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HCC Major Announcement

vivalour

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Thank you. :cool:

I see that the major financial backers of Abercrombie & Kent (Intrawest and Fortress Financial) are also experiencing rough times. The latest news on Intrawest is that they managed to re-negotiate their billion dollar loan, but at a high rate of interest. So much for living the high life on borrowed money....

<<The operators of the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort in B.C. say it's business as usual, despite reports the owners are struggling to stop it from becoming a victim of the international credit crisis.

The Intrawest ski resort company has $1.68 billion in debt due Oct. 23, and the company's owner, New York-based Fortress Investment Group, is struggling to rearrange financing to keep the operation afloat, according to a report published in the Financial Times.>>
 

travelguy

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Looks like the tuff sledding that hit the timeshare, vacation home and fractional ownership industries (and the world economy as a whole) is also affecting the Destination Club industry.

I appreciate the fact that High Country Club is being proactive and has come up with an option that may be acceptable to many of it's members.

Hoping for the best!
 

vivalour

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Looks like the tuff sledding that hit the timeshare, vacation home and fractional ownership industries (and the world economy as a whole) is also affecting the Destination Club industry.

I appreciate the fact that High Country Club is being proactive and has come up with an option that may be acceptable to many of it's members.

Hoping for the best!
Not perfect, but I'm struck by their integrity and absence of weasel words in their letter to members. IMO this is impressive for a (young) CEO these days.
 
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Thank you. :cool:

I see that the major financial backers of Abercrombie & Kent (Intrawest and Fortress Financial) are also experiencing rough times. The latest news on Intrawest is that they managed to re-negotiate their billion dollar loan, but at a high rate of interest. So much for living the high life on borrowed money....

<<The operators of the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort in B.C. say it's business as usual, despite reports the owners are struggling to stop it from becoming a victim of the international credit crisis.

The Intrawest ski resort company has $1.68 billion in debt due Oct. 23, and the company's owner, New York-based Fortress Investment Group, is struggling to rearrange financing to keep the operation afloat, according to a report published in the Financial Times.>>
It's not pretty out there. I tend to forget about all of the ski resorts Intrawest owns (or has a major interest in) like Steamboat, Winterpark, Copper Mountain and Whistler (http://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/2008/oct/25/intrawest_optimistic/). They've also got major timeshare, PRC and residential developments, which are probably also hurting.

I'm not worried about the solvency of the Residence Club (as it's owned by the members and there's no debt), but I do wonder if they'll start tightening up on the marketing for the time being, since it'll be difficult to pick up many new members these days anyway. I guess they've got a pretty big A&K client database that they can use for free though.

I also agree that the HCC CEO letter was refreshingly frank and a departure from much of the spin you see these days.
 
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capjak

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I hope everything works out. HCC staff was always customer focused with great properties.
 

timeos2

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These clubs are far more at risk of failure than most timeshares. And with much more money on the line. It was unlikely to be a sustainable model in great times - almost certain to struggle or fail in bad times. Glad I'm not in that market.
 

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I believe the CEO is doing his best. What he is trying to do is keep the company together as the real estate market implodes.

It looks like at this point in time, 100% of member deposits have a liquidation value of ZERO.

5) In the event the business is liquidated, will there be anything left for members?
At the end of 2007, our net asset test showed that the net assets of HCC exceed the amount of our member refundable deposit obligations. During 2008, we have seen a significant decrease in our property values ranging from 20% - 50% off of our 2007 appraisals, which means that the equity in our portfolio has greatly diminished over the past 10 month period. In addition, we anticipate that the real estate market will continue to decline over 2009. Due to the current economic conditions, we believe that once the mortgage holders are paid there will not be any equity left for us to refund to our members. Management and investors of HCC would not receive any compensation from a liquidation unless our members were fully paid their refundable deposit.
 

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My 3 cents worth (inflation you know)

Since I’m banned from DestinationClubForums.com some folks saw my post that lasted about 10 minutes over there this morning and have contacted me for my comments.

Not being a shy guy here goes:

Every one of us has had that feeling of “This is too good to be true” at some point and the entire DC industry suffered from this too. (You all knew that didn't you?)

95% of the DC industry was based upon a business model that was built on a house of cards. That house collapsed and the DC industry is history. Oh, it will sound the usual death throes of “Great time to buy”, “Lowest prices of a lifetime”, etc, but the DC industry has gone the way of the Savings and Loan folks.

