By Craig Lauer | May 17, 2020
BY JASON GAMEL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AMERICAN RESORT DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION
This letter originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of Developments magazine.
I’m as disappointed as anyone that we won’t be able to hold ARDA World 2020 as planned and showcase the fantastic work that ARDA and its member companies have been dynamically engaged in all year. It was absolutely the right decision to cancel the meeting and to do all we can, as an industry and as good corporate citizens, to help slow the spread of this awful coronavirus.
Although the event will not happen this year, I’d still like to thank all those who planned for the annual gathering of our maturing, evolving, increasingly tight-knit timeshare industry.
This starts with our volunteers, from speakers and moderators to the meetings committee and the awards committee. We have for years enjoyed the high production values brought by Mike Kinder Productions, who will be missed greatly as this would have been his last waltz with us. Finally, our board, executive committee, and staff all had been working vigilantly and creatively, and they were ready to pitch in wherever needed, as they always are.
But our work will go on, and this community will continue to stand strong together in the face of the headwinds of adversity brought about by the COVID-19 disruptions to our economy in general and to the travel industry specifically.
ARDA’s leadership team and volunteer members already have continued that work by making absolutely certain that we’re in the forefront of the conversation, and at the right place at the right time, when Congress and policymakers in the White House are making key decisions.
In fact, our industry literally had a seat at the table in a key meeting with the president himself about federal stimulus package considerations, along with representatives of hospitality brand leaders like Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt. Our advocacy efforts with public officials are stronger than ever right now in Washington, D.C., and at the state level.
We have overcome economic obstacles like the 2008–2009 Great Recession and national tragedies like the terror attacks of Sept. 11, and we’ve always rebounded quickly. Resilience is part of our DNA. Thanks to our product, our community, and our commitment to putting people on vacation with their families, our timeshare owners always have been ready to go back at the first safe opportunity. They share our commitment!
This unusual time has strengthened my resolve to be proactive and strategic and to communicate with our staff and all of you based on our current Focus Five mantra, which prioritizes: (1) moving forward on federal and state legislative work; (2) maintaining the organizational health of ARDA; (3) strengthening our communications efforts, including launches of the newly revamped ARDA.org and ARDAROC.org websites; (4) fighting fraudulent players in the secondary market; and (5) ensuring that ARDA is essential to you and your business.
We are committed and as focused as ever on the tasks at hand, and with our skilled staff, experienced volunteer members, and highly qualified consultants, the future is bright for the timeshare industry.
President and CEO