Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Innovation and Timeshare

I'll start off today's post with two oft-repeated disclaimers;  1)  I don't profess to know everything and 2)  I firmly believe that the way to bring timeshare into the 21st century and to more people is to look to non-timeshare experts to help.

Today's help comes from Donny Deutsch's and Catherine Whitney's book "The Big Idea" and a chapter in which they talk about "The Five Qualities of an Innovator."

Quality #1-Innovators ask "How would I approach this business challenge if I had no preconceived notions of how it should be done?"  The timeshare industry has thankfully, seen it fit to at least start the discussion here as witnessed by the exceptional panel discussions held at both ARDA and CRDA earlier this year where participants, myself included, talked about the many ways we would start from scratch and reinvent timeshare.  We need to keep this momentum going and see some real changes.

Quality #2-Innovators don't care if it's never been done.  In fact, they love it.  "It's never been done" has to rank up there as the stupidest reason not to pursue a new idea.  It leaves no room for change.  You can call me a lot of things as many people have over the years, but this is my mantra, so I guess I'm an innovator.  All I'll say on this point is this..."timeshare marketing."

Quality #3-Innovators don't believe it has already been done.  In virtually every category there is room for innovation-a unique twist on an exciting concept.  And no, I don't think upgrades to point-based memberships designed to get more money out of owners qualify as innovation.  Here's a unique twist that I appreciated...the open conversation atmosphere at this years GNEX conferene put on by Perspective Magazine.  Now, if we could just harness that open atmosphere and expand it to transparancy to timeshare owners and prospective owners, we'd be onto something.

Quality #4-Innovators are champions of individuality.  Not so evident in either the timeshare product nor the timeshare professional.  Sales directors hate to take into account individuals, demanding instead that every salesperson go through the same hackneyed sales steps with every client.  My very last "tour" that I had as a salesperson was a man in his late 50s that had just gotten out of jail on a 17 year crack cocaine charge.  (Yes, this is a true story, I am not that creative of a writer to make this up.)  My manager insisted that I go through all the steps and then came over and asked the man, "so, did you like the model?"  To which I answered, "yes, it's much nicer than the jail cell he's been in for the past 17 years."

Quality #5-Innovators are disruptive.  Innovators will challenge everyday assumptions.  About the only thing disruptive in timeshare seems to be, well, me!

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

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