Back in the dark ages-circa 2000 when I began selling timeshare full time-all the training salespeople received was about the money saving benefits of timeshare. All of us were carefully taught to take the so-called average price of a hotel room of $100 and using a "moderate" 10% rate of inflation, calculate for the benefit of the client that their "average" hotel room would cost them $235 per night in just ten years, even without the room tax.
When you look at it that way, timeshare made great economic sense, even when you factored in the annual fees and the usage fees.
Flash forward to 2011 where during the recent SOIC conference, we all discovered that the average ADR (average daily rate) of a hotel room in the United States last year was around $106 and we begin to see one of the problems facing the industry today.
People who purchased back in 2000 have been faced with rising annual fees (an average of $731, or almost exactly what it would cost to rent a hotel room), the ability to find discounted hotel rooms and rent timeshares for half of what their annual fees are. Prospective owners can't be "shown the math" any longer as the math doesn't make any sense.
But, even as a novice salesperson back in 2000, I realized what the timeshare industry is starting to realize now...it's NOT about saving money, it's about increasing the quality of vacations.
As readers of this blog know, I am a huge Apple fan and I've written about what the timeshare industry can learn from Apple. Sure, you can purchase cheaper phones than the iPhone and cheaper computers than a Mac. But it's not about saving money in those cases for millions of fans, is it?
What timeshare needs to get across is the value propositon, both of "new" and "used" timeshare. It can be done. There are a lot of intelligent people in the business, many of whom I had the privilage of meeting this past week. Consumers are NOT stupid...show them what they can have through owning timeshare and the industry will be well on the way to further market penetration and owner satisfaction.
Who is ready to lead the way?