I've been a member of Embarc (with a short interruption in 2005) since 1998. When we originally purchased, we believed, as most members did, that we were owners - that we had bought something tangible, of value - not just points but property. Indeed, the sales pitches and the marketing materials at the time, and for many years after, always emphasized that we were Owners. Our principal goal in purchasing at Club Intrawest was of course, to take vacations - at the Clubs, by exchanging, by using getaways at the Clubs, and with Interval. We thought we had bought something that was only available to owners and that our initial outlay (at that time at $125 a point) was getting us something that was exclusive to owners; something that non-owners couldn't have and, something that would retain some of its value (buy-back program, right of first refusal exercised by Intrawest for sales below a certain amount etc.) based on the information given.
Fast-forward 20 years and we now understand that nothing was as it seemed. We are not owners, we are "members" - and being members does not guarantee that we get a better deal than non-members who can purchase a few nights at one of the Clubs as if it were a hotel - sometimes at a better "per night" price but always with less restrictions for cancelling, for booking (they may book 3 nights well ahead of the time-frame members have to abide by) and use (do they get asked to take their trash out when they leave?). Our points have little to no value once the sales transaction is completed. Being owners "in perpetuity", which was touted as an advantage, turns out to be anything but that, forcing members who want "out" to continue paying yearly fees even as they don't use their points.
Customer service, not at the Clubs themselves but on the phone and through their poorly designed and maintained mainframe, has greatly eroded since DRI has taken over from Intrawest. In the past two years, our group has been witness to many problems members have had - from being unfairly threatened with forfeiture for non-payment of their points loans - caused by IT problems during DRI's poor transition from Club Intrawest to Embarc, to having paid for their Extraordinary Escapes membership and yet being unable to use it even months later although they had called and sent emails numerous times to correct the issue.
Members need another voice on the Board. Although the likelihood of someone from our group getting elected is slim (this is an election where DRI casts their votes for each of the two positions), I believe we must nonetheless make a concerted effort to get more member representation on the Board and have therefore submitted my candidacy to represent Embarc members.
Based on the numbers given by Robert Reyes during the Board meeting:
- Current member total is 21,353
- Individual members own 4,294,114 points (vote value is divided by 15 even though this is NOT said in the meeting)
This means members only have about 62% of the voting power although we own 96% of the points. The declarant (DRI) currently has 168,734 points at 1 vote per point. This gives DRI 37% of the voting power even though they only have 4% of the points. This gives them a lock on any election (except that for the independent Director, aka Konrad Kawalec) as many members never vote - before the existence of this group, we often had issues reaching quorum (15%) – if all members voted, we could statistically outvote DRI even though the vote balance is incredibly unfair. This is also why we are asking members to vote for only 1 person. DRI will have to split their votes between their 2 candidates. If we all vote for 1 person, we have better chances of getting our person in.
It's our Club, paid for and maintained with our money - 96% of the points belong to members! Let's do our best to give ourselves another voice!
My biography can be found here: