The TATOC Conference, March 6th-8th, 2015 at The Park Hotel,Warrington

Started by vernon, March 30, 2015, 13:24:53

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


An overview of the recent TATOC Conference.

                                                                                           THE TATOC CONFERENCE 2015
                                                                                   THE PARK ROYAL HOTEL, STRETTON, WARRINGTON
                                                                                                  MARCH 6th - 8th 2015

                                                                                                 "TIME FOR CHANGE"

March 6th.

The conference moderator Mr Robin Mills opened the 2nd. RDO-TATOC Seminar RDO (Resort Development Organisation) and TATOC (The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees) TATOC joint seminar and welcomed all delegates.
Mr Harry Taylor welcomed the delegates present and was pleased to say that this year's seminar had more delegates attending than in 2014.He asked all delegates to inter-act with the speakers, ask questions thus making this conference a "positive one".
Mr Geoff Chapman then spoke about the challenges that face resorts, of getting the balance correct between costs and sales, the quality of resort and do they meet today's expectations of high-quality holidays? Geoff gave a general overview of perpetuity and an ageing owner base explaining how TATOC was actively helping to find a just and fair exit policy for all members, with on-going discussions between all parties and the importance that any action must be carefully managed and controlled. He reported that TATOC was continuing to strengthen relations with Trading Standards, Citizens Advice Bureaus and other local and government departments.
He gave a brief update on the delayed review of the European Timeshare regulations and made reference                       
to the TATOC affiliation, accreditation programme and the Health Check programme.                                                                                                                                                       
In closing, he thanked the TATOC Ambassadors Team, Diana Aitchison, Silverpoint; Pat May, Dial An Exchange Europe; Katrina Pascazio, De Vere Luxury Cottages; Sandra Wrightson, DeCotta Law, Spain; and Vicki Funnel, RCI; for their great work with a special thanks to Mike Ashton of Merlin for his help in establishing the Ambassador Programme.

Paul Gardner-Bougaard, CEO of RDO confirmed the benefits to owners and the Industry of working with TATOC. He then emphasised the on-going positives from June 2013 through to Nov 2014, on how RDO was helping resorts members with approved exit policies that included health and long-term illness problems. He also stressed the need for RDO to make the media more aware of the fraudsters.                                                                                                                                         
RDO understood the difficulties for owner-run resorts, the need to bring a formal complaint to the EU Commission that was backed by TATOC and themselves. Paul explained to the delegates of the cost in bringing a case to court and gave a figure in one instance of £60,000!
A questions and answers session was then conducted by Robin Mills and started by asking Paul and Geoff questions covering problems associated with member communications, Internet communications and other related topics.

Eugene Miskelly, RDO Legislative Council Chairman gave a presentation named "Combating the threats posed by claims companies". Explaining how the Legislative Council brought together the many different ideas of each member plus meeting the ever on-going pressures of claims companies and working together were combating them.                                                                                                                                                               
Eugene then went on to explain that the blame must be placed on the government for the "opening-up" of legislation and that the Internet does the public an injustice by helping companies with the "dressing-up" of exit polices resulting in members being "hoodwinked"! It's all like a sausage machine...churning out rubbish that in turn will make you purchase a new product. He stated we all must be proactive in approaching and dealing with these companies and certainly don't give way to them and stressed the need to keep all your paperwork and files for reference and always remember that claims companies want to make a "Mountain out of a molehill".
Ms Jackie Murphy, of Flagship Consulting presented her paper on "Promoting the positives of timeshare holidays through an integrated social, digital and media campaign".
How do we promote the "positive" nature of Timeshare? Timeshare is all about holidays, holidays that we enjoy but we take these holidays "under-the-cosh" from so much negative feedback! Jackie gave examples about the on-line negativity of Timeshare and the importance of us all to share their good holiday experiences. Timeshare holidays are all about giving good value to all member ages.                                                                                                     
She cited the need a campaign to boost all positives of Timeshare and having celebrity ambassadors to express the good points and the need for a very fresh visual brand in showing what families enjoy about Timeshare! We must "galvanise owners in bring out the best of Timeshare and to get Developer actively involved.   
Jackie finished her presentation with emphasising the importance of social media in bringing and promoting the best of Timeshare with all party's working together.

