I just completed reading an article on the supposed pros and cons of timeshare sales transparency, e.g. letting consumers know the price of the timeshare upfront. As my regular readers know, I've been advocating this policy for years as I firmly believe it would increase sales, decrease lack of trust and allow for timeshare to be a sought after product, all of which are necessary for the long-term growth and sustainability of timeshare.
While there are a few free-thinking developers and executives out there, the majority of the people in charge continue to cling to outdated methods, underestimate the savvyness of today's consumer and frankly, insult their intelligence.
Here are some of the comments included in the article:
"...the timeshare product continues to be so complicated and that the value of the physical units and the properties is just one element of the overall emotional value that we're selling, making it difficult for consumers to readily and easily perceive the actual value of the product..."
Really, timeshare is complicated? Not really. As for the physical units and properties themselves...isn't that what vacationers look for when booking a hotel property? As for the claim about the "actual value of the product", value is different for everyone. What is the "value" of an iPod adapter in a vehicle? What is the "value" of an electronic rear window defroster?
The article goes on to say that, "...the customer probably won't understand what (the price) means, what that translates into, why seasons are different from each other..."
Give me a break! I think that customers are smart enough to figure out that a hotel room on the lakefront in Chicago will go for a higher price during "Taste of Chicago" than in the middle of February (trade shows notwithstanding). Hmmm, what is difficult about understanding that November in Alabama is not "high" season? Perhaps because so many lies have been told by less than honest salespersons up until now?
Another executive comments in the article; "...the options open to customers have become more extensive and on occasions more complex, it is simply not an option for developers to advertise the cost of membership at each resort, nor is it practicable."
There we go again, "complex" and "complicated." If the range of products really is so complex and complicated, how then do these executives defend the 90-minute timeshare presentation?
Don't get me wrong; as many in the industry continue to do...I think timeshare is wonderful. It allows for better vacations, more peace of mind, more control, more space, less worries, more luxury, more amenities and an overall better vacation experience. However; consumers, owners and non-owners alike are getting more and more educated and less and less likely to throw thousands of dollars at a salesperson after a sales pitch.
The first timeshare company who truly understands and accepts today's and tomorrow's consumers for who they are, what they know and the tools available to them stand to reap huge rewards, both in terms of money and more importantly in good will.