Today Inside Timeshare publishes another article submitted by Irene Parker, with the end of the election in the USA, Irene looks at the divide in the nation and how this also equates to the divide in the timeshare world. In this article she looks at the great gap between owners and developers, using a video from Parker J. Palmer titled “Stand in the Tragic Gap”, showing how there are two sides to any controversial issue.
Again Irene calls on developers to join with owners to find a solution which will benefit both parties, it has been said before in previous articles, until both parties work together then there is little hope for this industry. There are many owners who love what they have, but there are also many who feel they have been let down, either with the “resale” or “secondary” market, or down to the problem of handing back when no longer being able to use either from illness, financial changes or just old age. This is also a problem for many owners in Europe, some developers have put in place exit strategies, some are fair, others are downright greedy with up to 4 years maintenance payments and only limited numbers being allowed to exit on a first come first served basis. In other words you need the luck of a lottery win.
Inside Timeshare hopes this article will explain the problem and how it can be solved, enjoy.
How Will the Outcome of the US Presidential Election Affect Timeshare?
By Irene Parker, November 9, 2016
Like the Clinton and Trump camps, timeshare owners and developers cannot heal until the two sides listen to each other. If we continue to
“Stand in the Tragic Gap”
Timeshare will continue to be a battlefield with timeshare owners at odds with timeshare developers. True and meaningful dialogue could heal an election or timeshare. Sometimes timeshare and elections overlap, as in the case of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi:
According to the Tragic Gap, creator Parker J. Palmer says there are two sides to any controversial issue. One side Parker Palmer calls “corrosive cynicism” – “greed is how this works, I take mine, run and forget these other people and their needs.” The other side is “irrelevant idealism”. Parker Palmer claims both sides cause a functional disconnect that takes us out of action.
Take a listen:
Timeshare owners of the Diamond Resorts Grand Beach Resort, a 192-unit property in Orlando, Fla. … learned in a letter in September that their annual maintenance fee would rise 14.9 percent this year.
“Anything that is put in the budget that gets expended on an annual basis, we get our 15 percent fee,” Mr. Palmer explained to investors at a September 2014 conference, according to a transcript. “That is basically a 100 percent profit business.”
Many remember the junk bond debacle and subprime mortgage issues that drove unsuspecting homeowners into foreclosure, while unscrupulous lenders like Drexel Burnham Lambert made billions.
Fast forward and the founder of DBL formed Apollo Global Management, now owner of Diamond Resorts. The story of the Saldana family, as described in an earlier article, is a case in point – demonstrating that predatory lending has reemerged with a timeshare twist. The Saldana family was left with no vacation plans after rising maintenance fees forced the family to surrender their vacation plan – but leaving the family with a $33,000 home equity loan taken out to reduce the 14% to 18% timeshare loan.
Meanwhile, according to the Apollo buyout of Diamond Resorts:
15 people “would be entitled to receive an aggregate amount of $624,131,129 in cash.”
The bulk of that will go to Stephen J. Cloobeck, Diamond’s founder, and Mr. Palmer, the chief executive. Mr. Cloobeck would be entitled to $384 million and Mr. Palmer would receive $173 million.
Recent Florida legislation put timeshare developers at even greater odds with owners. Florida state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, and state Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland sponsored House Bill 453 and Senate Bill 932, which when passed during the 2015 legislative session, made a number of technical changes to the Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act.
The lawmakers and the industry’s trade association, the American Resort Development Association ARDA, described the legislation as a bill that “modernizes” state law, but several consumer advocacy groups disagreed, stating that the new law would make it more difficult for consumers seeking relief from increased timeshare assessments and maintenance fees.
Scott Maxwell, writing for The Orlando Sentinel, also disagreed with ARDA’s position. Maxwell asked Sen. Stargel and Rep Eisnaugle, if they could identify any constituent or ordinary citizen who had asked them to file this bill on their behalf. In response, the legislators provided the name of “the CEO of a South Carolina-based time-share group lobbying for this bill.”
Not all timeshare companies are bad. Some have worked with advocates to grow programs that benefit both investors and owners.
“Some of the best companies that operate in the timeshare industry are Disney, Hyatt, Starwood, and Hilton. These are the leaders who set the bar higher with regard to standards and a culture imported from the hospitality side of their businesses. It appears that the culture and management of these groups are distinctively different than those timeshare companies who were initially created to sell timeshare first, and take care of customers later. Although the trends seem to indicate the pure timeshare companies are making gains in term of customer satisfaction, and delivery on the sales promise, surveys continue to show they have a way to go to catch up to branded hospitality companies overall,” said Greg Crist of National Timeshare Owners Association.
Timeshare Owners should have the right to talk to other owners without censure. Privacy laws were the subject of our last Inside Timeshare article. We will continue this topic in our next article about ARDA – ROC and the “voluntary donation” to ARDA ROC to determine if the money raised is used to benefit owners or developers. Both sides are welcome to the discussion.
As usual Irene puts the views of owners across in a way that calls for dialogue, it openly calls for both parties to join the discussion. Timeshare was and can still be a good product, in the early days in European timeshare, owners actually felt they belonged to something. They felt they had a voice in the running of their resorts, some today still have that, they tend to be owners of small independent resorts who have nothing to do with the wider industry. Could they be the model for the future?
Inside Timeshare would again like to thank Irene for her insights and looks forward to more from her. Inside Timeshare also joins with Irene in calling for both parties to work together, not just in the USA but also in Europe, together so much can be achieved for the better.
If you have any concerns, questions or comments on this article or those previously published, Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. Have a good weekend.