Interview with Gary Prado

Vice President / Business Development RedWeek. Connecting travelers with individual timeshare owners

Interview – Gary Prado – RedWeek

Interview - Gary Prado - RedWeek
Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes


Background

Directs the new business development and marketing for RedWeek, and directs operations for RedWeek Real Estate. He is responsible for analyzing the overall business environment, identifying new offerings, and developing financial models & operating forecasts. Prior to RedWeek, he held various director positions in the hospitality industry with companies such as: Starwood Vacation Ownership, Expedia and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. 


Interview – Gary Prado – RedWeek

Prado holds a BA in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from George Mason University. Gary has presented and participated in multiple industry conventions and timeshare user groups, including ARDA, TBMA and regional timeshare ownership associations. 

Interview – Gary Prado – RedWeek

You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion? 

When I wake up in the morning? Coffee — lots of coffee! It’s not really a passion, but more of a requirement!  

But you’re probably talking about “work passion.” What brings me back every day is trying to find new ways to bring RedWeek’s message to the masses – so they enjoy the benefits of RedWeek – saving 30-50% on their vacation at top resorts throughout the world Also, trying to get the message to timeshare owners that they can rent their weeks — if they aren’t going to use them — and get cash to help pay their maintenance fees. 

Millions of timeshare owners don’t use their week every year, but still have to pay the annual fees. We can help them put cash in their pockets.  There are over 11 million timeshare families in the United States, and we’ve only reached about 1.5 million of those folks so far, so that’s a great passion of mine to help them all.


Interview – Gary Prado – RedWeek


The genesis of RedWeek was what?

Back in 2002, our founder, Randy Conrads, saw that there was a need for a reputable, do-it-yourself timeshare rental and resale marketplace. At the time, the timeshare industry had a bad reputation — people expected slick sales pitches and questionable scruples. It was sort of at the lower rung of the travel and hospitality world. Randy changed that with RedWeek by offering a helping hand to timeshare owners and connecting them with individual renters— and 20 years later we’re still thriving!


How does RedWeek differentiate itself from your competitors?

No one does what RedWeek does. We’re the largest, most reputable online timeshare marketplace with an audience of more than 2.7 million and an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Our platform allows any traveler to book a trip from a timeshare owner that isn’t using it. You don’t have to join a timeshare – you just book your vacation. 

Our RedWeek Verified & Protected labels ensure that you get what you pay for. Travelers are also attracted by RedWeek’s access to inventory in areas that otherwise may be sold out. For instance, as golf became a major pastime during the pandemic, RedWeek is consistently able to offer new inventory in some of the world most in-demand golf destinations like Hilton Head’s Marriott SurfWatch or Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, which boasts access to three amazing local courses.

Interview - Gary Prado - RedWeek
Marriott OceanWatch Villas

Interview – Gary Prado – RedWeek

What impact has the pandemic had on overall business and how do you see the balance of ’22 faring?

While 2020 certainly caused a downturn in bookings, the past year has been extremely promising for RedWeek. Bookings in 2021 were up more than 200 percent from pre-pandemic levels and that trend seems to be continuing for the first half of this year. In many ways, COVID has made travelers savvier. Now, they’re thinking about cleanliness, space, and overall safety. 

Those are all positive attributes of the timeshare resort world. Golf resorts drive a large portion of our bookings as well as determine where a lot of owners decide to purchase their timeshares. Our data has indicated the top golf resorts of 2022 will include Marriott’s Aruba Surf ClubMarriott’s Newport Coast Villas, and Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club

Marriott Aruba Surf

Interview – Gary Prado – RedWeek

Who is your customer and how do you seek to get both their attention and ongoing loyalty?

We connect travelers with individual timeshare owners. It’s a win-win situation for all involved: owners can offer their timeshare to travelers when they aren’t using it themselves and travelers receive excellent accommodations at prices that beat hotels. By using RedWeek, both parties can be assured to have a seamless booking experience, and savvy travelers can save hundreds of dollars when they book through us, sometimes even over $1000 on a single trip.

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Customer service is a phrase used by many in the hospitality industry — define the term and the approach taken by RedWeek.

Customer service comes down to customer satisfaction — and that’s what RedWeek aims to provide with every booking. We work to provide clarity to the sometimes-confusing timeshare world. Our website is chock-full of valuable information, from active forums for renters and owners, a regularly updated blog, and an easy-to-access customer service staff. 


What role does customer feedback play with your operations and can you cite one example where such feedback impacted future efforts?

Our forums on RedWeek.com provide a way for renters, owners, and RedWeek staff to interact, share experiences, solve problems, and offer tips. The community there is a great example of how we’ve always put our users first – we listen, and we adjust accordingly. 

Interview - Gary Prado - RedWeek
Marriott Newport Coast Villas

Interview – Gary Prado – RedWeek

What impact are Millennials having on your business and what steps have you implemented in successfully dealing with them?

There’s no doubt that Millennials are now the driving force behind travel trends in 2022 and beyond. While RedWeek’s audience certainly skews a bit older, we’re seeing an uptick in younger travelers who are interested in the luxury, affordability, and spectacular destinations that timeshare resorts offer. I’m sure that trend will continue to grow as the Millennial demographic matures. 


Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?

“Hire your replacement!”  It sounds threatening, but it wasn’t. My first boss was giving me advice on how to get promoted and climb the corporate ladder. Hire the best person for the job, not someone that won’t threaten your position. Then, once you hire them, train them well – and trust them to do the job. Don’t micromanage and constantly look over their shoulder.

Marriott Maui Ocean Club

Interview – Gary Prado – RedWeek


The biggest challenges facing RedWeek — short and long term — is what?

There are still a lot of misconceptions about the timeshare industry. People might still think that there’s a scam side to the business. But that was a long-time ago. Today the largest timeshare companies in the world are some of the most reputable hotel/resort management companies out there (Wyndham, Marriott, Hilton, Disney). 

The biggest issue for timeshare owners is how to get rid of it once it no longer fits your lifestyle. Developers rarely buy it back, and there are hundreds of thousands of timeshare owners that can’t get rid of their timeshare. 

People fall for exit scams because they’re so desperate. If we could get the word out about RedWeek, folks would have a better chance of selling it (for a lot less than they paid for it), but they’d be done with it and be in safe hands throughout the process.

Interview – Gary Prado – RedWeek

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