Committee chairman Brian Hunsley at Diamond Club Calypso explains how an active committee, good management and providing a value for money product is helping them meet the challenges times faced by many well-established independent resorts.
The resort is situated in Puerto del Carmen and is only 50 metres from the main beachfront. It has 40 timeshare apartments and 19 privately owned apartments.
The complex is low-rise and built around a large swimming pool. The resort gardens are one of its best assets and the whole resort has a relaxed feel about it.
There is a children’s play area for younger guests and a volleyball court for older children.
The committee is very aware of the need for a successful sales operation. As Calypso is a relatively small resort, the potential to sell on-site is driven by occupancy, and there is a high percentage of owners who use their own fixed weeks.
Traditionally, the resort has sold fixed unit and fixed weeks, but more recently they sold a fractional exit plan, which was successful. The committee is looking at developing more flexible and shorter-term products to better meet the requirements of today’s holidaymakers.
1 What is the history of Club Calypso?
The club was founded in the 1980s so we are a well-established independent resort. We have had periods of instability, but the owners have always been supportive and the club has remained a much-loved holiday favourite.
We are fortunate to be in a prime location, just a short walk from the beach front of Puerto del Carmen with easy access to a wide variety of shops, bars and restaurants. The local government is investing significant sums to make further improvements to Puerto del Carmen, which will only help to attract more visitors.
2 How has timeshare at your resort fared over the past five years?
We have faced the same challenges as most independent timeshare clubs; ageing member base, increasing number of re-possessed weeks, keeping maintenance fee levels relatively low while continuing to offer a great holiday experience.
In an effort to manage the rise in re-possessed weeks the committee decided to consolidate and three timeshare apartments were sold in 2013. The funds generated have been used to bolster the sinking fund and we are soon to embark on a full up-grade of all timeshare apartments.
The committee is very active and works closely with our management company, Resort Solutions Ltd, to ensure that we maximise revenue opportunities and have stringent budgeting processes in place.
3 How do you keep your product attractive while still making ownership financially viable?
We have continued to make improvements to the resort while still keeping the maintenance fees at a reasonable level. The weekly charge for a one-bed apartment is £368 and for the quality of accommodation and overall holiday experience we offer, we believe that this represents great value for money.
Owners and guests alike return to Calypso to enjoy a safe, caring, beautiful environment. We regularly receive excellent feedback from RCI exchangers on the friendliness of the staff and the overall quality of the resort.
Rental revenue is vital for the club and we are successful with both U.K. campaigns run by RSL and local rental promotions to the ex-pat community who take up offers for visiting friends and family.
4 Have the holiday patterns of your owners changed over recent years and what is the impact on your resort?
The main changeover day in Lanzarote has always been Thursday. However, many low-cost carriers operate flights on other days, and these are often cheaper. In order to accommodate owners we offer flexible check-in days when we have the availability. We also offer additional nightly rental rates for owners wishing to stay for durations other than the traditional week.
5 What are the key reasons for your success?
It’s the mix of a dedicated committee, professional management company, great staff, a well maintained resort and happy, loyal owners.
6 What sets you apart from your local hospitality competitors?
Calypso has good quality apartments, which are serviced to an excellent standard. Owners and guests know what to expect when they stay at the resort- there are no nasty surprises!
7 Do you offer a resale and rental programme?
Our rental programme is very successful and inventory is marketed locally by the resort and through RSL. We get lots of repeat bookings and owners rent additional weeks.
8 How do you fund and manage refurbishment?
We operate a sinking fund and have a major apartment upgrade programme scheduled for the end of year costing in the region of €200,000.
9 What are your plans for the future?
We have plans to establish a sales operation to reduce the club’s liability of re-possessed weeks. We also plan to develop and launch an exit programme for owners, refurbish all apartments and continue to invest in the resort to retain existing members and attract new ones.
10 As a resort, of what are you most proud?
We are particularly proud of the continual high standard of the resort and the pride that the on-site team has in their work. In particular, the gardens at Calypso are the envy of many resorts!
11 How important is your owners’ committee?
The committee is made up of five quite diverse individuals, who hopefully are a good representation of the overall member base.
We are active and work closely with our management company who ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the resort. With advice from RSL, the committee looks to agree the future strategy for the club to ensure its long-term viability. Our professional management company then implements our plans.
12 What do you think the future is for timeshare in general?
Timeshare has gone through a bad period, which has affected its image and desirability. It is sad that much of the tarnished reputation has come from unethical sales tactics rather than the product, which today still remains attractive.
While we do need to offer flexible membership, the increasing uncertainty of today’s world brings an increasing desire for safe, trusted holiday destinations where you can meet up with familiar faces and form long-lasting friendships.
13 Why did you decide to join TATOC?
TATOC membership adds credibility and demonstrates that we consistently achieve the standards of a TATOC member resort.