The Signature and Beyond: How Digital Is Transforming the Resort and Vacation Industry

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ardaWe had a wonderful time at ARDA World this year. We hope you stopped by our booth with DocuSign and Informa Software. If you didn’t get a chance to pick up your copy of this month’s ARDA Developments Magazine while you were there, you are in luck! Below is an article authored by our very own CEO and President Stephen Bisbee and President of Wellington Financial, Ron Goldberg.

To read the article in magazine view, or access the issue in its entirety visit:

Across the business landscape, digital applications are transforming the way we do business. This is true in the vacation and timeshare industry as well. However, the digital transformation is often beginning and ending with just guest services and support. When it comes to closing a deal on vacation property, it is electronic signatures and digital transaction management (DTM) that create and capture value and efficiencies throughout the process.

Indeed, the greatest opportunities to realize savings, discover efficiencies and maximize financial flexibility are often on the post-signature side of DTM.

Enhanced Customer Experience

Vacation ownership and timeshare companies are renowned for their immersive sales processes and customer courtships. As a result electronic signature is often the first feature of DTM that leaps out and captures the imagination.  Rather than interrupting the electronic process flow with burdensome paper contracts, modern vacation ownership companies are increasingly using an electronic signature capability to initiate the closing process on an iPad or other mobile device and make the process practically as simple as buying groceries with a credit card. Sales managers offer the option of having paper copies delivered to the client’s suite or having the contracts emailed to them, while also adding that the documents can be securely accessed anytime online.

Expedited the Close and Reduced Errors

The ease of use extends to sales managers as well. DTM allows closing and financing to be secured faster and more efficiently because they’re 100 percent digital. Moreover, digital processes provide more process controls and rules, ensuring completeness, less double manual-entry, and less rework, which result in fewer errors and greater confidence in compliance – and no missed signatures.

Post-Signature Contract Management 

The creation and transfer of contracts are key business processes for many timeshare and vacation ownership companies. These contracts are the basis for the financial assets of the companies. As a result, it is essential to find a legally binding solution that provides a complete audit trail of all the event electronically through the life of the contracts, while also enabling users to not only import and export these assets, but also provide specific controls and privileges amongst different stakeholders and parties that are passing, trading, viewing or otherwise managing the dynamic post-signature activities of the assets.

This why the eOriginal eAsset® Management platform is designed to ensure that each electronic asset is managed with the highest levels of security and compliance, maintaining the authenticity of the original documents and the integrity of their content throughout the entire lifecycle of the transaction.

Key features for post-signature management should include the ability to create an authoritative copy of an asset, manage that asset, securitize that asset, and pledge or collateralize that asset. The solution should also enable Transfer of Location of Electronic Contracts (TOLEC) functionality, pool creation, and transfer of ownership or control.

In an era of increasing compliance demands and security concerns, these features may ultimately prove the most valuable to more and more third parties – whether a bank, a custodian or a regulator – each must be able to access and manage the contracts in an appropriate digital environment.

System Integration

A true end-to-end DTM solution should integrate into other back-office systems to take full advantage of the efficiencies of digitization. These systems may include those used for financial management, accounting, accounts receivable/accounts payable, enterprise resource planning, contract management, origination, customer service, channel systems (e.g., web, mobile, email) and other relevant systems. It is Important to have a solution that has a robust API capability and a rich funder and partner ecosystem that support integration so that the end-to-end process is fully digital and easy to deploy.

For many vacation ownership companies, contract digitization is a potent opportunity to meet their enhanced customer experience and sales efficiency objectives, while creating a compliant and secure post-signature digital process that will increase financial viability and growth opportunities.

It’s time to start the conversation about going digital. The resorts in this industry that are implementing digital tactics are seeing costs decline and revenues per sale increase. Going digital is not only viable; it’s an imperative.

About the Authors

Stephen Bisbee is president and CEO of eOriginal, Inc., a leading provider of digital transaction management solutions. As an industry pioneer, Mr. Bisbee has testified before Congress, spoken to United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, and met with the Federal Reserve, and Fortune 500 companies to share his unique experience and insights into the technological, business and legal applications of moving from paper to digital processes.

Ron Goldberg is the President of Wellington Financial, a leading lender, loan broker and servicer to the vacation ownership industry since 1981.  Wellington is the exclusive industry originator for Liberty Bank, combining creative finance company programs with bank rates.  Mr. Goldberg serves on ARDA’s Board of Directors, and Wellington is an active ARDA Trustee member.

©2015 This article originally appeared in the March/April 2015 issue of ARDA Developments Magazine. All rights reserved.