This year’s conference with a title heading of “Sharing Success
” was about how the Timeshare Industry had worked together during the past year, with views from all speakers, each one reflecting on how they saw the Industry unfolding.
Mr David Eastburn, the TATOC chairman welcomed all present and referred our thoughts for a few moments to the horrors that were unfolding in Japan.
He then went on to express his feelings of gratitude to Harry Taylor for his unstinting work in the preparation of the conference and also great thanks to the sponsors who had made this conference possible.
David then gave a broad overview of the problems in setting-up TATOC, he referred to the relationship and ongoing dialogue that they had with the Industry, the problems that they all faced in finding a workable way for owners who wished to exit Timeshare and the ongoing threat that they faced from the scam operators.
Ms Jennie Thompson, the conference co-ordinator had the enviable task of ensuring all went to plan that questions and answers remained within the agenda and all went smoothly in “setting the scene” for this years conference.
Harry Taylor and Geoff Chapman gave a talk about “sharing success
”, of bringing in new people and referred, with thanks, to the behind-the-scenes people.
Mr Chapman gave statistics of how TATOC www.tatoc.co.uk [nofollow]
was taking the Industry forward, stating they had 92 member resorts, 350000 timeshare owners and at present they had 40 individual members, ways also were being looked at to increase this figure.
Reference was made to the TATOC Accreditation programme with 13 new resorts being added during the past year, this was ongoing with more resorts wishing to have there resort accredited which means that standards at resorts were being raised to meet the TATOC standard.
Geoff was proud of the fact that TATOC was “sharing success” with WHICH TRAVEL magazine, MONEWISE MAGAZINE, BIS, OFT, CAB and many others.
He mentioned the TATOC code of conduct, the website, the consumer helpline, of helpline updates and helpline analysis.
Where now…. our goals for next year:
TATOC was applying for charity status; this would help with on-going costs,
Updates with the sales accreditation,
Free individual membership,
Consumer road show,
TATOC was a team success.
“Timeshare stripped bare” was the theme for a talk from Alex Radford; who is an Industry solicitor of Irwin Mitchell Abogados www.irwinmitchell.com [nofollow]
Mr Radford was “dramatic” with his views on how he saw the future of Timeshare!
Old timeshare rules should be abolished referring to the many regulations and criminal offences that were stagnating the Industry. We need to “embrace” the TATOC website for updates, news so that we can all go forward.
We then had a panel discussion involving Chris Sheldon of II, Dimitris Manikis of RCI, Phil Watson of Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket, Steve Bryant of Macdonald Resorts and Susan Crooke of DRI.
It soon became apparent that this discussion could be a lengthy one, so taking a few concerns which were presented it was clear on what we should do with the “cold-callers”…. put the phone down!! The frustrations of companies that were keeping within the law, information given at sales should be “pre-contract”, always deal with reputable companies but the non-reputable ones always being hard to tie down. With ever-rising costs, ways of reducing these should always be looked at.
After the tea and coffee break, Paul Gardner Bougaard, a barrister by training, explained his role with RDO and what they did. He mentioned RDO, had regular meetings with TATOC in discussing issues such as resale’s, ways to be found for elderly owners to exit timeshare, encouraging and making timeshare more appealing to a younger generation. His presentation, by statistics showed membership of 1312 resorts in the E.U. of which 145 were in the U.K., 1.5 million owners in the E.U. of these 589,653 in the U.K. The E.U. had 72% occupancy and made reference that 88% of U.K. owners were satisfied with their timeshare.
Committee’s need to have a working partnership but still have the well-being of the resort when there are differences of opinion.
Paul was emphatic of the importance of the helpline which was provided by TATOC for timeshare consumers and the need for all to work together in explaining what they are doing and why.
A vivid explanation was given about the work of Alberto Garcia, 24/7, why he was given protection from scammers, crooks and etc and why he always took a different route home.
His presentation showed the importance of buying with confidence, the website of RDO, www.rdo.org [nofollow]
, the exit strategies that could be available and timeshare products for the future generations. Mr Bougaard emphasised, as mentioned before, the need to “put the phone down” on cold-callers, was convinced that their was light at the end of the tunnel for timeshare users, the on-going interest of “fractional’s” in Europe and with the new directives from Brussels was convinced of the demise of the Holiday Club.
