Monday, September 26, 2011

A Lesson On Overcoming Resistance

In the excellent book "Enchantment" by Guy Kawasaki, Chapter 6 is entitled "How To Overcome Resistance."  I thought I'd outline Mr. Kawasaki's insights into why people are reluctant and make some points about timeshare.

*  Inertia-People don't like to do things differently.  They've been renting hotel rooms for years and years and are either satisfied with the status quo and/or lazy.

*  Hesitation to reduce options.  As hard as it is for people in the timeshare industry to believe, there are MANY consumers out there who don't know/understand about exchanging,  Those people look at a timeshare as a huge reduction in their vacation options.  Couple this with the fact that many timeshare salespeople oversell the exchange option so badly that people don't believe ANY of it.

*  Fear of making a mistake.  Closely tied to inertia.  Consumers don't like to think they've made a mistake, so oftentimes they don't do anything differently.  While renting a hotel room may in fact be a mistake for them, purchasing a timeshare seems like a bigger choice and therefore a larger potential mistake.

*  Lack of role models.  I've been saying for years now that timeshare needs a credible spokesperson.  And by "credible spokesperson" I don't mean Alan Thicke, Rosanne Barr and/or David Faustino; all of which have tried and failed.

*  Your cause sucks.  No, I don't think timeshare sucks.  But I do think that things have to change; and change in a hurry if we are to capture the Gen Xs and other younger demographics out there.

Thankfully, Guy Kawasaki points out solutions to these problems.  Before I talk about his solutions, I'm curious to hear your thoughts and your ideas for solutions.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Four Pillars Of Branding

I recently read something that included the four pillars of branding and as usual, it got me thinking about the timeshare industry.

The four pillars of branding are:


I don't know about you, but I would not give the timeshare industry in general a grade much above a C- on these pillars.

How much do you as an owner know about timeshare?  How much does the salesperson?  How much does the ordinary non-timeshare owner know?  It's true that the people at the top of the industry know a LOT.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...knowing something and doing something with that knowledge are two different things.

Are timeshare owners held in esteem?  Are timeshare salespersons held in esteem?  How many people in timeshare tell their friends, relatives and acquaintenances that they are in "vacation", "real estate", or something else rather than acknowledging and being proud to say "timeshare"? 

Is timeshare relevant today?  From the number of non-timeshare companies at timeshare industry events, I would have to question that.  The same old marketing and sales techniques are certainly NOT relevant to today's consumer.  The very product (deeded for life) may not be relevant anymore.  The recent conventions that I've attended prove that even the people in the industry know that change is necessary.

How are timeshares different from travel clubs, hotels, motels, etc.?  It depends on who you ask.  Consumers seem to think that timeshares are less flexible and more expensive than other vacation alternatives...certainly NOT what the timeshare industry wants them to believe.  When a family can stay at a timeshare resort for a week for less than a timeshare owner's annual fee to own at that resort, I have to wonder where the differentition comes into play.

Again, I don't claim to have all the answers.  This blog is nothing more than a sounding board and a invitation to converse and exchange ideas.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Research Shows...

A recent survey by the Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2011 Portrail of American Travelers showed some interesting things:

*  77% of those surveyed reported that they had become a much smarter shopper thanks to today's economic situation

*  Among those travelers who use the Internet to either get travel information or make a reservation, 84% say that the ability to check the lowest fares/rates is the most important feature, followed by 82% who say that it's the lowest price/rate guarantee

*  70% of leisure travelers state that they have have taken a "celebratatory vacation" in the last year, to coincide with a birthday, anniversary, etc.

These findings beg these questions (and many more):

*  If  77% thought they had become a much smarter shopper, why does a company who does nothing but take timeshare deeds and several thousand dollars from timeshare owners who don't know any better make more than $44 million in one year?

*  If 84% of travelers use the Internet to check fares and rates, why aren't "new" timeshare prices readily available for comparison?

*  If more than 70% of travelers take a celebratory vacation, doesn't it stand to reason that people DO in fact wake up one day with the intention of going on a vacation and DON'T those celebratory vacations frequently occur?

As I've stated before, the research has already been done...the timeshare industry has ALL the tools to bring this product to far more people than it has.  Who is going to take the lead?