FAC Board Member Profile: Tom Olsen Wants You to Understand Your FAC Membership

Tom Olsen surmised that he could offer insight from the “little guy” when he joined the Festiva Adventure Club board of directors about seven years ago. He owned a modest 4,000 points and wanted to offer a different perspective to the board.

“I wanted to speak from another group and offer insight from an owner with a lower amount of points,” he said.

Olsen, who is retired and formerly worked in finance, found the meetings with the Festiva Advisory Committee worthwhile and joined the FAC board when it was founded. His financial expertise has meshed perfectly with the board, as well as his background serving on the finance committee where he lives with his wife Ruth in Sun City, Texas, training therapy dogs for hospitals, nursing homes, airports, local universities, and courthouses.

He’s been an FAC member since 2008 and says his role in the dissemination of information to club members has always been important to him.

“I love the opportunities of being a board member to offer opinions. I try to make sure the needs of the members are met, and I try to ask a lot of questions, and really have them dumb it down for me,” he said. “It’s a challenge to absorb so much information while staying abreast of the continuous resort enhancements being rolled out. There are members who are only biannual, and they might be using the website only once a year. I try to see it from that perspective and explain things simply.”

“This is a group that listens and cares about who the members are. It’s more like a club than a business – members have a voice and an opportunity to express an opinion. That adds to my enjoyment of Festiva.”

Olsen said he sees a positive trend for the board’s yearly meetings, with more member engagement and thoughtful questions coming forth.

“This year, I saw that the members were satisfied with the way Festiva is going. It’s more positive, with better-formulated questions. People are also willing to listen, which is great,” he said.

The sale of Blue Ridge Village was a topic of conversation at this year’s meeting, of course, but Olsen said board members did a great job explaining why the sale made financial sense.

“We reassured them they still have lots of benefits, and there’s only one extra step needed to travel there – call up RTX.”

For members who may not know how to get the most out of the Festiva Adventure Club, Olsen said it’s simple: ask questions.

“Don’t be afraid to call in. The people that I have met are very friendly and they have answers. This is not a nameless, faceless organization,” he said. “I encourage people to utilize their points. You bought a true family vacation, use the program. They want you to get what you paid for.”

He and his wife travel through FAC about six times per year, and they prefer Church Street Inn in Charleston, and Hot Springs Village in Arkansas. He said he’d like to see the club engage in “intelligent expansion” out west.

Being an owner with other vacation clubs, Olsen said he prefers Festiva.

“This is a group that listens and cares about who the members are. It’s more like a club than a business – members have a voice and an opportunity to express an opinion. That adds to my enjoyment of Festiva.”

Pat Barcas

Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for Festiva, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family and dog, and of course, traveling!

One thought on “FAC Board Member Profile: Tom Olsen Wants You to Understand Your FAC Membership

  1. I appreciate the fact that efforts are being made to enhance the membership experience. I am now retired but my background as a district manger of a large retail grocery chain and later owning my own mortgage company often affords me the opportunity to critique more than I should but it’s in my blood.

    As a new member I have much to learn about the program and have given myself a goal of becoming the best informed member I can. I apologize in advance for the times I ask too many questions and at times may offer unsolicited suggestions based on my experience the my membership.

    We entered into our membership on Oct. 21 of this year and drove back home the following day. I have to admit I was very alarmed when I got onto the internet and saw the poor reviews for Festiva. It was on a Sunday and I was so upset with what I was reading that I immediately called the rep who sold us on the membership. To add to my concern, he did not answer and I had to leave a message. I was very impressed when he returned my call within the hour even though it was Sunday. He calmed me down and assured me everything would be great.

    I told my wife at that time I will study the program and be one of your most informed members. Since that time I have probably been on the computer at least four hours a day trying to learn the program in and outs. I signed up on the RTX website and have spent lots of hours attempting to get in front of the curve. Was a little disappointed that it took as long as it did to get everything I needed to gain access to Festiva portal. My wife and I are scheduled to attend a members meeting on the 28th of this month in Orlando. I hope to be armed with plenty of questions and learn how to use the program to the fullest.

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