ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Timeshare of the Future

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Timeshare of the Future  


 Timeshare of the Future 1 

What do any number of the most successful companies today—from Apple and Google (iEverything and search engine-plus) to Netflix and Amazon (TV game-changer and retail transformer)—have in common? A culture of innovation. These companies don’t rest on their laurels. Sure, they each found immense success with the launch of their first product(s). But they didn’t stop there. They continued to think “what next?”

The same can be said for our industry. From fixed weeks to points to exchange, the timeshare product has continually evolved over the years to satisfy the ever-changing needs and demands of consumers. So, what’s next? At the ARDA-West conference held last month in Denver, Co., one session had that exact focus: what key attributes must tomorrow’s product have in order to appeal to future generations and drive the industry forward?

Some say there’s nothing wrong with today’s product, while others say it must change radically to allow the industry to evolve, survive and prosper. But one thing everyone agrees on is that we cannot become complacent about understanding the changing needs and demands of our customers.

The session began with an overview of AIF’s latest study, the Shared Vacation Ownership Owner’s Report, highlighting multi-generational research and providing key insights into today’s timeshare owner—who is younger and increasingly diverse. They’re also savvier, with the majority having experienced timeshare prior to purchasing and one-third having attended multiple sales presentations before buying.

Yet, while today’s consumer may be different, we learned they are still shaped by many of the same timeless influences. Growing up during the Great Recession affected Millennials in ways similar to the Great Depression-era generations—they’re much more money-conscious than the Gen X or Baby Boomer. They also greatly value family, with more than 50 percent saying being a good parent is one of their most important goals in life.

So what needs to change for us in order to better reach tomorrow’s customer? Some key session-findings are as follows:

  • We need to realize our product will never be sought after, so our sales approach needs to change. We need to be transparent and honest and tell it like it is.
  • Millennials love to vacation, but they’re more spontaneous. They’ll add a few days on either end of business trips and will use any excuse to travel—birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc.
  • To meet that need, our products need to be more flexible, shorter term.
  • They crave electronic sophistication: not having Wi-Fi at a resort is akin to not having a bathroom.
  • Take a consumer-centric approach: a la carte benefits vs. one size fits all. Get to know the customer first and determine their wants, and then create a custom benefits package for them.
  • They’re status driven, so earn their loyalty with a rewards program.
  • Social media isn’t going anywhere. Engage with them, in real time. Responding to reviews or providing recommendations will drive your credibility.

No matter how successful a company has been, they must keep an eye on the future if they hope to maintain long-term success. And the good news is, the future of timeshare has never looked brighter.

 

 

Today’s Timeshare Owner is More Diverse and Younger

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Today’s Timeshare Owner is More Diverse and Younger 

By Darla Zanini, RRP
Executive VP, ARDA International Foundation (AIF)
November 4, 2014 

 New Owner Infographic - small 

Our industry is growing and a big reason for that is the type of new owners we are attracting. They are younger and have higher incomes than typical owners, and represent a more culturally diverse cross-section of U.S. households. This is great news since it shows how relevant our product is to Millenials and Gen Xers!

Some interesting statistics from our recent AIF Shared Vacation Ownership Study:

  • New owners are nearly 10 years younger
  • 39% are Gen Xers
  • 30% are Millennials
  • Median age is 39
  • 42% are African American or Hispanic
  • 72% are college graduates
  • 23% also have graduate degrees

And this new owner has plenty of disposable income:

  • Median household income is $94,800
  • 47% made just a single payment to cover their timeshare purchase
  • 57% spent $10,000 or more on their timeshare

They are savvy consumers:

  • 75% had some form of interaction with a timeshare resort before purchasing
  • 44% initially stayed at the resort where they bought as a guest of another owner
  • 42% experienced timeshare vacations through renting first
  • 35% attended multiple sales presentations before buying

This data is based on the AIF Shared Vacation Ownership Study prepared for us by HSR Associates. For more details, check out our infographic and our press release. For a full copy of the study please contact me at dzanini@arda.org.

Let VacationBetter.org be the Conversation Starter

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 Let VacationBetter.org be the conversation starter 

By Peter Roth

Vacation Better Logo
 

As most of you know, ARDA’s communications team recently re-launched VacationBetter.org with a new look, feel and tone – one that we hope speaks to consumers about the timeshare product better than it has in the past.  During the development phase, we intentionally consulted with a small working group of senior communications professionals within the industry to make sure that the site provides value to our members as well.  From their feedback, we knew the site needed to provide information about the product in a safe, non-transactional manner as well as feature dynamic content that allows the visiting consumer to “co-create” in the process of determining the product’s fit for their lifestyle.

Accordingly, we’ve introduced several “co-creation” opportunities for consumers on VacationBetter.org: 

 

  • A Travel Profile Quiz – a short quiz that helps a consumer think about how they like to vacation.  Understanding how you vacation is an important step to realizing the benefits of timeshare. Plus, the quiz is interactive, engaging and encourages a “vacation mindset,” which helps create an experience for the consumer.
  • Content – fresh, new, relevant content is one of the main differences from the old site.  In today’s world of communications, content is king.  We are pulling in more content than before, re-packaging it and pushing it to our audiences.  In so doing, we are growing our site traffic and social followers.
  • Tips for Owners – tips and suggestions from timeshare owners about how to use and get the most out of their timeshare.  Useful tips that come from the experience of owning a timeshare (not sales people) is part of ensuring that we help educate consumers through transparency – and reinforce that new owners have made a good purchase.
  • Timeshare Information – we can’t have an educational, consumer-facing website about timeshare without providing information and details about the different types of product in an easy-to-understand manner.

