Timeshare Trade Bodies: ARDA

It would be safe to say that almost every industry has a “Trade Body”, a “club” if you like, usually set up by the industry itself and designed to show the industry in the best light possible and promote quality to their customers. Well, that is the theory, when it comes to timeshare it is a completely different story, Around the world there are “Trade Bodies” representing their industry in their region, and all seem to follow one particular model. That model is the American Resorts Development Association, ARDA.

As you would expect in Anglo-US relations, ARDAs closest ally is the Resorts Development Organisation, RDO, Headquartered in the UK and representing what is left of the timeshare industry in Europe. But more on them in a separate article.

When you enter the ARDA website, you are greeted with a “Banner” proudly proclaiming “A commitment to excellence in timeshare”. Excellence for who, the industry or the consumer?

This statement is repeated as you scroll the home page under the heading “OUR VALUES” with the link “Learn About Us”.

As you scroll further down the home page you will find another statement headed “OUR WORK”, “We are the voice of the timeshare community”. What community, the industry or the members?

The last bold statement you will come to will be “Join a community of vacation ownership leaders”. Well, we know who that is really aimed at.

So, who is ARDA?

Clicking on the first link, you will be taken to the ARDA “About Us” page, it is here they “explain” who they are and what they do. The page begins with this opening paragraph:

ARDA is the face of vacation ownership. 

“Based in Washington, D.C., the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the trade association for the timeshare industry. ARDA’s membership comprises over 350 companies (both privately held firms and publicly traded corporations). ARDA’s active, engaged members have extensive experience in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate.”

So, we know they are “situated” at the seat of legislative power, the Capital of the United States of America. Not surprising really, after all, if you want to influence, it’s better to be at the centre of things. The RDO did hastily set up an office in Brussels when Timeshare was on the EU legislative agenda.

The last part of the paragraph was a little confusing, members have extensive experience in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate”. The reason I find it confusing is what they mean by “Real Estate”, in the last statement Mr Gamel did say that although, We’re sold and look like real estate, but we act like hospitality, so timeshare is in a unique position that requires a lot of education,” are you still confused?

Under the statement “We are the voice of the timeshare community” you will find the link “See Our Advocacy Work”. This is where you will get to the real “nitty gritty” of what ARDA does.

Straight away you are greeted with a statement which is bold and indicates they will take “no prisoners”, “ARDA’s formidable advocacy arm promotes and defends the vacation ownership industry at the local, state, federal and international levels.”

Using the word “Formidable” should set your alarm bells ringing.

After the statement is the opening paragraph:

“From state houses to Capitol Hill, ARDA educates policymakers and forges relationships so that the industry is properly recognized as a key sector of the hospitality industry.”

It actually reads like a statement a teenager would make about “educating their parents” that they are not “properly recognised”. Joking aside, it is a statement which clearly tells us that what they want they will get.

The paragraph continues with:

“ARDA’s advocacy work has succeeded in bringing about favorable legislation at home and abroad regarding timeshare laws; subdivided land regulations; sales and marketing regulations; real estate and property management licensing; sales, property, and occupancy taxes; consumer protection regulations and other fundamental issues for the vacation ownership industry.”

Firstly, who are they referring to when they say “Favourable”, is it themselves and their members or is it the consumer?

We also very much doubt if ARDA was “instrumental” in any of the EU laws or even the Spanish Timeshare Laws, which are very much in favour of the consumer. The industry in Europe through greed, ignored those laws and has now suffered the consequences, a totally discredited and defunct industry.

The rest of the page has links to the following subjects:

ARDA’s History of Advocacy

Program of Work


Legislative Policy Council


Advocacy Team

The first section gives a potted history of ARDA and opens with this statement:

“For decades, ARDA has advocated for sensible regulation that promotes and protects our segment of the hospitality industry, while putting into place strong pillars of consumer protection — including things like financial assurances, escrow for purchasers funds, state-vetted public offering statement/budgets and rescission periods.”

Well, we can’t argue with that sentiment, it is what AIT and thousands of consumers have been asking for over the years. Fundamentally there is nothing wrong with timeshare, it suits its purpose for some, we agree there should be sensible regulation that protects consumers from malpractice but does not stifle trade.

The problem is that is not in fact the case, the stories we have published over the years are a testament to those malpractices by ARDA’s own members. Those stories are also only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, 2 thirds of which are submerged and unseen.

Coming to An Evolving Product, they do acknowledge that timeshare was an “unregulated” industry, well, no one really knew what it was at the time, we still don’t.

The most important section by far has to be “Establishing an Ethical Foundation”, with a link to the ARDA Code of Ethics, the section in full reads:

“ARDA members approved the Model Timeshare Act in 1983, establishing a foundation of credibility for the industry. From there, ARDA has been able to work with legislators and regulators on issues that affect both developers and consumers.”

“Later in the 1980s, ARDA established the timeshare industry’s Code of Ethics, which serves as the industry statement on ethical sales practices. Every ARDA member must agree to abide by this code as a condition of membership.”

Wonderful words, except for the last sentence, “Every ARDA member must agree to abide by this code as a condition of membership.”

Our question on behalf of timeshare owners who have fallen prey to “member developers” breaching those “Codes of Ethics” is, what has ARDA done to stop them from doing so?

I remember being told by someone many years ago, “Don’t judge a society by its laws, judge them by how they abide by them.” Wise words, especially in this instance.

Bypassing the next two sections we come to the “Legislative Policy Council”.