Tony Rhodes, Club Olympus Co-Director spoke about "A study of a mature resort, Club Olympus in Tenerife, and what changes were made in order to introduce its successful exit programme".         

Tony explained how, from small beginnings, they now had 150 apartments. He then spoke about the resale problems that they had and gave examples of how this family-run resort tackled these. Studio units were a major problem from the resale perspective, however by converting two studio units and into a one-bed unit this improved sales at the resort. The members also changed the Resort Constitution taking some units out of the booking system trust. We also changed the Resort Constitution with taking some units out of the booking system trust. 
Tony highlighted the fact that they had an excellent relationship with the owners but felt that the younger generation were "scared" to take on their parents Timeshare, simply because of the never-ending bad publicity emanating from the media.                                                                                                                                                                           
In conclusion Tony emphasised the need for communication and more communication with all parties. This is important for a successful future.   
These presentations were then followed by a "Panel session"; an examination of a TATOC Health Check report of a fictitious UK Resort.                                                                                                                       
The panel consisted of Richard Coles, Committee Chairman, Cameron House; John Tweddle MBE, Committee Chairman, The Carrick; John Davey, Committee Chairman, The Alpine Club.                     
Moderated by Robin Mills.
Delegates were given a fictitious case study of a timeshare resort with 28 accommodation units, located on the outskirts of a small Devonshire seaside town named Broadchurch and having a population of 30,000 people. This Resort is called Brightviews for the purpose of demonstrating how the TATOC Health Check works, this resort having a series of difficulties that are typical to some mature resorts. The TATOC Health Check is a "free of charge" service to member resorts and was established in 2013.
Delegates were asked to study this paper as it showed how member resorts could ask TATOC to provide advice to resort committees.
The report was divided into sections:
Resort background,
Swat Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).
Sales and Rental Activity.                                                                                                                                                               
Richard Coles gave a brief description into the ageing resort and made note of the change in "holiday culture" of the owners. He firmly believed that Resorts must adapt to the many changes taking place around them.
John Tweddle chairman of a modern resort and took great pains in explaining what he thought of the negative aspect of low management fees. Timeshare is a "proud product" and should be seen as such.
John Davey, chairman of a ski resort gave an update on the massive costs of refurbishment at this resort and referred to a "wish list" that exists. He explained what he saw as problems of a rental program by owners who pay the full management fees.
Harry Taylor said all this was food-for-thought, highlighting the many existing problems at resorts. The problems that faced resorts "in decline" with no quick fix simply because in some cases there was need a massive investment of capital.                                                                                                                                             
Harry then gave an insight on the problems of older resorts against newer ones.
A question was asked "what should a resorts have in its reserve fund" Various opinions from delegates ranging from one and a half times the annual management fees, to a much lower amount.
The panel was then asked on what their course of action would be....                                                                               
1) Determine how much fixed weeks owners would receive in rentals
2) Determine who is responsible for handling enquiries
3) Re-negotiate the rental program deals with your exchange company
4) Consider the use of a website, or websites, for your resort
5) Take time to review the perpetuity clauses within your Resort Constitution.

The conclusion of the panel was....
1)   If a Resort needs advice and help from another party, TATOC is in a position to put them in contact with a number of businesses including
2)   Re-sellers
3)   Marketers
4)   Social Media
5)   Professionals
6)   Clubs
7)   Interior Designers.   
Any, or all, of the above would be able to enhance and bring your resort to the attention of people contemplating and looking for a better holiday experience.                                                                           
2) If necessary use your resorts reserves to accelerate your on-going refurbishment program.                   
Mr Robin Mills thanked everybody for their participation in this seminar and hoped all had gained in bring a positive attitude in tackling its own resorts problems and duly closed this seminar.

