Interview with Timeshare Association (TATOC) director Harry Taylor

Ask the Timeshare Crusader / August, 2011

This month, Timeshare Crusader Lisa Ann Schreier is asking the questions in a one-on-one interview with Harry Taylor, director of the Timeshare Association (Timeshare Owners and Committees), commonly referred to as TATOC.

Lisa: For those of us in the U.S., can you tell us a bit about TATOC?

Harry: TATOC was formed in the U.K. in 1989. At the time, it stood for Timeshare Owners Committee. Prior to 1989, the only timeshare organizations in the U.K. had been primarily for the developers. Although legislation (The Timeshare Act) had been introduced in 1992, there was still no organization dedicated to assist timeshare owners. While the developers rely totally on the consumer to purchase the timeshare and, of course, fund their business, there was great reluctance on the developers' behalf to embrace TATOC back then.

Lisa: How did you get involved with TATOC?

Harry: Since 1998, I had been serving as TATOC's treasurer and, after the unfortunate death of Fredericka Johns, I also took on the role of temporary secretary general.

Despite the fact that TATOC had been around for some years and has assisted with governmental surveys and the occasional media inquiry concerning timeshare, it was still regarded as a group of well-intentioned but lacking-substance timeshare owners. In 2008, TATOC's board asked me to take on the role of chief executive, a role that I maintain to this day.

Lisa: What has been your primary objective since taking the lead in 2008?

Harry: TATOC is based on the solid comittment and integrity of the past years. TATOC will never forget or abandon the prime objective for existing; TATOC EXISTS TO SAFEGUARD AND ENHANCE THE TIMESHARE HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE FOR EXISTING AND PROSPECTIVE OWNERS, AND TO BE THE VOICE OF OWNERS. Although the British media were suspicious of our close connection with the industry, we have managed to prove we are still independent. However, there is a need to have a close relationship to insure that all issues can be addressed and rectified. We work with the industry, but not for them.

Lisa: Can you tell us a bit about the accreditation process TATOC has, and how resorts become accredited?

Harry: Part of the new strategy that I initiated in 2008 was the Resort Accreditation for Timeshare Resorts within TATOC's membership. High standards are required for membership, but the accreditation takes it to an even higher level. At TATOC, we have always been keen to give full recognition to resorts that are truly customer-driven in their approach to timeshare ownership and are willing to commit to all requirements in the Association's codes.

In 2009 we announced the Resort Accreditation Program which resorts must apply for. Since TATOC is the only elected consumer association for timeshare owners in all of Europe, we knew that the accreditation should be viewed as wholly independent of commercial influence, not shrouded in politics or bureaucracy of any nature, and something that is conducted with the ultimate best interests of the consumer in mind.

The accreditation process is rigorous, robust and comprehensive. We believe it is essential that the award is seen as hard-earned and meaningful.

The process considers all aspects of resort services including:

  • The standards of accommodations and leisure facilities
  • The marketing that brought a guest to the resort
  • The sales practices at the resort
  • The customer service levels provided

If resorts are successful and earn the accreditation, they may then use the TATOC Accredited Resort logo at their resort and in all company advertising, publications, and websites. Any resort applying for and passing the accreditation process will be declaring themselves as open and honest operators - resorts that have nothing to hide and everything of which to be proud.

Lisa: Does TATOC accredit resorts in the U.K. only, or throughout Europe? And, how many resorts does TATOC currently have accredited

Harry: Accreditation is open to all TATOC resorts in the UK and throughout Europe. Currently, we have 24 accredited resorts.

Lisa: Do you see an accreditation process as a viable project in the U.S.? Would you think that would be a good thing?

Harry: I do not have the expertise to comment on the U.S. system, and feel it would be remiss of me to say "yes" or "no". However, any accreditation of resorts that can be done within existing infrastructure can only benefit all parties.

Lisa: Can you tell us a bit about the Helpline?

Harry: In line with our commitment to consumers, we launched the Mediation Service in October of 2010 to further strengthen the Helpline facility which was already in service. The Helpline is open to all consumers, and offers information and assistance where possible to help consumers resolve their problems within the timeshare industry. Mediators assist the parties in reaching an agreement, but do not provide any judgment. However, mediation does not preclude any party from taking matters further within the law.

Lisa: Do you have any specific goals for the remainder of 2011 and looking forward to 2012?

Harry: Our goal for the rest of 2011 is a membership drive and a movement to consolidate and streamline. Next year looks to be a year of intense resort accreditation.

Lisa: How can individual timeshare owners in the U.K. become involved in TATOC?

Harry: Individual members can enroll at no charge via the TATOC website [], while owners at a resort that is already a TATOC member have direct access.

Lisa: What do you see at TATOC's greatest successes?

Harry: There are four items or initiatives that I am most proud of:

  • The success of the Helpline
  • Our ability to work with government agencies and police forces in targeting scammers who continue to prey on timeshare owners
  • The Sharetime magazine
  • The emergence of TATOC as a force to be allied with

Lisa: In closing, can you give us a sneak peak at your 2012 conference?

Harry: Well, I can tell you that, due to popular demand, we will return to The Park Royal Hotel in Stretton near Warrington and it will be held March 9 - 12. We are still formulating the speaker list, but I'm pleased to report that you, The Timeshare Crusader, have accepted our invitation to speak. We thank you for that and look forward to hearing news from the U.S.

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Lisa Ann Schreier

Lisa Ann Schreier - The Timeshare Crusdaer aka The Timeshare Crusader

The answer to this question came from Lisa Ann Schreier.

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