What did them in – the truth will come out over the years but the same thug that takes 50% of your income is totally incompetent and immoral (That would be Uncle Sam).

What to do?

Probably just sit it out since there is little else to do.

HCC is in a real mess and there are a few things that can be done:

1) Tell HCC to stop the crazy idea of allowing memberships to be sold on eBay for $1

2) You must decide if you really want to pay the next year’s MFs up front and hope that the folks there won’t run off with your money

3) Insist that HCC set up an escrow account and that all future monies go there and you as the members vote each month what should be spent

4) Time for the members to take over HCC

I can’t in good conscience suggest giving HCC the next year’s MFs up front in one payment. I’m convinced that there will be enough folks who can’t do this that HCC will just implode and that money is now gone too.

I’d press real hard, really really hard, for that escrow account and you, the members, take over HCC. Obviously they don’t know what the hell they are doing.

Best of luck to all of you.

I really have little more to add to this....
 
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tombo

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They banned too many people who weren't DC fans from this forum. This created a forum where nothing but great things were said about HCC and other DC's. Potential members were convinced that HCC was a great deal that everyone loved and that there was virtually no risk. In the future dissenting views might be more welcome.
 
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BocaBum99

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Actually, what are the contractual obligations of a member who simply defaults? Can't they simply forfeit their deposit and exit the Club?

There is no equity ownership. It's just a membership and a deposit that an owner can cancel, isn't it?

If the deposit is zero, walking away should be rather simple. Just resign from the Club.

My guess is that HCC is done. I'd have to agree with Perry about the escrowing of money. You certainly don't want to be one of the 50% who pay upfront and then lose that, too.

Hmm. It now may make sense to ask if they will rent to non-members.

If anyone can offer me availability on Maui. I'll offer $100 per night.
 

pwrshift

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Hi Perry .. I was one of those who saw and appreciated your post on the other board and asked them why it was deleted. Here is the discussion on that, which they moved to a more obscure part of their board:

http://www.destinationclubforums.com/f31/discussion-forum-policy-1423.html

The DC idea is an exciting concept of upscale vacationing. However, in many cases it takes a whole pile of money to join the party, and I'm glad HCC didn't have the $500,000 membership fees other DC's do. Even so, nobody likes to lose any money like this ... and I sincerely hope the members of HCC recoup their money and their dreams.

Brian
 
S

Steamboat Bill

Some thoughts:

1. I am very saddened about this turn of events for HCC and it really did catch me offguard. I have enjoyed many awesome trips with HCC and looked forward to many more. This is certainly not good news for me or anyone.

2. HCC members really don't have any other choice than to agree to the changes or the club will die and we lose 100% of our deposit. This is not good news. Playing a blame game now is not that productive as a deadline of mid-November calls for a restructuring or bankruptcy.

3. As bad as this is, the entire Destination Club industry should not be blammed as it is still a viable business that is very attractive for high-net worth individuals. In fact, Exclusive Resorts, Equity Estates, and A&K are still looking very solid. UE, Quintess, Lusso, DHH, and several more are still operating without major complaints.

4. Even if HCC bankrupts, it represents only 200 full member equivalent members out of 6,500 worldwide destination club members. I am not sugar coating this, but perhaps the concept of a "value club" is not as easy to run as anyone thought. Perhaps Destination clubs should be limited to the wealthy as Exclusive Resorts (the market leader with 3,500 members) has thrived with $3-4m homes and MUCH higher membership fees and dues.

5. Once an HCC member stops paying dues, they are terminated.

6. Let's not forget how MUCH more has been lost by millions of people buying expensive timeshares from a developer, heck, even my resale Marriott MMC that I bought for $8k has lost a lot of value recently.

7. Did HCC suffer from mismanagement, poor business plan, or a bad economy? I don't know and perhaps all of the above.

8. I am truly sorry for any recent member that signed up as they are the ones that stand to suffer most. I have been a member since December 2006 and have loved every trip with HCC and hope they survive.

9. This story has not reached a conclusion yet. We are all hopeful that there can be some solution via a restructuring or merger. If we can get past the current cash-flow problem and people can continue booking trips, then the situation will be improved (but will not be perfect or as good as it was).

10. I have NEVER received any money from HCC or been paid anything...I WAS simply a very satisified customer.
 

tombo

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Some thoughts:


3. As bad as this is, the entire Destination Club industry should not be blammed as it is still a viable business that is very attractive for high-net worth individuals. In fact, Exclusive Resorts, Equity Estates, and A&K are still looking very solid. UE, Quintess, Lusso, DHH, and several more are still operating without major complaints.


