Oombaga! Oombaga! Oombaga! What the heck is Oombaga? If you don’t yet know, you will!
The timeshare world has been abuzz with Oombaga since last year when the product was introduced at ARDA WORLD, the annual America Resort Development Association Convention. The groundbreaking event was kicked-off by Dr. Daniel J. Curran, PhD., University of Dayton’s president, who participated on behalf of the University’s role in this software revolution. Not only is Oombaga’s chief architect John Staley a graduate of University of Dayton, he is an inveterate promoter and quarterback of a powerful team of technology experts, marketing gurus and avid supporters. As proof of Staley’s enthusiasm, even football great Archie Griffin showed up as a fan! Griffin truly knows a thing or two about team work.
Recently, as a Sponsor of GNEX 2013 Oombaga (along with co-sponsor DAE) continued the football theme with an energetic Super Bowl party to further drum up support and recruit new Oombaga team members.
Go Team Go!
Teamwork is what Oombaga is all about. The software has been created to work with everyone and share revenue by increasing conversions, interactions and payments with vacationers. Since its inception Oombaga has invited companies connected to resorts, developers, management, exchange, HOA, rentals, brokers, software, finance, marketing and clubs to take part. The list of participants is growing and includes such well respected companies as Good Management, Erickson Management and Galleon Resort to name a few.
Oombaga has brought in the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) as a partner in the technical development of the software. This is the first foray into the hospitality industry for UDRI, a division of the prominent private catholic university most well-known for work with aero propulsion, energy, materials, Mechanical Systems, and sensors frequently with defense and transportation segments. The development partnership with UDRI is pivotal in creation and operation of the “Switzerland” approach to Oombaga working with all stake-holders and software systems. Both business model and technical aspects are strengthened through the UDRI and Oombaga relationship.
A key leader on the Oombaga team, University of Dayton’s Dan Curran says “coming from the academic arena, we know more about aero propulsion than timesharing. But when John shared his grand plan with us, we saw great possibilities. Today, software designers at the University of Dayton Research Institute are contributing their expertise to the product and the results are very impressive.”
Dale Goodman, president and CEO of Good Management and one of the early adopters of Oombaga says “the seamless integration between owners and ‘back of the house’ is just short of a miracle. Now as a management company we can have everything in one place and the owners have all they need at their fingertips.”
Four years ago John Locher’s company Redweek.com seemed like the greatest thing since just baked fresh bread, sliced warm out of the oven. Today he heads up Locher & Associates and says “there’s always the ‘next best thing’ to come along and Oombaga is definitely all that and more.
“Finally there is a way for timeshare companies and owners to connect through a simple app that works with every system and on all handheld electronic devices.
“The creative minds at Oombaga and University of Dayton Research Institute have come up with the most innovative—and functional—concept that’s come down the pike in years. Now timeshare owners and members of vacation clubs can get what they’ve been clamoring for: an app to book time, exchange weeks, pay maintenance fees and even stock their refrigerator.
“It won’t be long before Oombaga is on every timeshare owner’s electronic device.”
Keeping it Simple
Oombaga is 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 easily choose float assignments, exchange, and rent and book their time all in one place through tablets, smart phones, websites, emails and instant messaging.
Oombaga is not only good for the owners; it’s great for the resorts and their vendors. Oombaga provides direct connectivity through its middleware between the Property Management System and the vendors providing services to the resort. Vendors keep it simple by directly linking to resorts with one singular interface while Oombaga provides the interface to any Property Management System. Oombaga’s middleware not only eliminates costly interfaces but also offers connectivity to services that prior to Oombaga were un-obtainable.
Vendors will now have ability to offer their services to resorts that were inaccessible prior to interfacing with Oombaga. Using this middleware, resorts will be able to choose a vast variety of services they want to offer to their owners with just one click. Just as easily, Property Management Systems will be able to offer their resorts all the services and interfaces Oombaga provides.
Oombaga is creating revenue for the r esorts. Every dime Oombaga earns is shared with the resorts.
It’s Not Magic but It’s Pretty Darn Close
To laymen, owners and resort executives Oombaga works like magic in the palm of your hand or on your desktop.
Oombaga is an Azure cloud-based system providing a web interface to mobile devices and websites. It connects to any system including exchange, collection and all Property Management Systems (PMS).
Owners will enjoy the new services their resort is providing them. Before Oombaga, you had to create software or integration communication on a per case basis for EACH foreign system. Now you connect with Oombaga middleware and you are done. Oombaga takes over the protocol and passes through the information. One and done with Oombaga. Oombaga magically transforms into a resort’s customized website and mobile app. Oombaga is white labeled, sits behind the scenes, and is designed to be customized to the colors and themes of each individual resort. The Oombaga brand will ultimately be another choice for channeling inventory to OTA’s, Online Travel Agencies, for alternative inventory.
The Command Center for All Important Timeshare Decisions
According to Delaina Probus-Staley, co-owner of Oombaga, “owners can now transact more easily and more frequently with their resort to pay bills, choose float assignments, exchange, rent, and book their time all in one place through mobile interfaces, websites, emails and instant messaging. Oombaga is the ‘command center’ for owners and empowers owners to make what we call “OGRE” decisions (Owners, Guest, Renter and Exchanger).”