Before lunch, RCI, DAE, DRI and Silverpoint offered “Breakout Sessions”, where delegates could learn about what they had to offer its members, all were well attended and were pleased to be part of “sharing success”…
RCI www.rci.com [nofollow]
The workshop was hosted by representatives from the UK Account Management team and focused on the importance of understanding the changing needs of their member base in today’s new digital age and how they have enhanced their products and services accordingly. Several key areas of enhancements reflected in the workshop…firstly RCI shared their improved digital communications and services including the development of enhanced search functionality and the growth of RCI TV…next was a section that referenced the importance of education through a focus on new innovative information tools for members such as the launch of Weeks and Points micro-sites as well as many PR successes in general mainstream consumer media. RCI also showed how they were expanding and improving their exchange options with the introduction of many new European resorts and properties and finally showing the new enhancements to their products including more transparency, more value and more choice that members can now enjoy from their RCI membership.
DAE www.dialanexchange.com [nofollow]
The Company was now twelve years old with 40,000 European members; worldwide DAE has 8 regional offices, over 300,000 members with over 3,000 resorts to exchange into. DAE does not have a points system, nor does it operate trading power, however, it does operate a “simple to understand deposit a week” policy where members deposit a week into their system and receive a credit valid for 3 years, in return a member can, subject to availability, exchange their week for any week, size of property anywhere in the world. We were informed that they do not charge members a membership fee, no upgrade fee, no guest certificate fee, membership was also free; members only pay at point of exchange, £84 for European exchanges and £99 for long haul exchanges. In addition members can purchase Bonus Weeks, late availability – 6 weeks prior to departure. Gold Advantage members can make unlimited requests, receive priority access to newly banked weeks, DAE will check availability which saves the member having to check as well as receiving a £10 discount off bonus weeks and long haul exchanges. We do not affiliate resorts but work closely with them also with developers and committees that provide them with a flexible wide range of services to assist in their members. We were informed that DAE also offers members an extensive range of travel related benefits including, transfers, low cost car parking, flights and car hire and finally the announcement of two travel insurance policies, an annual and single trip. The single trip insurance has no age restriction and also covers pre existing medical conditions.
DRI www.diamondresorts.com [nofollow]
Patrick Duffy informed us it was three years since DRI attended their first TATOC meeting, and throughout these years of presenting and growing with TATOC, their commitment is to provide guests with an effortless and relaxing holiday experience throughout the world of, “listening and learning”. In year one they introduced Brand Tenets of Simplicity, Choice and Comfort and set out their examples showing luxury linens, pillows, mattresses and towels as tangible examples to those tenets. In year two, Stephen J Cloobeck introduced to the TATOC conference the meaning of the word “yes” this giving the Industry the knowledge that DRI was embarking on a Global Philosophy, which was geared toward a solid platform of Service Excellence. In year three, during their Resort managers meeting in Tenerife they rolled out the meaning of the importance of the holiday experience that relates to the “5 senses”…Touch, Smell, Sight, Sound and Taste. Patrick then remarked that all these senses could be encountered within five minutes on entering your holiday accommodation.
Silverpoint www.silverpoint.com [nofollow]
Mark Cushway with staff provided the many delegates with information of their commitment to provide an excellent product. It was pointed out to all who attended the presentation of people within Silverpoint who worked to provide its members with incredible journeys of holiday experience.
Starting the afternoon session, Jennie Thompson asked the floor a straight question…”Why did I buy Timeshare”. After a few brief answers concerning her question, she then asked a panel of timeshare owners namely Adam Johnson from Club Las Calas, Moira Pollock from Scandinavian Village and Roy Colquhoun from Craigendarrock. Each in turn gave specific views on why they had, some because of recommendations, others because they liked what they saw, all remarked it would in with their families holiday requirements in mind and none regretted on purchasing Timeshare.
Dr Anthony Patterson, Senior lecturer of Marketing in the Management School at Liverpool University certainly had delegates showing faces of disbelief has he unfolded his talk about Social Networking. It all surrounded around the websites of Facebook and Twitter. We had mention of 500 million active users on Facebook, on words being used that is common language with the younger generation, a we talk-you listen scenario, of being able to tap into these websites to get your message across as the multi-national companies brought their products to a never ending audience of inquisitive youngsters seeking a new product and gave a vivid example of Marmite, this left a sense of “disbelief” on how a company exploited the simple techniques of social networking. Mr Patterson explained some of the problems of this “addiction”, this “frittering away” of time that Facebook and Twitter presented but emphasised how important these could be in bringing a “product” to a mass audience very cheaply and why not include Timeshare in this?