6. Let's not forget how MUCH more has been lost by millions of people buying expensive timeshares from a developer, heck, even my resale Marriott MMC that I bought for $8k has lost a lot of value recently.

7. Did HCC suffer from mismanagement, poor business plan, or a bad economy? I don't know and perhaps all of the above.
My response by numbers:

3. Yes the whole non equity industry should be blamed because it is a bad business plan with no safeguards. Many of us warned about this after Tanner and others failed, but the battle cry of "HCC won't fail, it isn't like the others, trust them as they are great businessmen, etc" kept being posted here. As far as which DC's are looking very solid, no one knows what their current or future situation is any more than anyone knew how bad it was at HCC until it was too late. IMO anyone who invests in a non-equity DC knowing what has happened at other DC's, and what is happening at HCC right now deserves to lose their money. Ignore the warnings at your own peril.

6. There is a difference between losing value in a timeshare purchase and losing everything. Your Marriott might not be worth what you payed for it, but you still have a timeshare worth something if you want to sell it. You still have all of the rights to use your Marriott that you received when you purchased it. You still own your Marriott timeshare, but your HCC membership is probably null and void, worth nothing. You will no longer be able to vacation at HCC locations, but you can still stay at your Marriott and you can still trade for other locations. There are several DC's that have gone out of business out of only about a dozen that have ever existed, but there 1000's of timeshares that are still operating just fine as they have done for decades. You don't now, and never did own anything at HCC, and the club rights you paid for are about to be gone forever. I will place my vacation money on timeshares which have a proven track record. The DC industry is obviously way too risky.

7. Did HCC suffer from mismanagement, poor business plan, or a bad economy? Who really cares which it was, the club is folding and lots of money has been lost. Invest in DC's in the future only if you are foolhardy, if you don't care about losing your investment, or if you refuse to accept the fact that DC's are a bad deal for all but the DC owners. You have been warned repeatedly.
 
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BocaBum99

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Some thoughts:

5. Once an HCC member stops paying dues, they are terminated.
This is the answer to my question. If all a member has to do is stop paying maintenance fees and they are terminated, then members will jump ship in droves when they sense that they will be the only ones left on the ship.

At this point, I would NOT agree to the new plan. I would only sign up for a plan where I own something that I can sell if I am going to keep paying. Otherwise, I risk being the last person standing.
 

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Ms 65?

I get involved with a lot of “stuff” – all kinds of business ventures. The DC is no different than all the other ventures I’ve been in – Buyer Beware.

The greatest scam that I got caught up in is the rare coin market of 25 years ago – I am just breaking even now – I hold on and find it hard to do what all the other lemmings are doing.

The rare coin market, before eBay and the internet, was controlled by your local coin shops – they had something like a teletype unit to send and receive messages between other coin stores.

Well, like clockwork, the price of coins went up each month – for the previous 20 years. Owning a rare coin portfolio was a respectable way to “diversify” your wealth.

You would march into the local coin store, or visit a coin show with auctions, and see the “Gray Sheet” – the super secret price list the dealers charged each other. They had copies from past years and you could see the prices going up and up – much faster than the stock market and much more reliable.

Well, of course, we bought a rare coin portfolio and the Internet hit – when individuals could log into a BBS and find that our coins were only worth 1/10 of what we paid the entire rare coin industry collapsed overnight.

There the problem was in the definition of what a “MS 65” coin was – each coin dealer over graded his coins and under graded when he bought. The Internet allowed for a way for an independent grading company to have 3 experts come up with the “MS” (Mint State) grade, scan the coin for marks, and seal it in tamper proof plastic.

eBay became the way to sell these coins which now became a commodity and formed the first truly free rare coin market.

====

The DC industry is in the same mess – the industry has hidden behind secrecy since it started and there are NO protections for the members – just slick talking salesreps who used to be timeshare salesreps.

This market too will implode – it is and has always been an illusion – a nice illusion with great looking brochures and all kinds of fairytales.

If I were a founder of a DC I’d immediately start to repackage my company and try to out run the tsunami that will destroy this phony market too.

To those of you at HCC, you can’t really believe the guys running HCC are going to do a better job than the botched job they have done so far? You don’t really think this do you?