The success of the site is based on its usefulness to consumers, new and existing owners, developers, exchange companies, and others in the industry.  We are encouraged by the feedback that some sales teams are linking to it in their communications, as it helps consumers become tour-ready and product-savvy.  Let us know how it’s been helpful in your efforts and communications with your audiences, and the creative ways you’ve found to incorporate it as a resource!

  

www.vacationbetter.org 

 

Let’s Get Together in DC!

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Let’s Get Together in DC! 

FallConf hotel 2
With autumn in full swing and the leaves showing their vibrant colors, it’s time for this year’s ARDA Fall Conference, which will take place November 12-14, at the Fairmont in Washington, DC.

The industry gathers annually to take advantage of this networking opportunity and to analyze key issues we’re facing in the current economic and political environment. This year, if you decide to join us, we’ll have plenty in store for you!

First, we have our core association meetings, where our most engaged members gather in committees, councils, and boards to advance our respective programs of work and set new goals for the future. Then, as we move through the program, our lineup of speakers and events will offer key information and tools to help you make more informed, strategic decisions in your individual businesses.

Of course, there’s even more to the program with networking opportunities, receptions, and times for business partners to meet. Don’t miss Wednesday night’s Trustee Foundation Dinner at the Folger Shakespeare Library (by invitation only), or the political updates at the

ARDA-ROC Legislative Luncheon.

Thursday will feature the main portion of the program—with a “Board Bulletin” session , insights from Marci Rossell (former chief economist for CNBC), and then keynote speaker David Gregory (former host of NBC’s “Meet the Press”). Friday kicks off with the Chairman’s League breakfast (speaker, Chris Cillizza), immediately followed by our finale event— “Meet the Chairmen” session, which will close out our time together.

Click here for registration information and a detailed schedule (including the committee listing). 

We look forward to seeing you soon in Washington!

 

Ready for ARDA West?

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 Ready for ARDA West? 

Denver City Scape
   

The American Resort Development Association’s (ARDA) annual regional meetings bring together local timeshare  leaders and representatives for valuable updates and productive discussions about the future of the industry. After a great turnout for ARDA Southeast in Charleston, South Carolina last month, we’re excited for ARDA West, kicking off tomorrow, October 21, in Denver, Colorado!

Unable to join us? You can still participate and follow along on Twitter and Facebook, as we highlight the brightest ideas and key takeaways from our collection of speakers and presenters.

And if you’ll be there with us in Denver, join the conversation! Use the hashtag #ARDAwest to tell us what you think about cutting-edge owner happiness and how associations are selling their owned inventory. Network in person and online! And share your suggestions for the best places to grab dinner downtown.

The weather is looking clear and sunny. We can’t wait to see you there!

#ARDAwest 

 

Engaged Employee = Satisfied Customer

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Engaged Employee = Satisfied Customer 

Happy Employee2  

Every business wants satisfied customers. But many don’t realize the secret sauce is right in front of them—their employees.

Over the years, several studies have examined the link between engaged employees and satisfied customers. Perhaps most notably, Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace found a strong correlation between highly engaged employees and customer loyalty, along with increases in productivity, sales, and profits. Clearly, engagement is not something to be ignored.

But how can we tell if our employees are engaged? And what does that even mean? Recently, attendees had the chance to hear first-hand from Karen Case, vice president of human resources at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, who spoke at ARDA’s Southeast Regional Meeting held in Charleston, SC.

Karen described engaged employees as those who have an emotional commitment to their organization and its goals. They are passionate about their job, often going above and beyond their responsibilities for the greater good of the company—as opposed to the not-engaged employees, who are essentially phoning it in, putting the time but not the energy or passion into their work.

On the flip side is the actively disengaged employee. These are the employees who aren’t just unhappy with their jobs but have a toxic mindset that, if left unchecked, could spread throughout your business like wildfire. They do the bare minimum to get by, constantly undermine their coworkers, and even sabotage projects. While you should still do your best to find out why they’re so disengaged, in some cases the best option for everyone is to part ways. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss all of them. In fact, given the right tools and attention, you may still be able to turn many of these employees from actively disengaged to engaged.

So what steps can you take to increase engagement in your organization? Karen offers these tips:

  •  First and foremost, it has to start at the top. If your leadership isn’t engaged, you can’t expect your employees to be.
  • Next, ask them for feedback. Once you’ve surveyed your organization, define a few key themes within the results so you can report back out to them.
  • Communication is key—you want them to know you’ve heard what they have to say.
  • Then, develop action plans around those key themes, continuing to communicate to them as you make progress against the plans.

Ultimately, doing what’s right for people proves to be what’s right for the organization. When you start by making employee engagement a goal and focus of your business, you’ll reap the rewards—a successful business with happy employees and happy customers.

Strategic Inventory Investments

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Strategic Inventory Investments

By Jon Blackmon
October 6, 2014 

hotel-pool 

With the timeshare industry experiencing economic growth, many resorts are adding rental programs to their growing repertoire of services. These programs allow the general public access to timeshare resorts without long-term commitments, creating buzz around the benefits of condo-style accommodations and allowing resorts to capitalize on previously unused space. Tapping into this new consumer pool allows resorts to foster relationships with previously elusive markets and by offering a stay unlike any hotel, timeshare resorts can demonstrate the value of their resort, thereby gaining loyal and happy customers. 

Read more about the benefits of timeshare rental programs in the September issue of Development’s Magazine