Following the decision from industry veteran Robin Mills to step down as moderator of the RDO Conferences at the end of last year’s RDO9 2018 Conference, we are pleased to announce the recent decision to appoint Jeremy Skidmore as moderator for RDO10 2019 Conference. Jeremy brings a wealth of travel related experience having been a journalist for over 30 years on national and travel trade titles.
Jeremy has previously worked as editor of Travel Weekly, been a reporter for The Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday, and a regular contributor to several national newspapers, television and radio stations, and online publications.
In addition to being a vastly experienced journalist, Jeremy also helps companies protect and promote their brands through high-energy media training courses. These are designed to help company executives be prepared to be able to deal with any approach from the media and to be ready in case of situations of crisis that threaten their company. As well as this he runs presentation training courses to show executives how to deliver when it matters. These courses are highly practical and are always tailored to a client’s needs.
Throughout each year he is regularly hired to moderate a number of major events including the Barclays Travel Forum and the annual Global Travel Group conference. He receives tremendous testimonials from his clients which you can view on his website and LinkedIn.
Over the past nine years since the first RDO Conference in 2010, we have seen a number of significant changes in terms of technology, the way people live and work and how people choose to experience their vacations. All of this has culminated in a very different environment for the Travel & Tourism industry from the one that existed when ‘RDO1 – The Road Ahead’ was held.
In many ways this has created even more opportunities for brands operating within this industry, as the demand for holidays has continued to grow substantially since 2010. This has happened for a number of reasons as incomes have grown across the globe, people are increasingly beginning to prioritise travel and experiences over material things, and crave opportunities to escape from stressful jobs, plus access to technology has facilitated the speed and convenience of finding out about destinations and booking trips.
On the other hand not all of these changes have benefited travel brands in equal measures and has led to a need for many companies, especially more established ones, to adjust the products they offer and market themselves differently. The way people choose to enjoy their holidays and leisure time has shifted substantially and what appealed before, isn’t necessarily the case today.
Whereas a decade ago hotel or resort guests were more satisfied with using the facilities provided such as the resort swimming pool and restaurants for the majority of their stay, guests are becoming increasingly adventurous, especially younger generations. Much of this has been led by social media channels and websites such as YouTube where people can consume endless inspirational travel videos, photos and blog posts.
Another major disruption to the market has come from innovative new brands such as Airbnb which has seen astonishing growth since it was founded in August 2008 . It is now valued at around 38 billion dollars and sees no sign of slowing. More and more people are choosing to book their holiday accommodation on Airbnb and similar apps and websites. It is also continuing to encroach on the hotel industry, having just announced the acquisition of HotelTonight, an app to find last minute hotel room availability.
Over the past 9 years we have had a variety of excellent speakers at our RDO Conferences and switched between the fantastic Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa in London and the beautiful Don Carlos Leisure Resort and Spa in Marbella. We have also enjoyed a unique theme for each of the conferences, reflecting the different situations faced by our industry over the past decade. In more recent RDO Conferences, there can be seen a clear common central concept connecting them; the need to accept and embrace change within the industry and the benefits of working together rather than trying to go it alone.
This need to take action and embrace change and work together is no less relevant in 2019 and in fact is even more the case, as travel habits continue to shift and customer loyalty becomes ever more important. What has become increasingly clear is that the traveller of today is interested less in spending a week by the pool or how cosy their room is and more by the unique experiences they can have while they are staying at a resort or hotel, how they are made to feel by the staff and how personalised their stay was made.
What sets our member resorts apart from brands such as Airbnb, is the quality of accommodation on offer, the feeling of being part of a community, the amazing customer service offered, the fantastic locations and the overall excellent experience of a timeshare holiday. These standards all remain as true today, as they did when RDO1 took place in 2010. The major difference between then and now though, is that these features alone are not always enough to make people choose a timeshare product, especially when it comes to signing a longer term contract.
Younger travellers especially, are much less interested in long-term contracts or ownership when it comes to all aspects of life, whether that is car or home ownership, work, or owning timeshare. This is why the timeshare product of today now needs to focus on the changing mentality of today’s traveller in terms of what length of commitment they want and also what will attract them to choose to stay at your resort. It is often the excursions available and personalised experience of their stay they can enjoy while there that are as important or even more so than simply the accommodation and facilities.
While the theme of this year’s exciting 10th anniversary conference RDO10 has not been finalised yet, we can confirm that the format will remain the same as RDO9.
The proposed schedule for RDO10 will be:
- Day 1 (Wednesday 11th September): RDO AGM, a welcome lunch, followed by break-out sessions and then an evening welcome reception with drinks and finger food.
- Day 2 (Thursday 12th September): A full day of focussed business sessions, with coffee breaks and lunch. The conference will end with a social event to include drinks and food.
This year the conference will once again return to the wonderful Don Carlos Leisure Resort and Spa situated in beautiful Marbella. We look forward to welcoming you all back there in September! We would also like to offer a big thanks to this year’s Platinum sponsors, Interval International & RCI.
To keep up to date with all the latest news about the conference and RDO in general, make sure to connect with us on social media, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.