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Giving Trends

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 Giving Trends 

by Geri Bain

 the giving tree cover 

Some innovations are so quickly adapted that it’s hard to imagine they weren’t always part of our lives— and like the popular children’s book, The Giving Tree, they keep finding new ways to serve.

Here are three driving trends that promise to keep morphing, offering new and unimagined benefits for years to come. 

1) Tapping Consumer Analytics. Customers increasingly expect companies to “know” them as individuals with unique preferences and provide them with highly specific services and offerings. There are many ways to gain this information, including predictive analysis (PA) and other services through online travel-booking services. Ultimately, businesses can no longer afford to market to consumers on a “mass market, one message fits all” basis. It’s critical to learn each customer’s wants, needs, lifestyle, and more—including where they vacation and what activities they want to pursue—to serve them the way they expect.

2) Going Green. Sustainable practices are good for the bottom line and the environment. They also add a feel-good factor for guests, employees, and the community. In a recent TripAdvisor survey, 85 percent of travelers said that traveling green made them feel more positive about their trips. This shows green practices are the new normal, and travelers expect suppliers to embrace sustainable practices that minimize their impact on the environment. In addition to cost savings, sustainable practices can provide authentic connections to the destination.

3) Marketing Branded Lifestyles. Some brands convey an image that resonates deeply with travelers. Armani hotels in Dubai and Milan invite guests to live the life of understated elegance that is a signature of the Armani brand. And Hard Rock Hotels extend the hip, music-themed restaurants into a vacation (and vacation club) experience. This is critical because aligning with the right brand can be a great way to tap into its followers and its image and create a focal point for everything from design and amenities to marketing.

These three trends promise to remain important in the timeshare industry for many years to come. Keeping up with how each will be vital for timeshares in order to meet the changing needs of the consumers. Read the entire article about driving trends in this month's Developments. 

2016: Time to Celebrate!

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2016: Time to Celebrate! 

 By Howard Nusbaum, President and CEO, ARDA  

Anniversary Article

This year marks two huge anniversaries for two companies that have made an outstanding impact in the timeshare industry. There are a few milestone markers around the industry this year but none as auspicious as that of Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) marking its 50th anniversary and Interval International, celebrating its 40th anniversary.

WVO is a company that truly represents the pioneer spirit of the early days. WVO’s President & CEO, Franz Hanning says: “Anytime you look back over 50 years, you’re going to see peaks and valleys—it’s not always been a smooth path or an easy road. But to be where we are now looking back from this vantage point, it’s pretty overwhelming. Our company
has changed people’s lives—the lives of our owners, our associates, and probably my life more than anyone else’s. It’s been a total rewarding career for me, built on relationships and friends—core people who have been critical to our overall success.”

But WVO isn’t the only one celebrating this year…so is Interval International. The Miami, Florida-based industry pioneer remains an innovator in serving the vacation ownership market, and today its exchange network comprises approximately 3,000 resorts in more than 80 nations. Through offices in 16 countries, Interval offers high-quality products and benefits to resort clients and approximately two million families who are enrolled in its membership programs. That’s quite an achievement for a company that started with just three employees and one affiliated resort.

The timeshare industry would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for these two different companies and what they each have done over the previous decades. We want to be one of the first to wish each of these two companies a happy anniversary this year—thank you for building our industry into what it is today! To learn more about them, read our entire articles about Interval International and Wyndham Vacation Ownership in this month's Developments magazine.

What Next-Gen Wants

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What Next-Gen Wants 

By: Simon Jaworski and Lance Henik of Leger 

You are never going to be able to design one ideal timeshare that meets the needs of everyone. However, with the help of the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) and utilizing the insights garnered from its recent Next Generation research, you might be able to move a little closer to this goal. With this research, it has been found that four core factors account for more than half of all decisions made among both Millennials and Generation X’ers when it comes to purchasing a timeshare property. Let’s take a look at these factors.

Factor #1: Commitment/Cost Balance.  

The most important features, accounting for one-third of all decisions, are related to commitment. Both current timeshare owners and non-owners alike mentioned that the “length of contract” (the number of years they were willing to use the property) and the “interest rate” (a long term financial cost commitment implication) attached to this purchase were the two most significant factors.

In spite of the importance of the length
of contract and interest rate, there are, of course, two core cost factors for purchasing a timeshare that cannot be overlooked. When these traditional barriers to entry, the “overall price” and “annual fees,” are added into the equation, these four features collectively account for the majority of a potential timeshare owner’s decision-making process.

Factor #2: Sleeping Capacity.  

After the key financial aspects, the size of the lodging is also an important factor, with “sleeping capacity” as a key feature. This has increased relevancy and appeal with the younger age groups, specifically Millennials, who want to vacation with larger groups of friends—more so than any of the previous generations of vacationers.

Factor #3: Exchange.  

Next on the list of priorities is exchange. The positive impression and need for a product that allows both options for an internal and external exchange is definitely held in greater need by older Gen X’ers, especially when compared to Millennials who may not be fully aware of the benefits of exchanging their timeshare (a clear educational opportunity!).

Factor #4: Exit Strategies.  

Although a hot topic within timeshare right now, “Exit Strategy” showed slightly lower importance when compared to the exchange feature. The discussion of this topic is not only relevant but it also has merit— particularly to potential new entrants, as non-owners are definitely more intrigued by the potential for a buy-back option. If positioned correctly, the option to buy back a timeshare could lead to an extra layer of security that potential buyers often crave before signing any legal documents.

So, what key conclusions can we draw from this study? Non-owners tend to be more sensitive to price than owners, flexibility is key in the sales process, and those who sell timeshare should strongly consider a wide product portfolio. Read more about this study in the May/June 2016 issue of Developments magazine