Here, Francis gives his amazingly candid view of the timeshare industry and offers some thoughts on how to improve it.
I am constantly amazed when dealing with ‘new’ vacation product owners, at the lack of awareness or understanding of the products and services available to them through their vacation ownership program - and how to use them.
A large proportion of these people we come in contact with on a daily basis are dissatisfied with their decision to purchase vacation ownership - until they discover some of the wonderful opportunities open to them through their ownership - exchange for example.
I think everyone in the industry would agree that most new owners leave a sales presentation a little shell-shocked after having to digest and understand what is a pretty complex process to get your head around. The fact is the sales presentation doesn’t really cover all the bits and pieces that make up the total package, because it would actually seem even more confusing to a prospective buyer. Nevertheless, the fact remains that not enough is done to continue owner education after the sale is made.
It's a sad but true fact within our industry that the 'love' and 'passion' heaped upon prospects prior to them signing up would put a remake of Wuthering Heights with Scarlett Johansson and Leonardo DiCaprio to shame - but the after sales service, including new owner education and hand-holding through the initial stages of use reminds me more of Titanic - we all know the boat's going to sink!
It's time our industry gets the message! Owners with a poor understanding of what they have purchased, how to REALLY maximize their use of it, and the 'world' of opportunities available to them through additional service providers, are the very same owners who blog, tweet, Facebook and just won't shut up at parties, that timeshare and vacation ownership is a con.
Our image sucks and instead of doing something about it as an industry united, we just beaver away in our own universe trying to overcome the negative press.
Surely this industry's professionals know by now that 'service' is the fuel which drives the vacation ownership industry smoothly. What happened to 'after sales service'? There is no excuse for new owners to struggle to understand how their newly purchased product works, and how best to make it REALLY WORK for them!
Taking ownership of after-sales education will reap benefits for the long term as more and more owners become the industry's "raving fans". We need to make it a priority within our own companies to devote time, effort and resources into defining how we can participate in this importnat development for a sustainable future. And then let's all work together as industry colleagues, and local industry bodies and associations to make this happen. Every step we as individuals and individual companies take today will begin the march to higher satisifaction levels andn the complete image overhaul that our prodict so badly needs if we are to succeed with a more informed and demanding generation.
Dial An Exchange (DAE) is the world’s largest privately owned exchange provider founded in Australia in 1997 and now with nine offices across the globe. In both 2011 and 2012, DAE was voted by its industry peers as providing the industry's Best Customer Service worldwide leaving little doubt that DAE excels where it most counts - in caring for their members. With no complicated rules or trading powers - just simple ‘week-for-week’ exchange – simplicity and transparency are at the heart of the company’s success. DAE offers a free membership option; 24/7 availability and booking online; and no upfront fees, with their low exchange fee payable only upon booking confirmation.