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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!




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