As the year ends, I'm reminded that I've been at "this" for six years. And in many ways the timeshare industry is worse than when I started. I just had a conversation with another maverick, albeit a much richer maverick than me, about why we stay in. The reason is that we both see potential for improvement. HUGE potential.
Despite what some may think, I am not stupid or naive to believe that real change is possible in a short period of time. However, as I've repeatedly written, if the industry would stop saying and believing in "we've always done it this way', things would be decidedly rosier right now.
So, here are two ideas that I'm confident are capable of transforming the industry into what I believe it can and should be:
Stop Making People Work So Hard To Obtain The Product
Have you ever actually tried to buy a timeshare from the developer? Its next to impossible. They make you sit through a presentation. They don't give you prices over the phone. Prices aren't available online. There's no way to compare a Marriott week to 128,000 RCI Points. Consumer Reports doesn't touch the stuff. It's well into the new millenimum people...everything else is easy to buy and moves forward.
Dispel The "There's No Such Thing As Be Backs" Myth
Statistics clearly show that the average consumer does NOT purchase on their first visit. The average owner takes more than 2.5 timeshare sales presentations before they purchase. But most timeshares don't follow up with the "tour no-buys" or if they do, they simply offer them yet another marketing package. Follow up with these consumers; send them special pricing, news of improvements at the resort...anything to make them feel special and perhaps gain their all important loyalty.
Yes, I know I make things sound too easy. The real world isn't so simplistic. Or maybe it is. I continue to strongly believe that the future of the timeshare industry can be written by one or two companies willing to change things, shake things up, treat customers the right way and more importantly, stop clinging to the outdated belief that "timeshare is different." It isn't.
Timeshare is a terrific vacation option. Let everyone see that and we'll all win.