In the case of non-equity DC's (95% of the industry) I'd put my membership up for sale and pray like hell.

Sadly in this market holding on makes no sense - hold on to what?

P.S.

VRBO.com was the alternative I kept yelling for years now - it has grown even bigger and better with reviews and consumer protection.

Or, back to the 'ol timeshare sales tour....
 
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pwrshift

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Perry ... I'd like to get your updated thoughts on the Condo Hotel market. I suspect they've had their problems over the last year or so too, perhaps even more than DC's have had.

You may remember, I almost bit on a condo hotel (JW Marriott - Red Leaves Muskoka) a couple of years ago and didn't do it, after you were good enough to provide some warning signs...and that place still hasn't opened, and is not yet sold out. It was supposed to open in June this year, got delayed to the Fall, and still no word on opening day.

http://www.muskoka-news.com/article/115240
 
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caribbeansun

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I don't think you can compare Red Leaves to the entire condo market due to the limited time it would have to actually attract anyone to the property. The business plan was very flawed as the occupancy would suffer for most of the year with June-Oct being the prime season which I would suggest isn't sufficient to support the project.

The biggest issue with condotels is that they have a tendency to overestimate their ability to generate cash flow. I've done considerable review of the new Westin in St. Lucia - their income projections were a joke. Assumed occupancy in excess of 67% ALL year and, this is the one I really liked - no dillution of occupancy or rents when they opened the second phase of the resort which almost doubled the number of rooms available.
 

BocaBum99

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Perry ... I'd like to get your updated thoughts on the Condo Hotel market. I suspect they've had their problems over the last year or so too, perhaps even more than DC's have had.

You may remember, I almost bit on a condo hotel (JW Marriott - Red Leaves Muskoka) a couple of years ago and didn't do it, after you were good enough to provide some warning signs...and that place still hasn't opened, and is not yet sold out. It was supposed to open in June this year, got delayed to the Fall, and still no word on opening day.

http://www.muskoka-news.com/article/115240
Ask him how much money he's made on his Condo Hotel in Daytona Beach. Or, his purchase into the Penthouse unit at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
 
S

Steamboat Bill

I would avoid 99% of all condo-hotels.

I do however own at the Delta Whistler and it is a condo-hotel and I this is the only one that I have seen that actually makes any money as it is a 3 star, not 5 star resort. I have a 6% ROI just on the monthly rents and I do no work. I have owned a unit there since 2003 and it is still awesome and the prices are stable, but there is not a ton of demand for buyers.

I have not seen one single condo-hotel in the US that makes any sense at all and now banks WON'T finance any condo-hotel purchases.

Also, I can't even recommend buying a timeshare from a developer. I used to like buying DVC from Disney but the new prices are outrageous and resales are coming down. I am not even sure buying any timeshare NOW makes sense as renting is so cheap and easy. Forget about Hawaii.....prices dropping like a rock.

That said, I still think DCs offer compelling vacation opportunities, but the industry really needs to mature and learn from their mistakes.

Perhaps I will simply go back to staying at a hotel as this seems so much easier, but with kids, we have gotten spoiled with nice accommodations on vacation or perhaps I will simply stay home.
 
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pwrshift

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Bill ... guess you know the Can$ dropped like a rock this last month ... got down to around $.78 at one point and recovered a bit to low 80's. Our commodity rich country is feeling the pinch of the world slowdown, for a while at least, but exports should start going up with a lower dollar.

Brian

...I do however own at the Delta Whistler and it is a condo-hotel and I this is the only one that I have seen that actually makes any money as it is a 3 star, not 5 star resort. I have a 6% ROI just on the monthly rents and I do no work. I have owned a unit there since 2003 and it is still awesome and the prices are stable, but there is not a ton of demand for buyers.

.
 

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Listen to Warren Buffett...

Sure.
Condo-hotel market – wiped out, at least in Florida.
Planet Hollywood – still under construction with Q4 2009 availability – I’m assuming it will finish and that our son will have 40 years of fantastic Vegas vacations. (A gift to him) I don’t know how you want to look at that situation.

This is a great quote by Warren Buffett on 10/17/08:

A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.

Using Buffett’s rule you should be buying things that folks are begging you to buy at 25 cents on the dollar; that would be the condo hotel, and condo market in Florida right this second.

Just like we held on to our rare coins for 25 years and finally sold them for a nice profit so we will do with our other holdings – no matter what the situation.

