October 26, 2012 — I learned this week from a comment in our renowned Timeshare Blog section called ‘The GateHouse’ that the 2013 Ragatz Resort Real Estate & Fractional Conference that was to be held March 18-19 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina has been cancelled. The GateHouse commenter said it was due to a “lack of sponsors”.
So here’s the scoop. To my way of thinking a “lack of sponsors” for any long standing and highly recognized industry event such as this one, one that asserts to be “The longest running, most recognized and informative global gathering in the resort real estate and fractional interest industry”, must have serious ‘cause and effect’ issues resulting in its cancellation.
Naturally, the very first thing I did was go to the Ragatz Conference website and lo and behold, there it was posted in a red font saying the “conference has been canceled”. And Ragatz Associates (RA) advised those interested in that event to “stay tuned for further details”.
Fair enough, but wanting to verify what our GateHouse commenter inferred we sent off an e-mail to Ragatz asking if they could tell us why the symposium was called off. RA kindly responded that it was indeed true that due to a lack of sponsors the event was abandoned; and they also provided us a link where an official announcement had been posted.
Therein RA posted:
“The last four years of a down economy have taken a toll on the entire resort real estate industry, especially the fractional interest component. Many of our long-time sponsors find themselves in a position where continued commitment is not practical at this time. We fully understand their situations, and extend our sincere appreciation for their prior contributions. Unfortunately, we do not generate enough revenue from registrations alone. So, without sufficient sponsors, we are not able to proceed…”
Because of that unusually honest and candid declaration I found myself wondering what companies sponsored the 2012 event as in our industry it is the “usual suspects” that sponsor industry meetings year after year. Plus, in all honesty, I was also wondering which, if any, of those “long-time sponsors” were and/or are dealing with challenging times due to the economy.
That is not to say, suggest or imply that these same companies ‘might’ have been approached by Ragatz for this year’s get-together or that they even considered being sponsors nor that the ‘economy’ has affected them, etc.; but the 2012 companies named on the Ragatz Conference website included some known industry ‘heavyweights’ to be sure.
Just under the “Platinum”, “Gold” & “Silver” Sponsors headings were: “Resort Equities, Preferred Residences, The Registry Collection, Baker Hostetler, Timber Resorts, Ballard Spahr, LLP, Star Resort Group, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, ICE (International Cruise Exchange), ARDA (American Resort Development Association), STR, Private Trade Winds” and more.
After reading that I then decided to see who was on the Ragatz 2012 “Speakers” list and the companies they were associated with. That list was very (very) long, impressive and also included mostly industry ‘heavyweights’ as well.
I’m not sure what the different ‘Sponsor’ levels (Platinum, Gold, Silver) costs were for 2012 (and 2013) but considering that Ragatz Associates, which was founded in 1974 by Dr. Richard Ragatz, has been around for a very long time (nearly 40 years) something just didn’t sit right with me with respect to the reason for cancelling the annual event.
Then I read on the Ragatz Conference website under the heading of “2012 Participants; Look Who Attended the 2012 Conference” that many other industry players were involved last year too. That list included:
Access Development, LLC; Applied Technology and Management, Inc.; ARDA; Arizona Golf Association; Azul de Cortez; Baker & Hostetler, LLP; Ballard Spahr, LLP; Bentley Securities Corporation; Bison Ranch – Bison Homes; Blue Tent Marketing; Bluegreen Corporation; Calistoga Ranch; CDSI; Chaffin Light Management; Chicago Title Timeshare; Christel House; Civano Living; Concord Servicing Corporation; Core Business Consulting, Inc.; Cotton & Company; Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP; Customer Solutions Group; Dahlgren Duck & Associates; Developments Magazine; DMB Realty Network; Drury Southwest, Inc.; East West Partners; Edgartown Residence Club; Edgewood Companies; Elite Destination Homes; Equiventure Hospitality Leisure Group Capital; Executive Quest, Inc.; Fennemore Craig, PC; First Fidelity Companies; Forte International; FractionalExchange.com; Fractional Life; Greenberg Traurig; Greenbrier Southwest Corporation; HarbourSide III; Harvard Investments; Hyatt Residential Group; ICE; InnVentures Hospitality Corp.; Inspirato; International Development Resources, Inc.; Interval International; Intrawest; Ipsos Mendelsohn; JMA Ventures; John Burns Real Estate Consulting; John Wilhelms & Associates, Inc.; LaTour Hotels and Resorts; Leisure Logistics, LLC; Lowe Enterprises, Inc.; Lucid Agency; Luxury Investment Properties; MacEwan & Frank • Marketing & Sales; Midlan International; Murphy O’Brien Public Relations; Nahui; National Ski Areas Association; Norton Consulting; Oceanfront Realty; Old Republic National Title Insurance Company; Perspective Magazine; Peter Kempf International; Poipu Beach Villas, LLC; Preferred Residences; Presidente Club De Viajes, S.A. De C.V.; Private Trade Winds, Inc.; Pronghorn Resort; Quintess/Club Holdings, LLC; Raintree Resorts; Ralph Stewart Bowden, Inc.; RCI; Replay Resorts; Resort Equities; Royal Resorts; ScottINK, a Dreschler Communications Company; Service Excellence Partners; Sherpa Report; SIA Living (Strategic International Advisors); Star Resort Group, LLC; STR; SV Capital; Tatus Investments Ltd; Terrum G S.A. De C.V.; The Lodge at Buckberry Creek; The Registry Collection; The Trades Publishing Company; The US-Mexican Development Corporation; Timbers Resorts; Wealth Engine; Workhorse Solutions, LLC; Wyndham Worldwide; Xeputu.
As I said, I’m not quite sure what to make of the announcement from Ragatz cancelling “The longest running, most recognized and informative global gathering in the resort real estate and fractional interest industry”.
But it concerns me greatly because it could be an indicator as to where the industry really stands in terms of the economy and as such I’m going to do some more digging around and contact many of these companies directly and seek their input.
Naturally I’ll report back my findings as they become available; or as Ragatz told their readers “stay tuned for further details”!
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