Meet the new sheriff for holiday cowboys...

Timeshare's tarnished image could be helped by a program that lets you see your apartment before you buy it.

Every year, thousands of people are attracted by the idea of timeshare ownership. A timeshare involves owning an apartment or villa in a holiday resort for part of the year. When your allotted time slot comes up, you go to your holiday home rather than slumming it in the local hotel. It sounds appealing, but the image of the timeshare industry has suffered from the antics of some cowboy operators: some timeshare owners have discovered that their holiday dream home turns out to be a half-finished complex on the edge of a dirty beach.

But a new program, entered for the Independent Award for the Most Innovative Business Use of Multimedia at this year's Multimedia '96 show, could help to raise the credibility of the timeshare industry, and also make it easier for people to find the right holiday home for them.

Bringing the Dream Alive! has been developed by the Brighton-based multimedia company EMG for RCI, the world's largest timeshare company, with more than 2 million member families and nearly 3,000 resorts affiliated to it. RCI not only arranges holiday exchanges for timeshare owners, but also books flights and arranges car hire, holiday insurance and more.

Until recently, there were two ways of viewing a timeshare property. On-site marketing takes place while you are on holiday and involves looking around the resort complex. But many people also view properties "off-site", typically in an office in their home country where they can read directories describing the apartment and facilities and watch videos of the resort. Multimedia offers a third option.

"Around 18 months ago, RCI began looking at new technology, and the company spent about six months evaluating the benefits of multimedia," says David Coplestone, EMG's account manager.

The result is a multimedia program, Bringing the Dream Alive!, which uses a PC and touchscreen technology. Instead of operating the computer by a mouse or keyboard, users touch pictures on the computer screen to activate parts of the program. Bringing the Dream Alive! uses around 450 megabytes of hard disk space and includes high-quality video, photographs, text and sound (some of it is atmospheric, so that if you're watching a section on, say, an Australian resort, you'll hear Aboriginal music). A database holds information on almost 3,000 resorts around the world.

The program is designed to be used by a timeshare salesperson as they talk to a potential client. It includes a description of the timeshare concept, introduces RCI and describes various resorts. There are also video testimonials from timeshare customers, and a cost-benefit analysis of timeshare.

"The program gives the timeshare selling process some structure," says Paul Ruffle, head of RCI's multimedia development. "It doesn't get tired, so there's a consistency and quality to the sales pitch. Most importantly, it also ensures that no exaggerated claims are made by the salesperson."

After demonstrations of the system at timeshare exhibitions around the world last year, EMG was given the go-ahead to develop the program. Two prototype systems have been tested at British resorts and the final version of Bringing the Dream Alive! is about to be shipped to a number of key resorts in the UK. The program is being localised for the French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese markets.

The shortlisted nominations for the 'Independent' Award will be on view on the Bima Awards Showcase and Unipalm Pipex stands at Multimedia '96, which takes place from 18-20 June at the Business Design Centre, London N1. Details: 0171-288 6408. Fax back: 0171-288 6407. E-mail: http://www.bdcevents.co.uk/multimedia96/. EMG: (01273) 728686.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Arts and Entertainment
Pink Floyd on stage at Live 8 in 2005. From left to right: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright
music New album The Endless River set to overtake boyband for most pre-ordered of all-time
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

    £60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    General Cover Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

    Maths Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

    Maths Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right