Guest Column By:
Jon Zwickel, President of CRDA
The vacation ownership industry was founded by innovators who were committed to creating better ways for the travelling public to enjoy their leisure time. But as our resorts, our recreational amenities, our buyers and our owners age, many believe we have fallen behind in delivering on that promise.
As industry leaders, we cannot be content with simply staying the course and following trends. We need to step up our game by setting the course. Jim Madrid, emcee of CRDA’s recent conference, stated the situation simply and succinctly in his closing remarks, “Change or be challenged.”
There exists a broad, diverse base of vacation ownership industry stakeholders – HOAs, resellers, exchange companies, rental companies, management companies, developers and suppliers – whose interests are not always aligned.
We can – in fact, we must change this to an atmosphere of cooperation. If we do, the opportunity will exist to pool our collective resources and adopt vibrant, inspired, responsive programs. Programs to consider include:
- Defining standards for our resorts and then committing to maintenance programs that support those standards.
- Renewing our resorts with capital expenditures that are responsive to our markets.
- Exploring ways to provide unique, authentic, fun vacation experiences.
- Creating experiences that are appeal to the diversity of our market.
- Refreshing our sales methods to compel the next generation of vacation owners.
- Establishing exchange opportunities that promote owner engagement.
- Respecting the environment along with the local community.
As I speak with our Canadian members, I am constantly reminded that even though the scope of our industry is global, the challenges we face and the solutions we find can be shared. So I believe that if we reset our compass and refocus on the early vision of our industry founders, we will keep owners engaged, support resale values and attract new buyers. CRDA is pleased to be working with the National Timeshare Owners Association and is committed to working with both developers and owners to improve our industry.