FOUR CORNERS – Orange Lake Resort, the timeshare on U.S. 192, is working to develop a long-term, and potentially profitable, relationship with another fast-growing segment of the Central Florida tourism industry: vacation homes.
Orange Lake Resort started a partnership with the vacation home industry this week, by hosting the trade group that represents many of the small business owners who work in this field. The Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association held its monthly meeting on Thursday, March 15 at Orange Lake Resort’s Legacy Sports Bar & Grill at the Legends Clubhouse.
With a view of the golf course right behind the members, and more than a few visitors playing a round of golf on a warm morning, Kimberly Chase, the director of sales and marketing at Orange Lake Resort, welcomed the members and said she wanted them to do all they could to let their guests know about everything that this timeshare resort has to offer.
“We certainly hope you’ve enjoyed your experience here, and we would love the opportunity to partner with you in the future,” Chase said.
The timeshare industry has been around since the late 1960s, and started in Europe after a ski resort in the French Alps decided to offer its guests the opportunity to buy a part of the hotel – or get partial ownership or a room or villa at the resort, which they could use at certain times of the year for as long as they owned it.
The timeshare industry has been a thriving part of Central Florida’s vacation industry for decades, and Orange Lake Resort has been operating for nearly 30 years.
The vacation home industry, on the other hand, is relatively new, although in the past decade this field has grown by leaps and bounds, particularly in Northeast Polk County along U.S. 27, and in Osceola County on U.S. 192 near the theme parks.
The concept of vacation homes is simple: families coming to this region for an extended visit would prefer staying in a fully furnished house with multiple bedrooms, a kitchen and private pool, rather than in a hotel room. Vacation homes are only rented to tourists and visitors and not to long-term tenants.
The industry has continued to attract new small business owners, even through the recession – and the collapse of the Central Florida housing market — may actually have helped it grow. As more and more people who bought homes at the height of the real estate market between 2004 and 2007 struggled to make their mortgage payments once the housing market tanked, more than a few turned the homes over to property management firms to operate as a business – a short term vacation home to rent.
As the industry attracts a rising number of visitors to the region, Chase noted, the timeshare industry is happy to collaborate with them and spread the word about what a resort like Orange Lake has to offer.
“We hope that you will keep us in mind in the future, and tell your guests about what we do,” Chase said. “We have additional revenue opportunities for you.”
That includes special discounts available to guests who are referred to Orange Lake Resort by the members of the CFVRMA, she said.
“We offer discount golf,” Chase said. “Also, we have some great group offerings for discounted groups.”
Orange Lake Resort rests on more than 1,400 acres, and in addition to the timeshare properties, it offers River Island, a 12-acre pool complex that includes a 1,200 foot lazy river, restaurants, bars, shops and more, and the Water’s Edge Beach Club with daily activities, an arcade, mini golf and an 80-acre lake providing water sports activities.
Other amenities include the Splash Lagoon Pool Complex with a waterslide and multi-level pool decks, and the Legends Clubhouse and pool overlooking one of the resort’s four signature golf courses.
Chase said the resort was looking forward to a successful collaboration with the vacation home industry this year.
“We are very happy to have you here,” she said, “and we hope to see you again.”
An Flamand, the president of the CFVRMA, said she appreciated the opportunity that Orange Lake Resort provided to the association and its members by hosting them.
“This is a beautiful place,” Flamand said.
Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.