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Hopefuls answer key questions
What are the aspects of WorldMark that appeal to you and what was it about WorldMark that attracted you to become an owner? Has your opinion changed over time?
Without question, what appealed to me most were the drive-to locations. WorldMark is everywhere I wanted to be, being a native Washingtonian. Particularly the coast, Leavenworth, and British Columbia but in general any of the locations that are within a couple hours from home -- and my opinion hasn’t changed over the years.
I had the advantage of working with the founders of Trendwest and being one of the architects of WorldMark's unique model. I understand the genesis and the vision that maintains the owners’ satisfaction ratings well into the 90's - one of the highest in our industry. That satisfaction rating is a powerful statement on behalf of your management company and their relationship with your governing Board. While the industry goes through a complete paradigm shift, our Club remains strong, ever self sustaining and focused on the principles that made it a leader in fractional ownership.
The elements of WorldMark’s model that first appealed to me in 1999 are the same ones that I still value. They are:
My husband and I purchased our first 6000 WorldMark credits when we were in our thirties and had four very young children. We loved the versatility of the program – the ability to take short or long vacations in a variety of locations, and the generous cancellation policy if we were forced to change our plans. As our children reach junior high and high school age and have increased demands on their time, this versatility is even more important to us. We are also drawn to the “middle-class” approach of WorldMark; clean, comfortable, affordable accommodations. Bill Peare, founder of WorldMark, is reported to have said “We don’t make a Cadillac, but we make a damn fine Buick”. As WorldMark branches out to offer different types of accommodations and experiences, I think it important that we not forget that core identity.
Points system, flexibility of bonus time, expanding range of locations, quality of resorts. Still impressed although a bit concerned about some of the Wyndham influences.
There are many aspects of WorldMark that appeal to me; the flexibility, the (until recently) growing network of resorts, and the dedication of staff. All of this goes to make my vacations great and build many family memories. This opinion has not changed over time.
Over time, my family has grown, so first and foremost I appreciate the economic value WorldMark offers to its owners. What attracted us to become owners was the flexibility and choice of location that our family had to select our next vacation. It is this freedom in having access to some of the greatest vacation spots across the country that is especially appealing.
I was originally attracted by the large number of resorts in the Pacific Northwest and the local office in Anchorage, AK when Worldmark was affiliated with Trendwest. I still love the availability of drive to resorts in the Pacific Northwest and the potential to vacation in Fiji or Australia.
When we joined WorldMark 1994 we were initially attracted to the predominantly northwest holdings as the majority of the 9 resorts were within 3 hours of our home in Olympia. As the number of resorts has increased to over 50, and our personal time allows more traveling, we have enjoyed the increased options, though still frequent our favorite Northwest resorts.
I found from my initial research on vacation ownership clubs, that WorldMark was in a class by itself. There is no other vacation club that offers such a range of first class facilities and offers as many options to their owners that appeals to a range of diverse interests, such as, families, couples wishing to enjoy vacation and travel together, or exotic/luxury location options with or without their families. WorldMark is truly unique in this regard. WorldMark continually strives to improve the experience, whether an owner wants to return to the same resorts or experience new resorts. Therefore, WorldMark presented the prospect that many of our desired vacation experiences could be achieved, in a variety of locations without having to return to the same timeshare location each year unless we so desired. WorldMark allows owners to increase your credits over time, which we have done from our initial 20,000 credits to our current 240,000 credits, which has enabled us as WorldMark owners to spend more time a year in multiple locations.
I really like how clean and complete each Worldmark unit is. Owners know exactly what level of quality to expect and can feel confident that each property strives to deliver and meet those expectations of service and property quality, usually with ease.
When we joined WorldMark I planned on retiring and traveling extensively. We felt that the price was attractive for what we wanted and we liked the geographic diversity available through the ability to exchange. I haven’t retired, but we take advantage of WorldMark facilities when we can. We like the fact that all facilities are owned and not highly leveraged. We like the consistent quality from place to place. We always know what to expect and are happy with what we get. We have had family and friends join us and they are also impressed with the service and facilities. Our opinion has become more favorable as we learn the system better.
How do you use your WorldMark credits? How many resorts have you visited in the past three years?
As a rule, I book two or 3 nights at nearby resorts and invite friends to join us. The kids love the pool and the adults love not having to do anything but relax and enjoy. I sent my Mom to Hawaii for 11 days just to say thanks for being my mom. I’ve been to 6 resorts in the last couple of years. Depoe Bay, Seaside, Mariner Village, Leavenworth, Discovery Bay and Vegas.
