Owners Newsletter
Welk Connect - April 2013 Newsletter
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April Newsletter

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From our General Managers

Owners Newsletter

Dathan Atchison – Welk Resort, Branson, Mo.

While the area is a little quiet during the winter season, it’s been very busy at our resort in Branson. Our teams have been working around the clock to renovate the Hotel and it’s looking great! Portions of the project are just about completed and the guests who’ve stayed with us so far have been thrilled. This total renovation literally includes everything from floor to ceiling. Working with Juli Russell Designs, we’ve implemented a concept that is tasteful and complements the feel of the Ozarks region. Of course the improvements won’t stop at the guest room door – all of our public areas, meeting rooms, lobby and guest registration will also get a facelift, with completion targeted for late April. Our new look is warm, inviting and we’re sure you are going to love it.

During this slower paced time of the year, our guests have loved spending time in our cozy and rustic Lodges at Timber Ridge. Relaxing by the fireplace is a favorite past time on a cool, crisp winter night. Maintenance weeks were completed over the winter months as well, with our team taking advantage of the quiet to fine tune each unit with annual preventative care and upkeep.

March 14th kicks off our theatre season as TV’s most popular game show returns to Branson! The Price is Right Live, Stage Show was a big hit last season, with huge audience participation and all the games we love, from Plinko to the Big Wheel. There are dozens of winners in every show, so “Come on Down” to Win! It’s also not too early to begin making plans to see the legendary entertainer Tony Orlando. Tony will be performing for his 20th and Final Season here in Branson this November. Be sure to catch this inspiring and wonderful performance before it’s gone.

Of course there is always so much to see and do in and around Branson – and this year Silver Dollar City is adding a new $10 million roller coaster, Outlaw Run. Plus the addition of Southwest Airlines to your air travel options means that getting to Branson will be easier than ever.

We’re working hard and preparing for a fantastic season and look forward to welcoming you and providing a wonderful vacation experience!

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Owners Newsletter

Alejandro Neri – Welk Resort, Cabo San Lucas, Mx.

Holá from the beautiful resort of Sirena Del Mar!  The sun is usually shining down on Cabo San Lucas, but even when it’s not we still have fun with our guests.

We have created two signature events for our guests, Friday Fiesta and the Sunday Pool Party, and the guests love it. Chef Jesus, along with our restaurant manager Jaime, have been working hard to create a brand new breakfast and lunch menu which we think all the guests will enjoy.  “The Palapa” restaurant is now featuring “Moon Light Dinner” – the perfect opportunity for  guests to soak in the breathtaking view on the terrace while enjoying the mouthwatering menu featuring our local seafood.

Keep an eye out for our activities director, Manny, who is always thinking up new attractions and experiences at the resort. On Monday stop by the Monday Tequila tasting, where you can learn all about tequila, from production methods to the different types of tequila and their unique qualities.  For our guests who enjoy a workout in the pool, be sure to join Manny for the new Aqua Zumba class.

Our spa has added a few new packages incorporating the latest relaxation therapies.  Our guests’ all-time favorites are the deep Mexican massage, relaxing Mexican massage, reflexology and the neck and shoulder massage. Most  services are available in our Cabana where you can relax while enjoying the natural beauty of the resort. Of course, if you prefer a more private setting, you can relax with our SPA services in the comfort of your room.

The engineering team has been hard at work to keep a well-maintained and beautiful resort.  They’ve recently completed painting the exterior of building 1, finished the wood beams and sealed the pool deck.  We are ready for your visit.

Que el sol siempre brillará sobre ti – until next time we meet!

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Owners Newsletter

Bill Palmer – Welk Resort, Desert Oasis, Ca.

Greetings from the sunny California desert.

2012 was another great year for us at the Welk Resort Desert Oasis. Occupancy at the resort was strong with many positive comments from our owners, exchange guests, and renters. We once again enjoyed top billing with both of the exchange companies and were able to boast about our Gold Crown rating with RCI and our Premier Status with II for 2012.  What’s even more exciting is we have already been awarded those same ratings for the 2013 year, as well as being rated number 1 for Hotels in Cathedral City on TripAdvisor.

We are in the process of remodeling the kitchens and baths of our villas across the resort, including new cabinets, floor tile, granite counter tops, plumbing fixtures, and stainless steel kitchen appliances. In 2012 we completed 34 of our 162 units, and will continue with another 34 units scheduled for this summer.  We are also pleased to be bringing HD television and upgraded flat panels into the villas.

