Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What is the Value of a "Used" Timeshare?

Yeah, I hate the term "used timeshare" as much as anyone, but for now, it will have to suffice.

If you spend any time reading timeshare group forums or any of the so-called "consumer experts'" columns out there, you would think that a "used" timeshare is worth next to nothing and that they are next to impossible to sell.

Wrong on both counts.  I'm talking about an "average" timeshare here, by the way not some renovated motel on the East Coast of Florida that hasn't been properly maintained in 10 or 12 years.

Many years ago when I was a salesperson and blissfully naive in the ways of timeshare, I held fast to the thought that "if you bought a timeshare 10 years ago for $15,000 and then sold it to someone 10 years younger than you, the timeshare should still be "worth" close to the $15,000 because they will get years of vacation out of it."

Naive perhaps, but when you look at what a timeshare is and how it should be used, there's nothing wrong with that logic.

Somewhere in the history of timeshare, it was "decreed" that timeshares don't hold their value and that they aren't worth anything on the resale market. 

I have yet to figure out who "decreed" that and more importantly, why everyone today clings to that decree.

Everyone in the industry; developers, government agencies, legitimate resellers, owners groups, HOAs, individual owners and writers and bloggers need to band together and come up with a new "decree."

Who is with me?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hello, Diamond...Are You Out There?

I'm all for timeshare developers to do something to their product to hold its value and differentiate "new" timeshare from "used" timeshare.

But it seems to me that if the story I heard about Diamond is true (Diamond, please contact me to confirm/deny/enlighten), this is NOT the way to go about it.

The story as I heard it was that Diamond was going to charge consumers who purchased their timeshare on the resale market up to $8,500 in order to use any of the benefits of Diamond.  Sure, this will effectively the Diamond resale market, but I have a nagging suspicion that it will stop anyone from buying Diamond on the primary market as well.

Can you imagine what would happen if Ford or GM came up with a policy that stated that they would charge $8,500 to anyone who bought a used Ford or GM in order for the car to be serviced by or with genuine products?  Insane.

Certainly we can do better, can't we?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How Many Points for A Purple Week?

Just wanted to clear up a few things today as I've received some emails recently from some very confused timeshare owners.

1)  RCI and II no longer use colors to designate various weeks.  IMHO that's a great thing, because as we all know, no resort or location is "all red, all the time."

2)  Points are NOT the same across the board.  82,000 RCI points aren't the same as 82,000 Disney Vacation Club points, Marriott points, etc.  IMHO that's a horrible thing as the consumer as of this writing really has no basis for comparison.  I'll be addressing this issue in my new book which will be available next year.

3)  Just because your resort is now offering points, or has switched to points, doesn't mean you need to/have to.  It's best to work with someone who isn't trying to sell you something in order to determine what's the best way to proceed.

Keep the questions coming.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Calling Mr. Trump and Mr. Branson

Ah, the end of another year...time to reflect and time to look forward.

What does timeshare need?  A kick in the ass, that's what.

So I'm calling on both Donald Trump and Richard Branson to give it the well deserved kick in the ass.

I'm not a big fan of Donald's politics nor his "I'm king of the world" stance, but the guy does know real estate and he knows how to keep things holding value.

I am a big fan of Richard's showmanship, marketing skills and sense of fun.

It's time to throw EVERYONE and EVERYTHING out and start fresh and these guys could do it.

Make timeshare fun, make it valuable, make it something that people and media talk about in a good way, make it something that is desired, make it something that holds its value, make it something that doesn't need smarmy marketing and sales techniques.

Let's face it, there hasn't been anything new or interesting or revolutionary in timeshare in, well, since it started.  Let's shake things up.

Donald and e-mail address is  Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Blue Light Special Waiting To Happen

This blog and many other blogs talk a great deal about the plight of the timeshare owner, for good reason.  However, there are other people that are hurt a great deal by the marketing and sales practices still employed by timeshare resorts worldwide---the timeshare salesperson.

