Burns stresses the importance of transparency, clear information for buyers.
At the GNEX 2014 conference this past February, Michael Burns, president of Vacatia (vacatia.com) spoke at the annual shared ownership industry event. Representing Vacatia, a trusted, transparent and easy-to-use marketplace to buy and sell timeshares online, Burns spoke as an expert on the panel discussion, “The Internet’s Role in Timeshare Sales.” The session, moderated by TripAdvisor’s Mark McCullough, also discussed the impact of social media and the connection between online reputation and revenue.
Burns highlighted the importance of transparency through examples of how Vacatia operates: “What’s most important is that we don’t take upfront fees,” he said as he delineated the difference between Vacatia and other shared-ownership resellers. Burns also stressed the importance of providing clear, concise and complete info for each listing on Vacatia: “We’re going very deep into content,” he explained, noting that “transparency is the key.” Burns went on to say that as an industry, “we need to make it easier to make a buying decision as opposed to being ‘sold to.’”
Burns spoke from a wealth of experience. He started in the timeshare industry as the president and COO of Vacation Internationale; which was co-founded by his father in 1974, who pioneered the points-based timeshare structure (which is used throughout the industry today). Burns was a member of the senior management team that led Marriott into the timeshare business in the mid 1980s. He was the first executive hired to create Disney’s timeshare business in 1989 and served as vice president and general manager for nearly eight years before returning to Vacation Internationale. Burns then founded and was president of Private Residence Resorts, which specializes in boutique fractional properties, including Les Saisons in Sun Valley and Hearthstone in McCall, Idaho. He has participated in a variety of consulting and partnership roles in several fractional resorts throughout North America and is recognized as one of the leading experts and innovators in the field. Burns is a Trustee member of the American Resort Development Association and a frequent speaker and panelist at shared ownership conferences such as GNEX.
Representatives from 111 companies attended GNEX 2014, providing an intimate and focused gathering of senior executive level decision makers. Previous GNEX events have been held in Beverly Hills, California; Cancun, Mexico; and Paradise Island, Bahamas. GNEX 2015 will be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California from February 15 to 18.
Based in San Francisco, Vacatia.com is the new online marketplace for shared vacation ownership. Vacatia addresses the vital need for greater transparency, convenience and liquidity in today’s timeshare and fractional ownership markets. It offers consumers, brokers, agents, developers, homeowner associations and resort managers a new and better way to connect, negotiate and transact in the timeshare and fractional ownership resale market. Vacatia.com is powered by an unparalleled team of proven innovators and senior executives from the vacation ownership, travel, real estate, hospitality and e-marketplace sectors.
About GNEX Conference
Hosted by Perspective Group, leading global PR & Multimedia Company for the timeshare industry, the Global Networking Expo is an annual event that brings together top executives from leading companies around the world together for a few days of networking and industry enrichment.