Sharing Increases Utility

A leading website on loyalty intelligence, Colloquy, reports that the pooling of points with friends, family members and charities with a rewards program increases loyalty and usage.  They quote “The Share the Love: 2014 Consumer Study” with statistics that proved the point. 70% of respondents would shop more often and 45% would spend more if sharing of their reward points were allowed.  Citibank and JetBlue are cited as examples of companies that are allowing sharing.  3RD HOME was created to allow individuals to get more value from their vacation home investment by sharing it with others.  We agree that sharing increases utility!

Steve Zacks, 3RD HOME

Are Shared Economy Stays Incremental or Replacement Trips?

Hoteliers, in the news, commenting on the impact of the shared economy,  have been debating whether such stays, including those by members of 3RD HOME the luxury vacation home exchange, are incremental trips, or replacing stays normally made at hotels.  Based on the thousands of trips 3RD HOME has facilitated we can state with certainty that both are true.

Our members love the fact that they can exchange unused weeks in their luxury vacation homes for stays at similar accommodations around the world and save thousands per trip. The lower cost of travel makes our members more spontaneous and increases the number of vacations taken per year.

At the same time, the ability to stay in a  home creates a different type of vacation experience that replaces a traditional hotel stay.  The large shared spaces of a home, as compared to a hotel, make for great multi-family, multi-couple, and multi-generational trips. And many travelers enjoy the local experience that can be achieved by staying in a home.  Many home owners will share their expert advice to allow their guests to truly live like locals.  And the cost of a luxury home exchange via 3RD HOME barely dents the wallet compared to several hotel rooms at an equivalent resort.

Does the shared economy, and reciprocal travel clubs like 3RD HOME, increase travel occasions or simply replace trips that otherwise would have been taken?  The answer is not one or the other, it is “both.”

Steve Zacks, 3RD HOME

Affluent Traveler Trends

I noted two very interesting findings in a recent study on Affluent Travelers by Google and Ipsos MediaCT.

First, 48% of affluent travelers plan to research or use peer-to-peer sharing alternatives to traditional hotels and or car rental services in the next year.

Second, the internet and family, friends and colleagues are the most important sources of inspiration for personal travel, with 76% and 75% respectively rating them as extremely or very important.  At the same time, however, only 27% of this same affluent traveler group have posted a review of the places they have been.

Affluent travelers with luxury second homes can satisfy their interest in peer to peer sharing, stay at luxury residences around the world, and save thousands of dollars per trip, plus view unedited testimonials from other affluent travelers at 3rdhome.com.

Steve Zacks, 3RD HOME

THE TRUTH ABOUT 3RD HOME

Running an internet based luxury travel club has its great rewards.  The beautiful properties and wonderful people come to the top for sure.  But it also comes with some bumps and bruises.

To that point, as some of you are aware, we have recently been the subject of cyber-bullying by Jan De Volder, an individual who joined our club last year, hacked into our system, and then when caught, made us the target of his ire. Rest assured, we removed him from the club and closed any loopholes to protect our customers.  Now we have been forced to go public in our actions to address this resilient individual.

We cannot stand for cyber-bullying.  Accordingly we created a website http://www.thetruthabout3rdhome.com which contains much of the content shown here.  Since we created the site many of our customers have rallied behind us and shared their positive experiences there.  To them we are grateful.

I created 3RD HOME, the reciprocal travel club for luxury second home owners, in 2010. We have proudly performed over 1700 trips for 1200 customers as of today, with a run rate of as many as 125 reservations a month.  We currently have hundreds of very happy customers.  Their reviews of 3RD HOME are unedited and can be seen on our website site at http://www.3rdhome.com/pages/testimonials

3RD HOME is creating a new category in the home exchange business.  As such, not everything is perfect, but we do our best for every customer.  I am proud of what we have built.  Our program is really simple:  An owner of a luxury second home gets approved as a member based on the quality and location of his or her home, and their agreement to abide by the rules of the club.  They then choose weeks that they will make available for other members’ use.  For each week they deposit they earn 3RD HOME Keys that act as currency and allow the member to immediately reserve any other home listed as available on the site.

