Last week I listened to a review of 2017 Timeshare activity in the USA it was by Howard Nusbaum CEO of ARDA, he was being incredibly upbeat and positive for 2018 he also cited some of the highlights of 2017.
As well as high sales levels of $9.2 Billion, Howard listed the fact that the industry directly and indirectly creases employment for 500,000, occupancy rates are in the 90%’s annually, he also focused on how they are driving the fraudsters out and cleaning the profile of the industry.
Kudos to Howard & his team at ARDA and the USA I say,
So when I compare this upbeat positive note to this side of the Atlantic and the same industry, the viewpoint is somewhat different.
Sales levels to new members are dropping year on year, mainly because of the almost total lack of new products and opportunities, highlighted in 2017 by Diamond Resorts closing it’s sales and marketing operations in Europe.
The industry still creates high levels of employment, in the EMEA region approximately 280,000 associated jobs are created with over 127,000 directly created.
These are very welcome figures specifically in quiet regional areas where the local timeshare resort will generate most welcome employment and visitors all year round.
However the biggest singular growth seems to be in relinquishment companies, ironically staffed by ex timeshare sales people who sold the now seemingly unwanted memberships in the first place.
Perish the thought that maybe just maybe they over exaggerated the claims of the product which is now creating disillusionment with members.
RDO has a policy in place that ensures all of its members must have a clear and open exit strategy, so why the need for the latest bunch of rogue operators that constantly feed on the backs of unwitting timeshare owners.
The shame of it all is, as much as creating an even murkier picture of timeshare, there are some very creative sales people now focusing on taking people out of what is a great product instead of using these skills to encourage more people to join it.
So the conundrum is, “Can the Timeshare Industry in Europe clean up its reputation”?
Can it ever get its act together and go back to focusing on selling? only this time in an ethical and transparent manner.
At VOS we are passionate believers in all forms of Vacation Ownership, we are fortunate to work with some great companies, who are clean, transparent, ethical and who genuinely care about creating and offering quality experiences for their members, we want to drive this back into Europe and we believe that the Industry can come back.
Just take a moment to consider these questions,
Do people of all ages like to take vacations?
Do people like value for money?
Can a brand today still retain consumer loyalty?
Will today’s consumers continue to have families and require more space for future vacations?
We believe the answer to all of these and so many more is a resounding YES.
So what stops consumers in Europe buying into timeshare?
As well as the bad reputation, maybe too many developers have stuck with the same tired format of membership, only adjusting to allow them to continuously rehash and sell to their existing members, from weeks to points to fractions to quarters to whole ownership, with almost no focus on what todays leisure travellers want, resulting in a lack of new members.
It is quite clear that what excites the American buyer doesn’t have the same impact on their European counterpart.
The existing offerings are simply not appealing enough in todays marketplace.
Here’s a thought, if your product and brand are good enough, and can be constantly updated you can retain your members for the long term without forcing them to sign into an initial long term agreement, with ever increasing annual fees.
Also become more transparent, everybody today has access to the internet and can research things in depth very quickly, so take away the mind numbingly boring 4 hour presentations, say goodbye to 1990 pencil pitches and welcome 2018 technology.
Invite potential clients to property by all means, but why not prepare them with information before they arrive, allow them to conduct their own due diligence, and offer a product of the highest quality, also without a 15-25-50-or 80 year term.
Lets do away with clumpers, closers, NQ’s, BB’s Gi’s One leggers, and lets simply see all consumers as potential membership opportunities.
Forget yesterday’s greed, in fact forget everything about yesterdays timeshare mindset, let’s make the industry profitable of course and remove the get rich quick option.
Let’s offer a quality product that will benefit travellers and really be something to be proud of.
So can the Industry clean up its act, We believe yes it can.
Can we drive the dinosaurs away and bring some free thinking entrepreneurs in to replace them, can we disrupt the entire Industry within Europe or do we let it become a modern Day Kodak?
We believe yes we can.
We know there are Companies within Europe doing exactly this and being very successful at it.
Paul, Susan, and the entire team at RDO do a great job, however they need more support, its time to break up the secret society and stigma of vacation ownership and make it clean, ethical transparent flexible and appealing, indeed something that people will talk to their friends about joining !
Close down pack decks, drive out rogue operators, relinquish the need for relinquishment fronts sorry Companies, and then like Howard did, let’s have our Industry leaders making positive statements, looking forward with pride and optimism.
Within Europe currently 33 countries offer VO destinations with over 92,000 units of accommodation available.
The worlds leading hoteliers all have VO divisions, its time to let them know Europe has tremendous potential, we have tremendous travellers, and we, The Timeshare Industry within Europe are going to make changes, and they should start looking towards us instead of away from us.
It’s never too late to change, is it?
Who else wants to join this movement with us?