Press Releases

Timeshare Owners Share Vacation Experiences in Video, Photo and Story Contest

May 4, 2009

Washington, DC – May 4, 2009 – As part of the travel industry’s efforts to promote the power of travel during National Travel and Tourism Week, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is encouraging timeshare owners to share the secret of better vacationing through its annual contest. Timeshare owners will have a chance to win $1,000 by entering a vacation photo, story or short video depicting a memory of a timeshare vacation that impacted their health, family or overall enjoyment of life.

ARDA points to studies that show there are undisputed, long-term benefits associated with taking regular vacations that contribute to better health, relationships and job performance. However, while vacations are fast becoming recognized as a critical component of wellness and healthy living, Americans are trying to grapple with how to afford a vacation during these tough economic times.

“Vacation ownership products continue to offer a tremendous value for the consumer, both economically and emotionally,” said ARDA president and CEO Howard Nusbaum who said that the timeshare industry has long promoted the need to take time to vacation at least once a year. According to ARDA, timeshare owners continue to travel to their timeshare destinations despite smaller travel budgets and less discretionary income. In fact, vacation ownership properties are experiencing more than 80% occupancy rates as of March 31, 2009.

The real value of timeshare ownership comes from the discipline of better vacation planning and consistent quality accommodations. Creating lasting memories year after year should be viewed as a necessity, not a luxury.

Purchasing and essentially pre-paying for your future vacations at today’s prices take the stress out of planning for one while guaranteeing that you get away at least once a year. Today, there are 76 million baby-boomers that are extremely compelled by the value proposition of better vacationing with timeshare.

“Timeshare owners are our industry’s biggest advocates and we hope the stories, pictures and videos submitted throughout this contest will help give other travelers a glimpse into a better vacation experience,” said Nusbaum.

Winners in each of the three categories – story, photo and video – will receive $1,000 and the runners-up will each receive $250. Additionally, the winning story, photo and video will be featured on www.VacationBetter.orgwww.arda.org, and in ARDA’s Developments magazine. Timeshare owners can visit www.VacationBetter.org for further submission details and prize information.

About ARDA:
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.

At Least a Healthier, More Relaxed You

December 15, 2008

Washington, DC (December 15, 2008) – Seventy-five percent of respondents polled in a survey conducted by VacationBetter.org this month, did not take all of their vacation this year, often foregoing it due to economic or work issues. As the New Year approaches, many of us make resolutions to lose weight, exercise more or do something that makes us look or feel better. The best resolution this year is to commit to taking an annual break to reconnect and recharge. Giving up vacation may actually cost you more in healthcare costs in the long run.

Perhaps it is time to follow New Year advice from a group of people that do tend to keep their resolution past January: timeshare owners. Studies show that there are undisputed, long-term benefits associated with taking regular vacations that contribute to better health, relationships and job performance. 2008 was the year of the “Staycation,” a new idea designed to make staying home sound like a good use of vacation time. Unfortunately, staying confined to the normal routines of daily life will not produce the long-lasting benefits of a traditional vacation.

“Put away the cell phone and laptop and disengage from the daily hassles of your life,” says John de Graaf, executive director of Take Back Your Time, an initiative encouraging time outside of work. “Our goal is to make 2009 the year we all actually take our vacations.”

Although Americans are experiencing tighter budgets, vacations should be viewed as a necessity rather than a luxury. Traveling with timeshare eases the necessity of vacation by taking the stress out of planning for one while accommodating every traveler’s desires. And, vacation ownership accommodations provide for better family time because people can participate in activities at their own leisure. Timeshare ensures this process will happen at least once a year, every year, which means a healthier, more relaxed life.

Everyone deserves a vacation in 2009, and not just a good one, but a better one. Go to www.VacationBetter.org to take a survey on your New Year’s goals.

About ARDA:
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.

Vacation Is a Necessity Not a Luxury

December 2, 2008

Washington, DC (December 2, 2008) — As the year comes to a close, many Americans prepare to travel during the holidays to spend time with family and friends. The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) reminds them that especially during tough economic times, to remember that vacations are a necessity—not a luxury.

“Too many people look at vacations as a luxury and are ready to give them up as a quick cost-cutting measure. They shouldn’t,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA. “And now, more than ever, we need to take a break — a real break, not just a long weekend—from our stressed-out lives.”

