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Fairfield innovations attracting top industry attention.

According to a recent article in USA TODAY, some of the nation's top resort giants, including Disney, Marriott, Westin and Hilton, are chasing the lead established by Little Rock-based Fairfield Communities 27 years ago.

It seems that America's changing lifestyle has also affected the way we vacation. Fairfield, with 14 nationwide resorts and over 130,000 members, realized this some time ago and began to redesign its sites, products and services accordingly. The Fairfield Vacation Club was born--and it is the success of this concept that has all the blue chip corporations scrambling to come up with their own versions.

"Today's families," says Fairfield Senior Vice President Clay Gring, "have greater demands and restrictions on their time. They realize the necessity of taking vacations. But either by choice or obligation, they began replacing their traditional one- or two-week vacations with shorter, more frequent getaways. Our challenge was to change our system to meet their needs, and provide them with more options as to when, where and how long they could vacation with us."

Fairfield's answer was to develop "FairShare Plus|R~," a highly improved form of vacation ownership. The reputation of "timesharing," as it is also sometimes called, once suffered from too many marginal, high-pressure operators. But the involvement of today's reassuringly reputable companies now has over 2 million families happily heading off to exotic resorts all over the world.

At the heart of Fairfield's program is an innovative "vacation point" system that eliminates virtually all of the limits typically placed on owners of many other time-share products.

For example, in traditional timesharing, owners generally must vacation in one-week intervals which are assigned to a fixed week or season. Accommodations are also typically limited to either one- or two-bedroom choices available on a "right to use" basis for a fixed number of years.

In contrast, Fairfield members receive an ownership interest evidenced by a warranty deed to vacation property which they can convert into symbolic points. These points are used to select and reserve the exact length and style of vacation they want--from as little as two days up to several weeks, with few seasonal restrictions. They are also free to choose their accommodation size--from cozy studios to spacious two-bedroom deluxe condos that sleep eight or more.

The points, which are automatically renewed each year, can be saved up, rented and even borrowed from their next year's account. Owners can take several short vacations in a smaller size unit one year, then splurge on a longer vacation in a bigger condo the next year--or enjoy any combination in between. They can vacation at any of Fairfield's resorts--or select from over 2,000 additional worldwide locations through one of Fairfield's affiliated vacation exchange networks.

There are significant economic and comfort benefits as well. For example, after 20 or 30 years of hotel vacations, you may have little more to show than some snapshots and escalating room rental receipts--small hotel-size rooms at that.

In contrast, Fairfield and the other quality resort companies provide spacious, fully furnished and equipped accommodations, most with full size kitchens, microwaves, stereo systems, even private spas. Most importantly, during that same period, you will have spent a fraction of what hotel rooms would have cost.

In Fairfield's case, the savings will even be greater because their plan allows the owner's deed to be willed to their heirs. So now an owner receives a lifetime of vacations, paid for in today's dollars.

Fairfield also adds extra value through their Leisure Plan|R~ program, which provides additional travel services and discounts on dining, entertainment and merchandise.

"It's a true win-win situation," says Gring. "Families are guaranteed a lifetime of quality vacations, no matter how high the cost of vacationing may get, and no matter how their own economic situations may change. And the resort companies get long-range occupancy commitments for their properties. It's changing our industry for the better. And it's working."
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Title Annotation:Fairfield Communities Inc.
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Aug 16, 1993
Words:652
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