With all the attendant publicity given to horror stories, of holidaymakers and travellers stuck at airports and hotels, unable to travel home due to the no-fly ban across Europe, and the decision by Ryanair not to compensate travellers, which was reversed shortly thereafter, it is worth reflecting that “no news is good news”, in that nothing much was heard during this period of crisis from timeshare owners stuck at resorts around Europe.
Now that the dust is settling on this particular event (no pun intended), I was struck by the calm, no fuss way in which RDO members have just got on with the task of coping with timeshare owners over-staying their holidays at resorts, due to their inability to leave, whilst coping with the arrival (in some cases) of owners who were booked to take those very units that were still being occupied. RDO did in fact issue a press release to the UK media on 21st April setting out what RDO members were doing to help holidaymakers stranded around Europe.
Typical of members’ attitudes to this was the reaction of one developer based in Malta, who I had been chasing up by email on an administrative matter to do with Board membership of the organisation. Having not had a reply to my email of some 10 days ago, I sent a reminder asking if she could reply. Full of apologies she replied by return, saying she and her staff had been so busy trying to help their owners re-arrange flights to get back from Malta and find extra accommodation for those over-staying, she had been unable to respond promptly. The message was clear – this developers’ timeshare owners took precedence over anything else going on and things like Board meetings would have to take second place. I personally believe this attitude reflects positively on RDO members who have just got on with the task of coping with the problems of their members rather than turning to governments or the EU for financial assistance.
A number of RDO’s major developers allowed guests to remain at their resorts free of charge, such as Seasons Holidays, Paradise Kings Club, Club la Costa, Resort Properties and Pearly Grey to name but a few. Others provided extra accommodation at heavily discounted prices and those with travel agency operations worked round the clock to find alternative routes home or re-booked flights for their owners – Club la Costa Travel calculates that by the end of the first week-end when the crisis had broken, they had managed to contact 99% of those owners who had booked through CLC.
Without tempting fate, I am pleased to say that as of this time, our Consumer Affairs department has yet to receive a single complaint relating to this crisis.