ARDA points to a growing body of research that shows clear benefits to vacationing such as decreased stress levels; higher productivity and better job performance; and improved relationships. Overall, taking time to rejuvenate can lead to better physical and emotional health.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, even before the downturn, Americans were working through their vacation time and taking fewer and shorter holidays. An Expedia survey found that an estimated 47.5 million Americans will not use all of their vacation days, giving back more than 460 million days in 2008.

The timeshare industry has long promoted the benefits of vacationing at least once a year, recognizing the inherent value of rest and relaxation for overall wellness. And, timeshare owners continue to travel during rough economic periods. According to the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) 2008 Vacation Timeshare Owners Report, in the past year, 81.9 percent of timeshare owners used, exchanged or banked their time for future use. Only nine percent of all owners left their timeshare unused.

“Timeshare owners are more likely than others to take their vacation time because they’ve pre-paid it and realize the benefits they get from a regular break,” said John de Graaf, wellness advocate and author of Take Back Your Time. “Taking a vacation is essential for health and a great way to bring an entire family together.”

Everyone deserves not only a vacation, but a better vacation. For more information, visit www.VacationBetter.org.

About ARDA
The American Resort Development Association is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has over 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

About John de Graaf
Executive Director of Take Back Your Time
De Graaf is an independent documentary producer from Seattle and the author of the documentary Affluenza. He also edited the book, Take Back Your Time. He is a frequent speaker on issues of over consumption and overwork in America. Take Back Your Time is a U.S./Canadian initiative to challenge the epidemic of the overwork/over-scheduling time famine that now threatens our health, our families and relationships, our communities, and our environment.

Not Just a Nicety; Vacations are a Necessity

October 28, 2008

Washington, DC (October 28, 2008 – Recent research shows that the long-term benefits associated with taking regular vacations contribute to better health, relationships and job performance. In fact, the statistics are astounding. Men who don’t vacation regularly are 32 percent more likely to die of heart attacks; women are 50 percent more likely.1 In an effort to encourage Americans to become more disciplined about taking time each year to rejuvenate, VacationBetter.org has partnered with John de Graaf, a leading authority on this subject.

“People need to understand the important health benefits they will get from taking time away from their normal routine,” says John de Graaf, executive director of Take Back Your Time, an initiative encouraging time outside of work. “Vacations are not a luxury but an important part of any healthy lifestyle.”

For nearly 20 years, de Graaf’s efforts have focused on the belief that Americans are vacation deprived. A recent study from Expedia estimates that 47.5 million Americans will not use all of their earned vacation days this year, leaving an average of three unused. In total, they will give back more than 460 million vacation days.

De Graaf’s research points to hectic, work-life balance issues in the United States as a leading contributor to why Americans don’t take the time or often overlook the importance of vacations. Furthermore, getting away for regular vacations proves challenging for many, especially in tough economic times. There is growing evidence, however, that investing in a vacation means investing in your personal health and overall well-being. One to two weeks away from the daily routine leads to better job performance and productivity, increasing reaction times by 30 to 40 percent. In addition, quality of sleep increases by about one hour a night upon return from vacation. “Simply put, people can’t afford not to take a vacation,” says de Graaf.

“It’s time for over-stressed Americans to write their own prescription: ‘Take Two Weeks and Call Me in the Morning’,” says de Graaf. “That regular vacation break will keep people out of the doctor’s office and enjoying life.”

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) has long promoted the need to vacation at least once a year. “Spending quality time away from the stresses of daily life and ensuring that every member of the family will have the necessary space to rejuvenate adds value to the vacation experience,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA. “We look forward to working with John to help make the connection that Americans are vacation deprived and that taking a regular vacation will provide long-lasting health and family benefits.”

Further information on taking better vacations, including guest articles on the topic of vacation matters by John de Graaf, can be found at www.vacationbetter.org.

About John de Graaf
De Graaf is the executive director of Take Back Your Time, a U.S./Canadian initiative to challenge the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine that now threatens our health, our families and relationships, our communities and our environment.

About VacationBetter.org
The American Resort Development Association’s (ARDA) new on-line resource informs consumers on the importance of taking a vacation and the overall benefits of enjoying one – regularly – through shared vacation ownership.VacationBetter.org is a comprehensive, educational tool for consumers to learn about this travel option and to demonstrate a way for travelers to vacation better.

1 According to Reporting inthe Journal Psychosomatic Medicine in 2000.

American Resort Development Association Promotes Online Resource

September 9, 2008

Washington, DC (September 9, 2008) – The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) today unveiled its new online resource to inform consumers on the importance of taking a vacation and the benefits of enjoying one – regularly – through vacation ownership.

