July 31, 2010: WHAT’S ON THE MENU THIS WEEK?
AND THE WINNER IS: Imagine that. A timeshare company held a contest and the winner was actually awarded the advertised prize. Yeah, I know, it really isn’t unusual at all, but to hear all the negative press about timeshare out there in Lala Land you’d think there wasn’t an honest TS company in the universe.
ANYhow, Pacific Monarch Resorts has announced another winner of the ongoing “$100,000 Giveaway” sponsored by Pacific Monarch Resorts, Inc. and Monarch Grand Vacations, Inc. of Laguna Hills, CA.. The most recent winners are Mr. and Mrs. Morrissey of Phoenix, Arizona.
Mrs. Morrissey completed an entry form in late 2009 and in July of 2010, she and Mr. Morrissey visited Pacific Monarch Resorts’ Scottsdale Vacation Ownership sales office. At the end of their ownership preview, they were presented a scratch off ticket. Mrs. Morrissey did the honors and was shocked to find she had uncovered the grand prize of $100,000. There were 100,000 contest tickets printed and only one of those was the winning ticket.
Mr. and Mrs. Morrissey were presented with their check for $100,000 on July 21, 2010 at the same Scottsdale sales office where they had won the prize. Dennis Thibault, Vice President of Marketing, and John Gaffey, Director of Promotions, for Pacific Monarch Resorts did the honors.
Effective July 22, 2010, another $100,000 Giveaway is underway! In order to be eligible for this giveaway, go to www.entertowin.net and complete an entry form to enter the first phase of a new $100,000 Giveaway. Unless, of course, you work for PMR, in which case you’ll just have to look on from a distance at the next winner…
Our hearty congratulations to the Morrisseys!
GETTING BIGGER: Festiva Hospitality Group is growing again (they aren’t just Festiva Resorts anymore, in case you hadn’t noticed). The company purchased the development rights and unsold inventory at Southcape Resort & Club in Mashpee, MA, as of June 11, and Festiva Management Group assumed management of the property beginning July 1. The newest vacation destination in the Festiva family is located on the Upper Cape of the very desirable vacation destination known as Cape Cod.
Southcape Resort & Club’s 55 units are comprised of townhouse, ranch and loft style accommodations with two bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, living/dining rooms and outside barbecue areas. The units vary in size from 900 to more than 1800 square feet and can accommodate between six and eight guests. Resort amenities include both lighted outdoor and indoor tennis courts, locker room, shower and sauna facilities in the clubhouse, indoor and outdoor pools, children’s playground and a fitness room.
NEW RULES: Since the timeshare industry, like virtually every other industry in the world, has proven incapable (or unwilling) of regulating itself, it’s been up to various governments to do it for us. In the news this week: The USA Federal Government and the Canadian province of Alberta.
In Alberta the government is updating its rules to meet the changes in timeshare over the last decade or so, its aim being to protect consumers. As of Nov. 1, the amended Time Share Contracts and Points-based Regulation, under the Fair Trading Act, will require all timeshare businesses operating in the province to get a $200 licence and to post security. The exact parameters of the security are still being determined.
In addition to the licensing requirement, other consumer protection features include:
- Requiring timeshare businesses to fully disclose their terms and conditions, including a full description of the timeshare property, the time period the consumer can use the property, the number of points provided under any applicable points programs and the total cost to the consumer, including additional fees.
- Allowing consumers to cancel a contract within a year if the timeshare business does not meet specific regulatory and disclosure requirements.
- Ensuring consumers have the use of the timeshare property even if it is refinanced by the developer.
- Preventing timeshare businesses from specific misleading sales tactics, such as misrepresenting the availability of prizes, gifts, discounts or other promotional items.
In the USA, Attorney General Eric Holder has signed final regulations amending the Americans With Disabilities Title II & Title III regulations, including its ADA Standards for Accessible Design. (You can find fact sheets identifying the major changes in the rules at http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/ADAregs2010.htm)
Among the changes: The Title III regulation makes clear that timeshare and condominium properties that operate like hotels are subject to title III, providing guidance about the factors that must be present for a facility that is not an inn, motel, or hotel to qualify as a place of lodging.
Also relevant to many timeshare resorts is the Adoption of the Revised Design Standards – New accessible design standards are established for a variety of recreational facilities, including swimming pools, playgrounds, golf courses, amusement rides, recreational boating facilities, exercise machines and equipment, miniature golf courses and fishing piers; as well as for such public facilities as courthouses, jails and prisons.
AND the Element by Element Safe Harbor – The department is mitigating the cost of design changes by adopting a “safe harbor” under which existing building elements that already comply with the 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design would not be required to be brought into compliance with the 2010 Standards until the elements were subject to a planned alteration.
Nothing too terribly unreasonable from either country, IMO…
WALLY WORLD: I know, it’s irreverent. But behind the back of northern Nevada’s David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort & Spa, everyone who ever saw the movie about the Griswalds on summer vacation calls it “Wally World”. With a smile of affection, of course.
