The National Timeshare Owners Association is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this month and we thought we would sit down to catch up with NTOA’s CEO Gregory Crist on what the organization has been up to.
What is the core mission of the NTOA?
Our mission is to educate timeshare owners and the public about vacation ownership, advocate on the behalf of owners when needed as well as encourage responsible timeshare usage. Ultimately, we want owners to get the most beneficial usage possible.
How has the NTOA changed over the last two decades?
I’ve been at the helm for the past several years and our team has worked very hard to transform the NTOA from a relatively small, niche group into a robust and thriving organization with strong ties and relationships in the international timeshare community including the CVOA, TATOC, CARE and ASUDESTICO.
What made NTOA decide to expand outside the United States?
Shortly after we started our toll-free owner help desk, we began receiving calls from Canadian owners as well as other owners around the globe. That got us thinking about working closer with other associations in the industry that were based outside the U.S. and who could help us to resolve owner matters that cross outside our borders. We currently have members in nearly every state as well as province in Canada, so this has been a huge expansion for the NTOA.
What type of assistance is available to timeshare owners through the help desk?
The 844-ASK-NTOA program receives a number of owner inquiries and requests on a daily basis. In terms of assistance, this might include verifying the authenticity of a timeshare company, sharing resale tips, helping with alternative dispute resolution and finding direct resources for nearly anything an owner may need.
How has the Timeshare Owners Study changed NTOA’s approach to owner education?
Timeshare owners have different needs than the rest of the traveling public. Our unique blend of education, products and services reflects those needs. The Timeshare Owners Study is based on technology that captures key data and segments the online sentiment of timeshare owners. The study has truly allowed us to keep our fnger on the pulse of activity that is happening online from over 77,000 websites and social media programs like Facebook and Twitter. So far, we have collected over 2M pieces of individual data. We now have tremendous insight on what owners want and need based on their posts online. This has really helped us to customize our member education based on what we feel owners are seeking knowledge on.
Where does Advocacy for owners really come in?
While the public facing side of the NTOA is well-known, we’ve also been tirelessly working in “stealth mode” with law enforcement agencies around the country as well as with timeshare developers, HOAs and management companies. Our data and knowledge base is quite extensive and we have had tremendous success in both helping prosecute some well established rouge transfer companies as well as assisting legacy resort HOAs find ways to prevent fraudulent transfers from occurring. This work has been the most satisfying for us because we have been able to help so many owners and HOA’s at once.
What makes up NTOA’s member base?
Individual owners can join the NTOA directly on our website but we also onboard many owners through an innovative umbrella program designed to support the HOA through revenue sharing. This program allows us to work hand in hand with an HOA, their management company and thousands of owners.
What’s next for NTOA?
We are always looking at adding additional benefits and services that provide good member value. We think we have found a good mix of programming and finally we will be expanding into Mexico by the end of 2017 which gives us great coverage across North America. We are very excited about the growth and evolution of vacation ownership and the opportunities it will bring to our members. For more information, check out NTOA’s website at ntoassoc.com