Giving the industry a helping hand
Recent political developments in the UK and the US, suggest uncertain times lie ahead, not just for the timeshare industry, but society as a whole. JENNIE THOMPSON, director of Resort Fiduciary Services (RFS) and the International Black & White Association (IBWA), says despite these events it’s reassuring to learn there are still some constants in business.
Setting the scene
The last year has been a busy one for RFS. We have been working to add additional corporate services, from administration services to Escrow facilities, to help support legacy resorts.
For many years I have attended The Timeshare Association (TATOC) conference as both a delegate and speaker. It’s clear that we need to be able to work together with resorts to help them reinvigorate their sales and rental programmes, and to minimise dwindling membership through the provision of practical support.
We need a roundtable discussion with a ‘roll our sleeves up’ approach, and at RFS we believe it starts with a simple, ‘how can we help?’
The big brands in the industry have well-established structures, while legacy and owner-run resorts operated by management companies are making inroads with sales and rentals.
But some of the independents have been left behind and we believe they deserve more focus, and deserve more help and support through a wider skillset.
At RFS we are confident that with a positive mindset, an openness to change and a willingness to collaborate with a range of influencers we will get to where we want to be.
As a small organisation we are very flexible and believe in offering a fresh look on ordinary things. A number of resorts we work with as trustees are often quite surprised at the range of professional services which we can offer beyond providing legal structures that safeguard the industry and consumer.
We now offer a wider selection of services for the leisure and commercial sector, including company registration, administration services, tax returns, Escrow facilities, management fee collection, credit card services and consultancy.
It’s definitely not a one size fits all approach in the industry. Each resort has to be treated differently in order to find its sweet spot to entice new owners and rental income.
And it’s now more than ever, that these resorts need help to address their challenges. For example, given currency fluctuations, holidaying in the UK will be a much more attractive option for both domestic and international travellers.
Collaboration isn’t exclusive to the shared-ownership arena. The International Black and White Association was established in Spain in 2012 as a means of fostering acceptance and a willingness to understand, and identify with, different cultures.
The charity has been working diligently to raise awareness and appreciation of different cultures, and we considered the best way to do this was to concentrate our efforts on younger minds.
IBWA in Spain, as well as on the Isle of Man, run a range of initiatives and activities for children, from educational talks to art exhibitions and music events celebrating cultural tolerance.
We are very excited for our bigger and better Tree of Exhibition in May 2017, which will bring together a variety of organisations, from accountancy and finance to retail and education.
It will unite people from all walks of life, allowing them to make their own mark on the tree sculpture and celebrate diversity and growth in their community.
Even the Isle of Man’s chief minister is expected to attend, so it’s a great opportunity to showcase IBWA as a worthwhile cause. Our toy bank and book appeals are designed to promote the importance of education and learning, while art and music offer freedom of expression without language barriers.
I am hopeful that we will achieve the same with timeshare, with open discussions to help lift barriers to entry. Through building tolerance as a collective, I’m confident we can all inspire change for a new dawn in timeshare and in our society at large. It will be a slow process, but we will get there.