April 10, 2010: ARE THINGS LOOKING UP IN VEGAS? That depends on what you mean by “looking up”. On the one hand, the place was a ghost town when I made a recent swing through the city, at least compared to a couple of years ago. Unlike past years, traffic was light everywhere– no traffic jams, no waiting through 2 or 3 lights to make a left turn, no hordes of tourists moving through major intersections up by the Strip. The casinos were empty; hotels from Motel 6 through the highest end properties were offering drastic discounts; numerous shops and restaurants of all kinds have closed their doors throughout the city; many longstanding car dealerships are gone; shopping malls are echo chambers. It seemed that if it weren’t for conventions no one would be in town at all.
Regardless of the above, the positive news is that several timeshare companies seem to be doing well– at least well enough to be hiring OPCs, sales reps and telemarketers. Among them, Wyndham and Berkley Group (Eldorado Resorts) were hiring during the last few weeks, and most recently Vince Parker has been recruiting for Geo Holiday Resorts’ new 14,000 square foot sales room at The Jockey Club, right between City Center and the Bellagio.
Vacation clubs and resale outfits also seem to be flourishing– and hiring.
Frankly, my recent visit to the city reminded me of “old” Las Vegas in a way. It was pleasant not to have to navigate my way through side streets to get around, everything was cheaper, and finding a decent place to live at a decent price looks like a snap. If you’re flush and have a gig going, it’s a great time to be there. Oh, and remember that while you do need a timeshare sales license to sell timeshare in Nevada you do NOT need a real estate license!
JOBS JOBS JOBS: This seems like a good place to let you know that InsideTheGate will soon be reviving its Career Opportunity section, so keep an eye out for it! And if you’re hiring, contact our ad-man at email@example.com for a media kit (rates, placement, etc.).
SAY WHAT? There’s this luxury “country house hotel” called Leeming Wells Hotel in the Yorkshire Dales in England, owned and operated by the Olympus Group. Very nice place, located in “Bronte country”. Olympus wanted to build a £1 million extension that would include a 17-unit timeshare block as well as additions to the restaurant and main bar. City planners said OK, but only if Olympus promised to demolish the timeshare buildings if the project failed, turning the land back into moorland.
The reason for that requirement? Bradford County planners want to prevent the units being converted into a residential development.
Olympus balked at that requirement, saying it simply could not comply with such a ridiculous stipulation. The Council refused to give the permits. Olympus appealed to the Government, which sided with the Council. Too bad so sad, no deal for you, Olympus.
And you thought the hoops developers have to jump through in the States were bad?
REST IN PEACE: South African property developer Chris Drummond, of Benguela Cove Investments (BCI) , was found dead in the street outside an office park in a suburb of Cape Town on April 6, according to Western Cape police. Though an investigation into his death is ongoing, initial speculation is that he somehow fell from the fourth-floor of a parking garage, where his vehicle was found with both the driver’s and passenger doors slightly open. Nothing appears to have been stolen; his cellphone and documents were found in the vehicle. His body was lying in the street when it was discovered by a security guard at about 5.40am.
Besides Beguela Cove Investments and other business ventures, Drummond was the co-owner and director of New Property Ventures, the developers of Stadium on Main, the office block where he was found dead.
Drummond would have turned 52 on May 15. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his family, friends and associates.
FRIAR TUCK TIMESHARE OWNERS IN LIMBO: The 39-year-old Friar Tuck Inn in New York’s Catskill Mountains is no more. The 500-room hotel, founded by the late Salvatore Caridi, has been closed, and the 27-acre property is now in possession of the Ulster Savings Bank after a seven-month bankruptcy court proceeding. The property is being poised for resale and reportedly has already had several interested lookers.
However, there is a timeshare component at the Friar Tuck called Nottingham Village, (recently disaffiliated from RCI) and the fate of that is still up in the air as of “press time”. Ricki Caridi, co-proprietor of the Friar Tuck, still had control over that and a condo development on the property.
According to counsel for the Ulster Savings Bank, a recommendation was made that the timeshare properties — under the entity Nottingham Village Development Corporation — should be converted to Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. The bankruptcy judge was expected to rule on the Nottingham Village properties, encompassing the timeshare units and about 130 acres in property, on Friday morning, April 9.
If the judge approved the Chapter 7 conversion, a court appointed trustee would oversee the liquidation of the property. Among questions on timeshare owners’ minds (assuming the resort continues to exist): Will the terms of their contracts be honored? Will they will continue to have access to shared amenities? Since access to the timeshare portion is via the resort property, and check-in has always occurred in the Friar Tuck’s lobby, how will they be able to access their units? If a new buyer comes in, will maintenance fees be raised and a special assessment issued to update the property?
Nottingham Village has seen better days and is a little worn around the edges, but it has still been well-loved by its timeshare owners. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you.
PEOPLE: Tapestry Resorts, a newly branded hospitality management division of ResortCom International, has named Kerry Stebbins as its new director of business development. Stebbins brings more than 30 years of experience in the vacation exchange, hospitality, travel and vacation ownership industries to the company. As an American Resort Development Association member, she has earned ARDA’s Registered Resort Professional award, a designation given to industry leaders who demonstrate outstanding commitment to high ethical and professional standards.
ALSO: Grand Pacific Resort Management in Carlsbad, CA has announced that Doreen Bechard, Regional Director of Operations will take on the important responsibility of leading the Sourcing of Best Practices and Implementation via Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the company. This will include oversight of all monthly Best Practices Forums: Maintenance, Housekeeping, Safety, Activities, Front Office, and the Going Green-Sustainability initiative at all resorts. Doreen also takes on the leadership of Southern California Beach Club in addition to her current portfolio of Alii Kai, Villa L’Auberge, San Clemente, and Carlsbad Inn.
Doreen has been with Grand Pacific Resort Services since 1999. With over twenty years of timeshare experience, Doreen was recently awarded one of Grand Pacific Resort Management’s Leadership Award of the Year during a company-wide Celebration of Excellence.
Congratulations to Kerry and Doreen!
And that’s it for this weekend. See ya next weekend, and watch that VPG… Oh, and if you enjoyed this, tell a friend!
Published every Saturday, or whenever there’s something that hits Woody’s VPG-ometer.
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