This appears to be a fairly new initiative judging from the opening statement:

“The changing landscape of both the timeshare industry and the legislative and regulatory arena have created the opportunity for ARDA to build on its history of leadership and success in advocacy with a new platform suited to the current atmosphere: the Legislative Policy Council (LPC).”

It is followed by a brief statement on what it is and ends with an invitation to join, subject to certain conditions, obviously.

There is then a list of current LPC Member Companies

Company Position
ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC) Founder


Bluegreen Vacations Corporation Founder
Disney Vacation Club Founder
Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. Founder
Holiday Inn Club Vacations Founder
Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation Founder
Travel + Leisure Co. Founder
Westgate Resorts Founder
Capital Vacations Leader
Grand Pacific Resorts Advisor – Three States
Somerpointe Resorts Advisor – Three States
Starpoint Resort Group Inc. Advisor – Three States
The Berkley Group Inc. Advisor – Three States
Great Eastern Resort Corporation Advisor – Single State – Virginia
Vacatia Advisor – Single State – Virginia


There is however a fee to join, provided you do meet the “criteria”, the cost can be seen in the following PDF, and depends on what level of membership you want. We must admit there are a few dubious characters in there.

Membership PDF


The last two are the link to the ARDA-ROC description, basically claiming they represent Owners/Members, debatable. The last link is to introduce the “Advocacy Team” with the usual photographs and who they are.

There is much more to explore on the ARDA website, most of it is repetitive and boastful, but the truth to what they represent is there, you just have to look for it. They call it reading between the lines, it is not what they say, it is what they don’t say.

This was brought home by a History Professor when I was doing a study of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. In this declaration, the British promised to create a Jewish homeland, but they also promised a free Arab state, that placated both sides, after all there was a war raging in the region.

The professor told me to “read between” the lines, well, it did promise those things, but it didn’t say how, but it did clearly point out it was going to be under their administration. In other words, we are having it for ourselves, and you can be “independent” under our flag.

A simple explanation I know, but he was right, it is what the document didn’t say, which was the seed of the conflict and is continuing today.

ARDA is a trade body which lobbies for its member’s interests, full stop.

Only last week we published a link to the ARDA Skift article.

How Research and Advocacy Are Transforming Today’s Timeshare Experience

Read it, read between the lines, and use your own knowledge and experiences of timeshare, you will start to see the truth behind the propaganda. AIT will be publishing our take on this as a follow-up article on ARDA, I wonder if you will see the same anomalies or point out some new ones?



  1. Michelle Jabeur

    Thank you for shining a light of awareness on the dirt that is the ARDA! You are absolutely on point with needing to read between the lines. For example, the ARDA website states:

    “Tracking and responding to any threat to the timeshare industry;
    Developing and providing key education to decisionmakers and their staff;
    Forging and fostering relationships that matter and make a difference;
    Delivering real-time updates and alerts on threats to the industry; and
    Providing a strong and unified voice for the timeshare industry.
    At the core of all of this is ARDA’s mission of standing up for timeshare.”

    Let’s examine that. They’ve changed the wording a bit recently but it still sends the same message. Their main initiative is protecting THE DEVELOPERS. So when exit companies came about, of which many were lead by attorneys and others by prior sales agents who know the developers games and fraudulent tactics- The members of the ARDA ATTACKED them.
    There is a market for folks desiring to exit their timeshare and wanting to go about it legally, mainly because of the discrepancies in the sales pitches. To deter the truth from surfacing, these developers under the ARDAs watchful leadership sunk those ships by leading very costly battles that left many of the legitimate exit companies bankrupt. TO PROTECT THEMSEOVES FROM THEMSELVES AND THE TRUTH!
    THE ARDA protects the deveolper and the companies that support the sales like titling companies,etc.
    The ARDA lobby against the timeshare owners and their legal rights, again to protect the developers, the profit to the industry, and their power over the US economy and through GATE their International power over those economies too.
    “Forging and fostering relationships that matter” to their power and influence over lawmakers not that matter to the consumers of this “Vibrant lifestyle product.”
    How vibrant would the industry really be if the truth was really told?
    How vibrant is the ARDA and Developers for operating a “Non-Profit” where owners are charged a “voluntary” ARDA contribution fee that’s (unknowingly) itemized into their dues and must be opted out of, of which they use these funds to lobby against the rights of those paying their costs to do so?
    Yes there are some happy owners. My question has always been, how happy would those owners really be if they knew the truth?
    Most people do not know the truth about timeshare, the ARDA, and the Developers. Most sales staff don’t even know who the ARDA is or what they really do until they’re celebrated by the ARDA for their contribution to this thriving industry based on fraudulent sales pitches and fraudulent profits.
    I can go on and on with my discovery and findings of misconduct thereof. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Easily discover the dirt by comparing the members of the board with the companies they represent, and the complaints against those companies online to TARDA, Federal and State courts, Attorney General’s, Complaint boards, and so on.
    The ARDA is the Good Ole Boys club- The Mafia if you will, for timeshare with invite only private VIP clubs (GATE) available to the highest contributors to INTERNATIONAL POWER!
    BEWARE! ITS RICO (Racketeering and Corruption) anyway you slice it to grow its power or as they call it “reach.”

  2. Michelle Jabeur

    To further expand on my previous comment- examine their position in the economy, their influence over lawmakers, their international “reach” alongside of the induction of point systems that these companies refer to as “currency”. Again, the ARDA is made up of timeshare sales leaders who desire the same goal- TO BE NUMBER 1! That’s always the top sales personas goal- TO BE THE TOP because that’s where the power is. Becareful! Awareness is the ONLY way to put the power where it truly belongs- IN THE OWNERS HANDS!

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