With Oombaga, all owners need to do is download the app, and touch the screen. Then they are completely ready to rely on Oombaga for all their important timeshare decisions: choose Float/Flex assignments, initiate internal trades for individual resorts, receive statements online and pay both maintenance fees and mortgage payments online. Owners can even purchase and pre-pay for Guest Services from pre-arrival shopping to ski-lift tickets.
Perhaps it is because Oombaga burst on to the scene with a solution targeted to help owners, members, and resort operations people that it was so highly honored at GNEX 2013 for both Best Innovation and Best Newcomer.
What truly makes the product innovative? What puts it over the top is the design which interfaces with any participating property management system(s). Everyone wins! Oombaga has been created to work with everyone and share revenue by increasing conversions, interactions and payments with vacationers.
Today’s consumer is no longer demanding the latest technology to facilitate their vacation at their resort, they are simply expecting it. Oombaga provides the ability to compete with the technology hotels are using today. Airfare, Guest Reservations, Car Rentals are booked within minutes for all Vacation Ownership guests providing new revenue streams to resorts using Oombaga. Now, with Oombaga, resorts from the largest to the smallest are able to provide a full service experience to their owners.
Thirty Minute Delivery
Prior to Oombaga, it took up to six to eight weeks for an Owner to realize their vacation. The first thing that had to occur was the billing of the annual maintenance fees. The resort had to enter the amounts into the property management system,
print the invoices, three-fold them into windowed envelopes, and then off to “snail-mail” to the owners. This process could approach one to two weeks. After a week in the mail the invoices arrived, viewed, and were paid perhaps that week. They then are off to snail mail again returning to the resort, while another week passes. The resort then inputs the payment into the Owner’s individual accounts. Next, it is time for the owner to call and make their selection for their desired vacation date. Together the owner and the resort’s staff find a suitable date.
Now it is time to make their OGRE (Owner, Guest, Rent, Exchange) decision. Are they going to stay at their resort as an Owner stay? Are they sending their family to the resort as their Guests? They needed to communicate their desires to let the resort know who’s to arrive. Can’t vacation this year? Do they want to rent their week out? Don’t forget to have the rental agreement sent to them and then back. Or do they want to Exchange to Tahiti this year? Exchange companies need to confirm maintenance payment and legitimate reservation before providing an Exchange. These OGRE decisions can take up 1-3 weeks. Total time invested by your owners so far is six to eight weeks.
Delaina Staley says “with Oombaga, the entire process, start to finish, is 30 minutes. It’s click, click, click, and the owner is done! Imagine reducing your owner’s tasks from eight weeks down to 30 minutes! It had to be done! We are competing with the average vacationer being able to book their stays in 30 minutes in the traditional hotel market. Not only can our owners manage their vacation in less than 30 minutes, but also they are getting an awesome condo at their favorite vacation spot. Our industry has always been the better choice, and now we are the faster one as well. Your owners are going to be so proud!”
Tom Adams of Suncoast Vacations also praises Oombaga. “We have seven resorts who have been associated with John and Delaina’s work as part of our management program. We shared some feedback with these folks and they listened as we told them of our owner’s desire for a product that would allow them to make all their resort transactions right from their iPads, smart phones or on their PC…one stop “shopping” if you will.”
“Well, now that product is here and we couldn’t be more pleased.
“Not only does it eliminate all the paper and rigmarole we used to have to go through to keep owners current on fees and track their special requests, it also keeps everything in one place for the owners themselves.
“It’s a terrifically innovative idea whose time has come!”
Shawn Erickson of Erickson Management says “We have been waiting for something like this for a long time and it’s finally here.” In a recent endorsement letter he listed the reasons why:
- Easy to use
- Helps both owners and managers
- Completely new product which works with tablets and smart phones
- Fun and practical at the same time
- Inexpensive to use
- Easy to match up to our existing systems
This year, just as Oombaga was a Gold Sponsor of GNEX 2013, it stepped up to become a 2013 Signature Sponsor of ARDA. This is the highest level sponsorship of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the Washington D.C.-based trade association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries (timeshares).
In its role as a Signature Sponsor, Oombaga will sponsor the Technology Forum at the ARDA World annual convention to be held in Hollywood, FL in April. In addition it will be the underwriter for all Email marketing outreach messages for ARDA. Oombaga is also an ARDA Fall Conference Contributing Sponsor as well as an ARDA WIN (Women in the Industry) Friend Sponsor.
Oombaga is an ARDA Trustee, the highest level of membership in the trade association.
According to Robert Craycraft, ARDA’s Vice President of Industry Relations “the Oombaga product itself and their company management are in tune with what timeshare owners are looking for and we are proud to have them participate in our mission at this high level.”
What’s good for the owners is good for management. Oombaga offers a seamless integration from a resort’s back office to an owner’s hand held device or any online device. Bringing an entire suite of online products to independent resorts, Oombaga provides a comprehensive allocation system which gives Managers complete control over inventory in real-time. It also allows for easy on-line billing of maintenance fees, assigning club and unit reservations as well as comprehensive accounting. Oombaga’s complete integration eliminates paper pile ups and clogged booking and accounting procedures.
Perhaps the best way to truly observe and understand the excitement of Oombaga—the future of timeshare applications– is to see the demo of the app by texting the word Oombaga to 90210.
For more information visit the web site at http://oombaga.com or www.facebook.com/Oombaga