RCI wins nine 2014 ARDA Awards – including ACE titles

RCI has won nine awards at the 2014 ARDA Awards Gala Dinner held in Las Vegas, including three coveted ACE awards.

April 11, 2014 by Steve Adams - article courtesy of RCI Ventures

Among the three key accolades was the prized ACE Customer Service: Industry Partner award, which was presented to RCI for its commitment to delivering the best service to its customers around the world.

“We are ecstatic to once again take home the ACE Customer Service Award,” said Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI.

Service and assistance

“Customer satisfaction is our number one priority at RCI, and we are committed to listening to, engaging and servicing our customers in whatever way is most convenient and accessible for them. Whether helping a customer online or on the phone, RCI vacation guides consistently provide prompt, friendly service and assistance to make it easy to book amazing vacations all over the world.”

The continued evolution of RCI’s customer service department ensures consistent satisfaction through the use of modern tools such as the Click to Chat online service, which gives customers immediate access to a representative when online, and 22 on-site RCI associates in the U.S. RCI also has a team of traveling associates throughout Europe that provides member servicing and problem resolution in a face-to-face setting.

RCI’s Tara Bergeron won the ACE Spirit of Hospitality Award. Bergeron has significant industry experience and now applies this expertise to RCI’s Online Tour Generation program. Working to support affiliates’ growth, Bergeron identifies and connects them with leads for new potential vacation owners. She is known for her energy, professionalism, competence and poise.

Making LEAPS

RCI associate Amy Self was part of a group that took home the ACE Volunteer of the Year Award for her involvement in the ARDA LEAPS Leadership Development Task Force. ARDA LEAPS is a one-year program for individuals at various management levels designed to develop and educate future leaders committed to serving ARDA and the shared vacation ownership industry.

RCI was also recognized with the following awards:

  • Newsletter Electronic Format: RCI Newsletter for Affiliates’ Staff, RCI

  • Magazine Advertisement: RCI’s What’s Next Campaign, RCI

  • Direct Mail: Points Beginning Use Year (BUY) Campaign, RCI

  • Sales Center Materials: RCI Presenter, RCI

  • Mobile Website or App: RCI Affiliates app for the iPad , RCI

  • Video Production, Other: RCI ARDA ’13 Booth Teaser, Lenz-works Productions

“On behalf of everyone at RCI, we’re thrilled to have won nine ARDA Awards today,” continued Gurnik. “This impressive collection of awards stands as a testament to the great work being done throughout the company from graphic design, advertising and marketing campaigns to video production and mobile app development.

“We will continue working on behalf of our subscribing members and affiliates, and we’re excited to help make timeshare the preferred choice of travelers everywhere.”

ARDA World’s Global Reach

The American Resort Development Association Seeks International Relevance – And Achieves It

May 21, 2013 by Matt McDaniel - photo and article courtesy of RCI Ventures Online Magazine

This past April, the annual convention of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) took place at a beachside resort hotel in sunny Florida. What may surprise you is that about a fifth of the attendees – more than 420 people – were international delegates.

True to its name – ARDA World – the yearly meeting of ARDA is becoming increasingly global. And not only in terms of attendees, asmany sessions include panelists representing countries from around the world, dealing with topics both of universal importance and regional relevance.

“ARDA has a very large responsibility because we are the largest and best-capitalized of all the trade associations,” explains Howard Nusbaum, ARDA president and CEO. “The 2010 worldwide study numbers indicate $14 billion in sales – and between Mexico, Canada and the United States you’re looking at $10 billion of it. Basically, to speak in round numbers, about three-quarters of the sales are in North America,” he states. “But where is it growing? It’s that other quarter.”

As we look forward to the ARDA World 2014 Annual Convention & Expo in Las Vegas next April, RCIVentures.com decided to dig a bit deeper into the significance of ARDA’s international aspirations.


RCI’s booth at ARDA World 2013

What is the value of the event on an international scale?

Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI and head of the company’s global operations: Broadly, it’s a chance for the industry to come together and share our ideas. It’s become a lot more about networking. People are focused on ‘How can we share ideas?’ and discussing ways to grow the business, and there’s a lot more collaboration – and ARDA is a great platform for that to happen. With their “ARDA World” strategy, you’re seeing even more of that global cross pollination and ideas being shared – and that ultimately is good for the entire industry.

