Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DRI Uses Technology to Improve Customer Service

Diamond Resorts International, one of the nation’s largest timeshare sellers by volume, is using a new software program to ensure their customers get improved, personalized service. It’s called Customer 360, and it basically notes customer tendencies and requests on a standard form and is accessible from any DRI resort in the world.

For example, a family from Arizona checked in at a DRI resort in Hawaii. Their son has autism, and didn’t wanted a room above the second floor but as far from an elevator as possible. DRI listed this information on the families’ Customer 360 profile, and ensured they would never have to make the special request again. The benefits even extend to front-desk greetings. If a guest is enjoying their first stay in Hawaii or their 10th, the clerk can see that and offer them an appropriate greeting.

The next area where customers will see improved service is while using DRI’s call center. There, workers can see tendencies of guests and offer them solutions on how to use their points better or plan vacations.
"Technology sometimes makes life more complicated, but we're trying to use it to make life simpler and more enjoyable," said company president David Palmer.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Florida Timeshare Resale Accountability Act

Florida AG Pam Bondi.

One of the largest continual scams in Florida are timeshare resellers. They take money upfront from timeshare deed holder and verbally promise to have their timeshare sold. They never offer anything in writing and almost never deliver on their promises.

Well the state of Florida has decided to fight back. The Florida Timeshare Resale Accountability Act, sponsored by state house representative Andy Gardiner of Orlando, has new outlines that anyone who solicits a timeshare contract holder with claims of potential resale must follow.

“This legislation is a needed first step by state authorities to take action against dishonest companies whose actions taint the industry’s reputable resale companies,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of American Resort Development Association (ARDA).

The bill also provides sellers with an “unwaivable right to cancel” a listing for ten days after it is signed, but exempts condominium and other timeshare developers who offer resale services to owners. A similar law has been passed in South Carolina, and at least three other states are considering legislation.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Great Ski Vacations in Western Canada

An unusually high amount of snow has hit Western Canada this year, primarily due to the La Nina weather pattern. Hotels and resorts in the area are enjoying tourists that usually pick the Rockies over Alberta have wandered north this winter, following the great snowfall.

Red Mountain Resort was able to open 100% of its runs three weeks earlier than normal this year. Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia has seen 17 feet of snowfall this winter, two of those in the month of January. The site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the two mountains offer over eight-thousand skiable acres of land, more than any other range in the U.S. or Canada.

The Canadian dollar is also improving in worth, attracting U.S. travelers. In 2008, the Canadian dollar was only worth $0.80. As of today, the two are virtually even.

Ben Fields, manager at Blackcomb’s Pine Mountain resort said the fact that Canada’s unusually high snowfall and the Rockies unusually light snowfall wasn’t necessarily good for the industry. “We’re happy to have it, but it benefits the whole industry if it snows all over North America,” he said. “We’d love to see you here though. We’re only three hours away from Los Angeles by plane.”

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Indianapolis Hotels Cash In On City’s First Super Bowl

Indianapolis, Indiana is smaller than some of the previous hosts of the Super Bowl like San Diego and Miami, and caters to a smaller tourist industry. The few hoteliers there are well pleased with the large amounts of people that have signed up for rooms this weekend in advance of this year’s Super Bowl.

Many rooms are being offered at five, six, or seven times their normal prices. A search on Travelocity netted only 12 open properties with rooms out of a possible 260. The National Football League has been at this for a long time, and bought 90% of the rooms within a thirty-mile radius of the city’s football stadium four years ago when Indy’s host bid was approved. They then use those rooms for their people internally, as well as resell the rooms to corporate partners, media and the like. That usually leaves the hotels with rooms remaining to charge exorbitant prices. The closest room from the Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indy was an America’s Best Inn, which was charging $399 for their cheapest room. That’s an increase of 625.5% from its usual rate of $55.

There’s no question the bump is from the “Big game”. 91.3% of rooms are booked in the city’s region for this weekend, compared with less than 26% booked for the Super Bowl weekend last year, when the game was played in Arlington, Texas.

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