Jason Gamel is the President and CEO of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). He has over 20 years in the industry and served as the Vice President of State Government Affairs at ARDA, Senior Vice President of Legal at Wyndham Destinations, and a firm member for Baker & Hostetler, LLP.
Jason graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Human Resource Management. He also graduated from the University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law with his Doctor of Law degree.
In this episode…
When we go on vacation, we want to take some of the comforts of home with us. For many, finding flexible and affordable accommodations is demanding and taxing, but what if it doesn’t have to be?
To Jason Gamel, a timeshare is an effortless opportunity to bring families together. He is the President and CEO of the American Resort Development Association. With over 87% of owners having a high satisfaction rate, Jason knows that once people understand the special qualities of a timeshare, they will have more time to commit to a healthier lifestyle, family, exploration, and global communities; they’ll have more opportunities to make memories.
In this episode of the Digital Madvertising Podcast,Mike Samet sits down with Jason Gamel, the President and CEO of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). Together they discuss the importance of education to buy a timeshare, an in-depth look at the point system and the benefits, and the misinformation surrounding the timeshare industry. Plus, Jason sheds a positive light on the joy a timeshare brings to families across the globe. Build your vacation portfolio with this episode!
This Podcast is powered by Digital Ignite and recorded in Charleston, SC. Hosted by Chris Clark and Winnie Teal. Digital Madvertising is edited, produced & scored by the talented Connor Sage. Join us each week as we cover the wild wild west of digital marketing news, trends, and products.
Chris Clark 0:00
Hey everybody, welcome to Digital Madvertising powered by Digital Ignite. Digital Madvertising covers all things in the digital marketing technology space. Here we will be interviewing brand managers and C suite executives from some of the world's biggest brands. On today's episode we have a very special guest Jason Gamel, the CEO of ARDA, the American Resort Development Association, ARDA is the face of vacation ownership. based in Washington DC the American resort Development Association is the trade association for the timeshare industry. ARDA's membership comprises over 500 companies both privately held firms and publicly traded corporations which house 5000 plus individual ARDA members, ARDA's active engaged members have extensive experience and shared ownership interest in leisure real estate. Today my co host and business partner Mike Samet sits down with Jason and discusses his start in the timeshare industry what and how our to operates and the general state of the timeshare industry as we navigate COVID and head into 2022. I know when you think of timeshare, you may have a negative connotation, but we're here to set the record straight. timeshares are a really awesome way to vacation. Now with a major players in the space like Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn and Disney. These places are epic, and Mike and Jason, discuss all of this in depth on today's episode. Before we get started, it's time to pay the bills. Digital Madvertising is brought to you by GigPro. GigPro is an online platform that connects people who want work with businesses that have it. Pros can supplement their income with local work that fits their availability. Businesses can post a gig and minutes and get a talented pro to pick it up. Visit gig pro at gigpro.com or download their app in the app stores. And finally, we're not sponsored by this company. But we're really really big fans. My coworker Ryan brought this in and let me try some of it and it is phenomenal that it's called bud water. MUDWTR. And basically what it is is a coffee alternative with organic ingredients that are great for your health and performance. It's got Lion's Mane Rishi all kinds of crazy ingredients that I can't pronounce but very, very healthy. And it is right now my go to other than cold brew coffee because that stuff lights me up like jet fuel doesn't allow me to sleep. So mud water has been really a pleasant alternative to my cold brew addiction. Check them out mud, water, calm, also an Instagram. Very cool company. Alright, let's get to the podcast. Take it away, Mike.
Mike Samet 2:37
Chris, thank you so much for the introduction. I am very, very proud to be here talking to your client, the CEO of the American Resort Development Association and a friend of mine now at this point to Jason gamble. Welcome to the Digital Ignite studios. We're so happy to have you today.
Jason Gamel 2:54
Mike, thank you so much for having me. It's been a fantastic relationship between digital ignite and artists. I'm so proud to be here and happy to spend some time with
Mike Samet 2:45
awesome, can we start? Could you tell us the story of Jason your history? What got you in to the timeshare industry, we're going to talk about timeshare in detail. When you get done. Listen, this podcast, you're gonna have a general understanding of why it's something super cool if I take a look at but Jason, tell us your story about how you came into the industry and rose to the ranks of CEO of the American Resort Development Association.
