Lavell Stalvey has spent a chunk of his professional life working in the vacation timeshare industry and taking notes of everything he would change about it.
From using contracts to lock in consumers for life paying for a timeshare, to having price points that lockout average Americans from being able to afford timeshares or vacation clubs, he said he set out to change how people save, plan and book their vacations with his new business — My Vacation Bank.
The founder and CEO of MVB International from Georgia has been working in Davidson County for weeks to open the first MVB franchise in the Welcome community in the former Little Italy Pizza Restaurant near Richard Childress Racing’s headquarters. Davidson County native Barry Yokeley is the franchise owner. If all goes as planned, the club, or what they call the lounge, will be open by Monday.
“Anywhere you can imagine, we have vacation resorts,” he said. “We have international locations. You can go to Europe. But with MVB, everything is a discount. We are budget conscious.”
MVB is a vacation club that sells memberships without contracts to people who in turn get access to the discounted hotels, resorts and attractions. MVB linked with the world’s largest provider of secondary travel solutions.
The agreement allows MVB members to get discounts from a vast catalog of thousands of resorts that MVB club members can stay at without purchasing a timeshare. It’s all about access without long-term contracts, Stalvey said.
An example on the vacation club’s website now of a discounted vacation offered to MVB members is a seven-night stay at a resort in Williamsburg, Va. for $499.
“There are no contracts,” Yokeley said. “I want that clear. “Your vacation is your time. You don’t have to attend a timeshare meeting Your time is yours on your vacation. This is not a timeshare.”
To become a member, you can sign up online at www.myvacationbank.com and use code Welcome21 t browse the website. If you would rather work with Yokeley or one of his employees in person to sign up, you can go to the vacation club lounge at 5746 Old U.S. Highway 52. While the lounge will open next week, the website is already available. Anyone can sign up through the webpage and there are no minimum salary thresholds or credit score checks attached to becoming a member, said Stavely. The phone number at the Davidson County franchise office is (336) 619-0176.
“If you are a member, consider this as your Delta Sky Lounge,” said Stalvey, referring to the storefront in Welcome. “Barry will be here to meet and greet members. Members can get together here to share their vacation experiences.”
There is a $30 sign-up fee, and then a monthly membership, which is a minimum of $10 per month. This membership fee is placed in your Vacation Cash account. MVB doubles all deposits into your Vacation Cash account..
The Vacation Cash is used to receive further cost reductions on hotel rooms, attraction tickets and other vacations. It cannot be used to further reduce the week-long vacation packages at resorts because they are already discounted as much as possible, Stavely explained.
“You can put as much as you want in the Vacation Cash account each month,” he continued. “It’s just a minimum of $10.”
Stalvey said the reason people will want to put more than $10 per month into the Vacation Cash account is MVB doubles the amount of each deposit. MVB calls it buying Vacation Cash, but it works more like a deposit that MVB doubles.
Allowing customers to save for a vacation was a key element Stalvey wanted in MVB, he said. He remembers reading in a “Forbes” magazine article that 57 percent of people do not put back money for a vacation. This puts them in a mindset that vacationing is out of reach financially, he said, and he wants to change that mindset so people see an affordable way to go to vacation destinations they have only dreamed about before.
“It’s like laying away your vacation,” he said. “Because you are a member, you have access to the resort packages that are already discounted. It’s about access. The Vacation Cash can be used when you are booking hotel rooms where we have partnerships and you can get more discount using your Vacation Cash.”
Stavely said he knows after hearing stories about or having once been a timeshare owner, people may be skeptical about a vacation club. He said the vacation costs on the MVB website are clearly priced with no hidden fees.
“The price we give you upfront when you go on our website is the price you are going to pay,” he said. “If there is a resort fee, and not all of them have fees, it is clearly explained when you are booking. You know about the fee before your purchase the vacation. And you’re not purchasing a timeshare, or having to attend a timeshare (sales) tour to get the discounted price. This is not a timeshare.”
Added Yokeley, a Ledford High School graduate: “We are looking for the average person to become a member.”
While working on the Welcome location, there are also plans to open MVB franchises within a month in Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
“I designed this as a consumer,” Stalvey said. “I did not like all the hidden fees. I did not like the contracts and being locked in for life with a timeshare. You buy a timeshare and it’s yours forever … I did not like the dishonesty that happened sometimes. If you have to lie to sell a product, well, you shouldn’t be selling it.”
Stalvey added: “Let’s be clear, timeshare in itself is not a bad thing. But, that doesn’t mean ownership works for every consumer. We want to be that backup option for those who maybe travel a little differently. We work with many resort and property developers committed to providing excellent resorts, great amenities and exceptional service to its members and guests. We value those relationships and the access MVB members have to their incredible portfolios. We aren’t here to bash timeshare. We’re here to offer an affordable solution for the consumer not interested in timeshare.”
– Jill Doss-Raines is The Dispatch trending topics and personality profiles senior reporter and is always looking for tips about businesses and entertainment events, secret and new menu items, and interesting people in Davidson County. She wants to know what people in Davidson County are talking about. Contact me at [email protected] and subscribe to us at the-dispatch.com.