C.A.R.E.’s 59th Semi-Annual Conference was held at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel in Washington State from October 18-21, 2014. Fall conference attendees experienced a great venue with intimate meeting spaces beneficial to session
and networking needs, one of a kind meals throughout the weekend event, a spirited Speed Networking Session, an entertaining Halloween Party and a
Seattle City Tour.
C.A.R.E. Gives Back
C.A.R.E. kicked off the conference on Saturday morning by participating in “Duwamish Alive” hosted by EarthCorps, a non-profit organization founded in 1993 with a mission to build a global community of leaders through local environmental services. In effort to transform the West Duwamish Greenbelt into a magnificent and healthy habitat, 15 C.A.R.E. volunteers joined a group of 500 to remove over a quarter acre of blackberry bushes, plant 465 native plants and mulch 4,400 square feet. C.A.R.E. volunteers were actually responsible for approximately 20% of the planting and mulching even though their group was less than 5% of the workforce!
The C.A.R.E. Board of Directors welcomed conference attendees on Saturday
evening with a Sponsor Appreciation Reception in recognition of sponsors that contributed over $30,000 in support for the conference. During the welcome dinner that followed, attendees participated in the popular 50/50 raffle drawing as well as C.A.R.E.’s Super Raffle that included lots of great prizes such as vacation weeks, future conference perks, industry advertising opportunities and the Grand Prize 60” HDTV donated by Travel To Go and Wow Services Group.
EBusiness Director for Sunset World Resorts, Jim Wehrle and Paul Mattimoe, CEO of the Perspective Group presented an informational session on social media. Additional educational sessions included the panel discussion titled “Making the Most of Your C.A.R.E. Membership” and the keynote session “Servicing the Over-Informed Travel Consumer” presented by Doug Kennedy of Kennedy Training Group.
Servicing the Over Informed Travel Consumer
Doug Kennedy is the lodging industry’s leading expert in reservations sales training techniques, having conducted training for top tier companies across all market segments for two decades. His current training and mystery shopping clients include hotels, resorts, inns, vacation home rental companies and timeshare operators such as Gold Key, Interval Servicing, and Grand Pacific Resorts.
During Kennedy’s informative session he stated that the balance of power has shifted to the caller’s side of the equation. Now, with all of the information online, most have researched extensively and don’t want to hear scripted messaging. His session offered attendees a better understanding of the interplay of voice and electronic channels, as well as how to convert inquiries into bookings. Techniques included:
• Understanding the needs of today’s over-informed, multi-talking callers
• Avoiding the “website search support” mentality of helping callers find available inventory and instead making it our job to help them decide
• Using an updated questioning process to “un-mask the story” behind the caller
• Using the “Value Pyramid” sales model to sell the overall vacation experience Speed Networking
On Sunday, following the Roll Call of C.A.R.E. Members, the conference’s
famous speed networking event, sponsored by Resort Travel & Xchange
(RTX), took place. The event gave attendees personal one-on-one time
to meet each other and explain their products and services. Attendees had two minutes per meeting and benefitted from new introductions to prospective clients and business partners. “Networking is certainly an important aspect of timeshare conferences, especially when you consider the value of new partnerships and affiliations,” said Corina Violette, Director of Resort Partnerships for RTX. “As a rapidly growing exchange company, we know firsthand the value of being able to explain how your company’s unique position in the industry can benefit other organizations. Give me two minutes and I’ll make you a believer,” she stated.
Seattle City Tour
On Monday attendees were treated to a city tour of Seattle, sponsored by
CondoWarehouse.com, for a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Seattle’s
famous attractions which included Pike Place Market, Historic Pioneer Square, Safeco & Qwest stadiums, Chinatown and International District and the Space Needle, to name a few. Stops on the 50 mile city tour included Pioneer Square, the Ballard Locks, and a great skyline photo opportunity.
Board of Director Nominees
The conference concluded with the an announcement stating that the Crowne
Plaza Resort in Asheville, NC will be the site of the 2015 spring conference and with the nominations for several Board of Directors positions. Nominations included Linda Mayhugh, Advantage Travel for President, Deborah Sansom, ICS Management for Secretary, and Vikki Lessard, Club Resort Intervals, LLC for Treasurer. Tina Hill, Global Connections, Jim Wehrle, CTC Travel, and J. Michael Martinez, Timeshare Recyclers, LLC were nominated for Vice President. Elections will be held at C.A.R.E.’s 60th Semi-Annual Conference in Annapolis, MD May 2-5, 2015.
C.A.R.E. (www.care-online.org), established in 1985, is the vacation industry’s premier trade association. Its member companies, comprised of Resort Developers, Management and Exchange companies, HOA’s, Travel Clubs and Wholesalers, provide each other with opportunities for vacation fulfillment, exchanges and revenue enhancement through increased inventory utilization and yield management. C.A.R.E. members are required to comply with a strict Code of Standards and Ethics and benefit from outstanding professional and personal development opportunities at their semi-annual conferences.