Jason Gamel 3:28
My my journey, I think, is similar in many respects to people that come into the timeshare industry. It's not necessarily one of those things that you seek out as a career to kind of find you. And once it's find you. It's almost impossible to get out. But it really is. It's an exciting industry. It has so many aspects and facets of it for people who are in business or like myself who got into it through law. It is it's something that I truly say I'm glad I found it will probably be something that will last for the rest of my career. For me, I found it because clearly when you go to law school like I did, it's the first thing you think like I'm going to get a job in unshare present it practising law doing legal work for timeshare resorts, it's something that's pushed very heavily to law school, and has been for the last 25 years, I'm sure. But for me it was a great, I would say opportunity that that arose with hard work and a little bit of luck that somebody was going to take a chance on me and get me into the legal field and I started learning timeshare industry back in the late 90s that honestly it's taken my career through legal work, working for the trade association once before doing legislative and lobbying work, then working for our one of the biggest developers, if not the biggest in the industry, and then pulling back the artists CEO two years ago. It's been a journey, but it's been a great journey for me.
Mike Samet 4:49
And it's been so good for the industry. I know just to sync some accomplishments with your new take on things and your wealth of experience working for a couple of the biggest players in the game and now taking the charge which we'll get into a little bit more with imaging messaging and the overall temperature of the industry. It's just It's so cool seeing that all take shape. And I want to make, is it I want to make one comment that you said, you know, the industry finds you and I know personally, I got my first job out of college and the industry was there for 10 years. And the second our company got up and go, and the first thing I told Chris, my business partners, we're getting into this industry, there's so much untapped potential there. And sure enough, you know, a couple years later, we're here, but I'm, I'm very excited to dig in here. Can I ask my first question, what is ARDA? Could you if somebody had never heard of timeshare or articles, you kind of give a 30,000 foot overview to them?
Jason Gamel 5:41
I do find Mike, when I tell somebody what I do, and I work great trade association. That's the first thing to kind of ask that question. What's the trade association? What do they do? living in the DC area? Say you're working for a trade association? Generally speaking, both both people get most trade associations are headquartered in Washington, DC. And that's because breed associations are groups of usually private companies or other organisations that band together to come together to for legislative lobbying purposes for advocacy, as we call it overall advocacy. ARDA happens to be that organization that does that such advocacy work on behalf of the timeshare industry. And we really are our three organisations in what we have this one trade association, our art, which represents the developers in our industry. So we have members of members of ours, by Marriott by travel leisure, like Hilton Grand Vacations, Holiday Inn, quote, Westgate resorts, so many other organisations that are part of what we get Disney Vacation Club, they are there as members, and they interest in us to be the forum in which they can have open discussion, they can have protected conversations for antitrust law. That's a big reason why we have trade associations to advocate on behalf of industries for people to be able to do so in a safe way. And also for education for meetings and also for public relations and advocacy on that date. During there's some great things taking place. I hope we can get into like about what we're doing on behalf of the industry, really working on publicising a positive narrative about timeshare and the joy that it brings to so many millions of families across the US and across the globe.
Mike Samet 7:17
I've got a couple questions just so anybody that's that's new to the industry or learning just to just to put an exclamation point on that you know, because perceptions reality, and I think so much of timeshares education Did you say that companies like Disney and Marriott and Hilton are involved in timeshare.
Jason Gamel 7:35
They are they got involved in the timeshare industry throughout the 1970s into the 80s. But the 90s was a big time for the hotel branded companies and hospitality companies to get into the timeshare business. We do have a number of other hospitality brands blue green comes to mind when I'm thinking others the Berkeley group, many others that are in our industry space, but the ones I would say that the industry started getting a real serious look once the hotel brands put their name on a timeshare brand. People started taking notice that okay, maybe this is just not something that was and people think of maybe a sales and marketing process. A lot of people think timeshare, but all of a sudden realising there's big hospitality associated with timeshare. It's not the sales process alone, it is much more and when people started understanding that they have rented the day stay with friends and family at a timeshare. They got to see what made timeshare special. It really started with fueling the interest in the industry in fuel sales and hospitality exposure that we saw carry through the 2000s but like many other things took a bit of a hit in the recession. Oh 809 but bounce back real strong. Up until recent times we've seen real strong growth in the timeshare industry stoking extreme excitement with the ownership base of people getting into product.
Mike Samet 8:59
I want to ask you an elementary question right now just in case you're somebody that has never been on a tour or is maybe you know heard about timeshare, but it's heard from a third party doesn't know in your words, what is it? What's the difference between being a timeshare owner vacationing that way and just renting a hotel everywhere you go What's you know, what's the for you been in the industry for some time? What's the big difference?