March 7th
                                                          "TIME FOR CHANGE"
Robin Mills opened the 2015 TATOC Conference then gave a brief overview of Friday's seminar.
Harry Taylor welcomed delegates and introduced the TATOC "Back Room Staff" consisting of Mark, Pauline, Fran, Ryan, and Adam. Their great help and commitment had played a great part in putting together this year's Conference. They all received a well-deserved round of applause.
Harry explained that TATOC was embarking on an intense campaign to make more people aware of the workings of TATOC. A video titled "The A to Z of TATOC" was to be launched. The video was shown to the delegates and well received.                                                                                                                                       
Geoff Chapman then gave TATOC updates 2014.
The TATOC Consumer Helpline was now a separate limited company to meet the strict guidelines as given by the Charity Commission. It had taken three and a half years of dedicated hard work to be granted charitable status.
In a survey 96% of people questioned found that the Consumer Helpline extremely helpful and 2% of all calls in 2014 were a complaint against timeshare products or services offered.                                       
It was stressed that this Consumer Helpline is not a timeshare complaints line!
Mr Chapman went into detail about the Accreditation Programme, The Affiliation Programme, and the work of the Ambassadors plus the many new Regulations coming into force and TATOC's strict compliance.

Mark Caldicott, TATOC Consumer Helpline Updates 2014.
Mark gave delegates details of the new TATOC Consumer Helpline website and its extra dedicated telephone number 0345-230-2430.

TATOC Consumer Helpline had in excess of 750 cold caller companies reported to them since 2010.
In 2014 it received 5917 phone calls and 17212 e-mails from people asking for help and advice.     

From March 2014-Feb 2015, 7664 contacts and 26442 visits were made to the website.                       
The most asked question from consumers was    "How do we hand back our Timeshare."
Mark then gave an in-depth account on how far scammers will go to "hood-wink" unsuspecting people showing a video from an American news station which revealed a scam and how far they would go to mislead people in thinking they represented "TATOC".
A bogus American based Resale's Company had been using "TATOC's name with logo and went further with placing the names of Harry Taylor and Mark Caldicott on the "headed note paper"!                                       
TATOC has referred these cases to the US Department of Justice, are working closely with them and other USA agencies.

Gregory G. Crist, CEO, National Timeshare Owners Association, Inc. presented his thoughts on "The Timeshare Ownership Study" giving examples on how scammers were taking their "scams" to new levels.                                                                                                                             
Gregory informed delegates that he had been advising owners about Timeshare for nearly twenty years and gave examples on what consumers were saying on line within the social media websites Facebook and Twitter. However, limitations with presentation and how to use this new data still exist. He gave examples, by showing graphs; of ways this information could be used to present your views for a better audience impact.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Paul Gardner-Bougaard: RDO update 2014. He gave a brief report on the Friday Seminar for delegates that were unable to attend emphasising the work RDO does in battling fraudulent companies but unfortunately the lack of enforcement hindered them and used the phrase "like pushing water uphill". Despite this he stated that several companies would be taken to court later this year. Paul explained that fraudsters were successful simply because the Industry has not been transparent enough about exit policies. RDO members have signed up to their code of conduct.
Certainly now is a time for change in combating the new scammer companies.   
John Spence, CEO, and Chairman of the Karma Royal group spoke about the "Invasion from The East, New Tourism Trends" 

With his flamboyant style he enlightened all with the many aspects of his life. His company is also known for its lifestyle brand which offers a 5* hippie service.                                                                                                                                                           
Stating that the once cheap land in Asia has now gone, we now have good opportunities to purchase fantastic properties in Europe and the Caribbean this he called. "Reverse tourism trends".                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
New tourism trends are coming from Asia with the Asian traveller looking for new horizons to travel and wanted "Brand Locations".                               
He gave an insight of his life with founding Royal Resorts in 1993 in Goa to developing resorts in Australia, Bali, and Thailand. Not being content with his past achievements, more resorts followed in Greece, Bavaria, and India. Closer to home Karma Resorts now have a property on the Isles of Scilly namely Karma St.Martins.
The group now has 22 Resorts in four continents and six more properties being developed. John was very proud to mention that the group had purchased Laura Ashley's former estate namely Le Preverger on the French Riviera. This was opened in April 2014
John was emphatic that all sides, whether developer or owner must work together in driving the business forward. With his group continuing to set Industry benchmarks for passion, innovation and being able to provide new holiday products in today's challenging market one can only expect the best!

