By: Don Tarkenton

Imagine sitting across from a prospect, enjoying a glass of wine and going over the amazing tour of the property. It seems like they are almost ready to buy. You hand them over a tablet and start reviewing more of the great features and their interest peaks even further, and it is time to close. However, rather than pulling out a pile of paperwork, you click an icon on the tablet and you are immediately transported to the contracting process.

The vacation ownership industry is famous for its immersive sales processes and customer courtship. The white-glove treatment seduces clients and allows them to leave their worries at the door.
Rather than interrupting the ambiance of the industry with time-consuming and burdensome paper contracts, modern, vacation ownership businesses – such as Westgate, Wyndham and GCI, as examples – are increasingly adopting Digital Transaction Management practices to seamlessly combine the white glove treatment with state-of-the-art technology.

Moreover, the digital process does not end with the signing ceremony. It initiates a digital life that can move from the signature to notarization to the county records officers to the lenders and custodians, and even through securitization.

Why Digital Transaction Management?
For timeshare and vacation ownership companies, Digital Transaction Management (DTM) can completely transform the entire business process – from helping businesses secure competitive advantage to ensuring that their financial assets are protected throughout the life of their contracts.

Benefits of the cohesive process include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing a seamless buyer experience in a secure environment with access to all documents.
  • Eliminating the cost, time and potential human error of hard-copy document management by eradicating the process of printing, scanning, faxing and mailing paper contracts.
  • Allowing for use of mobile and tablet devices by both buyer and seller, with notarization capabilities.
  • Managing risk with a secure path to manage original documents electronically throughout their lifecycle, ensuring the ability to pledge, sell, and securitize the assets.
  • Eliminating third party transaction fees and providing continuous integration for county official records.

DTM at Westgate Resorts
Westgate Resorts, one of the nation’s top vacation resort companies, has always focused on a smooth and pleasant experience for its members and sales team. It is also an industry leader in digital transformation.

Early last year, eOriginal, Inc., DocuSign, Inc. and Informa Software joined forces to deliver a seamless end-to-end DTM solution for Westgate Resorts. The all-digital Westgate Resorts Timeshare System allows Westgate Resorts to become 100 percent digitally integrated throughout their entire business processes—from sales presentations to customer contract execution while providing secure vaulted management of all documentation and signed contracts and loans.

The First Step: eSignature
When it comes to closing a deal on vacation property, basic contract digitization is a powerful opportunity to increase customer satisfaction, decrease sales costs, reduce contract errors, increase speed to funding and enable customers to sign in real-time.

With eSignature technology, contract signing is reduced from hours to minutes by eliminating the lag of snail mail and hard-copy document management. Customer service and efficiency is improved by having a signing experience that is optimized for mobile and tablet devices for both the buyer and seller.

Moreover, an electronic signature process eliminates errors and omissions commonly made on paper contracts that may cause needless delays and an endless back and forth. As a component of DTM though, eSignature technology is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Securing Your Assets
Timeshare contracts are the financial assets for vacation ownership companies. Therefore, securing ownership of contracts, and having certainty in the process, is an essential benefit to a robust DTM system.

Most within the vacation ownership industry require certainty in the control and protection of the authoritative copy, the only original contract copy, of high-value contracts to ensure that their security interests in such contracts are perfected and maintained.

The discipline of asset management within a DTM solution provides control to end users, while securely providing access to additional third-party participants, such as lenders, document custodians, investors, auditors and legal counsel.

Creating legally verifiable authentic copies is the surest way to give banks and funders peace of mind that their digital assets are rigorously protected and legally binding. To maintain uniqueness of the authoritative copy, every reproduction of the contract necessary for working copies should be watermarked to indicate that it is indeed a copy of the original.

Mitigating Risk
It is essential to find a DTM solution that ensures that your contracts are legally-binding. Risks occur when funders or buyers won’t accept a digital transaction because they lack confidence in the process used to manage that asset.

In the paper world, ownership is secured with physical possession, but in the digital world, ownership is tracked through control. The best solutions provide a complete electronic audit trail of all interactions with the document throughout the life of the contract. For post-signature functions, such as sale, securitization, or collateralization, vital features include encryption, tamper seal and integrity checks within the secure storage eVaulting solution.

Post-Signature Management
As asset monetization evolves, so does the complexity of post-signature life of loan assets. Companies with digital contracts that represent financial value may be exposed to unnecessary and dangerous risk by not preparing for the post-signature life of these assets. These contracts often fall short when contracts need to be sold or used as loan collateral to provide cash for business operations.

The ability to move assets between parties with secure and controlled processes is also a vital part of business operations. With compliance and security demands on the rise, third parties such as banks, custodians and regulators need to be able to easily access and manage contracts.

Timeshare Transaction Necessities

The majority of the counties where resort development take place are accepting digital contracts for recording. By interfacing with county official records offices, you can conduct batch creation and management for submittal to the county. This eliminates third party transaction fees, while also maintaining the digital integrity of the document.

Solutions specific to the vacation ownership industry should also feature notarization integration capabilities, applying the notary seal to the digital contract in compliance with state notary requirements.

Final Thoughts
Richer DTM solutions that move beyond e-signature and include the entire signing and closing process are gaining traction in this industry. For those that have struggled, postponed or written off their company’s digital transformation, it is time to reconsider, because the resorts in this industry that are implementing digital tactics are seeing revenues skyrocket.

Don Tarkenton is a Major Account Manager of eOriginal who specializes on the Vacation and Timeshare Industry.

About eOriginal
Founded in 1996, eOriginal is the trusted expert in digital transaction management solutions, specializing in the post-execution management of financial asset documentation. As the standard for eAsset® Management services, the company provides the ability to verify secure, legally compliant and enforceable electronic asset documentation.

eOriginal SmartSign® and eAsset® Management Services enable an end-to-end solution for fully electronic transactions that must be managed with the highest levels of security and compliance throughout their lifecycle.

eOriginal provides the maintenance, control and use of critical documents that have an intrinsic value, such as negotiable instruments, in a fully electronic environment, storing and protecting these assets throughout their entire lifecycle, including post signature execution.
By maintaining the authenticity of original documents, the identity of the signatories, and the integrity of the content, eOriginal provides customers with the capability to realize the true benefits of fully electronic transactions and the resulting business process improvements.
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