Last month, Rebecca Harp and Lisa Tanner, two students from the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, were chosen by the American Resort Development Association to represent UCF in the 2013 ARDA Inter-University Scholarship Competition. After the latest round of judging, Harp and Tanner have been named finalists in the national timeshare education competition.

As finalists, Harp and Tanner receive free admission, plus transportation and hotel accommodations, to attend the 2013 ARDA World Global Timeshare Event in Hollywood, Fla., April 7-11, where the overall winner will be announced. Additionally, the duo is invited to attend the convention’s Breakfast of Champions and awards gala, and will receive an industry mentor for the convention and the coming year, plus a profile in ARDA’s Developments magazine.

“Congratulations to Ms. Harp and Ms. Tanner; this is an amazing opportunity for them both,” said Dr. Abraham Pizam, dean of UCF’s Rosen College. “Their insightful business proposal clearly made an impression on the competition’s panel of industry experts, which is a testament to the caliber of students, faculty and education, here, at the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management.”

The annual competition lets students vie for scholarships and other great academic- and career-related prizes by submitting proposals that address specific issues facing the timeshare industry. If named the overall winners, Harp and Tanner will formally present their business proposal to members of the convention.

Harp and Tanner’s proposal, “Vacation with Friends,” capitalizes on the proven successes of affinity marketing through social organizations to address occupancy, attrition, and funding issues of a legacy timeshare resort. Their five-year business plan incorporates the repurposing of unused space, low-cost, high energy on-site experience improvements, and quantified, specific marketing efforts that improve the timeshare owners’ association bottom line.

UCF Rosen College’s timeshare expert Dr. Amy Gregory will also attend the convention to lead a group a student volunteers. Students interested in volunteering and attending the annual timeshare industry conference should contact Gregory at [email protected] by Friday, March 15. Students volunteering for the conference receive complimentary conference registration, as well as some meals. Transportation will also be available for students on a first come-first served basis.

Over the past year, UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management has developed into one of the leading academic institutions for timeshare education and research. The college is currently just one of ten academic institutions in the nation to be a member of ARDA, and has established a timeshare advisory board, along with scholarship opportunities, and corporate internships with industry-leading organizations.

The U.S. timeshare business has grown to become a significant component of the hospitality industry, generating over $70 billion in economic output and employing 493,000 workers, with $23 billion in salaries, according to a 2011 Ernst & Young study. With over 20,000 vacation ownership units in the area; Orlando, Fla. is home the greatest concentration of timeshare resorts and corporations, which provides many exciting opportunities to UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management and its students.