Jason Gamel 9:24
I'll start with a concept that is a real strong motivator for the timeshare owner. And that's exactly last word ownership now ownership these days and what we think about ownership, it's a shifting concept what ownership means and especially in today's day and age when we have so many options available, many people ask well, what's the difference between owning a timeshare or for Airbnb will have you see it as a competitor, which we'll get into that one second, by the way to answer your question first. I'm a timeshare owner my family's been shorter for a while we've stayed on accommodations, timeshare accommodations. I've got a young kids that are the young adult life. And as I was talking to some of the other days and not that difficult it is to vacation first and foremost in a hotel room with two queen beds with two kids, and you're trying to get rest, or you want to spend some time alone with your husband or your wife or significant other. There's the privacy aspect, the noise, the comfort level, where are you going to eat your meals and each and every meal and it gets expensive for families who eat out every single meal, you think about timeshare, even pre 2019. This space is amazing the ability to have multiple bedrooms, and to have your ability to spend time with your significant other in a meaningful way and come together in a very meaningful way to with your kids and others and family amongst a kitchen table where so many memories are made family holidays. So when you've got in your own home, some of those memories are made around that dining experience, you could to have that within your unit in a timeshare 24 seven and ever you lose due to type those type of accommodations. To start realizing boy, I have the ability to take some of the comforts of home and maybe have the ability as a built in serial bridge. It's called cuts there for sandwiches when you need it. I can also spend that time and more time out having dinner and having those experiences too as a as a way to supplement what you're doing inside to get the commitment of the time. Schroeder's also paid the fact that they're they're committed to their product they've purchased they own. They're coming back year after year, or exchanging or moving within the system, they're staying. And they're using their product year after year, they paid for it already. Unlike the hotel room, when somebody makes that reservation, generally speaking, up to 24 hours time before they say they cancel. And we see that many times wherever there's a scene that through natural disasters with the times of uncertainty, the timeshare visitor keeps coming back year after year after year. They have that commitment to their product, they've committed to vacation, which is a commitment to a healthier lifestyle to pivot to a family life that hopefully continues to be strong. It's a commitment to their exploration. And it's also a commitment to the different resorts into local communities. Were there to
Mike Samet 12:18
Jason that all that sounds awesome. So I guess my question to you, you know, as a guy that has a company has two little kids, a wife, you know, depending on who you're talking to may or may not be on a budget, what what's the value proposition? Because it sounds like the experience is great. How does it all work?
Jason Gamel 12:34
Like you are, as you say, a business owner, you're somebody who's committed to your family. And I know it's important to you to be able to create memories that you your wife, and your kids are going to remember for a lifetime. The value proposition a timeshare is multifaceted or it there's not just one thing. First, it's a commitment to vacation time that you take a look at so many people who don't make that commitment, the time they miss the experiences, they don't have the memories they are not able to make. Having membership or buying into a timeshare plan is something that will change people's lives. Because it is a commitment to making sure that they take time out to appreciate what they've got to love their family, it's been more time with them, and to truly have the experiences with which you really can't get by mistake. So on those experiences, and to somebody that may or may not know. So you mentioned Disney, so say we buy Disney, what type of experiences can we have? Is it all busy? Are there other opportunities or can be any resort is there is there an opportunity to go above and beyond the resort we join if we become an owner, let's just start with the location and Google with the experiences location, owning a Disney World or owning directly with the Disney Vacation Club. Which brings you back to Orlando in Orlando, not surprisingly, is where you're going to find the most timeshare located in the United States is in Orlando, probably the most accurate the world in general location in the Central Florida area. You realise that there's so much to do when you go to a vacation destination like Orlando, there are the attractions which stand out right away. There's the dining experiences, there's outdoor, there are beaches, there's so much that goes on. It's incredible that folks in need staying in a place like Disney and you of course have the parks, you have experiences and so many of our members are creating experiences that go along with the ownership of your timeshare that makes it so much more experience with travel experience. So vacationing This is something that we see happening has been a trend for a number of years now where many people think of the accommodations where they're staying as the launchpad to everything else they're going to do many of our members whether it's sports or outdoor entertainment, a lot of it in the US industry, you see so many offerings for timeshare owners. So that will really become a member of our programme. They see that membership they see the belonging not only part of the memory creation, not only part of relaxation for the quantity, what are the experiences that are going to have why there that make that so much more, and I believe our members, as you see the offerings that are taking place these days, they're focusing on that understanding that they want to make sure that when you become an owner with them, you are then becoming part of a much larger system that vintage could do today, it 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, the things that your kids and grandkids will be able to enjoy. So it's a fair assumption that it doesn't matter if it's Disney Marriott Hilton, Wyndham Holiday Inn, when you become an owner, when you stay at one of those resorts you're doing so much more than just booking a room is that is that a fair escape their absolute fair statement, Mike, there's so much more that can be offered and services helping you make all of the plans that the timeshare developers itself had become much more full service and the offerings that they provide to their owners to try to make it as easy as possible to do as much as possible with the vacation time.
