LAS VEGAS—Diamond Resorts wants travelers to experience a world outside of the traditional vacation routine. With properties across the globe and experiences ranging from concerts to vineyard tours to athlete meet and greets, the Diamond vacation is one that’s always fresh and flexible, and gives both members and non-members what they crave most—options.
“Members turn to Diamond to recharge and reconnect,” said Mike Flaskey, CEO of Diamond Resorts. “Our members come from all walks of life. Vacation ownership is ideal for young families looking to explore the world, multigenerational families traveling for special family getaways and both younger or older couples with no children looking for new and unique experiences.”
These experiences aren’t just limited to members, either. Diamond offers vacation packages for those interested in what these trips offer, but who also want to learn more before committing to a purchase. This can include discounted property rates or a short tour just for a taste.
When guests come in for a tour presentation, Flaskey said, team members walk them through various trip options. Diamond shows them what they have access to as a Diamond member and the benefits of vacation ownership. This way, travelers can choose the path that is best for them and their families, which Diamond accommodations are designed for, Flaskey said.
“The difference is Diamond’s accommodations offer the benefits and amenities of a condominium, rather than just a room,” Flaskey said. “Accommodations typically include full kitchens and living areas, which is great for families or groups of friends traveling together.”
Non-members can only book stays at Diamond’s managed properties in North America and Europe and don’t have access to the point system. This member-exclusive system can be used for resort stays, airline tickets, cruises and other products and services offered through partner affiliations.
“Our members can also use their points toward exclusive Member Escorted Journeys and adventures, such as a cruise to the Galapagos Islands or a safari in Kenya, which non-members cannot access. As a member, you also receive special travel benefits, including the ability to use points to book rental cars, toward airfare or to shop online,” he said.
“While non-members can book traditional stays with money, Diamond members can use their points toward once-in-a-lifetime experiences that money can’t buy,” he said.
In Europe, the company launched the Diamond Experiences Plus program, giving select Diamond Resorts destinations throughout Europe activities to choose from, depending on the location and season. These include sailing excursions, historic discovery tours, olive oil tastings and whiskey sampling, among others, with nods to the location’s culture.
Diamond Resorts also recognizes that guests, especially younger ones, are interested in a wide variety of vacation experiences.
“We are also looking into different offerings that are more enticing to a younger generation,” Flaskey said. “When guests choose vacation ownership over other travel experiences, they are committing to a lifestyle that incorporates regular vacations. Whether it’s at a favorite resort, or a different location each year, Diamond members have choices.”
While locations and events may vary from vacation to vacation, Diamond service and hospitality remains consistent, along with the experience, so guests can focus on what every vacation is about.
“Members know exactly what to expect, even when trying something new, meaning they’ll always have a hassle-free, stress-free vacation to look forward to and can rest assured when inviting family and friends that their vacation will be safe, fun and comfortable,” Flaskey said.
Like other vacation ownership companies, however, Diamond faces the challenge of firms deceiving timeshare owners into paying for illusory timeshare exit services through fraudulent means, Flaskey said.
“These companies mislead and/or defraud consumers by taking exorbitant fees from timeshare owners for purported timeshare exit or cancellation services based upon fraudulent and misleading representations,” he said.
According to Flaskey, to combat this, Diamond Resorts, about two years ago, implemented a litigation strategy in pursuit of third-party exit companies as a way to protect its members who were promised outcomes that could not legally be accomplished.
Diamond Resorts also pursued unethical law firms who were assisting these timeshares exit companies in illegal business practices.
“To date, these efforts culminated in approximately 12 lawsuits filed by Diamond Resorts throughout the country, six of which have already resulted in broad injunctions against the defendants, while others remain pending,” he said.
Fighting these types of practices is a priority because they threaten what vacation ownership is all about: making traveling easier and more enjoyable.
“Research has shown that committing to regular vacations, living a balanced life, using time off and spending time with family and friends all contribute to a variety of health and personal benefits,” Flaskey said. “Vacation ownership with Diamond Resorts helps to facilitate that.” HB