March 22, 2013 — If you like the timeshare vacation lifestyle, cheeseburgers, a good margarita and if you feel like wearing beach attire & going barefooted while kicking back on a sandy shoreline somewhere awaking your inner beach bum then allow me to suggest you also order up “another round o brew” and “get drunk”!
So here’s the scoop: Now before you flame me for the verbiage and/or suggestion just keep in mind that those words (in quotes) are from a popular Jimmy Buffet song that has played over the radio airwaves all around the world for a couple generations now and is still being played to this day.
The title is “Why Don’t We Get Drunk” and it includes the lyrics: “just bought a water bed, it’s filled up for me and you; They say you are a snuff queen Honey; I don’t think that’s true; So, why don’t we get drunk and screw”.
As a Buffett “Parrot Head”, I, too, have enjoyed many of his tunes over the decades. I have also been to a few beachside parties and maybe one or two Cantinas in my life and as best as I recall once Jimmy’s tunes like “Cheeseburger In Paradise” and/or “Margaritaville” were played the merrymakers got all ‘jacked up’ and continued to ‘suck ‘em up’ and/or ‘slam ‘em down’ all the while dancing & singing along.
I also like the song “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” where after “taking off for a weekend last month” and pondering what happened “to all the faces and all the places” and while in route to get a bite to eat Jimmy tells us that he “ran into a chum with a bottle of rum and we wound up drinkin all night”.
Now I ask, who among us hasn’t done that
countless times at least once?
And who among us didn’t sing along to verses like “I blew out my flip-flop Stepped on a pop-top Cut my heel had to cruise on back home But there’s booze in the blender And soon it will render That frozen concoction that helps me hang on” while listening to “Margaritaville”?
Yes, I am a “Parrot Head” to be sure. And being a timeshare buff, too, I was electrified to have read this week right here ‘Inside The Gate’ the news regarding the “Margaritaville Vacation Club” deal that has been ‘inked’ between Jimmy Buffet and Wyndham Vacation Ownership. Kudos to everyone at Wyndham for such a brilliant decision and, of course, Jimmy, too!
Just imagine it! Five (5) acres and maybe over 13,000 slices (intervals) of blissful unadulterated “Margaritaville Vacation Club” paradise on beautiful St. Thomas in the happy-go-lucky & anal retentive-free zone of the U.S. Virgin Islands!
And it seems that Mr. Franz Hanning, President and CEO of Wyndham Vacation Ownership, is pretty electrified, too, because in the announcement he proclaimed that “There’s no lifestyle brand in the world that better represents what happens on vacation than Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.”
And Hanning added that “We’re excited to partner with Jimmy in creating an experience like no other, in a place that offers the perfect setting for the ultimate vacation escape.”
I pretty much agree with Franz about the “setting”. But if by “Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville” he is referring to the hit song “Margaritaville” I’m just not sure I would agree that “no lifestyle brand in the world” can better represent “what happens on vacation”. At least not generally speaking.
And I respectfully say that because many “Parrot Head” types believe the ballad “Margaritaville” is more about “Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville” because “Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame” but finally concludes that “I know it’s my own damn fault”.
On the other hand maybe Franz was referring to the Margaritaville Hospitality Group headquartered in Orlando, FL and that the “lifestyle brand” would be all those restaurants, casinos, hotels, retail stores, etc. the company owns and/or operates.
The “lifestyle brand” inference in that case, IMO, would fit the corporate mentality of those at the top of Wyndham. But after looking at the photo released during the official announcement of Mr. Hanning, Mr. Buffett and Mr. John Cohlan, CEO of Margaritaville I have another notion about what Franz may have meant or was possibly thinking.
Could it be at some point during the process of building this business venture he might have been reflecting on his youthful days at Fairfield Resorts starting around 1982, likely beginning as a front line timeshare sales rep and then moving up to ‘closer’ status as he then methodically worked his way further up the company structure?
For you younger readers perusing this week’s Scoop, that would have been during our industry’s Wild West period of few regulations, often no licensing requirements for reps, no background or drug checks and in many jurisdictions the lawful right to rescind a timeshare contract was pretty much nonexistent and/or simply ignored by some developers during that the era.
Those were also the days when most reps had a 1099 “At Will” association with developers with no real recourse or benefits of any kind, commission only pay schemes, ’love lines’, etc. and when thousands of dollars of each rep’s commissions were withheld in reserve funds that were rarely returned when the reps moved on to those ‘greener pastures’.
It was often a dog-eat-dog world back then and many sales reps and closers (and I’m not suggesting this applies to Hanning whatsoever) would do or say whatever it took to get the sales guest to put the pen to the paper.
The aphorism back then by many being “No Heat, No Eat”!
I, too, started in ‘the biz’ around that time and of course the following also does not apply to Franz at all but from Florida to Hawaii, down in Mexico and throughout the Caribbean, etc. I can report with 100% certainty that there was no shortage of reps partaking in booze, drugs and wild parties lasting all night long with all the associated activities that accompany that exuberant wild & crazy lifestyle.
But getting back to “Margaritaville Vacation Club”; I suppose I shouldn’t second guess what Franz meant by “There’s no lifestyle brand in the world that better represents what happens on vacation than Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.” Second guessing can be a tricky business anyway.
Besides I’ve always admired Hanning’s success for being one of the few who saw the opportunity and big picture ‘back in the day’, aligned himself with the key players & had what it took to seize the opportunity while working his way all the way up to the top from the proverbial near bottom of the corporate ladder.
Maybe if I run into Franz during ARDA in Hollywood, Fl (soon) I’ll invite him to meet me ‘off-site’ at a Cantina to sip one or two Patron Tequilas while we chat about days gone by & what he actually did mean or at least what he was thinking when he made that statement.
The place I’m thinking about also plays some great tunes for their patrons, too, but I surely won’t suggest they play “Why Don’t We Get Drunk”.
On second thought Franz will probably be pretty busy during ARDA week to meet with me so for you Franz, if you are reading this ‘this’ week, today I dedicate these vacation “lifestyle brand” melodies for your enjoyment and maybe even a possible refection of “an experience like no other”.
Jimmy Buffet sings Margaretville:
Jimmy Buffet sings Why Don’t We Get Drunk:
Jimmy Buffet sings Cheeseburger In Paradise:
Jimmy Buffet sings Changes In Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes:
And for all timeshare schleps still standing tall who carried the torch over the years, these tunes from Jimmy Buffett are for you:
“A Pirate Looks At 40”
“God’s Own Drunk”
To send tips, comments, suggestions, agree and/or disagreements etc. email Scoop: [email protected]
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Contributing sometimes extravagant, bombastic, emotional, pompous or even pretentious writings about the timeshare industry, Scoop covers an array of industry related subjects each week including inside information, tips, scandals, interviews, forecasts as well as new (good or bad) products and services--- and, of course, all the 'Good', the 'Bad' and the 'Ugly'.
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