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ovie buffs will probably be aware

of the significance of October 21, 2015. It’s the

date on which the 1989 film

Back to the Future

Part II

landed teenaged Marty McFly, traveling in a

truly tricked-out DeLorean, into his own future as a

middle-aged family man. The marketing hype that

drove crowds back to the theaters this past

autumn was the interest in seeing how closely the

writers got to predicting 26 years into the future —

now our present.

Did they get it right? Well, we don’t have shoes

that fasten themselves, although sneakers have

sported wheels and light-up features for several

years now. Cars still don’t fly, but they can self-park

and talk — and they’re getting closer to self-driving.

And hoverboards? Not yet, but the self-balancing,

wheeled electric scooters might be a close second.

Our Own Back-to-the-Future

As I write this column, I’ve been thinking about our

own back-to-the-future. As Interval International

marks 40 years in 2016 (the company opened for

business in January 1976), I’ve tried to mentally

transport to 1976 and imagine attempting to fathom

some of the changes in a world four decades older.

Computers that sit in the palm of your hand.

New verbs such as




. The demise,

then return, of the electric car, vinyl records, and,

now, cassette tapes. Drones. That water is more

often consumed from plastic bottles rather than

the tap.

Then there are changes that have transformed

travel and vacationing. Who could have imagined

back in 1976 — just four years after President Nixon

visited the People’s Republic of China — that one

day a burgeoning Chinese middle class would have

a positive worldwide impact on tourism? Or that

only now would U.S. tourism to Cuba be on the

cusp of opening up.

Nor could I have fathomed that resort and

hotel guests would be able to bypass the recep-

tion and check-in process by simply opening the

door of their unit with their personal handheld

device. Or a room that knows when you’re there —

and when you’re not.

What Doesn’t Surprise Me

There’s plenty that doesn’t surprise me, though.

That despite increasing hours of work, vacations

are still one of the most valued priorities the world

over. And that timesharing, a nascent industry back

in 1976, has not just survived, but thrived.

What was once seen as a revolutionary concept

and the realm of risk-taking entrepreneurs is now a

respected and established business model that was

clearly a precursor to the sharing economy’s model.

Most of the largest and respected hospitality brands

in the world have a strong industry presence. Many

companies, including Interval Leisure Group (ILG),

are now publicly traded, lending further evidence

that vacation ownership is here to stay.

Transformational Transaction

One of those brands that stepped up to timesharing

was Starwood Hotels and Resorts. In 1999, the

global company acquired Vistana, Inc. — which

later became Starwood Vacation Ownership — to

establish a presence in the timeshare market. Last

year, Starwood announced its plans to sell its vaca-

tion ownership business — to be known as Vistana

Signature Experiences — to ILG, and its hotel busi-

ness to Marriott International.

This transformational transaction positions ILG

at the forefront of the consolidating shared owner-

ship industry. Along with the exclusive global license

to the Hyatt


brand in vacation ownership, the addi-

tion of the Sheraton


and Westin


brands secures

high-quality inventory for the Interval network.

It’s impossible to imagine what the next

40 years will bring to the greater world, let alone

our industry. But with the solid foundation of

well-established businesses such as Interval

International, Hyatt Vacation Ownership, and

Vistana Signature Experiences, ILG can anticipate

a rewarding future, one that not only brings benefit

to ILG, but to its valued resort and business

partners, as well.




vacation industry review



Craig M. Nash



The Future Ain’t

What It Used to Be

I’ve been thinking

about our own back-

to-the-future. As

Interval International

marks 40 years in

2016, I’ve tried to

mentally transport to

1976 and imagine the

changes in a world

four decades older.