Into the leap year

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Timeshares are a unique type of hospitality business for many reasons, but the main one being our usage of 7 day weeks instead of transient days. Of course usage of a week to week model, be it Friday to Friday, Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday. It comes with one tricky challenge, the leap year. Doesn’t matter what timeshare or what check in date leap years cause trouble.

Next year is a leap year which means there is an extra day to be accounted for, luckily this was taken into account in timeshare calendars. Using what we call the 53rd week, now at my workplace week 53 happens once every 6 years. If you’re keeping track this is 2 years after a leap year. The reason being is that past the leap year weeks shift slightly and to account for that and get weeks back in order we need to have that one extra week built in.

The fun really begins the year after week 53. Week 53 replaces the traditional week 1 on the calendar, which means everyone’s weeks gets shifted by one full week. Let me tell you that’s where the confusion really sets in. Timeshare owners usually have their weeks programmed in and they know exactly when they are supposed to be in Aruba. If they do not keep into account that extra week, you end up with people coming in the wrong week and it’s not a good thing for anyone.

In my first experience I was so focused on giving information about the extra week and knowing who would be here for New Years and who wouldn’t be, that I hadn’t accounted for the fact that this may have a negative trickle effect. Once the New Year came in we had at least 10 instances of people arriving and then having to be told that they’ve come in the wrong week. Some people take it in stride and laugh it off as their mistake, others are irate and want to yell and scream because why would we add an extra week to the calendar. Many claiming this is their first experience with this phenomenon in their 30+ years of ownership. I dutifully bit my tongue from advising them how many times this has occurred in 30 years, no reason to get anyone more upset.

As 2020 draws closer, which means we are about 2 years out from another week 53, I’ve already advised my colleagues of what went wrong last time and we have started with our contingency plans in an effort to be proactive. Unfortunately, as I’ve learned that even the best laid plans aren’t foolproof, we will do our best through newsletters, emails and social media to make our members and their guests aware. We will also start looking at what to do for those who inevitably due to not checking their timeshare calendar will still manage to come in the wrong week.

The goal will be to reduce the number of erroneous arrivals through an over saturation of information. Don’t worry though, should you come in the wrong week we will still find you a place to sleep and enjoy your earlier than usual vacation. q

Aruban born and bred Shanella Pantophlet is passionate about tourism. That is the world she studied and works in, so we might as well call her a specialist. Luckily for Aruba Today Shanella also loves to write. And together with the fact that the majority of our readers are tourists, we found ourselves a perfect combination for a column: Hotel Hustle.