Education Leads to Happy Timeshare Owners
By Howard Nusbaum
September 29, 2014
Last week, the Resort Development Organization (RDO), ARDA’s
European counterpart, hosted their annual convention, RDO5, in London.
Representing the U.S. timeshare industry, ARDA’s immediate past chairman and
current CEO of Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Don Harrill, ARDA Treasurer and
partner at Baker Hostetler, Rob Webb, and AIF Executive Vice President, Darla
Zanini, made the trip with me across the pond to discuss our many shared
successes and challenges within the international timeshare industry.
The event featured fascinating speakers, including Michael
Levie, Founding Partner of CitzenM Hotels, Dean Van Leeeuwen co-founder and
Chief Exploration Officer of TomorrowToday, and YouTube sensation, Louise
Pentland. But one particular speaker—BJ Cunningham, an entrepreneur and founder
of several companies, including the notorious Death Cigarettes—shared a message
that really stood out to me. So simple
yet profound, in just an hour, BJ was able recount with real-life examples the
power of truth and transparency in marketing and sales practices.
While hearing BJ’s dynamic presentation, I began to think
about how transparency has brought potent change to the timeshare industry over
the past couple of decades. Twenty years ago, consumers came for discount
tickets to the attraction de jour only to end up in a timeshare
presentation. These days, our consumers
are educated, and we like that. It doesn’t
mean they won’t exchange their time for the promise of a gift, but they
understand why they’re there and already have a level of interest in the
product. Today’s consumers already know
so much walking into a presentation that they aren’t being sold just any product—they’re
buying what they want.
Timeshare has always offered consistent quality in lodging and
coupled that consistency with the actual discipline to taking a vacation.
It’s that needed annual getaway with friends and family that helps us put our lives
in perspective and renews our spirits. We need to continue to educate new and potential owners, not just about
the product, but about the benefits to our health, our work, and our home lives.
Resources like VacationBetter.org, a consumer-focused website offering valuable
information about buying and owning a timeshare, are there to help consumers
make an educated decision matching their family and financial needs with the
vacation product that is right for them.
VacationBetter.org is a website all about
transparency—no sales tactics, no smoke, no mirrors—just a look at what a
timeshare can offer. ARDA, with the help
of the timeshare community, has invested in this educational tool because, as
we know, an educated prospect is the ticket to a happy owner.