VacationBetter.org is a comprehensive, educational tool for consumers to learn about vacation ownership and to demonstrate a way for travelers to vacation better.

According to ARDA, people are faced with an increasingly diverse marketplace and options in leisure travel particularly blogs and travel related websites, making today’s vacation home market a continually evolving one.

“VacationBetter.org is a comprehensive resource that provides accurate information about vacations and timeshare products,” said Howard Nusbaum, ARDA president and CEO. “People love to vacation, but don’t always understand that there are great options like timeshare available to them. This site will be the ‘go-to’ resource on the Internet for all things timeshare.”

The website includes owner stories and photos, vacation information, and other tools to demonstrate that taking a vacation is an important priority and that a dream vacation can become a reality.

Despite recent surveys that found Americans receive the smallest amount of vacation time among their counterparts abroad with many failing to use it, timeshare owners continue to vacation despite challenging economic conditions. According to a study soon to be released by the ARDA International Foundation (AIF), timeshare owners spent an average of 19.5 days on leisure travel over the past twelve months.

Even Americans who do not take all of their vacation time each year recognize that vacations are much needed “sanity breaks” to prevent burnout from their jobs and daily life. Some studies point to increased stress levels, health risks and strained relationships as contributing factors from too much work and not enough vacation.

The website also provides steps to help the “vacation deprived” ensure that their next vacation is the best possible experience it can be. ARDA member resorts provide spacious accommodations in stunning locations with all the comforts of home. A timeshare resort offers hassle-free second home vacations designed with the sole purpose of making the most of precious leisure time together.

“VacationBetter.org will help begin to shift the mindset of today’s consumer from the feeling of ‘burn out’ to realizing the benefits of vacationing and committing to a vacation,” said Nusbaum.

Everyone deserves not only a vacation, but a better vacation. For more information, visit www.VacationBetter.org.

About ARDA
The American Resort Development Association is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has over 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

American Resort Development Association Encourages Failies to ‘Take Time for Togetherness’

August 13, 2008

Washington, DC (August 13, 2008) – Honoring the long tradition of connecting far-flung families during the summer months, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) offers “how-to” travel options to help make family reunions fun, affordable and stress-free. ‘Take Time for Togetherness’ is an ARDA initiative that provides suggested reunion activities, location ideas and success tips through vacation ownership products.

Family reunions continue to grow in importance and according to a recent Orbitz study, 50 percent of respondents said their favorite group to travel with is their extended family. And although the survey respondents wanted to be together for activities and meals, when asked about preferred sleeping arrangements, most said they wanted privacy.

“Today’s family reunions look very different than the outdoor picnics and sleeping on your grandmother’s couch of yesterday. Families now want to make the most of traveling long distances to visit relatives,” said Howard Nusbaum, ARDA president and CEO. “From spacious accommodations to activities for everyone, many travelers are turning to timeshare products as vacation options for family reunions. Timeshare continues to provide an experience for large families to be together, yet retain space for themselves.”

‘Take Time for Togetherness’ provides travelers with event planning tips including managing invitations, selecting a location, ice-breaker games, decorations and ways to stay in touch all year long. The helpful hints are available by request now, and on a new consumer website by ARDA called www.vacationbetter.org that will go live mid-September.

“Every year for the past thirteen years, I’ve received the best holiday gift a person could hope for — three generations of my family coming together for a week during the Christmas season,” said Susan Humme, a Bluegreen owner. “I feel so lucky that all of us have been able to get together at MountainLoft in the Great Smoky Mountains and enjoy family time together year after year. It really makes the most wonderful time of the year even more special,” she added.

Everyone deserves not only a vacation, but a better vacation – especially when it’s a family reunion.

About ARDA
The American Resort Development Association is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has over 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

Average occupancy exceeds 80 percent; 6.5 million intervals owned

June 30, 2008

Washington, DC (June 30, 2008)—Timeshares sales climbed 6 percent over 2006, with sales totaling $10.6 billion in 2007, according to a new study of the U.S. vacation timeshare industry conducted by Ernst & Young, LLP. The survey encompasses 628 timeshare resorts throughout the country, showing sales up 66 percent since 2003 and an average resort size growth of 32 percent.

As of January 1, 2007, there were 1,641 timeshare resorts in the United States. The total number of weekly equivalent intervals owned was approximately 6.5 million and new owners increased to 4.7 million owners.