Darren Ettridge from Interval International spoke about "Why Change".
Darren spoke about marketing, legislation and the Internet. He remarked "If you want to know anything...."Google It". He gave the negatives in life and gave examples of three companies who would not change. Comet, Woolworth, Jessops, JJB, and Olan Mills, now, all gone!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Members attitudes have changed since the Timeshare product started with fixed weeks but it was then found that these members wanted flexibility; i.e. a points system but in a lot of cases we find that the Internet says NO! Thanks to the Internet, the Industry has a bad name and this must change. One way is offering new products that give flexibility towards different lengths of ownership.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Darren referred to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and You Tube. All powerful tools that were changing our lives.
The biggest challenges that face us are sales and marketing, Interval Leisure has also had to embrace this change to keep ahead of the rest. We must focus our energy on not fighting this change but building for the new and gave an example. "When the winds of change blow, some people build walls whilst others build wind mills".                                         
Delegates at this TATOC conference must also embrace this change.

Alex Radford from My Lawyer in Spain spoke about "Returning Timeshare Weeks to the Developer and the Legal Process Involved".                     

Alex is an English solicitor and Spanish abogado being a recognised expert in Europe advising trustees and owner run resorts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 He touched on the problems of escalating management fees when weeks are returned and went on to ask the question. Where are we now?                                                                                                                                             
Resorts with elderly members wanting to relinquish their timeshare, members defaulting on fees.                                                                                                                             
He asked the delegates; can weeks be returned to the owner or developer, if not, why not? He stressed  the need to review and change the resort constitution. Is your resort sustainable as a business and to survive the duration of your club?
Alex stated that no one magical solution exists, however, there is "light at the end of the tunnel".                                                                                         

Robin Mills moderated the "The International Industry Panel Discussion"                                                 
The panel. Dimitris Manikis, RCI; Phil Watson, Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket; and Ramy Filo, Classic Holidays Australia.
Ramy gave an insight to the Timeshare Industry in Australia and exit strategies. New products are being introduced with fixed, shorted time span, typically 15-25 year duration, being a much smaller market than that of the UK, we can work quicker in delivering solutions to these changes.                                 
Phil spoke about the ways resorts are looking at exit policies and stressed the need to "educate" the next generation. The Industry must look at selling and promoting better and to start the process of funding this scheme used a figure of adding 20p to each year's management fees.                                                                         
Dimitris described how the various continents had their own timeshare policy. On a serious note explained that if his family did not own timeshare, they would not be going on holiday! "Now with timeshare our children's holidays are the best ever!"
Dimitris emphasised that the word "exit" is further damaging the already perceived impression of the timeshare product.   
Robin asked the panellists what advice could the give the delegates present to take back to their resort committees.                                                       
Phil Watson.... put your resort on Facebook and promote the best of your resort.                         
Ramy Filo...get the next generation involved in timeshare, from this "feed-back" given, the resort sales team must have a say on resort betterment.         
Dimities Manikis... on what we hear from the various media the word Happiness in this world is not allowed, we only hear "moan and groins". Be more positive.           
Questions and comments from delegates included.
Resorts now are structured to a certain age group, we must now re-shape our Timeshare to suit the next generation.
Free Wi-Fi is just as important as toilet rolls are in a bathroom.
Perpetuity and exit policies are in the hands of the resort committees can be resolved with constitutional changes.

Vivienne Noyes-Thomas, "Christel House Charity"
Vivienne gave her annual report on progress during 2014.
The Christel House Golf Day raised £61,000
The London Marathon raised £22,000 TATOC and RDO donations totalled £67,000
A short film show followed on how these donations had helped and change the children's lives. She expressed her sincere gratitude for the on-going support each year from TATOC members.
During the Gala Dinner the TATOC Ambassador team sold raffle tickets raising £2710.00, all in aid of Christel House.  This was only made possible by the generosity of various companies and private individuals by providing the raffle prizes.   

