I had the pleasure of meeting with a few head honchos at ARDA’s annual timeshare conference last month. Some of these people I’ve known professionally for years, others for first time. Some names you’d recognize, others you wouldn’t.
I’m left with one overriding impression after talking to these industry heavyweights…there’s a very real and very large disconnect between what they want for the industry and the timeshare consumer and the actions of Joe or Jane Shmo who sits across from the consumer every day, trying to sell them something…or more of something. By the way, I used to be Jane Shmo, so I have more than a passing knowledge of what happens at timeshare sales centers.
The gentlemen that I met with were not sales managers or even Director of Sales. We’re talking about guys with letters like CEO, COO and the like after their names. They all knew me. They all were familiar with my body of work and a few of them even referenced recent blog posts of mine.
To a person, they all expressed in their own ways their disappointment that so many consumers had poor experiences at their sales centers and the fact that they, the CEOs and the like, had measures in place to fire salespeople who misrepresented their product. Was there some showing off going on? No doubt. But I’m honest enough to understand that not a single one of these guys owed me anything. I’m a very small fish in a very large pond. They didn’t need to seek me out as many of them did and they certainly didn’t need me to do any image polishing for them when they have teams of overpaid people to do that. Not that I’d do that anyway.
So here’s the thing…as I’ve said for years now, it’s imperative for consumers to call out and report bad behavior from all developers and use the name of the individual. It’s individual salespeople that tell consumers they’re purchasing an investment, that they need to purchase more in order to qualify for the exit program, or that they can spend their points for hotel rooms through Expedia. It’s not INSERT NAME OF DEVELOPER. Remember that DVC, Diamond, Travel & Leisure, Marriott, etc. only exist in the legal sense. They, and all companies rise and fall on the actions, good and bad of their employees.
Some of you might disagree with my opinion on this topic. Some of you might think that I’m easily impressed. That’s fine. That’s why the name of the blog is The Word From The Timeshare Crusader. And that’s me.