On June 19, 2012, Jan De Volder of Malta joined 3RD HOME.  We approved his home in Malta with a one Key value.  On the same day we approved three weeks he deposited earning him three Keys.

In our overnight quality control process, we observed that Jan had somehow used his three Keys to reserve a five Key property in London, one of our most attractive high value properties, and then withdrew the remaining two weeks.  This was not possible.

We instructed our technology team to investigate and found that he had hacked into our system and had been playing with the value of his property and the number of deposits – making adjustments 16 times in a 4+ hour period – to earn himself more keys and make the reservation, and then readjusted the Key value down and withdrew his other two weeks.

We cancelled the reservation and we notified Jan of that.  When contacted, he admitted he had manipulated the values.  We did not threaten any action.  We decided to cancel his membership and return his membership fee.  He quickly initiated a chargeback which we did not contest.

We expected and would have preferred that the customer just went his way and did not decide to make 3RD HOME the target of his discontent.  But he did.  He created a website that contains a series of lies and falsehoods about the program and myself stating 3RD HOME is a scam.  We unluckily ran into the one person who wants to hurt you and your business and has the internet skills to do so.

We tried to deal with him directly but he has resisted our attempts.  We could not remain silent and inactive, and allow a person to make false claims unanswered hidden in the internet.  Our first priority is to protect the sanctity of the club and the reputation of our business.  Therefore, we filed a lawsuit against Jan De Volder and created the site to respond directly to it.

To view the current lawsuit please visit www.lawsuitagainstjandevolder.com.

I welcome any questions and comments on this matter.

Wade Shealy
Founder and CEO
3RD HOME

Unique Living Spaces through 3RD HOME

A Weekly Conversation with Wade Shealy

Real Estate Expert / Founder, CEO & Chairman of 3RD HOME

This week here at 3RD HOME I decided to pick some of our stylish living spaces that you and your loved ones can enjoy through our luxury program.  Kick back and relax after a good après-ski or a day well spent on the beach. Here are my top three picks that will bring out the adventure-seeker in you.

#1 – “Fox Run Lodge” in Big Sky, Montana 

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Guests gravitate to the “Great Room” which features 30–foot ceilings with a Douglas–fir timber frame design offering stellar panoramic views, a double–sided wood–burning fireplace and a floor plan made for entertaining. After a day spent on the slopes, gather around these back–to–back fireplaces for après ski cheer. 

 This is the go–to place in which to curl up in one of the four leather swivel chairs to read a book, calmly sip a glass of wine, or simply watch the weather form and pass over the ski trails.

#2- “Villa Valley High” in Aspen,  Colorado 

Kiva_2.06_Aspen_Resort_Properties-Michael_Brands

Beautifully furnished, this art filled home sits on 3 landscaped acres with views of mountains in every direction. This adobe beauty sits on the top of Aspen Ridge in Brush Creek, just west of Aspen. At night, enjoy what is very rare today, a view of a sky full of stars and the Milky Way, while you lounge in the hot tub or by a fire in the kiva. Under a full moon, the entire valley is illuminated, creating a surreal nocturnal landscape- truly a unique experience!

#3- “Casa Ferradura” in Buzios, Brazil 

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This villa is located in a quiet location near Ferradura Beach, Buzios, 100 miles east of Rio de Janeiro. 

The entire villa has a sophisticated interior with imported furniture and decor as well as elaborate flooring. It has a beautiful ccean view from all rooms as well as from the pool area and sauna. 

 Buzios has all the beach activities and night life you can dream of and is one of the sunniest places in Rio de Janeiro state.

Please visit http://www.3rdhome.com to book one of these stunning properties.

Sincerely,

Wade Shealy
Founder, CEO, and Chairman
www.3rdhome.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/3rdhome
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/3rdHome
Media: http://www.nymetroparents.com/article/3RD-HOMEA-Unique-Concept-in-Vacation-Get-Aways-20130215

 

About Wade Shealy

BLOGHEADSHOTWade Shealy is the Founder,CEO, and Chairman of3RD HOME, the reciprocal travel club for luxury second homeowners. Shealy is recognized as one of the country’s leaders in resort real estate sales, marketing and development. Over the last 28 years, he has been responsible for projects including Sandestin, Florida and Hampton Island, Georgia and dozens of others totaling more than $3 billion in revenue. Shealy is a frequent lecturer at the University of Georgia and resource for the media; he is regularly quoted and featured in national publications as well as TV appearances.   Visit the 3RD HOME blog regularly for Wade’s thoughts on trends and events in resort real estate and hospitality.

