Monday 4th October saw an unusually high influx of executives, managers, sales staff etc from leading European, American, Asian and South African timeshare and fractional developers, exchange companies, law firms, accountants etc , converge on the Don Carlos Hotel in Marbella on the Cost del Sol, for RDO 1 our 2010 industry conference , the first under the new RDO name.
Apart from all the usual outside the conference meetings and deals, we were rewarded with some exceptionally good sessions in the conference hall, from what makes a successful trade association as set out by Bob Cotton, former CEO of the British Hospitality Association (40,000 members – what we could do with that number ourselves!) to what the European and World economies have in store for the tourism industry over the coming years from Leo Jago of the Christel de Haan Institute at Nottingham University – the message being that there were a lot of factors coming into play over the coming years and growing prosperity in the East would bring new challenges. (I believe Leo’s paper is available from our Brussels office for anyone interested).
There were lively debates amongst our main European players on product transparency, the prospects for growth of fractionals in Europe and how the industry should be embracing social media as it expands exponentially as a communication tool across the world – a case of communicate or die! We had a fascinating insight by way of pre-filmed interviews into the problems and challenges faced by 2 of Europe’s most successful cruise brand names and how they had overcome consumer misconceptions of their own product (is it right that Cunards’ maiden voyage for its newly built Queen Elisabeth flagship sold out in 24 minutes?!) – much food for thought there.
We also had the life journeys as recounted by Stuart Lamont from South Africa and Bryan Lunt from Thailand, both very different but both equally fascinating with lessons for us all to take away.
I could go on, fabulous weather, great food it was really good to see RCI and II getting together to host the Sunset Party on the Tuesday night – a worldwide industry first I think and hopefully no more of “who do we send to which party”?! A great Gala Dinner on the Wednesday followed by the now infamous Generator Party.
A an enormous thank you to all our sponsors, contributors and delegates, without whom none of this would have been possible. My commiserations to those who didn’t make it, you missed a truly great conference, but fear not, we will be back in Marbella for 2011, so we will see you there!
Next time I will return to more serious fare on this blog!