RDO and HOAs discuss new timeshare body
A meeting of Home Owners’ Associations was held in London last month to discuss the possibility of setting up a new body to represent the interests of European timeshare owners.
The move follows the collapse of TATOC last year, which left something of a vacuum that had the potential of being filled by rogue companies claiming to represent the voice of the consumer, an outcome that needed to be avoided at all costs.
There was an excellent turnout at the meeting, with 33 HOAs representing 34 European resorts in attendance.
Robin Mills, RDO Communications Council chairman, moderated the session with a panel made up of:
- Howard Nusbaum, ARDA (American Resort Development Association)
- Rob Webb, ARDA
- Ken McKelvey, ARDA-ROC (Resort Owners’ Coalition)
- Eugene Miskelly, RDO Legislative Council Chairman who replaced Chris Emmins, KwikChex, who could not attend due to a family bereavement
- Paul Gardner Bougaard, RDO
- Peter Robinson, AIPP (Association of International Property Professionals)
ARDA and RDO were at pains to point out that they were not attempting in any way to dictate to HOAs or to take charge – the HOAs themselves had to agree whether they wish to manage the new association themselves or, alternatively, ask RDO to do this on their behalf’
ARDA was of the view that with a wealth of experience and expertise at its fingertips, it made sense for RDO to take on this role. Many of the issues that HOAs currently face and consider to be a priority are ones that RDO has been working on for a number of years, and RDO is ideally placed to take this forward on behalf of owners.
There was a debate on the funding of the new association, which could follow a similar format to the US, where ARDA-ROC produces promotional materials to be distributed to resort owners by the HOAs. It is the HOAs who decide what sum their owners will be invited to pay.
ARDA cautioned the new association to start small in terms of its objectives and focus on growing bit by bit. It should not rely on unpaid volunteers but should budget for a professionally-run secretariat.
It was noted that should RDO be invited to take on this function, it could potentially be viewed with suspicion, although in the US, ARDA-ROC is transparent about its relationship with ARDA and does not believe that this should be seen as a negative.
The association should be standalone, but have strong links to the industry and it should be accepted that it might not always share the same viewpoints as RDO on certain issues. Ultimately both will work for the common good.
Whilst this will be a European association, given that the British are the largest market of owners of timeshare in Europe, it is likely that their interests will be a priority, although addressing adverse activity in any market that affects European owners will always be an issue to be considered and acted upon as necessary.
A show of hands was requested to approve the following:
- To move forward with the proposal to create an association, independent of the industry, to represent timeshare owners
- To form a working group to create a framework, agree measurable objectives, fix a budget and a funding mechanism
- To have RDO manage the association, at the direction of the new association’s board/management committee
Unanimous approval was given and the working group will be holding its first meeting mid-October and will report back with its proposals at a follow-up meeting for the HOAs early next year.