International Theme Focus of Vacation Ownership Industry Annual Convention

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Education Forums, Best Practice Workshops Brought Timeshare Professionals Together at ARDA World

We were thrilled to see so many of the best and brightest in our industry and learn from our international partners about product developments and innovations from around the globe.

More than 2,600 timeshare professionals and industry leaders gathered for the 2012 American Resort Development Association (ARDA) World Convention and Exposition at the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from April 1-5. This year’s ARDA World Convention focused on global issues, and the international theme was present throughout all educational forums, workshops, and sessions including how to break into international markets; similarities and differences in sales practices across the globe; and findings from ARDA’s first international research in a decade.

“This year’s program at ARDA World featured timely topics on the international landscape of vacation ownership and speakers who addressed global marketplace opportunities,” says Howard Nusbaum, ARDA president and CEO. “We were thrilled to see so many of the best and brightest in our industry and learn from our international partners about product developments and innovations from around the globe.”

ARDA members were joined by hundreds of international colleagues from over 35 countries, and activities included the ARDA-Caribbean Committee, an International Reception, and nine international educational sessions that focused on growth and opportunity in international markets. Additionally, the general sessions and one session from each educational wave featured simultaneous translation into Spanish and Portuguese for ARDA’s international guests.

Keynote speaker and loyalty expert Frederick Reichheld, a Bain Fellow and founder of Bain & Company’s loyalty practice, shared his insights into retaining customer loyalty via the Net Promoter Score® management system, of which he is the creator. Attendees also heard from timeshare CEOs representing Hilton Grand Vacations, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, and Wyndham Vacation Ownership on the state of the industry, the secondary marketplace, highlights from the AIF World Wide Study, and other valuable topics. This year, ARDA also opened its general session to key international members from Europe, Asia, South Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and Mexico, who are all developing and doing business in these regions. These international members shared what is and isn’t working in international development and their thoughts on the future of vacation ownership around the world.

Other notable sessions included the Social Media Forum, which focused on using the industry’s most powerful marketing tool—happy owners—to turn the tide of online commentary, engage a new generation of prospective buyers, and turn interest into bookings and sales. The Sales and Marketing Forum presented a series of vignettes that depict potentially difficult situations for sales and marketing professionals, and the Technology Forum took a multifaceted and interactive look at the world of Web sites, exploring how to attract and engage users. The Resale Forum addressed resale at the base level (the interval, the owner, and the resort) and explored how a healthy secondary market is critical to continued growth and success of the industry. News of recently passed legislation in Florida, the Timeshare Resale Accountability Act was supported by ARDA and ARDA-ROC in an ongoing effort to rein in fraudulent resale practices, was announced at the forum.

This year’s convention also featured its annual golf tournament at The Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, at the base of Snow Mountain in the Southern Nevada Desert. RCI once again served as the title sponsor for this event that raised funds to support the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) industry research and education programs. Interval International’s “Party with a Cause,” featuring The Beach Boys, also raised funds for AIF.

This year’s Signature Sponsors included: American Express, Capital One, Hilton Grand Vacations, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Systems International, ICE, Interval International, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, RCI, ResortCom International, Starwood Vacation Ownership, TimeShareWare, and Wyndham Vacation Ownership. The ARDA World 2012 Global Development Sponsor was FONATUR.

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The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit http://www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at http://www.VacationBetter.org.

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Lou Ann Burney
ARDA
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