The front entrance to the lobby and the breezeway also saw a facelift, replacing the stamped concrete with elegant interlocking pavers and added a bright new desert landscape under the portico. We will be turning to our lobby shortly, renovating this area to give it the fresh look that many of you have been asking for.

We are always looking for new types of fun to bring to you here in the Desert, like evening BBQs and  family activities.  We always love to hear what you think, so if you have any ideas or suggestions please email our Activities Director Robert at Rburke@welkgroup.com. Of course, for the golf and tennis players in the group – don’t forget that our Cathedral Canyon Country Club features a lit tennis facility.

We look forward to your next visit to Desert Oasis – please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your visits more enjoyable!

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Owners Newsletter

Sean Coogan – Welk Resort, San Diego, Ca.

We’re very excited about 2013 at Welk Resort San Diego. Our team has put together a number of guest experiences and offerings that will create memories to cherish for a lifetime. To start, we launched an exciting theatre season for 2013 Roger & Hammerstein’s classic musical South Pacific, and our current show, Chicago, is garnering rave reviews. Right now if you were to drive on property you would be greeted with a three-story banner showcasing Chicago, and our Front Desk lobby and associates are all ready to answer your questions about the show and help you book your tickets. The remainder of the Theatre season consists of, Hairspray and A Welk Family Christmas. Our two signature weekly events, Farmers Market (Monday) and Festival Under The Lights (Tuesday) continue to please our owners and guests. We have grown to over 100 vendors and now have our CFO (chief fun officer), Josh Riffe hosting both events.

Speaking of fun, Josh has expanded an already robust activities program with many new attractions and experiences. One new program I’m excited about is our Media Center, where  guests young and old can have fun writing and creating story boards along with our activities staff to produce a movie that preserves memories of your stay.

Our Canyon Grille recently updated our breakfast menu and is currently developing new family dining to-go packages, as well as delicious new lunch and dinner menus. The Galleria has been getting creative this past year, featuring our new Welk Champagne and Lawrence Welk coffee mugs, which are just the beginning of some new and fun items they will be carrying.

On the construction front, we are continuing our renovations of our Villas on the Green. These consist of new carpeting, furniture, bedding, cabinets, painting and counter tops, all of which are receiving rave reviews. We have currently completed 132 of the 288 units. We continue to strive to exceed our guests’ expectations, keeping our service and property looking fresh and beautiful.

We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.

Josh Riffe – Chief Fun Officer

We’ve been having lots of fun expanding our our activities program as we launch many new attractions and experiences. One new program I’m excited about is WOW Studios. In this day-camp style program, our younger guests will become the actors, directors and producers in their own media project. The projects include movie trailer making, comic book creations, music video making and stop motion animation. As WOW Studios grows, so will the programming, expanding to our more mature guests as well with tech classes about how to use your smart phone, Facebook for Adults and more. Be sure to also check out our newly reinvented Vacation Kick Off Show/Party as well. This new production includes a guest appearance by members of the cast of Chicago with a taste of what’s to come on stage plus hilarious guest participation, all hosted by me, the CFO.

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Owners Lounge Expansion

If you haven’t visited ownerslounge.welkresorts.com lately you’re in for a big surprise.  The Owners Lounge has been going through some major transformations and we are excited about all the convenient new features for our Owners.

Now most Owners have the ability to book reservations or check availability online any time, day or night. The new lounge also allows you to check your current vacation balances, review existing reservations, pay your annual maintenance fees, purchase insurance, update your information, request your vacation be deposited to II or RCI and many other conveniences. Depending on your ownership, you may also be able to book full and split weeks, future years, accrue your points and make day use reservations. This allows you the freedom to maintain your Vacation Ownership when it’s convenient for you.

“We sat down with our Owner Services and IT teams and developed a very intricate list of all the services that we felt would be beneficial to our Owners. Our IT team took the ball and ran with it, developing one of the most dynamic applications to ever be offered within our industry.  We are thrilled to say that we are the only Vacation Ownership company that can provide our Owners with such a robust, full-service portal that allows for booking of reservations as well as an array of online services,” said Glen Clinton, Vice President of Resort Operations.

