Crowns aren’t just for royalty and pageant winners—timeshares can earn them as well. Every year RCI evaluates the resorts within its network and honors those that meet or exceed its high standards. RCI subscribing member comments and resort amenities are taken into consideration, and the resorts with the best scores are recognized with a Gold Crown, Silver Crown, or Hospitality award.

The designations are displayed on the RCI website and can have positive financial results for timeshare associations. For example, Grand Pacific Resorts uses the RCI Resort Recognition Program to attract exchange and rental guests, who may become owners during their stay.

Given the significance, it’s no surprise that we pay such close attention to our RCI designations. This year, 15 resorts within our family received Gold Crown or Silver Crown awards. This doesn’t happen by chance. We carefully monitor our RCI comment cards to ensure we’re consistently delighting our guests from pre-arrival to post-stay.

Let’s take a closer look—why these awards are important for resorts, how the award levels are determined, and what steps a resort can take to raise the level of service and amenities they provide.

Why It Matters for Your Resort

The official RCI Gold Crown logoParticipation in the RCI Resort Recognition Program has a substantial impact on our associations, helping them to identify potential new owners and generate revenue in the meantime. Guests who fall in love with a resort may very well buy a week. Of course, we have to get them onsite first.

Take a look at RCI’s online directory, and you’ll see that resorts are automatically grouped by region, vacation type, and awards. The directory currently includes close to 8,000 resorts, with less than one third having some sort of designation.  RCI awards put our resorts ahead of the pack, making it more likely that subscribing members will find our listings in their search for the perfect place to stay.

Even if someone finds a resort elsewhere—perhaps they’ve visited our website or received a recommendation from a friend—an RCI award instills trust, making it more likely they will choose us for their vacation. Exchange guests expect an experience that is equal to their home resort, and RCI’s rigorous criteria ensure that we will meet or exceed their expectations.

The RCI Resort Recognition Program also fosters owner pride. Our owners love being part of an elite group of resorts, especially because a designation increases their trading power. An owner at an award-winning resort will have more exchange options with RCI.

How Resorts Are Recognized

RCI has three different award levels. Resorts can earn an RCI Gold Crown Resort award, an RCI Silver Crown Resort award, or an RCI Hospitality award. RCI relies heavily on subscribing member comment cards to determine whether a resort is deserving of an award based on its service and amenities.

Two housekeepers fluff the pillows on a full-size bed

Every time an RCI subscribing member is at a resort, they have the opportunity to give feedback in five areas:

  1. Check-In/Check-Out
  2. Hospitality
  3. Resort Maintenance
  4. Unit Maintenance
  5. Unit Housekeeping

The comment card includes several questions about each area, and subscribing members are asked to rank their experience on a scale of one to five. Resorts that meet RCI’s standards for quality and service then undergo a facilities evaluation.

Resorts must have a certain number of amenities and services to their guests in order to qualify for a Gold Crown award. Resorts that have excellent comment card scores without the required number of amenities may still receive the Silver Crown Resort award. Older resorts that offer excellent service without the amenities of a newer property are often given the RCI Hospitality award acknowledging their commitment to the vacation experience.

Achievable Steps You Can Take

RCI subscribing members receive their comment card the Monday after they return home from an exchange, giving you the full week to impress them with your hospitality. Don’t be shy about asking your exchange guests to fill out their comment cards. Typically a resort must receive a minimum of 15 comment cards within a 12-month period in order to be considered for the RCI Resort Recognition Program. Our front desk associates are trained to remind exchange guests to rate us.

A maintenance guy replaces the light bulb in a lamp in between two twin beds

Grand Pacific Resorts also works closely with RCI to keep the company abreast of any changes and monitor our comment cards as they come in. If a hot tub is down for maintenance, we let RCI know so that exchange guests arrive with appropriate expectations. Sometimes we find comment cards mentioning the same issue, which can then be addressed for future guests.

While we cannot always make immediate changes to amenities, service is an area that we do have control over day-to-day. Grand Pacific Resorts has created more than 200 standard operating procedures covering everything from front desk best practices to housekeeping standards that ensure consistency across resorts.  Associates in our growing family receive extensive training upon hire and throughout their tenure. This emphasis on procedural excellence has led to greater consistency, higher service scores, and the inclusion of our resorts in the RCI Resort Recognition Program year after year.

To Your SuccessDoreen Bechard, VP of resort operations, stands with a tile wall behind her

Wherever your resort is located and whatever its size, you can be part of RCI’s Resort Recognition Program. No doubt you are already committed to providing exceptional experiences for your owners and guests. Be intentional about the ways you serve them, and make sure RCI exchange guests know how important their comments are to your resort.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Resort Trades. For more insight from the timeshare industry’s top professionals, visit The author, Doreen Bechard, is vice president of resort operations at Grand Pacific Resorts, where she is committed to “Enriching Lives by Creating Experiences Worth Sharing.” She has more than 31 years of expereince in the timeshare industry. Prior to joining Grand Pacific Resorts, Doreen held several key leadership positions at RCI, including vice president of the Pacific region.