I use WorldMark for two and three night escapes. I tend to just go on line and see where bonus time is available and go. I've been to all but one or two of our resorts. I've used them for family, friends, business meetings and as gifts to non-profits for auctions and the like. This year we started the WorldMark Charitable Giving Program, and you have made such an incredible difference in so many lives by donating credits!
My wife and I use our 24,000 credits personally (sometime to the disappointment of our adult children). We have enjoyed week-long stays, group stays and a couple of exchanges. Mostly I book on-line, but occasionally I still telephone. Below is my usage of the system since my first purchase of WorldMark credits in 1999. It shows that I am an active and consistent consumer of the products and services that our board of directors oversees.
The way in which we use WorldMark has changed as our children have grown. When they were very young, we did frequent short trips. As they have developed more obligations with school, sports, and other activities, we find ourselves drifting to a more traditional pattern of fewer, longer vacations each year. The thing that has not changed is that we love to share WorldMark with our family and friends.
Almost always borrowing against next year. At least 20 resorts including Australia and NZ.
We primarily use our credits for WorldMark vacations. We’ve done an exchange, but the remainder of our vacations have been at WM resorts. Over the past three years we’ve visited Discovery Bay, Victoria, Vancouver, Leavenworth, Anaheim and Oceanside.
We have used our credits for vacationing, family reunions and exploring places we haven’t visited. Since 2006 we have been to Hawaii, Massachusetts, California (San Francisco, Windsor, Bass Lake and Pismo Beach) and this October, to celebrate four birthdays in our family, we will be in Orlando with a trip to Disney World. My family and I are actually headed out today for a first time visit to Yellowstone and staying with friends and relatives at the WorldMark in MT, West Yellowstone!
I have used my Worldmark credits to vacation through the RCI system, Carnival Cruise Line, and of course Worldmark resorts. During the past three years I have visited six resorts, including the Worldmark Camlin and Palm Springs. In addition I have visited RCI affiliated resorts in Mexico, Hawaii, Dominican Republic, and Orlando, FL.
Generally we utilize our credits for mini-vacations (long weekends), and in the past 3 years we have visited 20 different resorts, many several times. In addition to our mini-vacations we have recently spent a week in Fiji, 4 weeks in Hawaii, and a week to the new Anaheim resort.
We use our credits with either the personal choice option or at WorldMark properties. During the last three years I have stayed at 3 different WorldMark resorts, as well as, used the personal choice option to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary with close friends on a cruise in Alaska.
We use our credits for both business and personal leisure travel. We have used it for short weekend get-a-ways as a romantic excursion, and have taken our family of four for longer weekend trips. We have also had the good fortune to invite six additional family members for a holiday weeklong vacation in a beautiful 3-bdrm Presidential suite!
We use our Worldmark credits for vacations, family reunions and entertaining friends. We have stayed at the following 15 locations: Branson, MO, Daytona Beach, FL, Depoe Bay, WA, Monterey Marina Dunes, CA, Cairns, Australia, Clear Lake, CA, Big Bear Lake, CA, Indio, CA, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Birch Bay, OR, Golden Beach, Australia, Klamath Falls, OR, Seaside, OR, South Shore, NV and Lake of the Ozarks, MO.
The services provided to WorldMark owners have evolved over the years changing with the desires of the owners and reacting to industry trends. What do you see as areas of “opportunity” for WorldMark in the next five years in striving for continuous improvements to the Club and levels of service?
Partnering with the developer in their quest to provide new benefits while assuring that the benefits that are inherent to a WorldMark ownership are never compromised.
I want to see a lot more technology applied to benefit the flow of information to owners and to enhance owner's online capabilities. I would like to see more then 20% of the owners deciding the outcome of the elections for over 290,000 owners! You all really need to vote or assign your proxy if you want to keep those satisfaction ratings going through the roof. If you assign your proxy and decide to vote, it cancels the proxy assignment, so please do one or the other. The Club is going to be growing slower than usual due to the economy and it's a great time to absorb our growth.
We are number one! WorldMark was recently recognized as the number one timeshare program in owner satisfaction. WorldMark ranked higher than Disney, Marriott, Hilton and all the rest. Continuing this excellent level of service is my first priority.
For many years, WorldMark has been focused on growth and expansion of resorts and services. The recent economy has forced a change to that – Wyndham, our developer, has put WorldMark development on an indefinite hold.
Actually, I would advise making sure WM does not lose its appeal for budget conscious families in its drive to offer higher level services to members with higher incomes.
