It finally came together after 2 years. ARDA 2021 was a successful, well attended both physically and virtually, conference in the beautiful Marriott Grand Lake in Orlando Florida.
The buzz around the conference was electric. Folks that had not seen each other for 2 or more years, shared stories, experiences, and personal challenges in an open style venue the likes of what has never been seen in past ARDA conferences.
Jason Gamel, newly appointed President and CEO of ARDA, was introduced for the first time in his new role even though he has taken the position 2 years ago. With guest speakers such as Sarah Thomas, first female official of the NFL and Daymond John, from Shark Tank, everyone attending this year’s conference were treated with very inspirational keynote speakers.
Having attended over 25 ARDA, what really impressed me this year was that all small individual panels were replaced with group events, and plenty of time was allowed for networking. I heard the last figures were around 700 on site attendees.
Every precaution was in place for a safe environment for all attendees. Lots of events were in the outdoors and when indoor, proper distancing was in place. They even had 3 colored wrist bands so you could have a green band (I feel comfortable shaking hands, hugs, most likely vaccinated), a yellow band (ok for fist pumps, no physical touching) and a red band ( please keep 6 feet apart at all times). As most attendees had been vaccinated, they ran out of green bands the quickest.
ARDA focused hard on their new campaign, LOVE MY TIMESHARE. They invested substantial funding in this positive image of how our product enhances people’s lives. Stories of families vacationing, testimonials, are all part of the positive image that ARDA is committed to promote through various medias. The objective is to change the public perception about the Timeshare Industry as a whole. Jason Gamel and I discussed how CRTA can join them in this venture as it is imperative to the continued growth of our Industry.
I think the message overall the entire conference was: “We are back, and stronger than ever”. The Timeshare industry has always rebounded the quickest after a Financial Crisis as seen in 2008 or a world Pandemic such as COVID-19. And ARDA continues to lead and protect developers as well as members to ensure its continued growth. Personally, this was one of my favorite ARDA of all times. Special recognition to Jenny Davlin, Catherine Lacey and Katelyn Reitz for the fantastic behind the scenes work of setting up ARDA this year. You are the true stars of the event.