To be able to access the new Lounge you’ll need to register using your owner ID.  Of course, feel free to reach out to our Owner Service agents any time you need personal care – we are always happy to speak with you.

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Mountain Villas Expansion

Owners Newsletter

Construction is well under way at Welk Resorts San Diego with the expansion of Mountain Villas up on the hill behind the Fountains Golf Course.  We broke ground last fall and have been watching the buildings rise quickly before our eyes.  The current project is comprised of two buildings making up a total of 36 new villas.  The first building, which is slated to be completed in July of 2013, will include 12 new two bedroom lock-offs.  Each two bedroom unit is 1,435 square feet and the lock-off measured out to 584 square feet.  The second building, slated for completion in September 2013, will boast our very first three-bedroom villas at Welk San Diego.  The new building will include six two-bedroom non-lock-off Villas at 1,430 square feet per unit and six three-bedroom non-lock-off Villas at 1,575 square feet per unit.  Both new buildings will be designed with the same luxury appointments as our current Mountain Villas.

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Your Award-Winning Resort

Last year was a big year for the baby in our family of resorts.  Welk Resorts Sirena Del Mar received two awards of distinction during the year – the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice award and the Expedia Insiders Select Award as well as receiving high rankings in customer satisfaction.

The TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award is received by less than one percent of all accommodations listed on TripAdvisor. Hotels and resorts are selected by their TripAdvisor ratings which are received from guests of the resort.   Sirena del Mar also has the distinction of being ranked 10th on the list of the top 25 Relaxation/Spa hotels in Mexico for 2013.

Cabo also received the Expedia Insiders’ Select award for being one of Expedia’s top-ranked properties.  This is an annual award recognizing the very best hotels available on Expedia’s 30 branded travel sites worldwide, as judged by the experiences of Expedia’s customers.  Sirena del Mar was one of only 650 selected winners worldwide, and has been identified as consistently delivering superior services, an exceptional guest experience and notable value.  Earning a place on the select list is a testament to our ongoing commitment to excellence.

“I am very proud of my staff here at Sirena del Mar and all of the hard work they put in to make sure that our Owners and guests have an experience that will last a lifetime. For us to receive such high rankings in customer satisfaction is a testimony to their hard work, and the TripAdvisor Travelers’ choice award and Expedia Insiders’ Select award proved that all of our hard work pays off. Of course it is nothing compared to the smiles on our Owners and guests faces,” said Alejandro Neri, General Manager, Welk Resorts Sirena del Mar.

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Owner Services Expansion

Owners ServicesAnn Ellis, Director of Owner Services, and her team are always looking for more ways to be more efficient and assist our Owners more effectively.  As call volumes increased by 33% from 2011 to 2012, the need to expand the Owners Service department became essential.

Owner Services began a transformation that included moving to a new facility and expanding the call center. The team then built a highly intense training program for all new Owner Service Agents. Each agent is put through an 8 week-program before they are put on the phones with our Owners.

“We want to make sure that each of our agents hits the ground running to better serve our Owners.  They must be able to answer any question and handle any challenge without difficulty,” said Ellis.

The class of January 2013 consisted of 11 new agents and the plan is to add another 21 before the end of the year. These additions have shown a dramatic decrease in on-hold times, better customer service and more attention paid to each of our individual Owners.

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Breckenridge, CO

Breckenridge Colorado

We are pleased to announce a new addition to our Welk Resort Family: in January we finalized plans to expand into Breckenridge, Colorado.

“The opportunity to open in the beautiful Alpine town of Breckenridge will provide additional value to our Owners and guests who enjoy the Welk family of resorts while offering a unique experience for world-class skiing in the winter and unparalleled beauty and activity in the summer,” said Michael Gehrig, President of Sales and Marketing.

“With most of our existing 44,000 Owners residing in the Western U.S. and Missouri, Colorado is the ideal ski resort location to add to our Welk family of resorts

“This is an exciting time for our company, and even more so for our family of Owners, as we begin the process of establishing our beautiful new property in Breckenridge.”

Resting on 6.5 acres of land on the Blue River in Breckenridge, the new resort will consist of 126 luxurious units, in a mix of one-bedroom, one-bathroom suites, large one-bedroom, one-bathroom villas and deluxe two-bedroom, two-bathroom villas, each with a kitchen, living room, dining area, balcony or patio and fireplace. It will also house a Preview and Meetings Center, lobby, housekeeping and maintenance facility as well as employee housing.  Plans are still being designed to include an owners lounge, state-of-the-art fitness center, game room, movie room, indoor/outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, fire pits and BBQ areas.