Mike Samet 16:15
We stayed last summer in the middle of COVID. We did an outdoor vacation and an outdoor adventure of massanutten. And even with everything going on with COVID just the amount of activities, hiking, the sliding everything that they had set up there, it really blew my mind. It was eye opening for me. You know if we hadn't had this relationship I don't know if I ever would have gone there because if we never thought about it, you know, but it was it was a great experience. If I can I want to talk about because obviously you haven't been living under a rock. It's been a weird 18 months the travel industry. What do you think? Is the overall sentiment in the timeshare industry about travel today?
Jason Gamel 16:54
The last 18 months like you're 100% right has been anything but normal. timeshares, we have seen media. And this isn't the first time that we've gone through a global pandemic, it's certainly been the most severe. And there's no doubt about that. We have seen natural disasters, we have seen tragedies such as 911, with economic recessions in Oh 809. We have a SARS pandemic that we dealt with. We've had a lot that the travel industry, and just society of juggle has, has dealt with for travel. There's one consistent that we've seen when it comes to timeshare. And there's one aspect of our industry that continues through to keep us strong and viable. It's really first and foremost built upon the entrepreneurial spirit in the industry that has always found ways to overcome difficulties and to provide value for people. We are also leisure travel and being leisure travel. It's something that people in this country in particular, you see it all over the globe, people who value their vacation time, and they want to take their vacations and will look for ways to do so under whatever conditions they happen to be dimensioned before the prepaid nature of timeshare as people wanting to travel again and again and again. I took as well like a trip with my family to mess it up. So this was there chance Actually, I took my girls scheme for the first time. And it was a great way. Oh, great. You were you were socially distancing old ski lines wore masks the whole time we were skiing, which actually a cold blooded workout. But that that was a benefit. It really wasn't a problem at all, I think but I think my kids enjoyed it. But you also felt very safe with you that very felt very safe for the accommodations. We knew that cleaning protocols were in place where we didn't understand as much about this virus as we did before. We felt really, really comfortable being in a unit knowing what they had done there before make sure that it was as clean as possible. And so many other developer members in resort managers do the same. They will get extra cleaning protocols in place to make sure that the owners could return with comfort and be able to vacation comfort. We again saw that throughout the research that we've done. We did a lot of research during the pandemic to see where timeshare owners sell on the comfort to travel and why did they think that timeshare was a way that they felt really comfortable. We saw this to a drive to destinations. They mentioned that bike do we also drove to a few different locations that the Northern Virginia blames very very easily accessible to us and we took vacations there we can felt really comfortable with being in the unit we were having a chance to ordering quite a few nights that we didn't feel like cooking but it was really easy to do take out support local businesses and still have that time around the kitchen to the dining room table. The family enjoyed it and we really we really enjoyed those vacations have a chance to take a little break but what had been a really stressful year both in personal and business world life. So this is something new look at the timeshare world and why the last 18 month, I think you're really fine that the offerings again, with more space with areas and so many resorts that are within eight hour drive from major metropolitan areas all across the United States, the ability to do outdoor activities. And that is always been strong people have always loved bike, but I didn't invite me to being on the beach, but now it's become more of a billion access to those type of activities. To me, that's just what continues to show the value that venture brings and the benefits of the birth of the typical communities where the projects are.
Mike Samet 20:36
So kind of a two part question off of that. What is the summer travel season been like in 2021? And I guess specifically, which comment if Is there a big difference in car commuting versus plane travel to destinations which ship so I mean, I'm more people doing the massiveness, not encrypted versus flying to Las Vegas. So you guys seen that?
