Welcome to the end of the week, today Inside Timeshare reports of the latest news coming from Malta. It has been announced in the Times of Malta that timeshare sales are ending at the Radisson Blu Golden Sands Resort and Spa with the loss of around 80 jobs. Azure Services Ltd which is the sales and marketing company for the resort told employees by email that “the majority” of staff will be made redundant. They will be making way for a new “elite team” which will be embarking on a “new strategy”. As yet we don’t know what this new strategy is, but this will be a blow for the staff especially at this time of year. (See link at the end for the full article)
Azure Services Ltd is part of the Limora Group owned by the Trotta family and is the Maltese sister company of Silverpoint selling the very same products. Azure Services was set up in 2003 with the sole intention of selling timeshare or as they called it “vacation ownership” at the five-star Radisson Blu Golden Sands located at Golden Bay beach at Għajn Tuffieħa.
Linked to the hotel at one point were the Manchester United football players Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, they had invested in Island Hotels Group which was the company that managed the hotel. This was a major selling point for the sales staff and tended to swing sales in their favour.
In 2015, the Corinthia Group, the parent company of Corinthia Hotels a Maltese hotel company acquired a 50 per cent share of Azure Services, with the remaining 50 per cent being owned by international investors (Limora Group).
On Monday the email sent to employees explained that the company would no longer be selling timeshare or holiday clubs but the focus would be on servicing its thousands of members.
The email went on to say “inevitably, in consequence of this new strategy going forward, the majority of the sales and marketing teams will need to be made redundant to make way for an elite team of marketing and sales staff selected to promote and take forward this new strategy.”
There will also be a restructuring of other servicing departments and this could increase the numbers losing their jobs to 120.
In the Times of Malta report, a spokesman said that both sets of shareholders remained committed to the future of the resort as a “high-end luxury destination.” They also maintained that Azure and Golden Sands Resort would fully honour all timeshare commitments arising from obligations to existing members
Azure sold not just the basic timeshare but also copied the model from their sister company in Tenerife Silverpoint, this was the selling of “investment” weeks with the promise of rental income and then a resale with profit after 2 years. None of this ever materialised.
They also moved into selling membership points-based holiday club called Azure X, which Inside Timeshare has been told by readers is known as XP. These are explained by the sales staff as a virtual currency such as bitcoin and could be traded in the same manner or used to gain access to motor yachts, supercars and other hotels which include those owned by the Corinthia Group.
This product is designed as an attempt to bypass timeshare legislation as it is a membership to a club and has no property or weeks attached. But we all know that anything sold by any of the Limora Group companies will be worthless and useless, just look at all the products sold by Silverpoint over the years.
As for the new product and the “new strategy”, we will just have to wait and see what this will bring, no doubt it will not be for the benefit of the consumer!
Full article Times of Malta
This is not the first time Azure and Golden Sands has hit the press, Malta today reported in February 2019 on the investigation by the FCA into loan agreements brokered by Azure for the purchase of timeshare with Barclays Partner Finance. These loan agreements were brokered illegally as Azure was acting without official authorisation.
If you have purchased any product from Azure especially the XP “virtual” currency, Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you. Please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.
Have a great weekend.