say “it’s that time of the year again” because we are all about to pack our bags and head off to Spain for the industry’s 2010 Conference. When I say “that time of the year again” this is not strictly correct, as in 2009, the RDO Board decided not to hold a conference in recognition of the fact that European economies were still in crisis and members would not be that keen to send staff to a conference or indeed to spend time away from their businesses. I still believe that was the right decision, but I am very aware that there was considerable disappointment in the industry that there was no conference that year.
So are we meeting this year in an atmosphere of crisis still? I don’t believe we are. I think the industry has weathered the credit crunch and the fears of depression pretty well, but there is a recognition that there are difficulties still to come in terms of economic cut-backs across Europe as economies start to get to grips with their debt problems. That said, we have aimed the conference this year to look at the issues the industry will face over the next few years and tried to deal with issues that are very much “of the moment “ to the industry. We have also dispensed with the formal set speeches in the main for the panel forums that seem to work so much better.
So what’s on the menu? We have devoted time this year to look at the fractionals and where they are going – I think there is still controversy in the industry surrounding where fractional are going and how well they are selling in Europe and we need to know more. There is the debate over the distinction between fractionals and timeshare and whereas the new legislation doesn’t make a distinction between them, the marketers and developers are very keen to do so and it will be good to debate that.
We will be hearing form a number of speakers – Bob Cotton from the British Hospitality Association a very successful UK trade association, who will be telling us how important a strong trade association is – I shall be taking notes on that one! Professor Leo Jago from the DeHaan Institute at Nottingham University who conducted our last industry survey and who will be looking into his crystal ball to try and give us a steer as to what to expect from European economies over the coming years and what this means for the industry. There is a strong session on Social Media which we all recognise is becoming ever more important to our businesses and RDO itself over the coming years.
Other sessions will be focussing on transparency in selling practices, how rental programmes can be integrated into sales and marketing strategies. We will also be looking forward to where the industry should be looking for new markets and destinations. If that weren’t enough, we will be hearing from one of tourism’s recent success stories – the Cruise Industry, hearing from our legal experts on what to expect from the new legislation and you will be able to hear what RDO itself has been doing on your behalf this last year, giving the conference the opportunity to mark out what RDO should achieve for members in 2011.
All this plus the opportunity to hear the experiences of 2 of the industry’s success stories, what more can you ask for?!
It is little wonder delegate bookings have to date exceeded RDO’s original target but there are still a few days to go, so if you still haven’t yet, book now! See you there!