Because of the uncertainty in our economy, which has impacted the growth of our club and the addition of new resorts, I believe the best opportunities for the next five years are internal. I’d like to see that our resort units are in the best condition possible, that the resort staff are highly trained and responsive, that cost-cutting measures be studied to reign in the increases in maintenance dues, and that the Board of Directors increase paths of communication to owners. I’d like to see the term “owner” given the weight it deserves.
Over the next five years I see multiple opportunities. I believe WolrdMark should continue to further advance the image and knowledge of the value of a points based time share to existing, new and potential owners. Specifically, a focus on the cost savings associated with vacationing, the high quality of the resorts, upscale amenities and flexibility. From an owner education perspective, I would like to see the club find new and creative ways to reach more members across the country. The more benefits all owners are aware of combined with positive experiences will create growth by word of mouth to friends and family. I would also recommend that we sustain the great articles and awareness being provided through the Destinations monthly magazine. I would like to see a strong focus over the next five years towards governance. Specifically, that we are very forward thinking in governance routines to ensure owners are at the forefront of the decision process around capital expenditures and protecting the value of the club. Last, I would love to see the club expand into more areas across the country.
I would like to see additional urban resorts in city centers, such as the facilities in Seattle and New Orleans. I addition I would like to see more low cost access to Wyndham Hotels and resorts.
Initially I was concerned with WM’s move into urban resorts (Camlin, The Canadian, Victoria, San Diego), preferring the rural vacation locations (Bass Lake, Leavenworth, Discovery Bay). As it has evolved, these urban resorts have proven to be just as hot a property as the previous core of rural resorts. For the future, as WM South Pacific has expanded travel opportunities for owners, I would like to see expansion of properties into Europe with a mix of rural and urban resorts that offer year round attraction and reasonable travel costs.
Continual improvement comes from implementing strategic concepts over time that meet the evolving characteristics of the various generations of WorldMark owners that range from the “baby-boomers,” a generation that has more time and can afford more, to the younger generation who is just starting families and desire different concepts of vacation ownership, coupled with leisure time options. Therefore, WorldMark must continually examine the effectiveness of properties and programs which will achieve these objectives while meeting the diversity of the ownership. WorldMark has the opportunity to change with evolving web-based technologies, for example, while maintaining what has uniquely defined WorldMark in the past.
I think we have a tremendous opportunity to expand the number of Worldmark resorts on the East Coast and throughout central U.S.A.
Keep adding facilities at prime locations, add the ability for owners to recycle trash, offer better internet service, either a facility wide wifi system or in room connections.
4. Enhancing our efforts in communication and owner education is an ongoing endeavor. Areas that have been considered in the past include more timely and detailed resort information; expanded owners’ education opportunities; expanded online owner education materials; and question and answer sections in Destinations. What are your thoughts on the best way to improve communications and education while at the same time holding costs at a reasonable level?
Without a doubt the answer is online. The cost is minimal and the impact is wide. The developer is currently redesigning the entire owners’ web site with better navigation, and more information in different learning styles. The WorldMark Advisory Committee was extremely helpful in providing feedback to the developer to help in the new design.
Our greatest opportunity is on line! Our website is the perfect place for a tutorial on WorldMark. The previous online education tutorial became outdated and efforts are now underway to redevelop this valuable tool for educating owners using the web site.
I am a big believer in using technology wherever possible. With 275,000 owners, I see no other practical way to communicate cost-effectively. Placing information that owners need and want on a user friendly, well maintained website is a good solution.
Many organizations encourage website usage by distributing a monthly e-letter highlighting additions and changes to the website and providing links to access the information. I favor this approach.
There has never been a time when communication was easier and less expensive than right now. As a result, owners’ expectations for communication from and with their Club is also at an all-time high. The detailed resort information, expanded owner education, and Destinations question and answer sections mentioned above are all excellent suggestions from the Owner Advisory Committee that must be further developed. In addition, WorldMark must fully embrace the other opportunities provided by the “social media” phenomenon that has grown with Internet communications. A couple of examples:
The core communication structure is sound and I would caution against information overload. The Destinations magazine is about right in size and content now, so I would be very careful about expanding a Q&A. Instead, consider expanding the website since increasing numbers of people are finding it easier to navigate online than on paper, and electronic tools make possible even easier navigation.
Any physical mailing of materials for 260,000 owners is going to be costly. Communication is rapidly shifting to the Internet in which delivery is cheap or free. I’d like to see more open communication between owners and the Board, perhaps using social networking as one method. E-mail, the WorldMark web site, and other online sources of information and communication, including constructive dialog between owners, are the most effective methods.