Stuart Lamont from South Africa, Executive Chairman Club Leisure Group www.clubleisure.co.za [nofollow]
and involved with other companies gave a “hard-hitting”, no nonsense talk on managing and making a Resort profitable. After giving his background history he proceeded to enlarge on the many uses of the word “Profit”. A combination of all good points put together, of being able to deliver beyond all their expectations and holiday experiences and satisfaction. He referred to a few words that Winston Churchill once said…to improve is to change and to be perfect is to change often! Mr Lamont then went on to compare Timeshare in South Africa to England and then compared people to African wildlife…. we must be fast to change, we must check out the competition and react to the change otherwise we will become “food” to something that is faster in that change! He remarked on the crazy ideas that one sometimes hears of…. get rid of the swimming pool as nobody uses it, get ride of the horses as nobody wants to ride! We should be asking ourselves WHY! React to our conclusions, make these changes so that people use the pool and people ride the horses. He remarked on the need to keep abreast of change in holiday accommodation, of people’s needs and expectations and react to these changes. In his final remarks Stuart referred to the timeshare market having few sellers and not enough buyers, we must act fast to resolve this problem or within 6-7 years the re-sale industry will be faced with huge problems.
The final session of the day was a TATOC and Industry Round Table Update. We had Chris Kupusarevic from Dial An Exchange, Mark Cushway from Silverpoint, Linder Freer from Resort Solutions, Patrick Duffy from DRI, Phil Watson from Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket and Simon Jackson from MacDonald Resorts. The discussion soon revolved about finding a workable, long-term entry and exit policy for the Industry, of being able to educate people to work together in finding this solution, how many people want to leave, the 300,000 resale weeks which were on offer, the data that was forthcoming gave an alarming picture and a partnership between developer must be forthcoming sooner than later.
Dinner was served after the end of the first day’s session and the after-dinner speaker was John Martin www.johnmartincomedy.co.uk [nofollow]
a man who has been described as a ‘human joke factory' this was when John smashed the World Record in the Guinness Book Of Records for continuous joke telling which lasted an amazing 101 hours 39 minutes - an incredible feat! How can one express his performance? We were entertained with a professional performance that was successfully tailored with clean down-to-earth jokes and no bad language. His rapport with the ladies was excellent, how he could twist a simple answer into something that was good, clean and laughable deserves the highest acclaim I have never ever seen people laugh so much and when he had finished a standing ovation was duly given to a man who had entertained and captivated his audience during his presentation.
The following morning a presentation was given by Vivienne Noyes from the Thomas Christel House Charities www.christelhouse.org [nofollow]
Ms Noyes thanked everybody for his or her generosity of donations to the total of £4800.00 at the TATOC dinner the previous evening. We were given information on how the Charity was started, now with two schools in India, one in South Africa, one in Mexico, one in Venezuela and two in the USA. Vivienne referred to the proverb of…give a hungry man a fish and you feed him for a day but show him how to fish and he is fed for life!, of taking children from the poorest areas where their subsistence was $US50 per month and suffering from malnutrition. We were shown photos of children in India making bracelets for a pittance just to survive. Now we take a holistic approach of two meals a day, dental care, physical education, arts education, medical programmes and a reference was made of an academic pass rate at 100%. An overview was given on the Charities investments all endowed in perpetuity and explained it was not a good idea for charities to have only one major donor. Details were given on the cost of running the Charity, of Timeshare supporters including TATOC and to finish emphasised to us all that “every penny donated counts as 100%”. A remarkable achievement!
Jennie Thompson, in giving the final paper of the Conference asked everybody …Would You Trust Your Trustee, a complex subject well presented. She referred to the role of trustee’s and is there a future for them? Reference to the OFT, the failure by a developer to comply should be a criminal offence. Mention was made to exchange companies, finance houses etc. The word “trustee” derives from an Anglo-Saxon word, which is treated totally different in Europe. The “trustee” could be used to encompass many examples…trust deed, escrow agreement, stakeholder agreement, trust law, company law and finally the courts. On costs Ms Thomson said that a trustee couldn’t charge for being a trustee, Timeshare trustees have changed to meet the future, i.e. fractionals.
David Eastburn, Chairman of TATOC closed the conference, thanking everybody for attending, for putting forward the many questions and hoped that the Industry could go forward together in combating the scammers, the crooks and all that gave Timeshare a bad name and was pleased on how the Industry was going forward in “ Sharing Success
After a coffee break, The AGM of TATOC took place for its members.