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The End of Timeshare Sales in Europe?

Vos Consultants

“Some people are on the Pitch, they think it’s all Over”

So another “Multi National “ (meaning American) Timeshare developer closes its Sales & Marketing operations in Europe, despite “implementing a number of initiatives” they simply failed to achieve the targets and budgets set by themselves, so they close down.

Does this latest closure mark the end of selling Timeshare in Europe?

Diamond Resorts International (DRI) was probably the last of the “big guys” operating in the EU, and like so many others have decided to call it quits and focus on the other 52 states of the USA.

Such a shame as DRI is a quality operation with great resorts and enough financial muscle to have actually made a success of Europe, why didn't they, what stopped them from achieving targets?

Maybe it was one or more of the following reasons:

American Mentality:

European clients are different?

This is a comment you will often hear from the European S&M Management, and they have a fair point, the one size fits all model does not appeal to the European market.

Selling an American product in Europe simply isn’t attractive enough, also it doesn’t offer a true reflection of the ability of the S&M teams.

However the marketplace still like to take vacations and like good value for money?

High Pressure Selling:

This one actually comes from the sometimes unrealistic targets and budgets set by who?

The wonderful practice of “numbers” where a sales person has 5 tours to make a sale otherwise she / he will be fired, so no pressure to be passed on to the guest there then..

Bad Management/Jobs for the boys:

In this industry it is very common for promotion to be based around who you know rather than what you know and can do, also mimicking the ways of others, that good old line “we’ve always done it that way” normally with a few expletives added, this mentality guarantees you a backward thinking low talent level of management that’s for sure.

Sequels are better than new Destinations:

This one for me is getting closer to the truth of the matter, American Corporations like to do things one way, they are not overly adventurous, so if it comes to opening a new destination such as Europe, or creating resort number 15 in Florida it’s an absolute no brainer for them, they know the costs to the $ they know the cost and pace of sale’s again to the $ and best of all, they don't have to put up with any of those weird Europeans who never seem to listen.

Timeshare’s Reputation:

This is something that I know American Corporations don’t like, the awful image isn’t caused by the product, it's normally caused by the sales and marketing methods, it has built up over the years and has not been helped by so many scam operators, the latest ones being exit companies.

I have to say developers aren't completely innocent in this though, they set the sales targets, they create the hire and fire mentality, and most of all they are the ones who refused to allow their members to exit their ownership, as this was a potentially huge revenue loss to them in annual fees, so they left the doors open for the “exit's” to walk in and attack them.

The Developer Perspective:

Having decades of experience in this industry combined with working for 2 of the worlds largest timeshare developers both American I have a decent insight as to how they work.

They do care about their members, they deliver good products, they support the operations team to an extent, but have a fairly low regard for the “mercenaries” of the Sales & Marketing departments.

They don’t like risks (new destinations) or gambles (new destinations) as in new continents and prefer to work with what they know.

The “we have always done it that way” mentality is predominant, possibly a reflection of the age of the leadership?

Mainly they care about making money, they are publicly listed and have shareholders expecting, no demanding dividends, so they will set high targets and they will push to make sure those targets get hit.

The Future:

I feel this latest demise in Europe is a combination of all of the above and more, one of the biggest failures of the Larger Developers has been in developing and reinventing their product to meet todays European market demands which is very different from the American market, and the “back in the day” market.

Instead they have simply focused on going back again and again to their existing members, a policy that can only end in tears.

The smaller European based developers continue to run their business’s and make consistent profits, largely to changing the product offering, moving towards shorter terms of membership / ownership, easier exit strategies tranparency, and more flexibility than ever, again sadly these guys are in the minority.

Timeshare (Vacation Ownership) continues to sell incredibly well, in America, Mexico, the Caribbean Asia and Australia, with 2016 Global sales achieving $9.6 billion an increase of 7.6% on 2015, and yet when it comes to Europe …….

For me it’s a real shame as I believe strongly in the concept of vacation ownership, I believe there is still huge market potential in Europe, it just needs “disrupting” put the dinosaurs out to grass and bring in some fresh innovative ideas, (combined with big cheque book)

Sadly I think it may never happen and the “good old days” are long gone and we will never see the likes again.

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