Ownership satisfaction and consistency in providing high levels of service should be a constant and continuing quest for the employees of Wyndham, WorldMark the Club, and the board of directors. We must continue to search for effective means to secure relevant feedback from owners while “being creative” in offering improved products and services for our owners and their guests.
I believe all options should be considered including using the latest technology. For example, why not host continuing education via a Live Meeting to allow owners across the country easy access to a real time learning experience. The technology creates a virtual room with the ability to leverage live polling, Q&A, downloading of forms as well as tracking for the presenters. The cost of this type of a meeting is minimal while the approach is very effective. Another opportunity may lie in leveraging the Destinations magazine with a “Did you know…” type of format, maybe one page, that could high light a key learning for owners each month and contact information to learn more.
I think the Worldmark Insider newsletter and the Destinations publication are excellent owner education and communications tools. I would like to see these publications provide more information on the relationship between Worldmark the Club the Wyndham organization.
Communication is critical to a cohesive club with satisfied members. As an owner I have encountered problems where prior notification of resort maintenance updates would have been helpful (Kaua`i, Kapa`a Shores, swimming pool under renovation). I feel communication could be improved through better utilization of Information Technology. With the majority of families having InterNet access, it would be feasible for current resort status, schedules, and education to be accessible online to members. This could be accomplished through expanded links in the vacation resort section, or periodic E:Mails to member subscriber list. Either way, current technology allows us improved opportunities to communicate to members at a reasonable administrative cost.
My thoughts on how to improve communications and owner education while holding costs at a reasonable level is to combine the best aspects of today’s multi-media trends, such as, web media, with personalized service. The means and methods of communication are changing rapidly, but I also realize that there is a balance to the needs of various owners and costs. WorldMark must be a leader in this evolution which recognizes the diversity of current and prospective owners – including a level of personal service as an option. Communication must be by way of all media forms that capitalizes on the diversity of WorldMark’s owners, but at the same time must be done within WorldMark’s means.
Technology will be the way for us to continue to enhance communication and owner education. Property sites can also provide on-site website and vacation planning training on a rotating basis to help owners fine tune their skills at managing the online website. Providing larger regional education seminars may be a way to provide owners opportunities to grow membership with family and friends, while also learning about new and exciting enhancements and additions to the benefits of ownership.
Send Destinations magazine via email every month with opportunity to opt out of print copy. Send an annual account usage statement to owners and update each time there is a change. Email owners a “what’s-new” link every time something significant is added to the web site.
Are there any instances where you can foresee being unable to objectively fulfill your fiduciary responsibility to the Club and its owners?
No, I am fully committed to WorldMark and being on the board.
No. I've been retired since late 2005. If the market continues to suggest going back to work is a good idea, I'm sure that like those board members who work and serve, I could balance the task.
I am healthy, have adequate time to devote to this service, and have no conflicting interests that will keep me from objectively fulfilling my fiduciary responsibility to The Club and its owners.
None. A fiduciary is “One…that stands in a special relation of trust, confidence, or responsibility in certain obligations to others.” As noted in the question, the Fiduciary Responsibility of the Directors of WorldMark the Club is to the Club and its owners.
My academic position gives me considerable flexibility, and I have no personal/professional relationships or employment that would be a conflict of interest to serving the Club and it’s owners
Death. Unforeseen health issues. The total collapse of our economic system. War.
Absolutely not---I can see no instances where I would be unable to objectively fulfill my fiduciary responsibilities.
There are no foreseeable reasons why I will be unable to fulfill my fiduciary responsibility to Worldmark the Club.
I look forward to the opportunity of serving on WorldMark’s board of directors. As a recent retiree, I look forward to opportunities to provide volunteer service to others, and foresee no difficulty in carrying out the requirements and duties as a member of the board.
No. As an executive, attorney and engineer, I recognize my obligations as a fiduciary to objectively represent the Club and its owners.
No, I very much look forward to serving the Club and its owners.
The Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing the management of the Club including overseeing the upkeep of our resort properties, approving the Club’s annual budget, and the administration of the vacation program as it is established in our governing documents. Why do you want to serve on the Board of Directors? What personal strengths, specific skills or experiences would you “bring to the table” that would enhance the governance of this multi-million dollar vacation ownership program?
I am unique in that I have spent seventeen years growing with the Club and have a good understanding of all aspects of the Club and the Developer; Owner Services, Resort Operations, Sales/ Marketing, Inventory Management, Financial Services and Development. In caring for owners, I touch all of these divisions and I bring this wealth of knowledge and understanding to the board room table. That knowledge, along with a passion for WorldMark and its owners make me a valuable contributor to the board of directors.
