What ever happened to the Time Share Industry?

Has Time Share gone the way of the Sony Walkman?

time share communications strategy

Bringing No Respect to All New Heights

You couldn’t be blamed for thinking it’s so.

Sometimes time share seems to be simply disintegrating under the weight of resellers, collapsing economies and bad (non-existent) public relations. The people who used to sell time shares are stuck trying to hold it all together. Ugh. No!

And though a huge, huge number of people still travel to time shares, year after year after year, it’s not easy to find numbers on them. It’s not easy to find anything about time share, in part because timeshare resellers are some of the biggest spammers and internet garbage clutterers anywhere. Thanks!

A few big wigs pocketed lots of the proceeds from the really flush years and they’ve quickly moved on to “Luxury Fractional Ownership” or the cynically named “Vacation Ownership.” “Titled equity ownership” is probably not quite so cynical but, in the nether nosebleed regions of the upmarket, it’s not really what we’re talking about here.

Time Share was always a weird bastard cousin somewhere between second-homes and travel. It took off, soared even, but with a badly wounded middle class, it never really gained respect in the Americas. True, far freer Europeans took it on, educated Time Share and probably even helped it give birth to points based clubs and all kinds of fun, whacky, Euro-style variations. Plenty of them are still successful. (Think Hapimag.)

But one of the problems was always that this was such a strange half-breed between two industries already dominated by the glossier members of Miami’s, erm, aspirational class, that a true steed was hardly going to emerge.

Rather, in the wave upon wave of reseller fraud, and crooked developers and the ever louder sales pitches, Time Share took to the back-internet travel forums. And it stayed there. On the beach, the vacation ownership venders sharpened their knives, the Fractional Dealers went ever up the income ladder, but the low-brow time share and the slightly more involving points club – were just two more listings in the RCI catalog.

Then what happened?

First the sales people booted the marketing agency. Then they bumped the admin people into communications positions. The spokesman was the one with the best telephone voice. You can see some variation of this pattern in every corner of the business. This blog is written with the understanding that sales people should do sales. Sales people running time share has been an interesting 10 or 20 years, but enough already.

Want to save your corner of Time Share?

  • Hire a marketer to tell the truth about what you’re selling.
  • Hire a marketer to tone down your sales message and create an environment where more sales just might be possible.
  • Keep things simple and clear, and where possible, make them easier.
  • Keep annuals coming in by providing a year-round reason to like and remember you.
  • All your guests are interested in doing nothing? Give them enough information that they can spend all of that time “doing nothing” reading about what you told them about, not your sales, but your area, your development, its history, culture, architecture and meaning.
  • In fact, give everything some more meaning.
  • It’s almost free, and just because you think they want to do nothing, it may just be that they want things to mean something. Today’s traveler demands meaning.

Whatever you’re calling the operation; Time Share, Vacation Ownership, Fractional, Travel Club – there’s no good reason to leave your marketing in the hands of admin.

Admin will be needed to process the payments and keep the records as sales start picking up again. Now let’s get to work.



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