Timeshare resales: Marketing driven or market driven?

Jason Tremblay in Resort Trades May 2012

The following article appeared in the May 2012 issue of The Resort Trades.

In it, Jason Tremblay looks at  two different business models for reselling timeshare. The option for timeshare owners to resell timeshare when they no longer wish to own it is an important part of maintaining a healthy and balanced vacation ownership marketplace. Timeshare resales shouldn’t be mysterious, complex, or frightening. Any timeshare owner who decides to sell, should not have to feel as if he or she is navigating a sea of timeshare scam companies. Whether the timeshare resale is motivated by financial need, because the timeshare no longer fits the owner’s vacation style, or because the owner would like to buy new timeshare elsewhere, the process should be simple, straightforward and transparent.

You’ll find this article, along with timely news and information about the timeshare industry, each month at The Resort Trades, available both online and in print.  It is reprinted here with permission of the publication.

Timeshare resales: Marketing driven or market driven?

by Jason Tremblay

How many times have you heard someone in sales criticized for being “too pushy”? Pushy is a word that makes most people uncomfortable. Although we push our children, our coworkers and ourselves to try harder, do more, and strive for greater success and more milestones achieved, we are constantly trying to find a comfortable balance between push and pushy.

Sales efforts that take your timeshare product directly to your market are “push” tactics or marketing driven strategies. For timeshare sales in general, push marketing includes Off Premise Contacts (OPC) to drive potential buyers to sales presentations; telephone and email marketing campaigns; and other options for direct selling to prospects, such as satellite sales offices in malls, hotels, and at trade shows.

For timeshare resales, marketing driven strategies typically include having onsite sales teams at your resort to market to your existing timeshare owner base, drive tours, and move sales volume to a higher level. Marketing driven techniques allow you to push sales opportunities toward your prospective timeshare buyers. They are time-tested tactics that have served as the game plan for how timeshares have been bought, sold, and resold over the years and if they are working for your resort or HOA, you probably should keep doing them.

But what if, in addition to using marketing driven strategies to push your prospects toward your product, you also incorporate market driven strategies that pull or attract your prospective timeshare buyers and renters toward you? Marketing that is too pushy is problematic, but when have you ever heard an offer criticized for being too attractive?

Market driven timeshare sales reflect consumer intent

With timeshare buyers and renters armed with Blackberries, iPhones, iPads, and other smart devices to keep them fully connected to the buying, selling, and renting prices and patterns of today’s timeshare marketplace, pushing anyone toward a buying decision is more challenging than it has ever been in the past. Don’t call your prospects the next generation of timeshare buyers; recognize that the next generation is now and includes both younger shoppers and tech-savvy seniors.

Today’s timeshare consumer is web-wise, social media engaged, and peer review responsive. Instead of the timeshare industry pushing him or her toward vacation ownership, prospects are being pulled toward timeshare as they surf the Web, read positive feedback from current timeshare owners or renters, hear upbeat comments from their friends and family who enjoy timeshare, and learn more about the product through informative online content.

When prospects visit your website and the sites of your competitors, it is because they already have a strong behavioral intent to purchase or rent timeshare. In the primary market for timeshare sales, the Internet is growing in significance as a sales and rental resource, while in the timeshare resale marketplace, the Internet is already number one as the optimal place to buy or rent timeshare.

Developers and HOAs can use the Internet to create greater visibility for their inventory and for the owner services they offer. They can pull market driven prospects toward them through their own efforts or by utilizing a third party timeshare resale service or timeshare brokerage.

Some developers find that skilled and professional third party timeshare resales and rental services or timeshare brokerages mitigate issues of internal conflict that might potentially arise with the company’s own sales and marketing department. A third party resale company makes it easier for a timeshare company or HOA to protect the pricing integrity of their product by resolving the challenges of owners who need to sell. In the process, timeshare companies often find they increase customer satisfaction and enhance brand loyalty.

Lists of resale companies that are also ARDA members are available from the American Resort Development Association and some developers have chosen to work with multiple resellers. Many other developers and HOAs have turned to an exclusive relationship with a single authorized reseller as a way to consolidate resale inventory, stabilize resale and rental prices, and keep their membership strong by reselling to new owners who are emotionally vested in their vacation ownership product.

Market driven timeshare sales always reflect consumer intent. More specifically, market driven timeshare sales, resales, and rentals represent the voice of customers who are literally asking for your product.

These buyers and renters come to your website by way of the words they choose when searching the Internet. The online prospect who is being pulled toward you through market driven sales or resales may find you by searching for, “Key West timeshare” “timeshare resale in Aspen,” “week 26 timeshare Canada,” or any of thousands (yes, thousands) of search terms consumers use daily to find out more about the specific timeshare product that interests them most.

Marketing driven sales are not a bad way to operate. But for many timeshare developers, management companies, and HOAs, the strongest approach is a combo of marketing driven push and market driven pull strategies. Because the one thing we can all agree on is that, the Internet is not going away.