Staying Away from Technology on Vacation

 

A Weekly Conversation with Wade Shealy

Real Estate Expert / Founder, CEO & Chairman of 3RD HOME

I recently came across two news items that talk about the latest trend in technology and travel.  One was from ABC news.  The other was from hotelsmag.com which may have put it best by calling the trend “digital detox.”

What are they talking about?  The idea that people want to go on vacation to get away from it all— technology, email, phones, Wi-Fi and so forth.  Funny isn’t it.  We are so infatuated with the latest and greatest, yet it is driving us back to what vacations are all about.  And that is regenerating our own batteries by shutting down.

Yeah, hotels are coming up with lots of fancy names for it.  Like “Braincation Zones” at Marriott and “tech-free areas” at Renaissance.  And even the “Disconnect-to-Reconnect” program from the Four Seasons Costa Rica.

But all you really need is some will power, a beautiful location, a spectacular property, and some great weather.  So, where do you want to go?

Sincerely,

Wade Shealy
Founder, CEO, and Chairman
www.3rdhome.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/3rdhome
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/3rdHome
Media: http://www.thestreet.com/video/11822856/3rd-home-is-first-class.html

About Wade Shealy

BLOGHEADSHOT

Wade Shealy is the Founder,CEO, and Chairman of 3RD HOME, the reciprocal travel club for luxury second homeowners. Shealy is recognized as one of the country’s leaders in resort real estate sales, marketing and development. Over the last 28 years, he has been responsible for projects including Sandestin, Florida and Hampton Island, Georgia and dozens of others totaling more than $3 billion in revenue. Shealy is a frequent lecturer at the University of Georgia and resource for the media; he is regularly quoted and featured in national publications as well as TV appearances.   Visit the 3RD HOME blog regularly for Wade’s thoughts on trends and events in resort real estate and hospitality.

High Tech Allows Second Homeowners to Expand their Horizons

 

A Weekly Conversation with Wade Shealy

Real Estate Expert / Founder, CEO & Chairman of 3RD HOME

When I began my career in resort real estate, home swapping was not anything too many people paid much attention to and most of us in resort sales never thought much about it. It was paper-based and you made your reservation over the phone—today it seems so out-of-date and almost foreign.

It’s safe to say that the “old guardhouse swapping clubs” have struggled to adopt to the Internet—at least at first. Industry professionals agree that it’s a pretty hefty accomplishment to have migrated from “traditional paper-based catalogs”to what we call today “online matching-making websites.”

Traditional home exchange companies have made a mark for some types of homeowners, however, they have really never made a significant impact on the luxury resort real estate market.  The main reason is because their programs were not geared toward luxury or second homes.

3RD HOME CEO Wade Shealy recently shot a digital video for his company website in New York City.

3RD HOME CEO Wade Shealy recently shot a digital video for his company website in New York City.

With the explosion of online applications, companies like 3RD HOME are now coming up with innovative ways to incorporate the functionality of high tech into creating value for owners of luxury resort real estate.  Functions like member reviews, online chat, online bookings, 24/7 reservation program, reviews and testimonials, and the option to search online are all necessary functions to earn the respect of a luxury second home owner.

Many of the traditional exchange sites are acting like online dating services. This “affinity” program is almost like a dating service. During registration, users are asked to fill a “detailed profile to describe not only the location and the services of the property, but also the member’s interests and educational background for better member-to-member matching.” The Facebook model certainly applies here—customers are asking to be integrated and want to know more about each other’s interests and backgrounds.  Then people start reaching out to each other chatting, asking millions of questions and lots of talking back and forth. Now, some people may have the endurance and time for this type of activity, but many in the affluent category do not.