Did anyone predict what our insane government would do to the housing market and lending market – I don’t remember seeing the headlines on TV warning folks 3 years ago. If you expect more than that from me I think you’re insane folks.

Just like the crash of 1929 can be traced back to an insane government that converted stocks into a commodity market where folks only put up 5% of the cash - so the same insane government caused this crash that took place 30 days before a presidential election - what a coincidence!

Solving the stock market debacle is very simple:
1) 100% cash (just like your IRA) no leveraging of stocks
2) NO shorting of stocks allowed (How would you "short" a local business in real life? It can't be done)

That would have the stock market rocketing back in a heartbeat.

The mortgage market has now been nationalized and expect the same bureaucrats who made this mess to make it much worse.

How long this will take and how much suffering the citizens are ready to endure is the key question that I sure don't have an answer to.

Vent your frustrations at the folks who interred with the free market - Uncle Sam.

P.S.
You guys don't think the timeshare market will get thru this without its own set of problems do you?

Wait until a chain declares bankruptcy and then another one of my predictions will come true:

The Timeshare Bubble bursts!
 
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S

Steamboat Bill

Bill ... guess you know the Can$ dropped like a rock this last month ... got down to around $.78 at one point and recovered a bit to low 80's.
Thanks for reminding me that my investment just dropped 20% on the currency exchange alone! No matter, I am hoping for an Olympic bounce in 2010.

This is a great quote by Warren Buffett on 10/17/08:

A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.

Using Buffett’s rule you should be buying things that folks are begging you to buy at 25 cents on the dollar; that would be the condo hotel, and condo market in Florida right this second.

Just like we held on to our rare coins for 25 years and finally sold them for a nice profit so we will do with our other holdings – no matter what the situation.

P.S.
You guys don't think the timeshare market will get thru this without its own set of problems do you?

Wait until a chain declares bankruptcy and then another one of my predictions will come true:

The Timeshare Bubble!
Wouldn't you have been better to have SOLD your coin collection 25 years ago and put that money in a fixed compounding savings account or roll-over CD and you probably would be up 300% or so.

Another Buffett observation - make sure to have plenty of CASH to buy as that appears to be the rate limiting step for non-Buffettheads.

I don't think Warren would EVER buy a condo-hotel....the numbers just don't work for the buyer....only the developer makes money.

Timeshare Bubble???? - how much lower than $1 can some go?

DVC, Marriott, and even Park City ski weeks are GREATLY lower over the past 6 months and are NOW cheaper than I have ever seen in the past 8 years.
 

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Thanks for reminding me that my investment just dropped 20% on the currency exchange alone! No matter, I am hoping for an Olympic bounce in 2010.



Wouldn't you have been better to have SOLD your coin collection 25 years ago and put that money in a fixed compounding savings account or roll-over CD and you probably would be up 300% or so.

Another Buffett observation - make sure to have plenty of CASH to buy as that appears to be the rate limiting step for non-Buffettheads.

I don't think Warren would EVER buy a condo-hotel....the numbers just don't work for the buyer....only the developer makes money.

Timeshare Bubble???? - how much lower than $1 can some go?

DVC, Marriott, and even Park City ski weeks are GREATLY lower over the past 6 months and are NOW cheaper than I have ever seen in the past 8 years.
Let me clarify my Timeshare Bubble prediction - it will come true when Marriott (any Marriott) lowers their asking price just 1 penny just once. That should be an easy number to watch and when it happens expect blood in the timeshare streets. The timeshare bubble has burst and expect resale prices to assume room temperature just like condos in Florida - at least for a while.

Investing is all mental - taking a huge hit and then mingle the funds into other funds would have been a loser - no where would we have set up a special account and actively kept up with the coin market.

Of course Buffett would not be into condo-hotels or rare coins, or other things - its a guiding principle. Folks are scared and condo prices in Florida have no value so the weak hands will sell and the strong hands will hold.

The timeshares and condo hotels we own we actually use in various ways for our vacations and rental business.

That reminds me about DC's - let the owners rent the units out if they wish. I have never seen where someone paying thousands of dollars a week will destroy a villa faster than a DC member. If that proof exists I'd like to see it.
 

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Solving the stock market debacle is very simple:
1) 100% cash (just like your IRA) no leveraging of stocks
2) NO shorting of stocks allowed (How would you "short" a local business in real life? It can't be done)

That would have the stock market rocketing back in a heartbeat.
Can't believe that I am 100% in agreement with PerryM!
 
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