Jason Gamel 21:01
The travel trends, they haven't thought general pattern or the beginning of the summer, there's a lot of optimism. There's a lot of optimism, travel, the felt so good about where the country was our level of infection throughout the country and also with vaccine, and there was a real positive momentum going for
especially where there had been a strong demand for people it comes to people in the time period, bought into the timeshare pops up, totally bought it. They are making their travel plan. Regardless, we see great activity through reservation. We see people committed to wanting to vacation, they're still continuing. But you know, there has been a little there will be a bit of a slowdown before all depending on exactly what happened with our consumer office and where we are promoting both health and safety. But we do find the demand, it's still the demand people want those reservations continue on the books, really are looking at the positive.
Mike Samet 22:11
Yeah, I think you see a lot of people, you know that, at least in my circle where they they're respectful of what's going on. But I think anybody that's been around for a minute noses, this virus isn't going away. So it's not about avoiding it completely. It's about mitigating it. And I think that means I'm to get your family and safely go have some fun and let's get out of our houses let's let's go skiing in massanutten and let's socially distancing, go to Universal Studios and stay at an awesome resort with Hilton or Wyndham or holiday. I mean, I think it's really starting to, you know, people are dealing with it as opposed to hiding from it.
Jason Gamel 22:45
I agree they even when the pandemic first began, many of our timeshare resort developers of the localities would allow them they were open for business owners wanted to travel. And our resort operators have learned early how to truly make sure they were keeping people safe. There have been some fantastic stories of the way that people are safe with vacation, a timeshare resort, with no issues whatsoever. They're smart about the way they protect themselves and protect others, they abide by, by by local rules and do what they can to make sure that they stay safe, and really be proven that people can have a very safe vacation and enjoy it do so during the fact that it is smart, though is to look at the future. And what we're going to continue to have to do to make sure that I feel confident that timeshare owner is going to be positioned where they're going to come back to the resort, year after year, month after month, year to do what they like to do so in a safe way. So that way, they continue to really enjoy all all the benefits of ownership,
Mike Samet 23:51
you kind of alluded to before, but I want to go back, you've mentioned on how some of the big hotel brands had begun entering the industry within the last 20 years. Going back a little further, you know, how has timeshare change from a perception that people may have that resonates from the 70s and 80s. What changes have you seen in your career? And what do you see coming?
Jason Gamel 24:15
Let's go back but my 1980s maybe a little bit before but we'll hang out the 80s and 90s. And look at what the product was that it was from a use and legal standpoint of what we call pitch the pitch. fracture. In layman's terms, it was the same place the same week, every year. And that's what you bought your note or good luck Yeah, that's what you got. You got that then came in the concept of exchange. So then it was RCI and interval international decade in revolutionise the idea of having to go back to the same place every year by bringing other resort developers together saying we have this programme, where we can exchange early for another owners week and you don't want to go to work. Wherever you are, you can go to Orlando when you're Colorado, the next California, Hawaii, or anywhere in the world where timeshare resorts are common. Other accommodations were provided here exchange programme that really started opening up what timeshare was. So developers then through the 90s, in 2000, said, Well, you know, we can also create the same type of concept amongst all resorts in our system, that people started putting together What are commonly referred to as Vacation Club. So you have resorts that were put together that way that you held at the Marriott umbrella, and they'd have dozens of resorts where you could go, you may have the ability to go back to the job, or you bought to get and have that right every year. But at a certain point in time, you started competing throughout the entire system, with other timeshare owners who are accommodations and all the other resorts that were uprooted, that he took another leap forward in the 2000s, where we started talking a lot of our points, and there's some confusion there about well, what do I own while points or do I own a week? Do I have a fee? What is it that I am generally speaking, like when somebody buys or it goes into purchases of timeshare, they do buy either a real estate interest or some real estate product, or they're buying what's called right to use or a licenced product, a contract that gives me the right to use the product for a number of years, when they're buying that real estate product. They are then many times forget that ownership certificate or did it be and then their ownership will be broken down into points, which gives them an idea for how much reservation power they have. So the points world, people are buying something else, but they're getting the points, which are the representative value of their timeshare and how much ability they have to use.
Mike Samet 26:44
So back to our story about the family that loves Orlando right now, with two little kids, if I'm understanding correctly, when they get a little bit bigger, we could take the timeshare that we own Orlando and go to Hawaii or we could go to Las Vegas when they're in college with or we could go to Mexico if my wife and I just wanted to get away Am I understanding correctly? That's how it all works.