Sunday March 8th.

Robin Mills moderated the "Resort Chairman Panel"
The panel: Phil Jennings, Club Las Calas; John Davey, Alpine Club; and Richard Coles, Cameron House;                                                                               

Phil gave an insight of Club Las Calas with giving details about unsold and re-possessed weeks. He stressed the need to work with commercial partners. Club Las Calas sinking fund at £1.6 million and was emphatic that it needed to increase.                             
He told delegates that it was important that they needed to take a much closer look on the performance and viability of their resorts to adapt for the future.
Richard spoke about the need for a recognised available option for the clubs aging members.

John Davey spoke about Alpine Club. Being in Austria and in the unique position of giving residents the best during the skiing season and the beautiful surrounding scenery of the summer months.
The resort needs to increase the sinking fund. When carrying out refurbishments it was essential to comply with the existing unit layout.
On unit rentals John expressed the need for a fair rental policy taking into account the management fees paid versus rental.
The panel were asked in one sentence what advice they could give to delegates to take away.
Phil: the need to have good media coverage, for example, Facebook site.                                                                                     
Richard: a good relationship with the resort owner.                                                           
John: work closely with the developer but never should he dictate to the committee.
Robin asked delegates, "What are you doing at your resort?"
Stuart Lamont said that resorts should provide external activities to supplement the benefits already available to guests; this in turn would then give a "complete holiday package". Committees should have a plan to bring in new members.                                                                                                                               
Phil Jennings said that his resort was aware of the need to bring in new members and were looking various options.
John Davey said that nobody in the room had come forward with a solution to what the next generation wants and that the whole Industry was looking towards short than long term contracts.           
Helen Foster highlighted the fact that resorts need to look at the best way on how they presented their products.
Robin Mills thanked the panel for their diverse and enlightening opinions.

Geoff Ramm, The multi-award winning professional Motivational Speaker and author of "Celebrity Service" and OMG Marketing gave a themed presentation. "A Time for Change "
He explained the importance for going back to basics, looking at what you had, getting it right with a good example as how Cadbury's Milk Tray was first marketed.                     
Is your business card as good as your business?  Putting your "brand" into a person's hand is about presentation.  Improve on everything that you have. Showing delegates a "humble" business card, he asked does size matter?
He challenged the delegates as to why timeshare has been marketing the product the same since the 1980's, why haven't we changed? We must stand out from the crowd and gave several examples on how to achieve this.  It's up to you! What can you all do to make this change?
The moderator, Robin Mills thanked all for their participation and Harry Taylor closed the 17th TATOC Conference.

John Woodward.



Thank you for this most comprehensive report Vernon.
I suggest you save it to file.
Given past performances, you should be able to copy and paste it for next years report.


Reading the above report from Vernon I noted the following.
Geoff Chapman says. "2% of all calls in 2014 were a complaint against timeshare products or services offered."
It was stressed that this Consumer Helpline is not a timeshare complaints line!
Mark Caldicott said a few sentences later. "The most asked question from consumers was"    "How do we hand back our Timeshare."
When consumers are pleading for advice on how to relieve themselves of their timeshare then this in reality is a complaint about the timeshare products that do not allow those wishing to leave, the current ability to do so.
It appears though that it is one complaint that some board members prefer to pretend is not there.

We have to wonder at the level of internal communications at this organisation?                                     


Tatoc represent themselves and not ordinary owners. They have no mandate from ordinary owners and no right to claim to speak for anyone but themselves as a self appointed organisation with close links to Developers.


If it is a consumer helpline and not a timeshare help line why is it run by Tatoc


Quote from: pathfinder on April 07, 2015, 18:53:33
Thank you for this most comprehensive report Vernon.
I suggest you save it to file.
Given past performances, you should be able to copy and paste it for next years report.

many thanks for your comments, they are noted


Quote from: vernon on April 08, 2015, 11:08:05
Quote from: pathfinder on April 07, 2015, 18:53:33
Thank you for this most comprehensive report Vernon.
I suggest you save it to file.
Given past performances, you should be able to copy and paste it for next years report.

many thanks for your comments, they are noted

Noting is not the answer. Actions are the answer that the consumers seek. It is a sad reflection on TATOC, RDO and the industry in general that actions are finally about to be enforced upon the industry by an EU Commission because of the failure of the industry to agree to fairer practices and TATOCs failure to act decisively and strongly and lobby effectively on behalf of the consumers it purports to represent.   