“The continued growth of the timeshare industry in today’s economy is a direct indication of strong consumer satisfaction and demand. Vacation ownership, with its flexibility and spacious accommodations, continues to be a preferred travel choice for American families,” said Howard Nusbaum, ARDA president and CEO.

The number of timeshare units in the United States, as of January 1, 2008, was 180,158, with 8,000 newly constructed units built in 2007. Respondents expect continued growth with around 8,000 new units built in 2008.

Average occupancy was over 80 percent in 2007, including nearly 70 percent who were either owners or exchange guests and more than 10 percent who were renters and/or marketing guests.

Florida, California and South Carolina have the most resorts representing 39 percent of all U.S. timeshare resorts. Florida continues to lead the nation with the most resorts (23 percent), the largest resorts and the greatest sales volume. California houses 9 percent of timeshare resorts in the U.S. followed by South Carolina at 7 percent. The remaining states, grouped in regions, reported the following representation of U.S. resorts: Mountain (18 percent); Northeast (11 percent); Pacific (9 percent); South Central (9 percent); and the Midwest and South Atlantic (both 8 percent).

Beach resorts are the most common primary designation of resorts (24 percent), and country/lake resorts second (16 percent). Golf (8 percent) is the most often available amenity nearby and/or onsite and other vacation experiences noted include National/State parks, spa resorts, and historic sites.

Two-bedroom units continue to represent the most common size (61 percent), followed by one-bedroom (24 percent), three bedroom or larger (9 percent), and studio units (7 percent). The average price of a timeshare interval sold was $19,216.

Ninety-nine percent of respondents are affiliated with Interval International and/or Group RCI exchange networks. Thirteen percent of respondent have a self-administered program, generally in addition to an affiliation with one of the two major exchange companies.

Resorts have added sophistication to the way owners can buy timeshare intervals. Many offer increased flexibility for owners to customize their vacation needs by offering “points” instead of just selling one week per year. Points owners can break up or extend vacation weeks, travel during various times of the year and/or stay in various unit sizes at a range of locations. About two-thirds of respondents offer intervals of the traditional weekly variety, and 56 percent offer some form of points-based product.

Study Methodology
The study results are based on the survey questionnaire responses of 628 timeshare resorts of the 1,641 timeshare resorts identified, representing 38 percent of existing timeshare resorts in the U.S. Of these 628 responding resorts, 520 belong to a family of five or more resorts, while 108 belong to a family of less than five resorts. 90 were single-site developers.

About ARDA
The American Resort Development Association is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has over 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

About AIF
The ARDA International Foundation (AIF) conducts research and develops education programming for the timeshare industry. The Foundation’s mission is to “support, conduct, and disseminate research and technical studies that will enhance and improve knowledge for the public and the industry, and develop educational resources that will optimize value, operations, acceptance, and service for the industry and the public.”

American Resort Development Association Concurs with Recent Survey Findings that Americans are Vacation-Deprived

May 21, 2008

Washington, DC (May 21, 2008) — While many people across this great nation get ready to celebrate the first weekend of summer, most people don’t have any plans to vacation this year. Based on the recent Expedia Vacation Deprivation™ survey, Americans not only receive the smallest amount of vacation time among their counterparts abroad, they often fail to use it. The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) challenges the vacation-deprived among us take the first step to recovery and admit there is a problem.

“I’m dismayed but not surprised at these findings,” said Howard Nusbaum, ARDA president and CEO. “People need to realize that taking time to unwind is an important health benefit. Relieving stress, spending family time and re-energizing will pay dividends throughout the rest of the year.”

The second step in vacation deprivation recovery is to ensure that the vacation is the best possible experience it can be. ARDA member resorts provide spacious accommodations in stunning locations with all the comforts of home. A timeshare resort offers hassle-free second home vacations designed with the sole purpose of making the most of precious leisure time together.

Expedia found that despite reporting an average of 14 paid vacation days again this year, the same as 2007 and two more than in 2005, an estimated 47.5MM Americans will not use all of their vacation days. Again this year, employed U.S. adults will leave an average of three vacation days on the table, in essence giving back more than 460 million vacation days in 2008.

Everyone deserves not only a vacation, but a better vacation. For more information contact ARDA at www.arda.org.

