Q&A: Talking to Sid and Deepa Pednekar – timeshare customers in the UK
Siddharth Pednekar handles Corporate Training & Leadership Development at McDonald’s, with a focus on developing and nurturing future talent for the McDonald’s Leadership Team. Interestingly, Sid has been with McDonald’s for 17 years - he joined them when he was 16. During his stint with the company, Sid has played many roles, including managing one of their busiest restaurants in the UK. His wife Deepa, is an experienced IT project manager with BlackBerry. Overseeing the EMEA region, her responsibilities include ensuring project completion and delivery across time zones within very exacting quality parameters.
The work schedules of Sid and Deepa reflect what today’s young, busy couples are faced with - arms outstretched on workloads, but very little time on hand. And this is just the right scenario for taking that well-deserved break, every year.
Here are some sound bytes of the chat we had with Siddharth, on their timeshare plan in the UK.
A: For one thing, vacation ownership is promoted aggressively out here. Even the malls have kiosks with smiling faces and helpful counters. And with today’s smart and intelligent capturing of databases, sooner or later you’re bound to get a call with some very attractive offers. Last year when we were offered a complimentary holiday, we did some research to find out about vacation ownership. The proposition was interesting: we own a tangible asset that provides us with the points to go on holiday – an asset that will hopefully appreciate in the future.
Eventually, we picked a timeshare plan with Club La Costa (CLC) in the UK. We’re so happy with our choice that we have decided to upgrade to a Platinum Membership.
A: CLC World offers two wonderful resorts in Tenerife – Sunningdale Village, a peaceful, green oasis set on the edge of Golf del Sur, and Paradise, nestled on a quiet hillside overlooking lush tropical gardens with stunning sea views. We stayed at CLC’s Paradise Club in August 2012 for one week and later at its sister resort for another week. I must say their rooms in Monterey are spacious and spotless - the balcony was huge and we were high up in the towering complex to see fantastic views of the sea and the mountains. There were two heated pools and three different restaurants on site which were excellent. The whole resort had a really friendly air about it and the guest facilities were excellent.
A: Yes, we do and I must add here that this was a joint decision, like most important ones are, with us. We also like the idea of being aligned to a sharing network - because it offers us a wide range of resorts and hotels that we can use as part of our membership. Our timeshare plan covers most of Continental Europe, including the UK, so that’s nice.
Looking back, we really did some homework on this to ensure that our plan would guarantee quality and consistency on the holiday experience. That’s in addition to affordability, flexibility and access to various discounted offers within the network.
A: For us, coming to India means one thing at the moment – spending quality time with our families. Then, there’s the bonus of ghar ka khana and other things related to our homecoming.
But we could seriously look at taking our folks on a vacation in India, where we do the booking through our primary network membership. I don’t know how to work this out, but it certainly is a thought in terms of bringing everyone together.
A: Actually we’re pretty good at planning in advance. For instance, we have already logged in our holiday request for next year and we’re looking at Portugal. I usually pick a broad holiday region and Deepa then goes to work finding out about the best resorts, locations, food plans, areas of local interest and things like that. Being an IT person, she’s really resourceful at this and homes in on a real good deal and location. After her exhaustive homework and follow through, all we have to do is pack our bags.
A: From what I can see, the “timeshare experience” with the resort or the network must be totally transparent. It must offer the discerning consumer a choice in terms of how they want features and benefits to be rolled out and administered. Consumers must also have all information available at the beginning of the sale, with the reassurance of a reliable and helpful after-sales culture.
AIRDA comment > Dear Sid, the All India Resort Development Association (AIRDA) operates quite like Tatoc of the UK. Do look up www.tatoc.co.uk for more information.
And for those who want to know a little more about AIRDA, here’s a quick overview >
The All India Resort Development Association is a self-regulated, independent advisory dedicated to the timeshare and vacation ownership industry in India. AIRDA’s primary members are resort owners, who benefit from AIRDA’s constructive sharing of ideas and strategies on the running and promotion of timeshare. AIRDA works closely with members to cut a clean image in the industry and offer fair value to end customers.
AIRDA also represents the industry and lobbies with the government on policy issues that could have a bearing on timeshare and vacation ownership in the country.
AIRDA has a balanced end-customer focus and provides updated information on the official website. This covers the timeshare marketplace, advice on making informed choices on vacation ownership and assistance on complaint redressal, if any.
AIRDA is an affiliated member of the American Resort Developers Association.
Here’s a listing of AIRDA resort members in India >
(Names such as Mahindra Holidays, Sterling Holidays and RCI are members of AIRDA.)
Welcome to AIRDA's virtual tours gallery - an initiative to provide an enhanced visual experience of our member properties.
What does an AIRDA membership mean to resort owners and developers? AIRDA comes in as your industry partner, conscience keeper and business catalyst - with a wide portfolio of support services.
What does AIRDA mean to holiday seekers and prospective customers? AIRDA comes in to provide information and offer guidelines on making the right timeshare decisions.