What difference does membership marketing make to TimeShare operators and developers?

timeshare membership marketingSometimes I write just to better spell things out for myself.

If you saw my figure here, under industry misalignment, you should know that I fall pretty squarely into the camp of people who believe that there really is not any TimeShare industry left.

Sure there are some big companies, but by and large this backwater of commercial real estate is a thing of the past. Fractional and the whole “vacation ownership” gamut picked up what was left after the significant fraud and organized crime markets swept through, and what’s left is a sort of a shell of an industry.

A lot gets talked about on the industry side of things. Numbers. Projections. Who’s still holding on? Who’s left holding the bag?

The face value on contracts ought to be living proof that the industry is dead.

Why?

Well, it’s such a staggeringly enormous number that only dead people would look at it and think “this is not worth pursuing.”

Yet, that’s exactly what happens. No customer service. No feeling of belonging. No one even answering the telephone. And year upon year, Time Share customers go on similar vacations, paying a month or so in advance and at likely much higher prices, all because there was simply no good reason for them to pay in January.

The contract is dropped. The development resells what it can. The new owners are dissatisfied and pay once – never an annual fee to make again.

But look at it this way, email is still free.

You could send good, informative, inclusive and welcoming emails – all year round. You could start with generous information, up front, in July, to build anticipation for the next year, and inform members about all the members using their weeks – this year.

But that would just be if you were interested in collecting the full value of the contract.

15 years ago, every country club in North America was ready to cash in and convert to a mini-mall. But country clubs realized that offering a family membership – one that offered true belonging – a little exclusivity, and a lifetime opportunity was a better way to run. Well, some of them did anyway.

The private club industry has lots of ups and downs. Plenty of clubs really have closed. But no one will call it a dead industry today.

When developers realize they’re dealing with consumers, and not merely with victims, then they’ll see much more success.

One of the smart things that Time Share developers never seem to push is that all of the people owning weeks in a given property have an interest in the success of that property. They want to see the numbers, of guests, of vacancies, and to know that when they return, they’re going to get something worth what they paid.

It’s that simple.

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