Friday, April 15, 2016

Lisa Teaches Timeshare

Here's an interview I did with the National Timeshare Owners Association.

On Wednesday, April 13h, our Director of Member Services Lisa Ann Schreier was invited to guest lecture at a timeshare class at the University of Central Florida.  Lisa is the author of two consumer books and the co-author of the college text “Timeshare Management-The Key Issues for Hospitality Managers” which is schedule for a revision and 2nd edition later this year.
We asked Lisa to share some of her thoughts about the class, the students’ view of timeshare and what the future may hold.
Q. I didn’t know that there even were college level classes in timeshare.  How interesting!
A.  Yes I’ve been working with professors at several universities ever since my first book came out.  Hospitality is a growing field and timeshare classes give students access to a topic that they might not even be aware of.
Q. Do the students you’ve spoken with have an understanding of timeshare?
A.  Yes, in so much that they have a basic knowledge of the product either through work experience or staying at a timeshare with their parents.  The biggest misconception they have is that the only jobs in timeshare are marketing and sales.  I tell them that almost any job that a hotel or resort has can be found at a timeshare.
Q. Would you say that they have generally positive impressions of timeshare?
A. They, like most consumers, have generally positive impressions of the timeshare resorts that they have seen and experienced.  The negativity comes in when we discuss the marketing and sales practices. They just do not comprehend why timeshare resorts continue to “gift” prospective consumers and settle for a 15% or lower closing ratio.  They are continually amazed that people would give up 2+ hours of their vacation time to listen to a sales pitch and be forced to make a purchasing decision right then and there.  It’s completely out of their frame of reference.
Q. You’ve been doing this for several years as you’ve mentioned; are there questions that come up time after time?
A. The most often asked questions have to do with how I got into timeshare, how did I deal with consumers coming to the sales presentation just for the gift while I was a salesperson and what changes would I make to the industry.  And oh yes, how much does a salesperson make!
Q. All good questions!  So let me ask you; how did you deal with the fact that as a salesperson, you have to deal with people showing up at the sales presentation just for the gift?
A. You have to understand that from the get go and just go out and do your job which is to show them what they could have instead of what they do have when it comes to vacation accommodations.  You can’t take it personally if they say “no” and you have to believe in the product yourself. Consumers see through lies rather quickly.
Q. Anything that surprises you in the classes?
A. I’m always amazed at the very apparent dichotomy in the makeup.  80% of the students are very engaged, eager to ask questions and stick around after class to ask more questions.  And then there’s the 20% of them who are exactly the opposite.  I’ve had more than a few instances where I had to stop what I was doing to ask students to leave because they were doing something that was obviously not related to the class and one memorable incident where I had to wake a student up from his nap.  Luckily the professor told me it had nothing to do with my presentation; the student did it all the time.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the revise of the college text you’re working on?
A. Yes, I’m very excited about it.  My co-authors are Dr, Tammie Kaufman and Conrad Lashley.  In addition to revising the existing material to reflect the changes that have taken place in the timeshare industry these past few years, we’re adding a few chapters.  There’s going to be one new chapter devoted to HOA issues and I’m writing a brand new chapter covering the rise of owner advocacy issues and direct consumer involvement.
Q. Last question…you’re in a unique position having worked directly in the industry and now as an author, blogger and Director of Member Services at the NTOA…in speaking with the potential future customers of the industry and future leaders of the industry what do you see in the future?
A. I’m quite positive about the industry.  There are some bumps in the road and some issues that need to be addressed, but with the younger generation who not only understand where the industry has been, but with a well-rounded perspective on hospitality, has both the desire and the tools to take it to places that us veterans may not be able to even imagine!  At the end of the day, it’s vacation…who can’t be positive about that?    


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