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“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

- Martin Buber



Q&A: Talking to Veena Parmeshwar, Head of Finance, at an advertising agency

February 2014

Veena Parmeshwar is one of those professionals who needs to work long hours at office, and take her laptop home for more work. Being a senior finance executive is one good reason for the long hours, and being in advertising almost makes it 24/7. “This is a business that relies on intelligent management of cash flow, and with today’s long-drawn payment cycles, things can get tricky,” says Veena. Going by the stress associated with Veena’s job, a planned vacation every year could give her a welcome break - that’s how timeshare comes into the picture.

In this interview, Veena seeks clarifications on issues customers usually worry about during a sales presentation. This is indeed a good time to ask the right questions, examine the sales document carefully and project the impression that you are an informed decision maker.

Q: I’m attending a presentation by a leading timeshare marketer, what do I need to keep in mind?

A: The most sensible thing you’re doing is asking for advice before a presentation. From our point of view, please check if the resort is a member of the All India Resort Development Association (AIRDA) - a voluntary, self-regulated body that acts as an advisory and industry beacon. If the resort you’re talking to is not part of AIRDA, you need to be careful, because you may not have the benefits of dealing with a regulated player – especially when it comes to fees, customer support and charges that could be added on later - long after you have signed on the dotted line.

Q: The gifts that resorts promise during the sign-up process are attractive, do I give this weightage?

A: We must say that some of the gifts that resorts offer at the time of registration, are indeed tempting and attractive - but you must not be influenced by that. Look at the prime reasons behind your timeshare decision. Long-term annual vacations, inflation-free holidays, a good resort with a track record, total transparency on fees / charges, and other linked benefits. We must add here, that a resort under the AIRDA banner will meet all the criteria listed here.

Q: Do all AIRDA resorts follow a common guideline on fees and charges?

A: That’s another good question. In our January update of the Chairman’s message (link featured below) we have talked about this. As a prospective customer on the verge of making a purchase decision, you must be aware of the total cost-of-tenure on your membership. The basic fee structure across AIRDA resorts follows a common guideline.

Our member resorts will charge you an initial membership fee, and an annual service fee towards maintenance. This could vary with the property profile of the resort, the location and the level of service offerings. You must also understand that these charges are subject to increase over the years, to cover maintenance and inflationary aspects.

Q: What role does AIRDA play in India’s timeshare industry?

A: Like we mentioned earlier, AIRDA is a self-regulated, independent advisory dedicated to the timeshare and vacation ownership industry. Our primary members are resort owners, who benefit from AIRDA’s constructive sharing of ideas and strategies on the running and promotion of timeshare. What also makes stand apart from others in the industry is our common Code of Conduct and our application of fair practices.
At AIRDA we have a balanced end-customer focus with an inclination to provide tips, advice and guidelines to new and existing customers. We do this largely through our website and cover topics such as the timeshare marketplace, making informed choices on vacation ownership and assistance on complaint redressal, if any.

AIRDA also represents the industry within government circles on policy issues that could have a bearing on timeshare and vacation ownership in the country. Essentially, we hold a mirror to the industry at decision making levels to leverage benefits for the organized sector of the industry.

So that’s a brief advisory from us to make you an informed customer and also make sure you make a considered decision based on a careful review of the sales agreement and other documentation.

Do give us some feedback on the presentation and let us know what were your comfort levels or apprehensions. We will then share your feedback with our member resorts and the AIRDA website.

We also want to congratulate you on your interest in timeshare – this is a great way to holiday and one of the best things you could do for your family. A decision that you will be happy with - year after year after year.

Our best wishes to you, from this team at AIRDA.

» Mr B.S. Rathor’s January message on our website.

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