ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Turning Digital Disruption into a Successful Marketing Strategy

 Permanent link


Turning Digital Disruption into a Successful Marketing Strategy 

By Brooke Doucha & Jason Tremblay, founders of Seychelle Media 



Traditional sales and marketing approaches as we know them will continue to be challenged by how today’s consumers engage and interact with brands. Consumers are highly connected and want to be communicated with in a specific way: on their terms, with messaging that’s personalized, and in the spaces where they’re most comfortable engaging. Well-equipped and informed by digital devices and mediums, they want to feel respected and responsible for ultimately making their own purchasing decisions. So in the vacation planning process, they turn to digital tools, reading or participating in peer reviews, booking travel online, uploading and sharing vacation photos to their Facebook pages, utilizing technology in every step. 

Timeshare developers are beginning to adopt digital marketing and communications to create more timely and meaningful dialogue with their owners, earning the loyalty of their customers and allegiance to their brand.

As digital tools have progressed, so have the data-points that accompany them.  Companies are trying to keep pace with trends in marketing and communications and turn analytics data into information that matters and informs their future strategy.   As we discussed in a recent Developments article, many businesses in our industry are unsure how to evolve with digital disruptions— a devastating innovation that eventually takes over the marketplace.  While our industry has successfully integrated digital marketing into their customer relations model, integrating it into their sales and marketing model is a more complex task.  Looking ahead, touching new segments of buyers through new channels and digital mediums is essential for us to reach consumers previously neglected by our traditional marketing approach.

We encourage you to read this article as you think about turning your own digital marketing strategy into one that attracts, engages, converts and inspires.



The Next Big Thing

 Permanent link


The Next Big Thing 

By Franz Hanning, ARDA Chairman and President and Chief Executive Officer, Wyndham Vacation Ownership

 looking for something

Borrowing an idea from Peter Sheahan, founder and CEO of ChangeLabs, I believe the next big thing is already here—there is already an idea out there that will change the world.  

While we often look around the corner to see what’s coming, it’s our job to also recognize, embrace, and implement that next big thing—whether from a product, marketing, employee or communication standpoint.

Innovation starts with leadership. It’s important to remember, however, that leadership isn’t defined by your role. And it doesn’t just start at the top; it can come from anyone.

I encourage you to get involved wherever you can and become a leader who will help spark change in our industry.  Leaders collaborate to form strategy that will ready our industry for the future. You can be part of those important conversations to make a positive impact and influence change.

Open your mind to ways you can actively think differently and challenge assumptions. While our industry enjoys tremendous success, it’s the perfect time to be proactive about figuring out what will move us forward. If the weight of trying to unmask that next big thing seems too daunting, just remember: it’s already out there, we just have to see it.

To read Franz’ full article, please see the Nov/Dec Developments. 


The Best is Yet to Come

 Permanent link

The Best is Yet to Come 

New Years

By Howard Nusbaum
President, ARDA 

I’m sad to see 2014 go—it has been a good year! A good year for the industry with sales and pace of growth both up, but more importantly, we’re seeing new customers join the 9 million-plus U.S. timeshare-owner households. These new owners are younger, more affluent and diverse, and understand that a timeshare yields more than just better vacations—it cultivates a better family life, too!

The overall economy flourished for the first time since 2008 with unemployment dipping below 6 percent. This past year also saw milestones that set records yet again on Wall Street with the Dow bouncing around 17,000 and upward forecasts for most sectors.

As we approach 2015, we may have a more consolidated industry, but it is full of robust, well-capitalized companies. Innovative professionals have created great products, systems, and services that we only dreamed of offering just a few years ago—and with more market intelligence and better technology.

But we still face challenges that will demand our attention in the New Year:

  • Continuing to execute the ARDA legislative and regulatory action plan
  • Working to ensure a healthier secondary market
  • Developing tools for sold-out HOAs and legacy resorts
  • Conducting robust research for key stakeholders
  • Continuing to educate a new generation of timeshare owners

So when “Auld Lang Syne” plays on New Year’s Eve this year, I will lift my glass a little

Higher, thankful for these past 12 months and filled with optimistic cheer for 2015!

To read Howard’s full article, please see the Nov/Dec Developments. 

Timeshare of the Future

 Permanent link

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

 Permanent link

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

Let be the Conversation Starter

 Permanent link

 Let be the conversation starter 

By Peter Roth

Vacation Better Logo

As most of you know, ARDA’s communications team recently re-launched 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 


  • 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! 


Let’s Get Together in DC!

 Permanent link

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!