Perspective Group produced the Canadian Resort Conference (CRC) for the second year on behalf of the Canadian Resort Development Association (CRDA) on September 9th -10th, 2015 at the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel in British Columbia, Canada. CRC 2015 brought together nearly 70 senior level executives from 50 companies spanning across Canada, the United States, Mexico and beyond.

The conference had an extraordinary panel of industry experts who participated in a series of Q&A panel session debates discussing relevant topics which included new and emerging trends, the latest technology, and challenges and growth opportunities in the Canadian and global markets.

CRC 2015 highlighted the growth of our industry and its importance in the delivery of exceptional vacation experiences to consumers in Canada and around the world. In doing so, the industry has attracted some of the top purveyors of great service in the hospitality industry. For the Canadian Resort Development Association, we were pleased to roll out a strategy at CRC2015 to serve the needs of the many stakeholders in the industry including consumers, developers, regulatory agencies, owner associations, suppliers, and others. I am sure our industry will rise to the challenge of implementing such a big agenda,” said Ed Romanowski Treasurer & Immediate Past Chair, CRDA.

Speed Networking
A fun speed networking event took place on the first day of the conference which offered an opportunity to get personal one-on-one time with up to 30 attendees in two minute speed meetings. This networking activity allowed attendees to swap business cards and arrange formal meetings with key industry professionals at a fast pace in a relaxed environment. Conference attendees benefited from new introductions to prospective clients and potential business partners. A cocktail party sponsored by DAE followed immediately after speed networking as well as a charity auction which raised $14,400 to benefit the British Columbia Hospitality Foundation.

CRDA Update
The second day of the conference started off with a brief update on CRDA news presented by, Jon Zwickel, President & CEO, Canadian Resort Development Association and Andrew Hewat –President of Hewat Strategic Edge. The gentlemen discussed the latest in CRDA news and gave details on the completion of a 6 month process of analysis and assessment to determine how the association can best serve Canada’s vacation ownership industry. They shared CRDA’s focus plan to facilitate overall industry growth, to promote ethical industry practices and to instill industry credibility in the minds of consumers, lenders and government.

An Industry Without Boarders
Keynote speaker Jim Madrid – CEO of Advance Corporate Technology, welcomed delegates to CRC 2015 and kicked off the first panel discussion regarding an industry without boarders which was led by Darla Zanini – American Resort Development Association, EVP, ARDA Int’l Foundation, Linda Mayhugh – C.A.R.E. President, Jon Zwickel, President & CEO, Canadian Resort Development Association, and James Chase, Chief Executive Officer, British Columbia Hotel Association. This panel of key North American trade associations discussed growing trends and opportunities for cross-border collaboration.

Engaging The Customer, Delivering The Experience
The panel engaging the customer and delivering the experience which was led by four speakers: Erika Garcia – CEO of Marketing 4 Sunset Group, S.A. de C.V., Robert Kobek –President of CustomerCount, Dianne Hounsome – Developer/Manager of The Cottages at Port Stanton, and Bob McGrath – Vice President of Business Development, RCI. Speakers discussed the latest tools and services available to help resort developers and management companies continue to deliver on the promises to the increasingly demanding consumer and create extraordinary vacation experiences.

CRC 2015 in Vancouver provided a beautiful gathering place for the key stakeholders in the Canadian resort/shared ownership industry. We truly benefited from being able to share our views and experiences and learn from each other. We look forward to working with these stakeholders as we strive to implement the Canadian Resort Development Association’s exciting 5-year strategic plan,” said Dianne Hounsome Chair, CRDA and Developer & Manager, The Cottages at Port Stanton.

Preserving A Legacy
The Preserving A Legacy panel was led by Ed Romanowski – President of Bellstar Hotels & Resorts, Gord Minor – Director of Operations- Canada, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Francis Taylor – Chief Executive Officer, DAE, and Greg Crist, Chief Executive Officer of NTAO. This panel provided a detailed look at the operational side of HOAs as they continue to deal with increasing management fees, aging owners and resorts. Panelists also addressed the impact of legacy resorts on sales of newer properties and product variations as well as the pros and cons of exit strategies, rental programs, restructuring and consolidation in order to take care of older properties and their owners.

Sharing Is Cool – Are We?
This lively panned included speakers Chad Barker –Education Guru at NTOA, Fermin Cruz – Vice President of Sales and Marketing- Americas at weholi, Collin Zwickel – Investment Advisor at RBC Dominican Securities, and Jay Bade – Director of Business Development at GetAways Resort Management. This diverse panel encouraged audience engagement while debating on the past, present and future of the sharing economy; and where vacation ownership – a sharing economy pioneer – fits into the picture for today’s travelers.

“This exciting panel was very interesting to watch. Each speaker brought something unique and insightful to the table, and industry professionals alike took full advantage of participating in the discussion. Many valid points and concerns we raised which made for interesting topics of conversation,” said Paul Mattimoe, president and CEO of Perspective Group.

Cornerstone Award Winner
The third annual Cornerstone Award winner was announced after a lunch session sponsored by Intuition Reviews on the second day of the conference. The award was presented to Greg Crist – Chief Executive Officer of the National Timeshare Owners Association by President & CEO of CRDA, Jon Zwickel. This coveted award recognizes innovators in the vacation ownership industry and entry was open to any company, Home Owners Association, individual or vacation ownership project. A worthy recipient of the Cornerstone Award would be anyone or any company that has seized an opportunity, addressed a need, solved a problem or created a game changing value proposition that has left a lasting positive impact on the industry, the environment and society, while being an inspiration to other CRDA members – Greg Crist of NTOA encompasses that.

Closing Reception
The closing reception was held at the luxurious Top of Vancouver, a revolving restaurant 553 feet high offering panoramic city, bay and mountain views of beautiful Vancouver and beyond. This fabulous reception was sponsored by Trade Up Travel, one of America’s top providers of luxury travel packages at affordable rates. The celebration provided conference attendees with the opportunity to let their hair down while enjoying music, dancing, fun, premium cocktails, gourmet cuisine and superb networking to finish off this prestigious yearly meeting.

“The sharing economy is prevalent in all sectors and we are in an industry that pioneered the concept. So I believe the key to the success of CRC ’15 was sharing. Attendees shared stories about their opportunities, challenges and successes. They shared learning’s about trends in financing, vacation experiences and technology. They generously shared their resources to benefit the BC Hospitality Foundation. And as an industry association, CRDA shared our 5-year roadmap for delivering value to our members,” said Jon Zwickel as he reflected on the success of the conference.