August 7, 2010: WHAT’S ON THE MENU THIS WEEK?
FIRE IN THE HOLE: OK, there’s finally an update on the Celebrity Resorts bankruptcy and it’s a doozie. It was way too long to put in here, so you can find it here. (I take credit for the research, but that’s all…)
FIRE IN CENTRAL OREGON: This was a sad deal. An early morning fire recently destroyed a fractional vacation cabin in beautiful Black Butte Ranch, near Bend, OR. The family inside, from Corvallis, OR, escaped with just the clothes on their backs, but unfortunately their dog perished in the fire.
The fire apparently started on the deck, quickly engulfing the cabin, and even though it’s next door to the fire department, crews were not able to arrive in time to save it. Loss is estimated at $220,000. The cabin was a total loss, but crews were able to keep the fire from spreading to other cabins or starting a wildfire. Our condolences to the family that lost everything, especially for the loss of their dog.
THE GRAPEVINE: What is going on with Celebration World Resort in Kissimmee, FL? Rumors abound that the resort is on the verge of either a bankruptcy or sale, and I’m told that timeshare sales have all but stopped in favor of some vacation club. Huh???
The resort has gone from an RCI Gold Crown in 2005 to a standard in 2009 (the staff at CWR reportedly says it’s because of the lack of amenities, RCI said it’s because of the poor reviews the resort gets) and there are numerous owner complaints on the Internet against the resort for a special assessment and increased maintenance fees, when no improvements have been made to the resort in several years. According to one complaint “It’s no wonder since the place looks shabby. We stayed there in summer, 2009, and were dismayed to see missing tiles in the bathroom, holes in the wall where the towel rack used to be, and more. This is what they have to show for our astronomical maintenance fees (which climbed every year, reaching about $1300 in 2009)?”
Also according to the grapevine, vendors report the resort is months behind payment and several vendors have stopped doing business with the resort altogether.
So, if maintenance fees are that high (in Central Florida, for criminy sake!) and some portion of that ought to be set aside each year for refurbishment, what exactly was the 2009 special assessment for and where precisely were the maintenance fees spent? Just wondering…
NO BRAG, JUST FACT: RCI wants everyone to know it has added 22 new resorts to its vacation exchange network in the second quarter of 2010. This includes resorts added to RCI Weeks, RCI Points and The Registry Collection program, the world’s largest luxury exchange program, with seven of the resorts coming from existing affiliated developers and four resorts under development.
These additions bring the total number of new RCI affiliated resorts for the year to 58! Getting BIGGER and BIGGER! Is that a good thing?
UP AND DOWN: Bluegreen Corp. is doing both better and worse: The company’s earnings were off 37 percent in the second quarter, but sales at its timeshare resorts expanded. Bluegreen Corp. had net income of $4.3 million, or 14 cents a share, on revenue of $107.4 million. In the same period last year, it posted net income of $6.8 million, or 22 cents a share, on revenue of $90.1 million. The results in the second quarter of 2009 included a one-time tax benefit of $4.6 million.
Most of Bluegreen’s revenue growth came in timeshare sales, which increased 33 percent quarter-over-quarter. As of June 30, Bluegreen had 40 timeshare resorts and hotels under management, up by three from a year ago.
Sales of full ownership homes in Bluegreen Communities declined, though, and made up a relatively small portion of the company’s revenue.
The company held $744.6 million in outstanding loans to Bluegreen timeshare buyers. As of June 30, 3.8 percent of that was past due by more than 30 days.
Bluegreen’s own debt includes two receivables loans that are set to expire near the end of August. The company says it’s talking to lenders about renewing or extending those loans. The company had $40.5 million of receivable-backed loans outstanding as of June 30 and $63.6 million in unrestricted cash.
It will be interesting to see how negotiations about those receivables loans work out. Stay tuned…
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE: The National Timeshare Owner’s Association (NTOA) will be hosting its first annual meeting at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Milwaukee on September 19.
David Turiff, the group’s Midwestern coordinator, says that the group was formed by owners and not timeshare developers. NTOA will provide owners with support and information to timeshare owners in the United States.
Turiff says that he expects 50-80 people to attend next month, and if the attendance is good, he says that it will be an annual event.
See http://www.nationaltimeshareownersassoc.com/events.html for more information
AND THE WINNERS ARE: The Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC), the representative body for the Australian Timeshare Industry, recently held its 19th annual National Industry Awards night, at a gala dinner designed to recognize the best of the best in each Member Company’s employees. The big winner of the night was Accor Vacation Club, taking five of the night’s major awards for Marketing, Innovation and Sales Team among others.
So congratulations go out to:
- BEN DEDOPULOS – MARKETING MANAGER OF THE YEAR
- SCOTT KNOLL – CORPORATE MANAGER OF THE YEAR
- TWIN WATERS TEAM – SALES TEAM OF THE YEAR
- PETER COLE, NOVOTEL TWIN WATERS – SALES MANAGER OF THE YEAR
- Flight Centre Alliance Team: Scott Knoll, Terri Day, Tracie Sakrzewski, Lachlan Hoswell, Amanda Henkey – INDUSTRY INNOVATION
PEOPLE: Philip Pinto has been tapped to lead the Village at Steamboat interval ownership condominium development as the new director of sales and marketing for Wyndham Vacation Resorts, a division of the Wyndham Worldwide Corporation.
Pinto previously has worked for The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club and Marriott Vacation Club International.
“I am honored to have been selected by Wyndham to lead a site with such a high level of market dominance as we have here in Steamboat Springs,” Pinto said in a news release. “With $5.2 million dollars in sales, and 112 of 167 total real estate transactions in the month of June, this site is thriving in an otherwise lackluster real estate market.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: My theory is that people with “What would Jesus Do?” bumper stickers are not indicating their desire to follow Jesus, but admitting that they have no idea what Jesus would do. That would explain a lot…
DEAD SKUNK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AWARD: Good News: I couldn’t find a seriously stinky timeshare-related skunk to write about this week! Imagine that!!!
But there had to be SOMETHING out there smelling the place up, even if it’s not timeshare related. SOMETHING somewhere so disgusting I’d have to hold my nose to report on it. What to do? Where to look?
AHA! I know! YouTube!!!!
And sure enough, there it was. A dead stinky skunk award winner of the first magnitude. It is with great pleasure that I present to you a condensed version of Ed Wood’s trash masterpiece, the worst movie ever made—
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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