The property is framed by mountains, including views of the Breckenridge ski area.  We plan to provide shuttle service to connect our guests to the base of the mountain, which is a quick five-minute drive away.  There is also a bicycle path for our summer guests that connects Breckenridge with Vail, Colorado.  The location on the Blue River is a favorite fly-fishing spot.

“To me, the Rocky Mountain experience is breath-taking – the beauty and majesty of the mountains combined with the kindness, hospitality and warmth of the people of Breckenridge makes this a tremendous opportunity for Welk Resorts. Vail Resorts operates one of Colorado’s best ski areas at Breckenridge, and the expansion plans for the mountain are impressive,” said Jon Fredricks, President of Welk Resorts.

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Associate Spotlight

Aundralise“While Welk Resort Group is proud of its latest physical and digital growth, we are extremely proud of the growth of our associates.  ARDA LEAPS is a new program through the American Resort Development Association, designed to develop and educate future leaders committed to serving the shared vacation ownership industry.  This is a one-year program that offers association leadership development for individuals at various management levels within ARDA member companies.  Each individual must be nominated and accepted to the program and agree to make a minimum of a one-year commitment.  The goal of the program is to help industry professionals become future leaders. We are very proud to announce that Aundralise Diaz de Leon was nominated and accepted into the program.

“We are very honored to have Aundralise represent Welk in the ARDA LEAPS program.  We are confident she will portray Welk in only the finest light and are very fortunate to have her on our team,” said Jon Fredericks, President of Welk Resorts. “She has been a shining example of what it means to be committed to our Owners and always puts her best and brightest foot forward for us.”

Aundralise started with the Welk Family in 2005 and in less than two years assumed her role as Vacation Ownership Inventory Manager, a new position that was designed to aid with the changing environment and new growth of the resorts.  She quickly analyzed the needs of the company and became instrumental in the development of inventory coordination, trending and reporting for best utilization of inventory. “Aundralise took the initiative to create new reports that allow us to make relevant occupancy forecasts.  By providing this information, the resort is able to not only staff accordingly, but focus on the needs of our owners and exchange guests,” said Ann Ellis, Director of Owner Services. “It is so amazing to me how much faith this company and the leaders of this company have in me and my abilities,” said Aundralise, “And I promise to do everything I can to represent Welk as finely as you all have.”

Congratulations Aundralise from the entire Welk Family!

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Day Use at Welk Resorts!

Recreational Day Use 2013

It’s that time again! Summer is right around the corner and we want you to come enjoy our San Diego and Branson properties.  Please remember the following rules:

San Diego:

  • Day Use reservations are required for Holiday Weekends and Friday, Saturday and Sundays during June, July and August.
  • Please log onto Welk Resorts website (www.welkresorts.com) and log into your Owner’s Lounge Account.  You may reserve dates online 2 to 30 days in advance to obtain a Day Use Reservation Number.
  • Two guests are allowed per Owner Card.
  • Children are considered guests.  All owner children under 18 are allowed and are not included in the guest count.
  • Owners and Guests may be required to park in our lower parking lots or street parking. Shuttle Service is available from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from Memorial Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.
  • Bring your Owner Membership Card and ID
  • Cards are not transferable and may be used only by the person to whom they are issued.

Branson Splash-A-Torium:

  • Call ahead to verify our maximum capacity.
  • Check in at the Front Desk.
  • Bring your Owner Membership Card and ID.
  • Two guests are allowed per Owner Card.
  • Children are considered guests. All Owner children under 18 are allowed and are not included in the guest count.
  • You will be issued a colored wrist band for the day.
  • Daily hours from 10am to 10pm
  • Seasonal hours may apply in the winter months.
  • Call the resort to verify operating hours.

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Interval International Owner Assistance

Owners Newsletter
Let us help you plan an exchange vacation now.  Call Owner Services to deposit your time and then use the “Welk Hotline” for Interval International to place your exchange vacation request (866-909-9355).  If you are staying at Welk Resort San Diego, visit Marilyn Fraser our on-site Interval International Representative. She is happy to personally assist you. Appointments are available daily excluding Saturday and Wednesday.

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Recreational Day Use