During a talk with Tuoi Tre News, Darren Ettridge, vice president of business development for Europe, Middle East, Africa & Asia (EMEAA) of Interval International, shared his positive outlook on the Vietnamese tourism sector, owing to the country’s beautiful landscapes, professional tourism services and a wide range of accommodation choices. Excerpts:
As a veteran in the resort industry with a history of nearly 50 years of establishment and development, Interval International vacation exchange system has admitted more than 3,000 high-class resorts in more than 90 countries around the world. So how does Interval International assess the development potential of the inbound and outbound luxury resort tourism market in Vietnam, especially in the vacation ownership segment?
Vietnam has established itself as one of the most desirable destinations in Southeast Asia, with recent statics showing extensive growth in all areas of inbound tourism. We’re seeing many global travelers being more adventurous and looking for diverse experiences from their precious vacations, making Vietnam an excellent location for Interval members to explore.
Travelers and high-end hospitality brands are taking notice of the pleasant climate, welcoming people, and wide array of experiences this incredible country has to offer. This growth of the tourism industry has broadened the marketing reach, which in turn has increased demand from vacationers.
Because of these factors, Vietnam is well placed to successfully expand even further within the tourism sector.
It is known that Interval International’s principle and strategic vision is to focus on quality instead of quantity. Can you elaborate on this in making strategies and policies for member customers as well as in the criteria for evaluating the admission of partner resorts? And how can Interval always ensure that the quality of service and facilities of partner resorts is always at the desired level?
Interval’s focus throughout its more than 45-year history has very much been on being the quality exchange network. This goal is achieved through a significant review process of all potential affiliates, as well as maintaining a constant dialogue with individual members and resort clients.
Interval has a detailed review process where customer feedback is monitored and promptly shared with affiliated properties following a member’s stay. Strong relationships with developers foster open lines of communication.
By working hand-in-hand with our clients and having regular reviews, we assist our affiliates in maintaining a level of standards that make the Interval exchange network exceptional.
Thus, the review and evaluation of Interval International’s resorts and hotels certainly takes a lot of time, as well as requires strict criteria. So, what about ALMA Resort? How has this resort gone through the process of evaluation and at what level is it currently on Interval International’s rankings? What is the reason why Interval International chose to cooperate with ALMA Resort during this time?
Interval undertakes a thorough review of every newly affiliated property as part of the Resort Recognition Program. This review helps determine the quality level of each resort by assessing its physical features and appointments, as well as the services and amenities provided.
There were several positive factors driving Interval’s desire to work with ALMA −the resort’s location and amenities being particularly impressive. Vietnam is a destination that offers our members a vacation like no other because of its unique culture and the variety of experiences available.
When you add the outstanding high-end quality of ALMA Resort together with the multitude of activities available both on-site and in the surrounding area, we are delighted for ALMA to join Interval’s coveted collection of celebrated hospitality brands and independent resorts.
How do you evaluate the service, facilities as well as the quality of ALMA Resort compared to other resorts in the system? Are there many resorts on Interval International’s system that are designed in an all-in-one and family-friendly concept such as ALMA Resort? Will family travel continue to be a trend in the future?
The Interval exchange network provides our members and their family a global platform to experience a multitude of great vacations year after year. Our resorts, being geographically located throughout the world, each have their own unique identity, but a common aim to provide the highest level of quality and service to their guests.
Since Interval’s founding, the company has been dedicated to sending our members on vacations of a lifetime, where they create lasting memories of special moments with family.
Because of the exceptional quality and diverse activities available, the ALMA Resort is not only considered among the very best of Interval’s network, but also one of the leading resorts in Southeast Asia’s vacation ownership industry.
ALMA’s amenities such as the Kid’s Club, water park, and mini-golf make it a standout amongst the all-in-one and family-friendly concepts in the network.
As one of the rare Vietnamese resorts in Interval International’s system, what benefits will ALMA’s customers get now and in the future?
First and foremost, ALMA’s customers will now have access to our quality exchange network consisting of over 3,000 resorts across 90 countries and territories. As Interval members, they will be able to utilize the various exchange programmes available, such as Request First where the member retains their own week until they receive an exchange request confirmation, or Deposit First, where they have up to a four-year travel window to use their credit.
ALMA owners will also have access to Interval Options®; the ability to use points toward a hotel stay, cruise, or experiential travel; ShortStay Exchange® for long weekends and midweek resort vacations; and Getaways, discounted weeks at resort-style accommodations that don’t require exchange.
Darren Ettridge is the vice president of business development, EMEAA, for Interval International, a leading worldwide provider of vacation services. In this role, he directs sales and resort marketing strategies and oversees the operations of Interval’s sales offices across the region.
He is responsible for all resort affiliations, servicing and marketing of Preferred Residences, a membership and exchange programme for luxury Shared Ownership properties.
Ettridge originally joined Interval International in 2000 as Director of Sales and Service. He has extensive experience within the Shared Ownership sector initially gained with his previous employer, First National Bank (FNB).
While holding various positions during his seven-year tenure with FNB and immediately prior to joining Interval, he was general manager of sales and operations for the company’s Vacation Ownership division. This department provided consumer lending for the purchase of timeshare.
During his time with FNB and Interval, Ettridge has become an established and respected figure within the EMEAA timeshare industry. Ettridge serves on the Board of the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) in Europe.
He is based at Interval’s London office.
Interval International operates membership programs for vacationers and provides value-added services to its developer clients worldwide.
Based in Miami, Florida, the company has been a pioneer and innovator in serving the vacation ownership market since 1976.
Today, Interval’s exchange network comprises over 3,000 resorts in more than 90 countries and territories.
Through offices in 12 countries, Interval offers world-class products and benefits to resort clients and approximately 1.6-million-member families who are enrolled in various membership programs.
Interval is an operating business of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, a leading global vacation company that offers vacation ownership, exchange, rental and resort and property management, along with related businesses, products, and services.
Phuong Thao / Tuoi Tre News