Building engagement through communications and technology with Orange Lake President & CEO Tom Nelson
Orange Lake Resorts was an early adopter of Nordis’ Expresso customer communications management platform, a decision in keeping with its illustrious entrepreneurial and innovative history in hospitality. Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Orange Lake Resorts, first created and built Holiday Inn into a billion-dollar business before retiring from the hotel chain in 1979 and turned his focus to the vacation ownership industry.
The Legacy of Orange Lake and the Vacation Ownership Industry
Succeeding management teams have stayed true to his legacy. After expanding for decades, Orange Lake placed a bet on further growth during the start of the economic downturn in 2008 when it forged a strategic alliance with InterContinental Hotels Group to create a new timeshare brand, Holiday Inn Club Vacations. The company purchased the Silverleaf Resorts 13 properties and added them to its portfolio in 2015, helping secure its position as one of the largest vacation ownership companies in the world.
Not a company to rest on its laurels, Orange Lake Resorts’ President and CEO Tom Nelson is focusing on the best uses of technology and communications in 2018 and beyond to accommodate owner preferences and drive owner and employee engagement.
How important is technology to growing your business?
Technology is integral to the success of our business. To grow smartly, we must utilize the right tools at the right time for the right reasons, making life for our team and our owners better.
What applications are you focused on now?
We are focused on enterprise applications, big data, social media and apps.
How do digital owner communications and payments fit into your plans for 2018?
We are looking at how we can expand our current abilities in 2018. We don’t have a mobile app at this time, but we are researching what will work best for our customers.
How do you see vacation owner use of technology changing?
We think change will continue to be a bigger part of their overall travel experience. It has already changed with the majority of our bookings done online or with mobile. We want to engage our consumers from the beginning of the sales process through their travel experience and as they return home from their vacation.
Has improving communications technology impacted owners and employees? If so, how?
While we have gotten better over the last few years, we need to continue to improve in this area and provide our customers and employees with solutions to how they want to receive communications. Communications technology is enabling deeper and more frequent communications with our owners and team members.
What would surprise people about Holiday Inn Club Vacations?
Most people do not know that we are the third-largest vacation ownership company in the U.S. with more than 340,000 owners/club members.
What is your favorite Expresso tip or feature?
Our team likes the automated reporting features that we have access to through Expresso. We are able to view historical documents and reports as well as have instant access to current proxy statements that allow us to prepare for upcoming meetings and presentations.