Sarasota, Florida is the site of GNEX 2014 and the home of Oombaga, a direct-to-owner mobile device that connects the owner to the resort. Oombaga would like to offer the vacation ownership industry a sincere invitation to come to sunny Sarasota for the February 2014 GNEX Conference. In this article learn the latest buzz about this ambitious transaction application, what it can do for you, and why you should come to Sarasota next February. Oombaga is for resorts and owners. GNEX and Sarasota are for your business and enjoyment.
Each year the GNEX conference is located at a new and exciting place for the attendees to enjoy. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to explore Sarasota and Oombaga. We promise you will fall in love with our piece of paradise. Year after year Sarasota’s beaches are voted number one in America and top 10 in the world.
Come to Sarasota and discover why we and so many others love our town. And while in town, visit the Oombaga headquarters to discover all that the mobile service can do for you.
John Staley and Delaina Probus-Staley, Oombaga
What do Oombaga, GNEX and Sarasota offer?
Oombaga is a multiple GNEX award winner Sarasota has a number one rated beach Oombaga and Dial and Exchange are throwing a beach bash during GNEX 2014 Sarasota is the “Cultural Coast” of Florida GNEX brings 110 companies and 250 industry attendees together Oombaga works with everyone, for everyone GNEX shares a wealth of senior level executives and information Oombaga shares revenues with resorts and developers GNEX does not have an official mascot Oombaga has an adorable friendly OGRE.
What is Oombaga all about?
Oombaga in a Nutshell
Oombaga is a direct-to-owner mobile device service that connects the owner to the resort. Oombaga is both middleware and a mobile application which allows timeshare owners to pay maintenance fees, make reservations and carry out transactions with their resort. The middleware connects timeshare owners to their resorts making transactions seamless via any online and mobile device. Owners/members may choose float assignments, or exchange, rent and book their time all in one place through the app on their tablets and smart phones, as well as through websites, emails and instant messaging.
Oombaga provides seamless capability to transact to the vacation owner. Oftentimes, owners pay their maintenance fees to one entity, confirm their float or points allocation with a different company, and then do their exchange with a third company. And because vacation owners are dealing with so many different companies, they historically haven’t been able to have this kind of seamless flow in dealing with their timeshare each year.
“Oombaga is, in essence, the software that sits out there in the middle,” Delaina explains. “So, any property management system will be able to integrate – not just interface – within it. By doing that, they’ll have access to every other company that Oombaga has integrated with – whether it’s a travel insurance company, an exchange company, or any other vendors that would help them do their job better,” she says. “And not only that, but it also has within itself an app and web capability to provide owner servicing and a capability that they’ve never had before in our industry.”
For the newest generation of consumers, this type of seamless, instantaneous transaction is almost a birthright. “Millennials aren’t asking for this kind of convenience,” Delaina says, “they expect it.”
Old School Vacation Ownership
According to Delaina, the current pace of handling a timeshare vacation for owners is hobbled by time- consuming steps: “Currently, here’s how it works with any property management system, any resort – even the big boys,” she says. “It takes about eight weeks all told. First, the resort snail mails out their maintenance fee invoice, and sometime after that the owner receives it and sends it back with either a check or credit card info – again by snail mail. Then, the resort has to input that information. By the time they do, at least two to three weeks have gone by. Now at this point, the owner can now (finally) call that resort and make a reservation for their float or points assignment,” Delaina explains.
“Once they’ve got their reservation, what are they going to do with it? Are they going to come to the resort? Are they going to send a guest? Are they going to rent out their timeshare? Or are they going to exchange and go to Tahiti instead of Daytona? All of that – because nothing is integrated or online, and nothing is seamless – it takes approximately eight weeks,” she says.
Because Oombaga has fully integrated all these capabilities and provided convenient access, the process is now incredibly simple, straightforward and easy. The vacation owner now gets the maintenance- fee invoice instantly and can immediately push a button to pay. And as soon as the invoice is paid, the owner can push another button to choose the reservation date desired – and then push another button to send a guest instead. And so on.
“We call it making an OGRE decision,” says John, “whether an Owner, Guest, Renter or Exchanger is going to come.” (And if you didn’t already know, Oombaga is the name of the little yellow ogre that both serves as the company mascot and, according to some, lives inside your phone and helps you make your OGRE decision.)