Jason Gamel 27:06
You've got Mike, I think you're you're catching on quick. Yeah, it's a situation where when you get and that's something that's really important to understand is that when people buy that product, your life circumstances are going to change throughout. Especially if you bought the product when maybe you are married and it was just the two of you that are looking to vacation how are you going to use it that you had a couple of kids that second bedroom started making a big difference? Maybe the third bedroom if you brought mom and dad along that came along with a trip to or or friends and family that wanted more or even had options where you say no, we can't vacation this year. So we're going to we're gonna bank our week, which is the ability to say Well, I'm not going to use it this year, but I just want to use it next year. So I'll take my use next year plus my use this year and vacation twice as much for it two units, but I want to go somewhere. There's so much that can be done that way.
Mike Samet 27:57
All right. Very interesting. So if I understand correctly as a trader, sounds like a building the vacation portfolio up.
Jason Gamel 28:03
Mike here's the thing. One, we know that people like to vacation a lot of different ways. And I'm always interested, I always think that it's fantastic. If you have a week or two of timeshare, as part of that vacation portfolio that may include a second home may include your favourite place you like this day because it's a really special hotel that you like to go back to all of those things we encourage love the fact that people will the more they vacation, the more they're going to see the value of what they're texture viewing brings to them versus all the other accommodations.
Mike Samet 28:40
Alright, so here's the $64,000 question for you. So personal experience going back in time five years my mom's very sick she was passing away I was flying back from here to a small town called Princeton Illinois where there was no time sure but there were a couple of hotel chains would I have any access to my my if I was a Hilton owner would I have any access or Marriott owners any any anything to do there?
Jason Gamel 29:03
flexibility with timeshare ownership now ability to take your timeshare ownership Mike goes in stated alternative accommodations now is something that exists today much more than it has in the past. For those folks, especially those that have Pluto loyalty point programmes associated with their product. Let's start with their if you're that Hilton or Marriott owner, you can either be in the Hilton honours or bonvoy you're able to convert many times your ownership into those points programme and it using the stay at hotels, nation or worldwide. You also have the ability they tied to the exchange programme to have arrangements with non timeshare accommodation to be able to stay in place of like they may be able to take you there. The principal enjoy life or otherwise and you might be having that as a possibility for you to and then of course they have other partners and discounts they can offer you if you're looking to stay in a company basins where there happens to be the hotel points program can't take you, the exchange program can't get you there, once you've exhausted those options, there are other people in the industry who are looking for help with inventory and help find places for you to stay to care.
Mike Samet 30:19
I love it. I love learning about that, because I'll be honest, you know, I've been in this industry for a minute, and then getting back into it a couple years ago, I had no idea that exists until we had this conversation just now. And I think a lot of people when it gets to the education piece, the you can, and we'll get into the negative sentiment in a second. But you would hear so much misinformation out there. And, you know, just going back to my personal experience, that was just one less thing I would have had to deal with, it would have been such a great benefit, you know, as you're going through all that stuff. And that's, I mean, to me as a consumer, that's extremely powerful. And I honestly had no idea until about five minutes ago that existed. So
Jason Gamel 30:56
in my point of view, when you look at it, and this is gonna highlight theme, which will probably run through the part of our conversation about how to get education is understanding what you own is so important for the overall happiness of the timeshare owner, and to make sure that you maximize all the benefits that are shipped or being part of a timeshare program will provide you. If you don't take the time to learn those things. If you don't take the time to read the material, take the time to ask questions you're going to miss out on so many of the benefits, which makes being part of the system. So great.
Mike Samet 31:32
Okay, so elephant in the room, Jason. Every time I turn serious or cable news. I hear some negative sentiment about the industry. That's part one of my question. In part two, I also happen to know about a pretty cool positive messaging campaign that that ARDA is championing right now. Could you comment on both the negative and positive sentiment in the space right now?
