Monday, December 17, 2012

Timeshare PR-Why Even Bother?

If like me, you have no life and use all your free time to follow timeshare "news" on the Internet, you will  have undoubtedly seen that what passes for timeshare news falls into three segments:

1)  Really awful news about timeshare related scams
2)  Timeshares listed for sale
3)  Reports about the financial health and well-being of various timeshare organizations
4)  Announcements of one sort or another that derive solely from PR efforts

I'd like to talk a bit about that last segment..."stories" that derive solely from PR efforts.

I'm not against PR...I think it is a valuable component of any organization's marketing efforts.  But when you're talking about an industry as large and as misunderstood as timeshare, I feel the efforts could be used for a greater good.

Here's what we see each week:

So and so has been promoted to Assistant Mucky Muck

ACME Company will now be a Super Gold sponsor of the next timeshare conference

Mr. Big Shot (who has been associated with more timeshare organizations than anyone can keep track of) has been hired by Super Duper Company and will be in charge of some mysterious project that no one can really explain

The said mentioned Mr. Big Shot will be a featured speaker at the next really big timeshare conference (a conference by the way, that is either not open to consumers, timeshare owners or not, or cost prohibitive to attend)

Really Large Company has been voted a great place to work at according to some study

All of these stories can be considered newsworthy.  But the problem is that NONE of them focus on the consumer.  And the consumer is the only one that matters.

If consumers don't buy timeshare, ACME Company won't be around.  If consumers continue to feed the media with the mostly true stories about being ripped off, Mr. Big Shot will be fired from his current position---probably to be hired by yet another company focused on the "old boys network"; a conversation for a different time though.

Yet, when there is a really positive story about timeshare just waiting to be told, say perhaps the first annual International Timeshare Appreciation Day or a meeting of timeshare owners where there will be some real education gained, the same PR pros who put out these other stories mysteriously take no part.

I have lots of thoughts as to why this happens, but I'm more interested in hearing from you.  And what can be done about it?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cold Callers And What To Do About Them

This blog post started off as something else.  It was going to be about what consumers should do about timeshare related organizations that cold call (HANG UP) and what the industry should be doing about these organizations and the stronger warnings they should be issuing.

So to get started, I went to the ARDA-ROC site and started reading their information about so-called transfer companies.  Now don't get me wrong...despite the fact that people running both ARDA and ARDA-ROC think I hate them, I don't.  I think they do some good work mostly on behalf of the developers...that's their business model.

But if you take a look at the information on the website about transfer companies you'll probably shake your head just as I did.

I love what they say about doing your homework before listening to any sales pitches.  People don't do that.  Years of selling timeshare via sales pitches have taught us that.

They also talk about checking with your resort manager, the Attorney General and the BBB.  Right...I'm sure frustrated and scared timeshare owners are in the frame of mind to do such a thing.

My favorite (sarcasm indended) caution of all was: Before signing anything, check with your own legal or financial advisor(s).  First of all, the vast majority of people being preyed upon don't have access to legal or financial advisors.  Second of all, as bad as these companies are...and they are bad...we're talking about $3,000 - $5,000 at the most.

So, now we're issuing warnings to people to check with legal or financial advisors for a $4,000 fee, while at the same time, thousands of people are told that it isn't necessary to check with a legal or financial advisor regarding the purchase of a $20,000 timeshare.

All of this just creates more ill will, confusion and lost money.

It's very simple...ARDA-ROC, ARDA, the TBMA, TimeSharing Today, TUG, the National Timeshare Owners Association, the Florida Timeshare Users Group and anyone else purporting to have the consumers' best interest at heart should band together and release articles and press releases advising consumers NOT TO DO BUSINESS WITH ANY TIMESHARE RELATED ORGANIZATION THAT INITIATES CONTACT.

I've been saying this for years now.  But then again, I have no political motivation, I get no voluntary or involunatary monies paid to me and I'm not afraid of telling truth.