Plus, Greg Crist, CEO of NTOA, will give an update on timeshare industry-related activities nationwide and the evolving future of timeshare.

National Timeshare Owners Association (NTOA)

Another organization that owners can count on for valuable information is NTOA. Through partnerships with technology experts, they gather information and conduct studies of issues affecting the industry. A recent study resulted in data that provided insights on the latest consumer attitudes toward timeshare.  

Another groundbreaking study is in the works. NTOA's Secondary Market Solutions committee is working with the University of Central Florida to analyze and prepare data for the association’s first executive study on timeshare resale issues. These studies are made accessible to owners and others in the industry. 

Timeshare Board Members Association (TBMA) 

TBMA is a non-profit association dedicated to helping provide technical, organizational and moral support to directors of owner controlled timeshare boards. The group offers educational panels and meetings such as one recently held in Denver, which focused on the future of legacy resorts and how to help them compete successfully in a competitive timeshare market. The TBMA website offers a wide variety of information delivered through downloads, podcasts, reports on industry trends and more.  

American Resort Development Association (ARDA)

In case you need reminding, the industry's trade association ARDA offers a wealth of information on its website, from the latest in regulatory and legislative issues to questions about buying and selling and how to avoid scams. ARDA represents and advocates for the industry on regulatory issues, provides educational and networking opportunities at annual conventions, and ARDA-ROC reaches out to members with the latest industry news, market intelligence, trends and events. When was the last time you visited the ARDA site? 

Do You Have Owner Engagement?

The hospitality industry chatter these days is all about maintaining owner, member and guest engagement. An engaged owner/member/guest is a loyal owner/member/guest. How do you know if your owners are engaged with your resort? According to much of the current research, there are a few behavior traits that are representative of highly engaged owners. Some of these traits will be obvious to you when you read them, but you may not have thought about them enough, nor acted upon them as much as you should to maintain engagement. 

Your Owners are Engaged When:

  • They loyally keep coming back to you. They are the owners who visit your resort time after time, who book weeks in advance, and who are always current in their fees.
  • Engaged owners tell their friends and family members, colleagues and new acquaintances about the resort. They use their social media networks to display pictures of their vacation and to broadcast to all about the great time they had at the resort. They bring their friends and family members with them on vacation, and those friends and family often decide to become owners too. Engaged owners may be your best salespeople!
  • Engaged owners give you needed feedback. When you send out newsletters, e-blasts and posts to social media, your engaged owners and guests respond to your questions and requests. They appreciate you telling them about all the good things you are doing for them. In short, they are invested in your brand and are vital contributors to the promotion of your brand. They also may have good suggestions on what you can do to improve and to maintain their loyalty. 

Treat Them Well

Don't ever let the lure of making more new sales ever cause you to forget about your current owners. Be constantly on the look-out for ways to engage with owners. 


Communication is key in any relationship. In the timeshare industry it should start at the moment of sale and continue consistently throughout the owner/resort relationship. Use all forms of communication that are available, and match the communication to the type of message you are sending, the person who is receiving the information, and the particular occasion.  

Use social media tweets, Facebook, Snapchat for sending quick resort updates and pictures of special events. Owners need to know about all the good things you are doing for them. E-mail a newsletter with notices of improvements, added activities or special owner events. Don't forget phone calls and personal written notes offering congratulations, expressing sorrow for a loss, or just thanking them for being such a good member of your timeshare community. This type of communication may be just what an owner needs. 

Know Your Owners

Communication can only be effective if you know your owner. Make sure that you and your employees consistently engage with your owners. Taking the time to really know your owners, to know their family, their likes and dislikes, and staying aware of events happening in their lives, enables engagement and fortifies connections that can last for a lifetime. 

Prominent Member of the Timeshare Community Dies Doing What He Loved

Rob Millisor, co-founder of Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV), died October 8 doing what he loved to do most. He was on a philanthropic visit to the earthquake-impacted area of Nepal. Millisor, 51, was one of the industry's most successful, philanthropic and community involved members.  

In a notice we received from BGV, the company said, "The BGV family is extremely saddened to share that Owner and Developer Rob Millisor, passed away yesterday during a philanthropic visit to the earthquake-impacted area of Nepal. He was hiking on a beautiful day when he felt ill, lied down to rest and then passed. No additional details are known at this time. Rob was in Nepal doing what he loved—helping others. The entire BGV family is heartbroken over his loss."