Unfortunately pathfinder seems to be correct. If we look back over a variety of conferences over the recent years we can see that all those involved have been sitting on their hands and all that seems to happen is that it  "is noted" Now suddenly we have the threat of EU intervention and hey presto action!! Consumers now have to lobby for a fair set of solutions that will benefit all and not just the Industry as we have had in the past via poor consumer representation.


The consumers need to be assured that there is a fair balance of representation between the consumer and the developer. It is obvious that most developers cannot see how they can profit from fair exit strategies being built into existing long term contracts. Thats why those that don't have fair exit strategies have been hanging on like grim death resisting an easy revenue in maintenance fees, as they can see no other way and no one is advising them any differently!

We as consumers must all accept that in order for everyone to benefit the developer needs to be shown how to make a profit beyond locking in members so they receive ongoing maintenance fees. The long term contracts need to be made more attractive for a younger generation. That won't be the case if potential new owners review the internet and note existing owners that are unhappy because they can't exit and maintenance fees may be high with some resorts when comparing 'like for like' rentals. Then they see that you have to pay to come in and if you can't sell your contract then you have to pay to come out by paying for another scheme or a multiple of your maintenances. Whose going to join now after a little research on the Internet??

RDO and TATOC should be showing them how this would work by having more flexible contracts with ongoing exit options you will attract younger members and existing members will be happy to transfer family/friends into their timeshare if they see that they are not locked in! Maintenances need to be reviewed and should in my opinion be assessed at a rate of cost depending on the season. Those in low season should be charged less!! Lets make the maintenances cheaper then comparable accommodation on a 'like for like' basis. This can be done as those who operate a fixed weeks system half your weeks are probably not owned now are empty anyway! Why not drop your maintenances by at least 30% from November - mid March (excluding school holiday time) As in the Uk its doubtful that your ownership is high at this time and even if your taking rentals how much are you really getting from your exchange company or the likes of Groupon and What damage is this causing to your members that paid to belong to an exclusive club!!

This really is all common sense and i and others have been debating this for years. If anyone can't see how this can be achieved then contact me directly or pm me. We need some forward thinking timeshare Companies to move with the times and when you do that we will promote you and you will benefit when potential new owners compare your initiative with others stuck in a time warp set up thirty years ago. If it was not so serious this would make a great comedy when reviewing some Timeshare Companies. Don't think I have not considered this....

As TATOC are representing the consumers on these workshop meetings that have taken place with the EU they should in my opinion be transparent and let us know what they have recommended on behalf of the consumers. Consumers should also be able to contribute with access to a survey that has fair questions that allows them to contribute. I have seen it time and again in various industries where surveys are contrived to bring out a specific outcome. So some thought must be given to this otherwise your only see a very small response.
Timeshare Weekly is an Independent website working with those who share similar ideals. We are here to guide the consumer make the very best of timeshare. We encourage positive change and solutions. Your either living in the problem or your living in the solution. Contact


Mavo & charlie 1 agree completely. Tatoc should come clean about just what it has said to the EU.


Quote from: Cogland on April 08, 2015, 18:51:37
Mavo & charlie 1 agree completely. Tatoc should come clean about just what it has said to the EU.

I can assure you Cogland that they will have followed procedure. It may not be the procedure that is required by the board or more importantly by the consumer but nevertheless it will be a procedure.


Yes Mavo thinking about it I am sure you are right. Maybe its time for timeshare owners to get mainstream consumer organisations like Which involved. Also perhaps The Daily Mirror could help after all they had hundreds of owners on their blog a couple of years ago when they investigated the industry and are aware of the problems.

Powered by EzPortal