In remembrance of Jerry Sikes, who passed away August 25, 2012, we have received permission from the former publishers of The Timeshare Beat to rerun one of his columns from about 2005. This column, “With Regard to… Work Left to Do” seemed especially appropriate. R.I.P. Mr. Sikes.
"Life is not a "brief candle", it is a splendid torch that I want to make burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." -Bernard Shaw
This past week I received an e-Mail from an old colleague, John Sweeney, in which he stated: “Pretty soon they will have to create a National Park for us dinosaurs!” John’s comment got me thinking … What kind of legacy are we, John, you others out there who have also been around this industry from its American inception and myself, going to leave?
There are some who would tell you that building monuments is the only way to keep alive a memory, to honor of some past triumph or tragedy. I contend that setting standards is much more important than building monuments. I would suggest that the edifice which is Yankee Stadium, “the house that Ruth built”, is less significant than the home run standards which “the Babe” established.To those who would start to build that National Park of which John spoke, I would say STOP! We, the dinosaurs are not yet ready to be put out to pasture, we have yet to raise the bar high enough, we still have a few more games to play, and a few more hits to get. We also have a few more examples to give, a few more patterns to leave, a few more ideas to share and a lot more lessons to teach. Yes, there is work left to do….
John and I came into this business when those who operated the Timeshare Resorts knew who their Owners were, and looked forward to the opportunity towelcome them home each year during their use period. If our Owners elected to take advantage of the opportunity to exchange their use period, for a similar facility and time, at another Timeshare Resort, we knew full well that they would be treated as an honored guest at that destination, as doubtless we in turn, would treat those who arrived to occupy our Owners facility and use period. This system allow us the opportunity to raise the standards of hospitality to a higher level than the average Hotel, Motel, or Resort, and we did.
Some of the work left to do is to figure out what the expectations are, of those who belong to a Club and/or possess a new currency know as Points, and how to train new Resort staffs on how to meet and exceed those expectations.
John and I grew in this business when our Owners were justifiably proud of their Home Resort and took pride in that ownership. Those Owners were receptive to paying the costs to operate, maintain and yes to even improve their Home Resort because they could see the intrinsic value in doing so.
Some of the work left to do is to figure out how to establish pride of ownership in our individual facilities when the Club member has no particular sense of ownership and how to gain and maintain a positive attitude about coughing up real money, rather than Points, each year on the receipt of the annual maintenance fee or assessment billing. We cannot leave this to someone else to figure out.
John and I excelled in this business because, no matter what promises were made during the sales presentations, we had the experience necessary to deal with the misconceptions and the will to convince the Owners and Guests that the reality was much better.
Some of the work left to do is through the use of Books and Articles, or by participating in Workshops, Regional Conferences or Annual Conventions, convey some of that experience to the next generation so that they can eliminate some of the mistakes we made along the way.
John and I persevered in this business because it was never just a job for us. We have always been involved in the industry. I don’t ever remember attending a ALDA, National Timeshare Council or ARDA national meeting where I did not see John somewhere around doing his thing.
Some of the work left to do is to continue to support the Regional Management Conference concept which places Resort Management and Owner Association affairs in the forefront. Included in this work is the absolute necessity to reach the top executives of the Hospitality Industry giants and convince them to support the concept. Having just finished attending the California Regional meeting and getting set for the Arizona Regional meeting in two weeks, I can count on one hand those from Marriott, Hilton, Sunterra, Disney, Starwood, or Hyatt, who attended or have plans to attend and these firms are supposed to be the leaders in our industry. Yes, there is work left to do.
I would like to think that some of the others such as Paul Flory, Lynn Weas, John Small, Bud DeSantis, Woody Cary, and Roy Fraiser, (who could possibly be classified as dinosaurs, along with John and myself) and some of the next generation such as Sue Kelley, Neil Bergstrom, Jay Morin, Lisa Segert-Free, Thorp Thomas, Jeff Yamaguchi, Paul Fowler, Kris Jantaas, Chris VanRuiten, Randy Keim, Colleen Freeman, Lori Card-King and others will agree that there is work left to do and that they will continue their efforts and use their influences to lend stability to this industry on the Property Management side of the ledger.
And maybe someday after our work is done, John and I will welcome them home to the National Park of… what did you call it John????????