Well, you may remember that in March, 2010 Celebrity Resorts, which bought Walley’s in 2008, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing the economy as grounds for the filing. That led to some issues about the management of the resort, but those issues have now been resolved as Trading Places International is the new professional management company overseeing all on-site operations of the resort.
The decision to hire TPI may have been helped by the company’s success in managing the Hanalei Bay Resort in Kauai, HI, another Celebrity Resorts bankruptcy victim. Both resorts were originally owned by Quintus Resorts, but the company ran into financial difficulties and sold most of the assets to Celebrity.
And no, I haven’t gotten around to investigating the status of Celebrity Resorts’ bankruptcy yet. I would have done so, but someone forgot to remind me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
TIGER EYES: How could you go wrong supporting a resort that not only provides a great nature-based tourist attraction but also provides sustainability for big cats? In Tyler, TX you’ll soon be able to do just that, as Bud Surles’ Signature Resorts has announced a completed master plan for Tiger Creek Resort, an enterprise developed in conjunction with the Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a non-profit organization in tiger conservation, education, big cat rescue and rehabilitation.
The new resort will sell RV memberships and cottage timeshares, rent RV sites and cottages and rent event facilities at the resort. Amenities will include a swimming pool, a small lake and dock, a camper service building with a gift shop, a playground and two outdoor pavilions. I don’t know yet when ground will be broken, or an expected completion date, but I’ll let you know.
This is Texas, of course. You wouldn’t expect a refuge for little cats, would you?
HOW MUCH PATIENCE HAVE YOU GOT? Rodney Friedrich, of little St. Helena, CA, has got a LOT! How much? He’s been trying to get a hotel development going there for 28 YEARS!
But the project is finally almost at the starting gate. The city council has approved several entitlements for a 60-room hotel at his Vineland Station property near Main Street and Vidovich Avenue, with up to 45 rooms slotted for fractional ownership.
There are still a few hurdles to clear, but things are looking good and if all goes well we can look forward to another great place to own/stay while visiting the legendary wine country of the Napa area.
And perhaps the wait has proven to be a good thing in at least one way that was not on developers’ radar when the project was first conceived: It has been designed to obtain Gold or Silver certification under LEED, a green building certification system.
That’s a GOOD thing!
PEOPLE: This is kind of interesting. Chief Warrant Officer III Rene A.E. Joseph retired from the United States Army on June 4 after 20 years of active service. He has had five overseas deployments and also served as a drill sergeant for many years. Now he is retiring in Nevada, where he will work as a personal fitness trainer– AND a timeshare sales representative with Wyndham Vacation Resorts.
We wish him the best of luck and offer this word of advice: Drill sergeant techniques do not translate well to timeshare sales techniques (though the military discipline can serve you well). Leave them in your footlocker. 😉
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “The quality of the ruthlessness in an industry is relative to the amount of money that is at stake.” –unknown I don’t think that requires any comment or clarification from me…
DEAD SKUNK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AWARD: Convicted timeshare fraudster Garry Leigh was killed around 9:00am July 24 when he was run over by a car in Marbella, Spain. Leigh, who conned thousands of people out of their fortunes in his short 47 years of life, died on the spot of severe cardiac arrest while cycling on the A-7 in Marbella. In an ironic twist, Leigh managed to involuntarily create one last mess for vacationers: The accident caused a massive traffic jam with many day-trippers stuck in traffic until late in the afternoon when the highway was finally cleared.
Leigh — the brother-in-law and former employer of Costa killer Tony King — began his career as a fraudster early in his life, launching pyramid schemes that left investors holding the bag when the schemes inevitably failed. But he really came into his own when he moved from the UK to Spain and became involved in the notorious timeshare/holiday club business. Some of the infamous companies he was associated with include:
- Timelinx Vacation Services
- Designer Way Vacation Club
- Cashback Sales and Administration
- Incentive Leisure Group UK (found guilty of 11 counts of fraud last year, and raided again early this year for breaches of consumer law)
In a shocking incident in 2002, hooded raiders burst into the Timelinx offices in broad daylight and badly slashed Leigh. He required cosmetic surgery to repair the damage to his face, and hired a bodyguard as a result. The holiday fraud business is a violent one.
Some may say it’s a bit harsh to speak ill of the dead like this, that I should have simply placed an obituary, or at the least just made an objective note of his passing, without personal comment. And I thought about both of those choices but rejected them. If you want an obituary full of laudatory prose, you can find one here. He may have contributed to worthy charities, he may have loved his dog, he may have had a “cheeky grin” that charmed people, etc., but he spent his entire adult life ripping people off to the tune of millions of pounds, pesos, euros and dollars without the tiniest sign of remorse about any of it. In my opinion he deserves neither respect nor kindness just because he has died. In the obituary I linked to above, it says “But through the many people he inspired, his legacy will continue.” That’s what I’m afraid of.
He was a skunk. He is dead. He left a mighty stink behind. The only question now is how stinky his successor skunk will prove to be.
And that’s it for this week’s Roadkill. See ya next weekend, and keep your eyes on the road… Oh, and if you enjoyed this, tell a friend!
Published every Saturday.
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