Dimitris Manikis, RCI’s vice president, Business Development Europe, Middle East and Africa: For me in particular, it’s engaging with our international colleagues – the people I talk to frequently but don’t see regularly. But most of all it’s about leaving the conference with a positive attitude and a reinforced belief that we are in the right business, and there is a great future for our industry going forward.

I’m always inspired by ARDA’s collaborative environment and the organization’s success in finding the funding to support its initiatives and its lobbying efforts. The conference itself is not a conference to talk about how great ARDA is – it’s more of a conference to re-establish the fact that our industry is extremely ripe, vital and strong. So every time I go to ARDA I get revitalized, I see the bigger picture and its opportunities, and I leave the conference extremely excited about the future of our industry.

Can the rest of the world learn anything from the U.S. industry?

Gurnik: I think so. The United States has been sort of the leader from that perspective; it’s probably the most mature timeshare market and the most sophisticated from an operator perspective. A lot of the rest of the world tends to look at the U.S. in general to see how they’ve worked and innovated.

And I think you’re still seeing that. As the downturn occurred, a lot of U.S. companies got very creative about how to continue to grow their business and how to continue to be a dynamic timeshare company. You’re seeing people looking to that and trying to emulate it in other markets, and I think they’ll have success with that.

Manikis: There’s so much to learn, but I will stick to two key elements:

  • Lobbying – the U.S. is so strong in creating awareness and fighting for the well-being of the industry.
  • Collaboration – some key players in Europe are not part of the RDO [Resort Development Organisation, the European trade association]. I don’t understand why. We need to sit in one room and with one voice work together for the future of our industry.

At ARDA, you’ve got all the big players. They’re competitors and they have their differences, but they all work very hard together to protect the industry. That’s a great lesson for us.

Nusbaum: What we in the United States need to say is, ‘This is what we’ve learned about our business model – the pros, the cons, the challenges. Take that information, look at your situation, and see what makes sense.’

So what can America learn? We can learn about the opportunities; the joint venturing around the world. We can learn the fact that the product around the world is maybe not as tied to perpetuity, which is probably a positive. There’s much to learn.

ARDA World Day in Review: April 8

ARDA World is under way!

April 9, 2013 by Matt McDaniel - article courtesy of RCI Ventures

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) World Convention & Exposition – the biggest timeshare convention of the year – has kicked off at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida.

The annual event brings together more than 3,000 vacation ownership developers and professionals from over 35 countries for five days of educational, networking and social opportunities.

Before the real business of the week got under way, some convention attendees took part in the 12th annual RCI/AIF Open Golf Tournament held at the Westin Diplomat’s, 18-hole golf course, which features eight acres of lakes and fairways. RCI sponsored the event, which raises funds to support the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) and its effort to produce research, studies and educational programs that advance the industry.

Exhibition stars

A virtual rendering of the RCI booth

The first full day at the annual convention of the American Resort Development Association was what ARDA called ‘Key Constituent Day’ – meaning Monday was when most forums and committee meetings took place. The day also featured a brand-new fundamentals track with four targeted sessions.

The undeniable star of the event’s exhibit floor was RCI’s 50 x 90 foot, state-of-the-art booth, which offers visitors a truly interactive and engaging RCI experience. It features dynamic and robust RCI content and information at every booth touch point – whether showcased on a luminous 24 x 12 foot main-stage screen, on one of many 50-inch, high-definition televisions, within kiosks or on our custom-built iPad tables.

The booth enabled RCI’s top clients and prospective future affiliates to truly see the company’s complete portfolio, from its enhanced Online Tour Generation offering to its rich and customizable technology innovations, to the latest RCI iPad app for affiliates, and beyond. The ARDA event also saw the unveiling of the brand-new RCI Affiliate Access program, which includes offering our affiliates customizable solutions for revenue management and marketing data services.

Kicking back

In the evening, at the All-Delegate Kick-off Party by ICE & RCI, the two companies joined forces to host ‘The Opening Night’, the premier event of this year’s meeting. Celebrating the South Florida venue (in what typically be an ‘Orlando year’), delegates gathered beneath the stars alongside the water’s edge at the Diplomat Landing at the Westin Diplomat host hotel to sip cocktails while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and good music.

With additional reporting by Steve Adams