The American Resort Development Association has recently accepted a business proposal from two students at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, which will allow seniors Rebecca Harp and Lisa Tanner to represent UCF in the 2013 ARDA Inter-University Scholarship Competition. The annual competition lets students vie for scholarships and other great prizes by submitting proposals that address specific issues facing the timeshare industry.

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.

“We chose Ms. Harp’s and Ms. Tanner’s submission to represent UCF based upon the comprehensiveness and practical viability of the proposal,” said Dr. Amy Gregory, one of the five UCF Rosen College faculty members who judged the college’s submissions for the competition. “Our decision wasn’t easy, as we received several outstanding submissions from our students, but the judges ultimately chose their proposal. We wish Ms. Harp and Ms. Tanner the best of luck.”

The UCF Rosen College proposal will be competing against those from nine other academic institutions, including the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Florida International University, Johnson & Wales University, University of Memphis, New Mexico State University, Bethune-Cookman University, DePaul University, University of Wisconsin-Stout, and Lynn University.

The entries will be judged by a panel of industry experts, including representatives from the ARDA’s HR Council and Education Committee. The top three teams will receive the AIF Academic Outreach Scholarship for each member of the team, which is comprised of registration to the 2013 ARDA Convention, including tickets to the Breakfast of Champions and Awards Gala, in addition to transportation, room and board; an industry mentor with whom to consult throughout the year; and a profile in Developments magazine and on The winning teams will also present their proposal as part of a concurrent educational session at the convention.

Winners will be notified by ARDA on March 11, 2013. The conference will be held April 7-11 at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Fla.

Students who are interested in attending or volunteering for the annual timeshare industry conference should reach out to their instructors and/or Dr. Amy Gregory ( for more information.  Students volunteering for the conference receive complimentary conference registration, as well as some meals. Transportation will 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 in 2011, and employing 493,000 workers, with $23 billion in salaries, according to an 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.