Millisor is a well-known figure in the Breckenridge Resort Community.  In 1984, Rob and his brother Mike began BGV and developed its award winning properties, Gold Point Resort, Grand Timber Lodge, and Grand Lodge on Peak 7 and Grand Colorado on Peak 8. BGV is recognized as one of the most successful, independent developers in the industry. 

Throughout his company's success, Rob has always been known for his community and philanthropic involvement. He served as chairman of the Breckenridge Resort Chamber Board and as a Breckenridge Town Council member.  At the time of his passing, he was on the executive committee of the Summit Foundation, an umbrella organization that distributes donations to local non-profit organizations. In 2015 BGV gave a $1 million endowment to the Summit Foundation. 

Just this September, BGV was awarded with the 2015 Philanthropy Award for Outstanding Large Business from the 25th National Philanthropy Day (NPC) Colorado, a project of the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The award is given to Colorado companies with 100+ employees that exhibit a dedication to building a philanthropic culture in their organization through charitable support, and by urging employees to seize opportunities that produce positive effects in the community.

Rob exemplified what it means to be a successful timeshare resort developer. He always remembered what was most important to his success, as he stated recently, "My partners and I have always believed in giving back to the community that we’ve called home. As our success grew, we felt even more committed to supporting Breckenridge."

And as in the words of John Buhler, Breckenridge Ski Resort COO and VP, "We are shocked and saddened by the sudden death of our friend and colleague, Rob Millisor. Rob's philanthropic impact alone has been unequaled locally, both through generous charitable giving and local service. Millisor demonstrated a commitment to this community both in words and actions."

How Important is a Timeshare Management Company?

Sometimes it takes more than a Home Owners Association to manage a timeshare resort. Problems may arise that are not within the expertise and capabilities of the HOA. Board members may have other jobs and responsibilities that preclude their timeshare duties, there may not be enough owners willing or able to take on all the responsibilities of managing a resort.  It may be time for the services of a professional timeshare management company. A timeshare management company can help identify cost savings and revenue-generation opportunities to keep your resort functioning at a high level. 

Advocacy and Compliance 

A timeshare management company can also advocate for owners and help to ensure compliance and protection of the owners' investment. Unexpected contractual disputes can occur such as one recently mentioned in a Conde Nast Traveler article. A couple with a timeshare in Aruba received an unexpected special assessment invoice, in addition to their yearly maintenance fee. Nowhere in their timeshare contract could they find where it said they were obligated to pay. The resort told them that the assessment was industry norm and threatened to take their timeshare away if they didn’t pay. A timeshare management company has the expertise to do the research and help resolve issues like this.

Other Services Provided

A professional timeshare company provides comprehensive services necessary for the successful operation of a resort. They can provide full or partial operational resort services. Here are some of the services timeshare management companies provide:
  • Technical and Legal Assistance
  • Resort Operations
  • Financial Services
  • Transient Rental management and marketing
  • Employee and Owner Services
  • Communications
  • Property Maintenance

What To Consider

There are several considerations to think about when looking for the right timeshare management company. One of the oldest and largest timeshare management companies, Grand Pacific Resorts, shares some universal considerations to ask about when considering a management company:
  • A long-term plan for your resort- The management company should have at least a five-year revenue and reserve fund plan for your resort as significant change takes place over time.
  • A successful rental program- Income from rentals is important for the health of the association. Make sure the company has a successful track record with other resorts and know how they plan to market unused nights.
  • Low employee turnover- Loyal employees provide the best service, reinforce the resort’s value and drive additional rentals and resales. 
  • High owner engagement – The company should regularly communicate with owners.  Attempts to contact and reengage with delinquent owners should be made. Both good and bad feedback should be actively solicited.

In addition, find out if the company does a professional reserve study with timeshare-experienced consultants? Does it offer a robust activities program? Does it take ownership of the resort while welcoming board involvement? And does it offer a complimentary consultation before you sign on the bottom-line. 
Running a timeshare resort is not easy. It requires management that is experienced, knowledgeable in all areas of resort operations, and has your best interests in mind. Do the research and take your time in finding the best management company for your resort.