Thursday, March 23, 2006


The timeshare Real Estate Industry Has Supported Regulatory Measures

The timeshare industry has supported regulatory measures on both the state and federal level that enforce proper sales standards and practices. ARDA takes a hard line with members who do not comply with our industry’s stringent marketing standards or those who fail to comply with state and federal laws that are in place.

The National Do Not Call Registry, which opened for consumer registrations in June 2003, initially created much discussion and some concern within our industry. For decades, timeshare companies had used phone sales as an integral element of their sales strategy.

In recent years, however, many companies have broadened their marketing mix, incorporating a sophisticated blend of modern tools that require less emphasis on traditional telemarketing.

That was in June 2003—today, some 85 million Americans are on the National Do Not Call Registry that bars unsolicited phone calls. Although initially concerned with this new federal law, the industry immediately complied and found better, more creative, consumer-friendly methods of reaching prospective owners. Savvy entrepreneurs also developed award-winning tools for helping timeshare industry players adhere to the regulatory requirements.

Innovative timeshare marketing practices (including exposure in retail outlets and the Internet), advertising, and public relations have also proven to be highly successful. Consumers value messages received in a welcoming manner rather than through unsolicited phone calls to their homes.

But most importantly, the value of timeshare sells itself, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors of the hospitality industry. Vacation ownership is offered through valuable and flexible products, meeting the needs of all demographics. And timeshare sales have never been stronger.

In the nearly three years since Do Not Call went into effect, the timeshare industry has grown by leaps and bounds. In 2004, the first full year, U.S. timeshare sales totaled $7.8 billion, which is a dramatic increase above the 2003 sales of $6.48 billion. As of January 1, 2005, there were 1,688 vacation ownership resorts in the United States, and more than 3.87 million families who own a U.S. timeshare, up from 3.4 million in 2003 and 3 million in 2002.

The timeshare industry has evolved and adapted to comply with regulation and meet the needs of consumers—further testament to the ingenuity, flexibility, drive, and focus that is bred into the professionals we cultivate.

The value of vacation timeshare ownership is now well known, and I am confident that thanks to our know-how and determination, our timeshare industry’s growth will only continue at the rapid pace we have enjoyed.

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