“We’re the only interface that I’m aware that does all those things that has ever existed,” John adds. “Nobody in our business has an app that does all these things – the ones that do exist are primarily for marketing and not truly providing a service.”
What Oombaga Can Do for You
Dial An Exchange is the first exchange company to partner with Oombaga, likely the first of several – if not all.
“We’re seeking additional companies to work with,” John states. “We’re encouraging all different types of companies to have interfaces with Oombaga – it’s a middleware that gives the different companies a single interface pulling together people in the industry. We do a revenue split with the property-management software companies, so we’re encouraging them to get involved as well.”
Currently Oombaga is steamrolling ahead as it partners with more and more resorts, vendors and exchange companies. As of press time, Oombaga had gone live and was operating with agreements with 44 resorts, and plenty more on the horizon. “Feel free to give us a call to see what resorts are live,” John adds.
How Do Developers/Resorts Benefit?
Two other unique aspects of Oombaga are the company’s split-fee transactions and blended revenue stream model.
“All the transactions that people do when they click through the middleware are monetized, and we give a percentage back to the developer of every dollar that comes into Oombaga,” John explains.
“Let’s say an exchange company wants to go through us for an exchange. All the units are cleaned and pressed already, with the maintenance fees already paid,” John says. “In most exchange scenarios, the owner has to call the exchange company to verify all this, so we’re already ahead of the game right there,” saving the exchange company costly processing time.
What’s more, Oombaga provides new marketing opportunities to the exchange company – “because while 100 percent of these owners have paid their maintenance fees,” John points out, “only 20 percent or so are members of that exchange company. So we give them another shot at the remaining 80 percent.”
John further lays out a typical exchange scenario: “For simplicity’s sake, let’s say the exchange transaction is $100. We generate $10 off doing that exchange through Oombaga, and we give half of that back to the resort developer – so they get $5 for the exchange. We then take our half and give half of that to the property management software company, which is $2.50. The remaining $2.50 goes to Oombaga.”
Oombaga’s double-split system gives the lion’s share of the profit back to the developer (“because it’s their owner,” John explains). But the real point here is that the resort is generating revenue where it didn’t previously. Any vendor connected to Oombaga is going to pay a small transactional fee, and Oombaga in turn splits that fee. “We’ve developed 24 different kinds of transactions,” John states. “It’s unrealized revenue they didn’t have access to before.”
Oombaga white-labels the app for the resorts and customizes it with the resort’s logo and colors. When the owners use the app to pay the maintenance fee or make the OGRE decision, they see it as a mobile app from the resort.
A Win-Win-Win-Win …
Oombaga provides a seamless integration from the resort back office to your owner’s hands and eliminates paperwork on all sides. Oombaga can work with any resort, any property management system, any exchange company, and any vendor. Whether you’re a resort, club, developer, management company, exchange company, HOA, rental agency, broker, or vendor – Oombaga is for you.
More about Sarasota
Sarasota and its environs – known as Florida’s “Cultural Coast” – is a relaxing beach town with everything you’d expect of such, but also with a rich history and an abundance of performing arts venues to complement the area’s sugar-white sand beaches and serene Gulf Coast sunsets.
Sarasota is the proud home of Mote Aquarium, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and an authentic artists’ colony – Towles Court – and boasts multiple showplaces for art, music, dance and theater, including:
- John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
- The Asolo Repertory Theatre
- The Florida West Coast Symphony
- Jazz Club of Sarasota, Inc.
- Sarasota Ballet of Florida
- Sarasota Opera
- Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
- Florida Studio Theatre
- The Player’s Theatre
What’s more, Sarasota-area visitors seeking to enjoy the outdoors can explore the mangrove tunnels of South Lido Key by kayak, traverse North America’s first canopy trail in Myakka River State Park, or enjoy a fishing trip into the Gulf.
“Or, you can just take a stroll down Main Street and visit our collection of bistros and shops,” Delaina points out. “Don’t miss Tequila Cantina,” John adds. “That’s one of our favorite places.”
“But while you’re here in Sarasota for GNEX, don’t miss the Oombaga Beach Bash that we’re throwing at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Club along with Dial An Exchange,” says Delaina. “It’s a great way to get to enjoy our town during the conference.”
“The entire conference is a don’t-miss event,” adds John. “There are 110 companies and 250 senior-level executives coming to GNEX here – if you haven’t been involved in GNEX to date, you need to get involved now.”