Our members do not want the hassle of all the chat, the talk back and forth, they just want to go on line, find what they want, when they want it and book it. This is what makes us different from the others out there. One thing for sure, our members are all like -minded individuals, that demand efficiency, privacy, speed and information and they want it now.

Wade Shealy
Founder, CEO, and Chairman
www.3rdhome.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wadeshealy
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/3rdHome

About Wade Shealy

BLOGHEADSHOT

Wade Shealy is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of 3RD HOME, the reciprocal travel club for luxury second homeowners. Shealy is recognized as one of the country’s leaders in resort real estate sales, marketing and development. Over the last 28 years, he has been responsible for projects including Sandestin, Florida and Hampton Island, Georgia and dozens of others totaling more than $3 billion in revenue. Shealy is a frequent lecturer at the University of Georgia and resource for the media; he is regularly quoted and featured in national publications as well as TV appearances.   Visit the 3RD HOME blog regularly for Wade’s thoughts on trends and events in resort real estate and hospitality.

Wyndham Vacation Rentals adds Home Exchange to the offering

 

A Weekly Conversation with Wade Shealy

Real Estate Expert / Founder, CEO & Chairman of 3RD HOME

Home exchanges are a great option for cost effective family vacations. Expenses are nominal and you are saving thousands of dollars versus hotel rates. They come with lots of added amenities and offer lots of vacation options —from resort-style villas to ski condos, and swanky city lofts. It did not surprise me when RCI  took notice and launched programs similar to a traditional home exchange.

Wyndham Vacation Rentals, part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands, launched Wyndham Home Exchange; a program that would allow “homeowners of vacation rental properties to trade weeks at their rental property for access to accommodations at more than 4,000 RCI affiliated resorts around the world.”

Wyndham clearly sees the growth of this segment and wants to be a part.  Similar to our company 3RD HOME, the new Wyndham program administered by RCI, the world’s largest vacation exchange company, gives “Wyndham Vacation Rentals homeowners access to additional vacation options by allowing them to deposit unused weeks of their choosing at their rental property.”

It’s a way for owners of vacation homes to see the world and get added utility. That being said, I do believe that Wyndham will attract a different customer than 3RD HOME.  They will appeal to vacation homeowners that perceive going to a timeshare as a good option for them. But, that is not necessarily the case for all second homeowners.

In short, Wyndham will attract a mass audience, probably not the luxury second homeowner, who wants to visit properties of the same caliber as their own, as well as host like-minded individuals.

All told, the fact that Wyndham is allowing vacation homeowners to exchange into RCI is further evidence of the value and growth of home exchange to second homeowners.

Sincerely,

Wade Shealy
Founder, CEO, and Chairman
www.3rdhome.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wadeshealy
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/3rdHome
Summary of recent writing published:
http://luxurytravel.about.com/od/agentsclubstours/p/3rd-Home-Luxury-Vacation-Club.htm

About Wade Shealy

Wade Shealy

Wade Shealy is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of 3RD HOME, the reciprocal travel club for luxury second homeowners. Shealy is recognized as one of the country’s leaders in resort real estate sales, marketing and development. Over the last 28 years, he has been responsible for projects including Sandestin, Florida and Hampton Island, Georgia and dozens of others totaling more than $3 billion in revenue. Shealy is a frequent lecturer at the University of Georgia and resource for the media; he is regularly quoted and featured in national publications as well as TV appearances.   Visit the 3RD HOME blog regularly for Wade’s thoughts on trends and events in resort real estate and hospitality.

Fees, Fees, and More Fees! What to Expect from Hotels in 2013

 

A Weekly Conversation with Wade Shealy

Real Estate Expert / Founder, CEO & Chairman of 3RD HOME

If you thought airline fees were a nuisance, think again.

A recent USA TODAY article outlined the top five trends to watch out for in travel this year. It got me thinking about all those extra fees we now accept so openly when we fly—baggage fees, reservation changes, even the food.

Reports from that article indicate that airlines collected more than $900 million in baggage fees in the third quarter of 2012. They made another $600 million straight from fees to reservation changes.

Now, it is forecasted that hotels plan on following a similar pattern. We should expect hotels and other service industries like rental car companies and even cruise agencies to adopt “airline strategies” that will end up costing travelers more money. Plan ahead when you book your next vacation because some hotels have guests pay extra for re-stocking mini-bars, luggage storage, and room safes.  If you think about it this starts to add up.

