- Lee J. from Redding, CA
As a member of the e-commerce team, I think one of our most exciting projects in 2009 was an enhancement to the search function on www.rci.com. Historically, members would say "just tell me what you have" when it came to searching for timeshare exchange. Now we do exactly that, but it's easier!
Searching used to require many inputs before you could see what RCI had "on the shelf." Now, once you’ve deposited your week, you can see every timeshare exchange available for you without inputting any criteria.
In order to navigate through the thousands of properties available, we’ve added many filters to narrow down the results to help you get just the vacations that are right for you. You don’t even have to choose a geographical destination – you can choose dates instead and see everything that’s available for you throughout the world during a particular time…or choose ski vacations from the Vacation Type filter and see your ski options available everywhere from Argentina to Zurich.
After we released this fantastic new search tool in 2009, we got lots of great comments from members who loved it and started booking their family vacations on RCI.com. We also got some great recommendations from you on how we could make it better. So, in June 2010, we launched two new search tools based 100% on member feedback.
My Favorite Searches lets members save search queries they are always doing. Next time you come back you can simply click the "self-named" saved search and you will immediately see the results that match your criteria. But don’t confuse this with Ongoing Searches. Ongoing Searches are still the best way to get in line for timeshare exchange vacations that haven’t been deposited in the system yet.
Advanced Search provides those of you who know what you want the ability to add multiple criteria before getting to the timeshare exchange search results. (You can also save these searches, too.) This can be a quick way to get deeper into search results within one page. Keep in mind that adding multiple criteria at one time could limit available options and may result in zero search results. I suggest adding one criteria at a time in order to see which options are available as you narrow them down.
These search improvements have significantly improved how you can find family vacations. There’s been a tremendous increase in the number of online activity and bookings, and we’re happy to see you are asking for new features. As you can see, we’re listening to you and want to make finding the right vacation fun and easy.
How are we doing? If you like what we're doing, let us know. If you want to see any changes or improvements, please comment below and we'll see if we can include them in future upgrades.
With so many new additions to RCI this year (the RCI® app for the iPhone®, new RCI.com search functions, RCI TV and the RCI channel on YouTube, etc.), you didn’t think we’d forget about Endless Vacation Magazine, did you? We know that you are always looking for more ways to get the most out of your vacation timeshare ownership – and as the Publisher of the North American version of Endless Vacation Magazine, I know you’re excited when we add more to the magazine - so, starting with our first issue of 2010, we added a 10-page RCI Member Section.
In every issue, you’ll now find tips and information to help you understand your RCI subscribing membership and member benefits (like when it’s the best time to deposit or how RCI.com can help you plan your vacations), updates on RCI, and membership news (did you know that RCI follows environmental-sustainability best practices?). You can also see a listing of newly affiliated resorts that have recently joined the RCI exchange network, special member-only offers, and RCI vacation stories from subscribing members like you!
We’re constantly working on ways to make it easier for you to get on vacation. I know the RCI Member Section will help you in your planning journey. So, what do you think of this new section? What other information would you like to see? Let us know by commenting below.
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A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry called "A Few Timeshare Exchange Tips". In that post, I shared what I learned from a subscribing member when I first started with RCI ten years ago as a Vacation Guide. If you thought that members knew everything about timeshare resorts, keep reading to see what another veteran vacation planner taught me!
It was my very first call with multiple bookings. The member was a self-proclaimed family reunion planner, and planned a huge event for her family every other year. Her requirements? A new vacation destination each year, at least five 2-bedroom units, and it had to be in the summertime. To top it off, she only owned one week per year!
Here’s how she planned: She saved her deposits for two years at a time, and then used them for two of the units. She always planned a year in advance, deposited early to help maximize the Trading Power of her week, and picked an area where there was Extra VacationsSM getaways inventory so that she could easily get the extra three units. She explained that timing is everything. This is true whether you need five units or one unit!
I’m not saying this strategy will work for everyone, but the biggest thing I learned is that no matter what kind of vacation you are planning - whether it’s for a reunion, a romantic getaway for two, or a place the kids would enjoy – you can be really creative in using your existing timeshare resorts ownership (plus, if you familiarize yourself with our Extra Vacations getaways inventory available to RCI members, you open up the doors to even more vacation opportunities beyond just your exchange options!).
Are there any additional tips you have? If so, please comment below.
When I started at RCI as a Vacation Guide 10 years ago, I was a college student with absolutely no discretionary income so needless to say, my exposure to “timesharing” was quite limited. I can guarantee that when you first joined RCI, you knew more than I did in my first days.
Trading Power is very important for you when you are booking a timeshare exchange with RCI! This is how we determine what timeshare exchange offers to provide you.
The RCI Weeks program is based on a like-for-like principle. This means we will always work to provide you with a timeshare exchange similar to the deposit you provided us. That is, if you provide us with two weeks in a very popular destination, we will try to give you two weeks in another equally popular destination.
Most of the inventory in our timeshare exchange program is provided by members who deposit their ownership week with us. RCI members have up to 24 months before their start date to make a deposit. Within that two year window, other members may ask for that same start date for their vacation. So our job is to try and match everyone we can with all the deposits we get from other members.
Although all exchanges are made based on Trading Power, it takes higher Trading Power to travel to highly demanded areas with limited supply, or during highly demanded weeks of the year (like Christmas Week, 4th of July, etc.).
The Trading Power of your deposited week is based on a lot of factors, including how many members have historically asked for your type of deposit, how many deposits like yours we get, the quality of your resort, and the size and season of your deposit, just to mention a few. We compare all of these to the vacation that you request, and if the Trading Power is similar (or if your deposit has more Trading Power), then you will have a great chance of getting what you are asking for.
You probably have heard our Guides talk about depositing early. That's because you can usually help to maximize your Trading Power by depositing early. If you don’t deposit your week until 3 to 4 weeks before your vacation, we cannot give your week to someone else until then. And I'm sure most of you would want to know if you had an exchange long before that!
Also, other members are depositing into our timeshare exchange program all the time. So, if the vacation you want is not available right now, enter an ongoing search for your choice of destination or time of year! These searches get prioritized for matching new member deposits. So an ongoing search helps improve your chances of getting the timeshare exchange you want.
Finally, to maximize the number of people we can send on vacation, we are always acquiring inventory from our resorts and other sources like hotels, especially in big cities where there are not many timeshares.
Our goal is to use every unit we get and to get you on the best resort vacation we can. So deposit early, enter ongoing searches if a unit is not immediately available, and be as flexible as possible! Have a great vacation!