Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Effective Timeshare Owner Communications---From Both Sides

Let’s face it…a timeshare is a significant purchase dealing with an important part of life…hard earned vacations. 

If you’re a timeshare resort or HOA and your owner communications merely consist of the annual maintenance fee bill, you’re missing a great opportunity and potentially creating a problem.  If you’re an owner and all you receive from your home resort or HOA is the annual maintenance fee bill, you need to demand more.


Even if you never go to your home resort, never attend owners’ meetings (an issue for another day), you must demand that your home resort provide you with regular, non-sales oriented information about the resort and all matter of timeshare related issues.  Why?  Simply because timeshare in 2014 is significantly different and more complex than it was in 1984, 1994 or even in 2004.

Sure, you need to know what the annual fees are and how much they’ve gone up…but you are due an explanation, aren’t you?  Some of the other key issues your resort should volunteer:

·        Major improvements at the resort such as pool resurfacing, roof repair, addition of wi-fi, etc.

·        Key personnel changes at the resort.  You should not have to search to find out who to contact about specific issues or concerns

·        News about current and ongoing issues of concern to timeshare owners such as scams, owner meetings and of course the date of  the next HOA meeting

Unfortunately, the current economic climate has made it easier and easier for unscrupulous individuals to prey on misinformed timeshare owners.  You need to know from the resort that they are not calling owners and offering them a “way out” or any other offer that comes your way more and more often.


Even if you’ve never done so, you simply must start communicating with your owner base on a regular basis.

For all the reasons I covered above, plus one overriding benefit…UNEDUCATED OWNERS ARE COSTING YOUR RESORT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS EVERY DAY.

Whether you have owners who are no longer using their timeshare and therefore think it is acceptable to not pay the annual fees, or worse, owners who pay a company to take the timeshare from them eventually resulting in unpaid fees…your owners need to understand the implications, benefits and responsibilities of ownership.  Ownership is a good thing…if anyone feels that it isn’t, or that the cons outweigh the pros, they need to be educated.  They also need to know that they are indeed, an integral part of the resort’s well-being and that their actions affect thousands of other owners.

At too many owners meetings that I attend, HOA managers and directors tell me that they aren’t offering their owners information about potential scams because they are afraid that it will open the floodgate to owners wanting out.  It’s just not true.  Most owners are very happy with their timeshare and are not looking for a way out.

And let’s not forget that owner communications can focus on the good news…and there’s lots of it if you know where to look.  Don’t forget that there is a big difference between sharing information (a great thing) and selling (a not so great thing.)

Here are some examples of information sharing:

·         Upgrades (hopefully not downgrades) in exchange company rating

·         New exchange company resort affiliations

·         Upcoming projects

·         Any challenges the resort may be facing

A quick word about that last point.  Don’t be afraid of telling your owners of any challenges you may be facing.  A typical resort has thousands of owners from diverse backgrounds and each with a world of experience.  They can be your greatest asset.  The solution to a potential challenge may very well come from your owners!

Recently, I’ve heard from owners who receive word about the annual HOA meeting less than 2 weeks out.  Frankly, this is unacceptable.  HOAs need to get the word out about the annual meeting as soon as a date is set, which for most well run HOAs will be months ahead of time.

Organizations such as the NTOA and TATOC and a growing number of reputable timeshare resale companies (as well as ARDA and ARDA-ROC) do a terrific job in bringing the good news about the industry to the forefront, as well as alerting owners to potential issues.  Individual timeshare owners need to hear this news from resorts as well.

Remember that your resort is not a bunch of buildings.  Your resort is made up of individuals.  Just as consumers initially purchase because of the individual salesperson and not the concept of timeshare, they return and exchange into your resort because of the people that make up the resort.

Unsure of where to start?  Send me an e-mail at lisa@timeshareinsights.com.  I’ll be happy to review your current communication pieces at no cost and help you get started on the road to better communication

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