Jason Gamel 31:54
Unfortunately, in the timeshare industry, we've been dealing for a number of years with some unscrupulous characters, or scams against timeshare owners that through both ARDA and the ARDA of resort owners coalition, which is an organization that's under the ARDA umbrella that represents the interests, especially the legislative interests of the 9.9 million timeshare owners, owner families that are here in the United States, we've been trying to protect those interests for a number of years with unscrupulous third parties. Recently, they've hit the airwaves to have shown up on TV, radio, people who are making promises that oftentimes are too good to be true about guarantees of what they could do for you as a timeshare owner. Also, I think those folks are they're trying to convince people to have a problem. And oftentimes, this representing the cost associated with the timeshare misrepresenting many aspects of ownership. And you know, we often work with regulatory agencies to make sure they understand that these representations aren't the truth. And we have also as an organization to the resort owners coalition established a website called responsibleexit.com where we provide timeshare owners with resources that they have questions about ownership, or for some particular reason, timeshare ownership build longer their vacation lifestyle with vacation days, where do they go? And where do they go to get that education that we still talked about? Mike, it's so important to a timeshare owner or their life cycle of ownership to know what their options are throughout who they need to talk to when they have questions about how to use their timeshare. Or they might not think that they can get to that hotel in solenoid like you'd want to which it can you could do it through your ownership that you can use provide value year after year after year. And how do they do it? So for us responsible your has been a very strong response to some of what we see out there in the marketplace today. But we also realize there's a flip side which the flip side to responsible exit is the campaign we're running to mention. Real often positive message campaign that just started a few months ago, called love my timeshare that is truly an amplification of those 9.9 million families that are out there, the vast majority of which, well, a high 80 percentile is happy with their timeshare. They are people who love their product. And we're giving them the platform in social media right now to be able to talk about the product that has provided those vacation memories for them that has brought so much happiness to their families. And they're able to tell others just how excited they are to be timeshare owners and how they would have behaved.
Mike Samet 32:43
Can I ask you to repeat one thing because, you know, again, as a consumer, I wouldn't expect this be just said and I think it bears sharing. So did you say that the height at percentiles are satisfied with their purchase
Jason Gamel 35:01
87%. According to our latest research, Mike of timeshare owner families have high satisfaction with their timeshare. That's not the story that you necessarily hear by others. But stay tell a lot of people are spending a lot of money to try to change that stat right now. Yeah. And that's one of the things we realized that there was absence in the industry for many, many years, has contemplated different types of campaigns to try to get that voice out. I will say the right time, right place right message where we believe we are throughout my time. Sure campaign. Social media has never been more present in our lives or part of, especially in the advertising and marketing world with the ability to spread a message at this today. We even saw that over the last year more people took to digital media to be able to get their news information happens all the time to once we start getting into years where there's political campaigns, there's so much going on in the social media space. But it doesn't mean there's a room for that positive voice of Matter of fact, now is the time that there's plenty of room for timeshare owners to be able to save a confident that they truly love their product. We hadn't had that ability in the past to really bring that campaign forward to the forefront. And now is the time for us, especially when we see how impactful puncher has been the vacationers over the last year, year and a half. This is the time for that story to be told. And we're proud to have digital at night as a partner helping us to that remark need to get the folks they're trying to get us forward in putting that love my timeshare campaign and all the developers that are part of it. And all the owners who are lending their voices and their testimonials and their excitement to all of that in the timeshare community.
Mike Samet 36:42
Thank you, we're honored to be a part of it. I think it's a great story to be told for every reason we've talked about today. I have two more questions for you. Number one, what are your recent and what upcoming wins Do you see for ARDA? So recent wins for ARDA? And what do you see coming up, that's going to be the big w for the industry and for ARDA.
Jason Gamel 37:05
I feel really excited in the past few months here to be able to pull off an annual conference that we had back in June, Jose bringing everybody together after a year plus being on the sidelines of spending most of our time via zoom Microsoft Teams or over the phone, really business. The assignment that was there at the JW Marriott in Orlando in early June. It was incredible. The ability for people to come together and celebrate all of the things that have happened over the year. And to I know understand and learn from one another which had been happening over the last year, about one taking place over the last year just how to make ourselves better as an industry. That was huge. But we also are excited to be continued to represent the interests of the timeshare industry, timeshare owners as well. We've been working extremely hard and setting ourselves up for a legislative year, upcoming year 2020 to 2020. Our teams were phenomenal at doing things. For instance, they were utilising digital and other types of lobbying efforts for us to be able to get our voices heard. These are tough times right now, this is unprecedented, then I'll use that term too lightly. But it really is as far as what we're seeing and how we've had to adapt. But it's also made us probably the best ARDA we could be. And as far as a team is concerned, I can't couldn't be more proud of the entire the current ARDA staff right now. how hard they work, how diligent date that how they've kept the members in mind and tried to be even more accessible and help how would we know they needed our assistance. That to me is probably the biggest way. We have a staff that is committed to the industry that is committed to seeing the message forward, you're really committed to our strategic priorities.
