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
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
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.
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
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
JANUARY – MARCH 2016
Craig M. Nash
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT, AND CEO
INTERVAL LEISURE GROUP
The Future Ain’t
What It Used to Be
I’ve been thinking
about our own back-
marks 40 years in
2016, I’ve tried to
mentally transport to
1976 and imagine the
changes in a world
four decades older.