I wrote the following piece many years ago, while I was still a salesperson and it unfortunately is still as timely as it was back then:

If K-Mart Were a Timeshare

In reading the gory details of K-Mart's recent bankruptcy filing, I am struck by the similarities to the situation that many timeshare resorts find themselves in.

K-Mart executives were quick to blame their financial collapse on just about everything other than what it was… poor marketing management. However, I would bet that if K-Mart were a timeshare, K-Mart executives would have written a memo to all of their employees and blamed the debacle on them.

See if this ficticious memo doesn't sound familiar to those of you in timeshare sales…

To: All K-Mart Employees
From: The Big Boss
Re: The End

K-Mart will be filing for bankruptcy today. That means that all of you will be out of a job. You are free of course to go to WalMart or Target to see if things will be any better there. You will find however, that things are just the same, the customers are exactly the same.

The reason for your being out of a job is simple… you, the stockers did not keep the right merchandise in stock. You, the cashiers did not meet your sales quota. Simply put, you didn't sell enough.

Remember that we in upper management did our part by bringing you the customers. It was your job to sell them merchandise. You didn't do your job. It is never, ever the fault of the customer. It is always your fault. Perhaps if you had a better attitude and didn't prejudge all of the customers that we pay top dollar to bring to you, you would not all find yourself in this bind.

By the way, you will not be getting your last paycheck. Those paychecks will be used to refund all of those purchases that will be coming back. It was all of your responsibility to follow up with each and every one of your sales to find out if they were satisfied with their vacuum cleaners, towels and oil filters.

Of course, K-Mart is in their nasty situation because of poor marketing, not because of inept cashiers or stockers. Need another similarity? The entire decision to bring in Martha Stewart was incredibly poor marketing. K-Mart shoppers ON THE WHOLE, don't know or care who Martha Stewart is. The people who do know and buy Martha Stewart wouldn't be caught dead at K-Mart.

Still muddy? Let me clarify. ON THE WHOLE… the customers that most timeshares pay so-called marketing companies money for don't want to know about timeshare, don't care about timeshare, and don't have the money to afford timeshare. But the people who do care about timeshare, do want to know about timeshare and can afford timeshare aren't being reached at all.

Because the so-called marketing companies are in fact, not doing ANYTHING that resembles what the rest of the world considers marketing.

It is time for Project Directors, Directors of Sales and other non-"marketing" personnel to say "ENOUGH" and demand more. It is time that timeshare companies come down out of their ivory tower and recognize that this wonderful product that we sell has the potential to be so much more if we let it. Timeshares are sold to the public by the salesperson on an emotional basis (and thanks to everyone who finally convinced me of that). Where is the emotion behind any of the so-called marketing and advertising that the resorts do? There is none at all.

Allow yourself to ponder how wonderful of an industry this would be if we would stop doing things the hard way. The writing is on the wall… either do effective marketing and advertising or your resort may be "a blue light special".

Monday, December 5, 2011

Common Sense Tips on Buying Timeshare

You would think that after all this time, these simple tips would not need to be reprinted, but consumers continue to get themselves in trouble.


You don't see a lot of ads trying to sell you a timeshare.  Timeshare marketing and sales tactics are more subtle, or at least more mysterious than that.  If you are one of the more than 3 million Americans who attend one or more timeshare presentations annually, you might have been confused.

Buying, owning and using a timeshare might be the greatest thing for you...or not.  But it continues to be one of the most misunderstood products out there.  Here's some basic advice:

1)  New timeshare doesn't necessarily mean better timeshare
2)  A timeshare is not a financial investment
3)  Understand the psychology of sales before you sit through a presentation
4)  Don't buy more than you can use
5)  Don't buy more than you can afford
6)  Understand that the salesperson works for the developer, not for you
7)  Don't buy with selling or renting in mind
8)  If it sounds too good to be true, it is
9)  Stay away from the words "free", "perfect", "always" and "never"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

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