WASHINGTON (December 13, 2012) — With the holiday season in full swing, timeshare resorts and owners across the country are celebrating in style—and giving back to their communities. The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) commends its members for the service and spirit they provide all year, but especially during this time of giving.
“There are so many special ways that families like to celebrate the holidays and very often that involves vacationing,” says Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA. “It’s great to hear what our member resorts are doing to accommodate these guests and to also share with their communities.”
Holiday Inn Club Vacations provides one special example. This past Thanksgiving, they treated a family of longtime owners to a special day. Chef Josh Moynihan spent part of his holiday creating a wonderful family memory for the Ripple family. Chef Moynihan spent the morning in the Ripples’ villa cooking up a delicious Thanksgiving meal, complete with two 12-pound turkeys and all the trimmings. The recipes Josh prepared have been in the Ripple family for generations. In fact, Josh and Mrs. Ripple even made a squash casserole together using a recipe that’s been in her family since 1902.
“I really wanted to make this a special experience for them,” Josh said. “Even though they weren’t at home, I wanted them to experience the feel of the holiday and to be able to enjoy the smell of the turkey, gravy, and all the other great food cooking in the oven. It was also important that they could enjoy each other’s company and not have to worry so much about the work.”
The Ripples visit several times a year and come back every other Thanksgiving. Perhaps this will be the start of a new tradition for the Ripples, and for others who visit them over the holidays.
Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) is thankful to be a part of many of its owners’ holiday celebrations. Last year, Sharon and Tom Grupe used their ownership to bring four generations of their family together for Thanksgiving…all 38 of them! Family members from across the country flew in to Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida for the big event.
“It’s such a gift to have the family come together,” said Sharon. “We spend most of our time at the resort, but each family comes and goes as they like, visiting the parks. I just make sure there’s always dinner ready in our suite in case they want to join us.” Their Thanksgiving feast had the whole family pitching in, and members of the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort staff helped secure space for the large family to eat Thanksgiving dinner together. “They were so wonderful; I feel like they’re part of the family,” Sharon said.
Owners at Christie Lodge, located in Avon, Colorado at the base of Beaver Creek resort, also share their holidays with the staff and employees during their annual vacation. Dr. Jirina Fishman travels to Christie Lodge twice each year from Valley Stream, New York. At Christmas time, she hosts a family-style meal and party for her guests and staff at Christie Lodge who work to make her stay so memorable. “She’s been an owner for nearly 30 years, and her stay is always a time we look forward to each year,” said Lisa Siegert-Free, managing director and general manager at the lodge. The Christie Lodge staff also lends a hand to help set up her dinner party and gathers together extra tables and chairs for her special night.
But ARDA members also take time not only to care for their guests, but also to give back to their local communities. Christie Lodge has Salvation Army Drop boxes throughout the resort for owners and employees to donate everything from clothing and furniture to packaged food items leftover from their timeshare stay. The Salvation Army ensures that the items go to those less fortunate throughout Vail Valley and the local surrounding communities.
Interval International, in partnership with the City of South Miami, sponsors annual holiday events to benefit disadvantaged families in the community where Interval was founded more than 35 years ago.
Each year in November, Miami-based employees raise money to fill Thanksgiving gift baskets with non-perishable food items that are distributed to deserving families. Through the years, hundreds of residents have been helped by Interval employees’ generosity to their neighbors. One of the more meaningful attributes of the outreach is the opportunity for employees to deliver the baskets and meet the families who will enjoy the meals.
In December, Interval’s Annual Holiday Toy Fest benefits deserving children who can visit with Santa Claus and select a holiday gift. Employees will support this year’s 19th annual event by donating gifts and volunteering their time as they do for other community-service initiatives the company hosts throughout the year. During the holiday event, children can also participate in face painting and arts and crafts activities, and enjoy holiday treats.
For more information on timeshare vacations, visit VacationBetter.org.
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.