Developing the Club is what I've done since 1989. I think after 20 years I've gotten rather good at it.
Before Wyndham Worldwide, before Cendant, there was Trendwest. Trendwest originated WorldMark, which is now the defining model for the fractional industry. I had the benefit of working with and learning from the founders as well as the privilege of being Trendwest's last Chief Operating Officer. I know that after 20 years I have the founders continued support and encouragement to continue in my role with the WorldMark Board.
It has been a privilege to serve as one of your independent, outside directors during the past two years and to play a small role in the success that our club enjoys. I am willing to continue serving on the Board because I am an enthusiastic WorldMark owner. I believe that WorldMark, The Club is the best timeshare value in the marketplace today and, as an owner, I see it as my responsibility to help maintain that value in every way I can.
Club Service I was one of five owners selected by the Board of Directors to serve on the inaugural Owner Advisory Committee (2007-2008). I have thoroughly studied the WorldMark governing documents and operating guidelines, as well as all Board Meeting minutes for the Club’s twenty year history. Though I live in Utah, I have traveled to WM board meetings in both Washington and Florida. For the past several years, I have been sharing my knowledge of and love for the Club with other owners at www.wmowners.com.
Most of my response is in my 150 and 350 word statements. That said, I bring professional communication skills (25+ years teaching at the university level and consulting), deep and broad experience with timeshares (not just WM), extensive experience serving on public boards, and a reputation for working well with teams. We take full advantage of our WM membership and there are specific things we want to see retained and improved, hence the decision to offer my services to the board. And it would not hurt to have a Canadian perspective on the board.
I want to serve on the Board of Directors because for over 14 years, WorldMark resorts have been part of the lives of myself and my family. I’d like to give back for the wonderful memories and experiences by ensuring that WorldMark provides the same opportunities for families in the future.
My service on the Board of Directors would be an outstanding chance to provide down-to-earth, pragmatic feedback to Wyndham management while representing owner interests and concerns. Election to the Board would be a distinctly high honor. I would most certainly take my responsibilities seriously while striving to provide responsible, thought-provoking representation for other WorldMark owners. My extensive experience and background in management and leadership, as a public school district superintendent, school principal and a university professor, will stand me in good stead serving on the WorldMark Board of Directors.
My serving on the board is my way of contributing to others and making a difference in people’s lives. This was the most rewarding experience in my prior role when I worked with businesses and customers in helping them to achieve their goals. The bottom line is that I truly enjoy helping others, being a contributor and adding value.
As a satisfied Worldmark owner since October of 2000, I am concerned about the future success and growth of the Club in a more competitive global timeshare/ hospitality industry. My goals as a Worldmark Director are to help guarantee quality vacation opportunities are available for owners and prospective owners in the future.
As a long time owner of WorldMark, I have a strong interest in the ongoing successful operation of the Club. I feel the best way to and get my opinion known is to be part of the team that addresses Club issues. To that end, I offer the following as to what I can offer the Club. As stated above I believe that communication is a key component for club members. Communication is a two way street; the board needs to know the desires / issues the owners have, and the owners need to know the direction of the Club and status of the resorts. With over 30 years of management experience in information technology with large State agencies, I can offer potential recommendations that could improve communication with minimal administrative costs. I look forward to the opportunity to serve you as a member of WorldMark’s Board of Directors.
I want to provide my global experience within the hospitality industry and other industries to WorldMark, and help to achieve transparency and accountability – the hallmarks of good governance today.
I want to serve the Board and share my experience as a former Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember, understanding governmental policy issues, partnerships with developer interest, the need to advocate for product quality, and quality of life issues in negotiating resort and property development, ownership opportunities and membership growth. My experience, having served on numerous non-profit boards, at local, state and national levels, provides me a unique opportunity to understand the complex and interrelated relationships and obligations of a membership organization. Thoughtful financial practices will allow our membership to flourish and grow, while building value and equity for current and future owners. My professional experience as a licensed financial advisor will provide me keen insight of fiscal matters and help with decision making issues to continue building a viable and sustainable ownership and membership program for years to come.
I believe that I have added value to every company on which I have served as a member of its board of directors, whether private, publicly owned or not-for-profit. My experience includes management and governance of large organizations with multiple operations throughout the United States and internationally. I understand the corporate governance process and enjoy the interaction that leads to consensus building and decision making. I tend to think “out-of-the-box” and try to bring new ideas where needed. I have a degree in accounting so I understand financial statements and what is required to finance and operate complex organizations.
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