Mike Samet 38:53
You know, I'll give your staff a shout out because we we we were up close to 60 clients now and there is not another team that's as dedicated to the mission as your team is and that's that's no BS either. I mean, you got a lot of dedicated people but your team as a whole is locked down and they're passionate about what they do and something you and your crew should be very proud of. But um, my last question and I know you you painted a great picture for this but let's imagine this and we spouse is just getting in the car right now. Just to close out. If somebody is considering travel, it's probably a summary of what you've said why is timeshare a good option.
Jason Gamel 39:31
There's no doubt that timeshare accommodations are the preferred way for people to travel today and have been for a number of years whether it's been the spacious accommodations, multiple bedrooms, the kitchen that exists the locations which are both drive to and fly to saw that again, in a big way this past year with people that have cancelled international plans to vacation locally within driving distance. It provides you with options that you know you have ended It provides you with benefits that are going to be there year after year after year. It is something that you say that you've got professional management of these properties, which is incredible. When you think about that year after year, your accommodations are going to be cared for in a professional way. And when you show up, you have professionals out there making sure that things are clean, that things are ready for your stay. That's that happens consistently throughout this industry that not many other industries can say. that happen year after year after year. And really all the other the way that the timeshare product is changing and its flexibility. That to me is one if you're becoming a new owner in the system today, you know this product, you're going to be able to flex around your aches for decades to come the chance for either different locations and to have the flexibility, it can be for the all all in one concierge type services, where if you call up your timeshare developer and you call up the reservations like you can get your rental cars or air tickets, your excursions all taken care of at once. And last but not least, is a new round of experiential travel that's taking place that you can do through timeshare that are being offered to your timeshare resorts, that's really a game changer, in my opinion, the way that people are doing that and what you get as an owner, what you get when you become a member, so much of that now is going to lead to a whole nother level of vacation that they're looking to get into today. no better time than the present, Mike.
Mike Samet 41:32
I love it. And I you know would love to make a timeshare educational piece of continuing topic we talk about on digital advertising. And I think we'll eventually, you know, have a timeshare series that comes out of it. But before we go, I wanted to ask if there's anything we didn't touch on that you'd like to discuss, or there's anybody you would like to give a thanks, or a shout out to
Jason Gamel 41:55
Mike, I'll start with the folks at Digital Ignite that have been wonderful partners and and help us understand this new space for us. And that's one thing that I'll say the new space be that digital marketing world. It's something that our members had been part of and have been working in that brand awareness. This is something that has been the focal point of the timeshare industry for a number of years. But especially over the last few years, we've really focused in on the value that we bring by reaching out to timeshare owners, the Facebook or programmatic advertising, understanding their needs, who they are, how we can help them understand or like love my timeshare, how do we help them articulate that which they love so much where maybe they didn't have a place to do it before, where they found that their time show. There's a lot of communities out there. But getting out there and really pushing the message, being able to articulate it, being able to repeat it being able to provide them a wonderful space for them to be able to express how much they care about their vacation. To me, that's something that's been invaluable, especially over the last couple of years in my in my current role. I don't think it would have if we didn't have these experiences if we didn't walk this walk through responsible exit education campaign, and trying to help timeshare owners find that information about my timeshare i think is just starting to really show what it can do. I'm really excited about working and paid go to ball, buy timeshare and everything we're going to do with it over the next several years.
Mike Samet 43:27
I can't wait. I think it's going to be absolutely phenomenal. Jason Gamel, president and CEO of the American Resort Development Association in from Washington, DC, right in our offices here in Charleston, South Carolina. Thanks for spending the afternoon with us.
Jason Gamel 43:41
Appreciate the time, Mike, any time that I got a feeling this won't be the last time I don't think so either.
Mike Samet 43:46
Chris Clark, I'm gonna send it back to you. Thank you so much, everybody.
Chris Clark 43:50
All right. Thanks, Mike. I hope everybody enjoyed our interview with the CEO of the American Resort Development Association, Jason Gamel. As always, please let us know how we're doing. Again, this is still a very young podcast, but any feedback helps. Please let us know what you like what you don't like where we can get better. If you have guest suggestions. We're always growing that list. We have some pretty awesome guests coming up here now through the end of the year, but we're always open to suggestions. As always, thank you so much for the time. I hope you enjoyed all of this. Until next time, this is the Digital Madvertising Podcast. I'm Chris Clark. Take care.