Home exchange programs save vacationers as much as several thousand dollars per trip. 3RD HOME, has saved its members more than $10 million in rental fees in just the past 2 years alone.  There are no hidden or add-on fees.  And nominal fees overall.

With 1325 properties in 67 countries with an average value of over $2.25 million, 3RD HOME properties are some of the most beautiful in the world rivaling any travel alternative for luxury second homeowners.   You can learn more by visiting 3RD HOME. 

Sincerely,
Wade Shealy
Founder, CEO, and Chairman
www.3rdhome.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wadeshealy
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/3rdHome
Summary of recent writing published:
http://luxurytravel.about.com/od/agentsclubstours/p/3rd-Home-Luxury-Vacation-Club.htm

About Wade Shealy

Wade Shealy

Wade Shealy is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of 3RD HOME, the reciprocal travel club for luxury second homeowners. Shealy is recognized as one of the country’s leaders in resort real estate sales, marketing and development. Over the last 28 years, he has been responsible for projects including Sandestin, Florida and Hampton Island, Georgia and dozens of others totaling more than $3 billion in revenue. Shealy is a frequent lecturer at the University of Georgia and resource for the media; he is regularly quoted and featured in national publications as well as TV appearances.   Visit the 3RD HOME blog regularly for Wade’s thoughts on trends and events in resort real estate and hospitality.

The Future of Vacation Home Ownership

 

From real estate expert Wade Shealy:

A tumultuous ride over the past 5 years got me thinking about the future of vacation home ownership. Things seem to be settling down. However, they are settling down at a snails pace compared to what we saw from the late 90’s to 2007.  Was it a false surge in resort real estate? Absolutely! People were not buying for personal use but for financial gain. After all, prices were rising at record rates, and people were flipping contracts without closing and making big profits. And the bottom line was not views, or family enjoyment, but simply profits. How much and how quick.

I watched buyers line up at our launches and buy up to 28 units each. They did not care about the views, floor plans, and amenities. They only cared about how quick they could flip it and for how much profit. Financing? They never expected to have to close. A contract could be flipped a week later for a $100,000 profit.

Who do we blame? We could say the sales people for selling the wrong values. But can we really blame them since they were being paid commissions? Or maybe the mortgage lenders, who, with 5% down and easy to qualify programs, made buying multiple units achievable for people who really could not afford them. Or was it the buyer for being greedy? Remember the old game we all played as kids called Musical chairs?  In 2007 the music stopped and the nine people standing had one chair to find. Maybe one out of nine of these flipping investors found a safe chair. The rest? Well, they probably gave it all back.

So, what is the future for second homeownership?  Many of these owners now feel “stuck” with ownership and the expenses that come with it. In the past people could sell and buy a different second home every 5 years, however, in today’s economy most people who bought more than 5 years ago could not sell it for anywhere close to what they paid for it. So, owners are looking for more value. More benefits to turn an under-utilized asset into something that is more acceptable financially. Many have turned to short-term rentals or obtained travel benefits by joining luxury exchange or reciprocity clubs like 3RD HOME.  And what was first driven by the economy will no doubt become the standard.

Sincerely,
Wade Shealy
Founder, CEO, and Chairman
www.3rdhome.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wadeshealy
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/3rdHome
Summary of writing published last week:
http://luxurytravel.about.com/od/agentsclubstours/p/3rd-Home-Luxury-Vacation-Club.htm

About Wade Shealy

Wade ShealyWade Shealy is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of 3RD HOME, the reciprocal travel club for luxury second homeowners. Shealy is recognized as one of the country’s leaders in resort real estate sales, marketing and development. Over the last 28 years, he has been responsible for projects including Sandestin, Florida and Hampton Island, Georgia and dozens of others totaling more than $3 billion in revenue. Shealy is a frequent lecturer at the University of Georgia and resource for the media; he is regularly quoted and featured in national publications as well as TV appearances.   Visit the 3RD HOME blog regularly for Wade’s thoughts on trends and events in resort real estate and hospitality.