Interval International’s New Resort Ratings

Interval International has changed its resort recognition program and will be debuting it when the new resort directory comes out in March or April of 2009.

Before, there were just two categories of resorts – 5 star and the rest.  The new edition will have 3 categories; Premier, Select and Affiliate.

Interval International recognizes the best resorts by awarding them a Premier or Select rating. You’ll easily recognize these timeshare resorts because they will have one of the two symbols, a gold laurel for Premier and a silver pineapple for Select, next to their listing in the directory.  If a timeshare resort listing has no symbol, it’s considered an Affiliate Resort.

According to II, the ratings are determined by the customer’s experience when they exchange into a resort and an evaluation (by II we assume) of the resort’s facilities, amenities and services.

After you’re confirmed into a resort, Interval International will mail you a packet of information including a Vacation Evaluation form.  On it you’ll be asked to rate your vacation area experience, unit, resort, guest services and your experience with II.

A resort that continually receives low ratings in the Vacation Evaluation categories can drop from a Premier to a Select Resort, and even lose their recognition entirely by dropping to an Affiliate Resort.  A few resorts, that have fallen into disrepair and receive too many complaints from II exchangers, are not allowed to renew their affiliation with II when their contract expires.

Salespeople in Premier Resorts are fond of telling potential owners that you have to own at Premier Resort in order to exchange into another Premier Resort.  This is not true just as you don’t need to own a Red week to exchange for Red season.  While owning a Red week in a Premier Resort certainly gives you more exchange power and increases your likelihood of exchanging into the best resorts, it’s no guarantee.  It’s a good start, but many people that own a Red week in a Premier Resort still fail to get good exchanges and become frustrated. 

Lets take a look at II’s description of resort ratings.

According to Interval International, “By meeting our already high affiliation standards and being accepted into our network, all of Interval’s member resorts are recognized for their quality.  Those recognized as Interval International Select Resorts and Interval International Premier Resorts exceed our affiliation requirements.”

Premier: “Premiere Resorts debut as the highest level of recognition, provide an outstanding vacation experience, with state-of–the–art conveniences, and modern features and appointments.  They will be identified by the laurel, a symbol of distinction, high standards, and status.”                                

Select: “Select Resorts provide a great vacation experience, and are distinguished by a comfortable and home-like atmosphere.  As such, they will be identified by the pineapple, a centuries-old symbol of hospitality, welcome, friendliness, and warmth.”

Affiliate: The rest of the resorts in Interval International have no symbol and vary greatly in quality.  Affiliate Resorts comprise the majority of the resorts in the Interval International directory.

Having done nearly 50 timeshare exchanges in the last 18 years to resorts world wide, I don’t agree that resort ratings are achieved solely through members sending back the Vacation Evaluation form and by an evaluation by Interval International.  In my opinion, I believe supply and demand also play an important role in resort rankings.

Hawaii is a good example. 

I have exchanged 2 weeks back to back to Maui and Kauai for the last 7 years in a row and am familiar with many of the resorts there.  In my opinion, some resorts that qualify as a Premier or Select Resort in Hawaii wouldn’t be ranked that high in a lesser demanded area.  I believe that the tremendous demand for Hawaii in relation to the little supply skews the resort ratings.

I’ve found that some of the Hawaiian resorts I’ve seen and/or exchanged to are getting a little tired looking.  Usually the grounds and gardens are very well taken care of because of the natural growing climate and because the locals are such good gardeners.  But the interior of some units are getting beat up from the humidity, salt, sand and being occupied 51 weeks of the year.

If a resort isn’t being managed efficiently, the resort management may defer maintenance on carpets, windows, doors, etc. to stay within their yearly budget. 

Don’t automatically assume that all Premier resorts are created equal. 

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