Monday afternoon, a cocktail party will commemorate the 35th anniversary of Playa Linda Beach Resort. Charles Croes was sales director at the time, and the way Charles tells it you can hear how fired up they were, how much fun they had and how successful they became, in conceiving, developing and selling the new timeshare units at the resort
Charles recalls walking potential buyers on the beach in yellow hard hats, there was no construction activity going on, but the hard hats conveyed the dynamic idea of development, and the promise of something spectacular, yet to come.
He was pointing up into the air admiring the virtual location of the units’ ocean front terraces, and it was not uncommon to hear at the end of this un-rehearsed presentation, ok, sign me up for ten weeks.
With time, inspired by the request of the Minister of Tourism, Charles wrote the OPC handbook. That year they received an award for the first-of-its-kind document, at a timeshare convention in the USA. Thirty-five years ago, the timeshare industry was in diapers, and Aruba was doing it right.
Our OPCs were fresh and enthusiastic, Charles reminisces, and while they did not quite understand what perpetuity meant, they used the word well. One day I asked the crew to explain the rescission period they were diligently promoting, and none of them really knew what it was, but, and here’s the big difference, they invited guests home, and made them try grandma’s stoba, and her pan bati, which became powerful sales tools.
Everything was real, says Charles, un-staged, we did not sell timeshare, we sold time in space, and a piece of ourselves and the clients bought into that genuine, authentic brand of hospitality, that was just-baked. We knew we had something good going, and it was irresistible.
Charles stayed at Playa Linda for nine years. The world was different then, he offers, money was no object, we were writing the rules as we went along, and developer Raymond Maduro made sure we delivered. He was an incredible task master, who lived up to every promise we made.
And our VP Legal Affair and Construction, Mito Martis, he came up with the side walk concept, in front of the resort, then the Holiday Inn wanted a sidewalk too, and while we were connection the properties, our sales tripled. Apparently, connectivity is a powerful sales tool.
Then sometimes down the line, we realized this was big business, that this was not to be taken lightly and some of the fun subsided. We lost some of our carefree, authentic luster, we became corporate, a bit less genuine, more politically correct.
I regret that. We should have protected what was ours more zealously.