The American Resort Development Association is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has over 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

Industry Encourages Travelers to Explore Timeshare Opportunities

May 8, 2008 | View PDF Version

Washington, DC (May 8, 2008)—As the summer travel season nears, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) offers the following tips for consumers considering their vacation ownership options:

To enjoy the benefits of vacation ownership, or timesharing, consumers make a one-time purchase of a share of furnished resort accommodations, choosing from a wide range of products designed to suit any lifestyle. Vacation owners enjoy spacious accommodations, a variety of on-site amenities and services, and flexibility in their travel options through vacation exchange. By trading some or all of the time they own, consumers can take advantage of different vacation experiences at thousands of resorts around the world.

All shared ownership resort interests come in two basic forms: a deeded interest in real estate and a right-to-use, or non-deeded,interest. These two basic forms are called by many names—some required under state law and others adopted for marketing purposes.However, the majority of shared ownership resorts today convey a use right backed by a deeded interest in real property—by whatever name it may be called. Deeded real estate interests are usually called “timeshare estates” under state law, and non-deeded interests are “timeshare uses” or “timeshare licenses” officially, but may also be called “memberships.”

Timeshares. Traditional timeshares regardless of whether they are backed by a deed or not, allow buyers to purchase an increment of time, typically one week, in a condominium or apartment type of furnished accommodation.Timeshare owners receive either a fixed week or a floating time reservation arrangement that may vary by unit type and season.More than two-thirds of timeshare interests today are deeded.

Fractional/private residence club. These owners typically purchase accommodations with related use rights in increments of more than two weeks and sometimes as long as three months (a quarter share).This type of ownership is almost always deeded and is a more affordable alternative to a second home.Owners benefit by avoiding the ongoing maintenance responsibilities of an entire second home, and usually enjoy a high level of service as part of the product.This product segment is considered the luxury tier of shared ownership.

Vacation club. This name generally describes a company or related group of resorts that offers consumers vacation accommodations in more than one location.When a consumer purchases an interest in a “vacation club,” it is either deeded or non-deeded like any other vacation ownership interest.If the vacation club interest is deeded, the consumer is usually said to own at a “home” resort at which he or she has a priority right of use. Even if the vacation club interest is not deeded, the consumer could still have a home resort or could have a “membership” in the club that entitles him or her to use any of the club’s component resorts.Vacation clubs offer highly flexible use of multiple resorts, subject to certain advance reservation priorities and rules.Some well-known timeshare companies market their properties as a vacation club that provides their consumers with both a deeded interest in real property and multi-site flexibility.

Exchange. An exchange company allows existing timeshare owners to trade their timeshare interests for comparable accommodations and travel-related services.Most resorts are affiliated with an exchange company, and many resort companies also offer an internal exchange mechanism that allows owners to exchange to resorts within their resort group.If an internal resort exchange is mandatory or long-term, it is usually considered to be a vacation club.Fractional and private residence club resorts may offer exchange opportunities for their owners as well.Some exchange companies have a special program for these kinds of resorts.

Points.Points are another aspect of vacation ownership that allows consumers to use their vacation product in a highly flexible fashion.Points are simply a numeric representation of the relative use management value of the timeshare or fractional interest purchased—which again can be either a deeded or non-deeded interest.There are a few companies that offer “pure points” without the sale of an underlying specific timeshare interest.By purchasing points in any of their formats, the consumer can use their points to reserve different combinations of accommodation sizes, locations and seasons, and may also be able to acquire a variety of travel services depending on the rules of the timeshare company.Think of points like tickets—symbolic of the product or service being used or reserved.

Vacation ownership is highly regulated. The various products described above must comply with strict standards set forth in state timeshare laws as well as several federal laws before being offered to consumers. For nearly 40 years, ARDA members have worked with federal and state governments to support consumer protection legislation. As a result, purchasers have a five- to seven-day rescission period in most states that allows them time to cancel a purchase contract for any reason and get their money back.Further, most state timeshare laws require truth in advertising, protect purchasers’ timeshares from the developer’s debt, and assure that purchasers receive detailed information about the timeshare plan they are buying, including the type of timeshare interest, how to use the product, management and budget information and much more.State timeshare laws usually apply whether the vacation product is called a timeshare, fractional, private residence club, vacation club or points product.

Know what you are buying. ARDA and its member companies urge consumers to know what vacation product they are purchasing by reading the contract carefully and asking questions about their vacation purchase. For more information and consumer tips, please visit ARDA at www.arda.org.

The American Resort Development Association is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has over 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).