If you read last week’s blog about the siege of the cancellation industry, then you should know that timeshare companies aren’t exactly strapped for cash. But for whatever reason, they continue to milk owners of hard earned money in order to fund foolish distractions. Every year tens of millions of dollars are poured into defamation attempts, misguided lawsuits, marketing tactics and commissioned sales teams. All of which only benefit the resort. This fact should cause most people to wonder why capital isn’t being used to eliminate buyer complaints. Instead of deflecting reality, why don’t timeshare companies invest their earnings in customer satisfaction and an improved product?
Well, that’s a good question. It’s also one that we aren’t going to be able to completely explain because it doesn’t make sense to us either. Truth be told, the answer requires a lot of dot connecting – that involves shadow partners with hidden agendas. At the same time, practical reasoning lies in power and money. When you’re able to control the marketplace with prominent government figures, businesses and investors at your back, greed tends to steer the ship. Before the timeshare market dries up completely, those involved want to make sure they’re able to collect every last drop of potential profits.
If It Continues To Break, They’ll Have to Fix It.
Still, you’d think that the repercussions of some of their actions would change their tune. A number of class action lawsuits have required settlement payouts. Sales law fractions have definitely been costly – to reputations and bank accounts. The cost of refute, deflect and overcome cancellations with new sales strategies has got to be exhausting. But apparently, they believe this is what’s best for them. So, we’ll let it be.
In the meantime, we thought it would be fun to speculate a little. If timeshare companies invest their earnings in the customer experience, this is what it would probably look like.
If Timeshare Companies Spent Money Properly…
When it comes to taking care of customers, especially those that single-handedly keep you in business, you’ll probably want to begin rewarding them in some sort of way. Loyalty should be a priority in this industry because new travel options come about rather frequently. As we go through these concepts, you’ll see that the next order of importance should be to repair the overall experience. From initial advertisements to first time complaints, the industry as a whole has got a lot of improving to do. Otherwise the desire to get out of timeshare contracts will presume.
1. STOP LIMITING PRIME INVENTORY.
At most timeshare resorts, some of the best condos are held for higher paying retail customers or corporate partnerships. The next tier of units then tends to be reserved for third party retailers for less than vacation owners pay in annual dues. This inevitably limits their most loyal customers while they’re stuck in a perpetual agreement.
Some would say it creates quite an unnecessary stir. Why not just give timeshare owners the choices they were promised? Moreover, they need to stop selling intervals to lower income families and lying to them about the cost. Find people that are willing to pay more and eliminate the need to book through third parties.
2. STOP OVERSELLING THE PRODUCT.
For a while now, it’s been known that timeshare companies invest their earnings in selling point programs to new users. This inevitably overpopulates usability and diminishes the resale value. Think about it. Any business that has a greater demand than supply profits tremendously. The difference with timeshares is, there is an excess of supply in the resale market and no demand.
When products, services or memberships are in scarce supply, the demand goes up. This not only results in an upheld value but also an increase in value. This is true even when depreciation is expected. Since this is rather confusing, allow us to present you with an example.
Most new automobiles depreciate about $5k-$7k as soon as you drive them off the lot. However, if you purchased a GT Shelby 500 back in 1969 and kept it in mint condition, you’d profit tremendously by selling it today. This is because there was a limited number of these cars produced, or limited supply. If production of this model overpopulated the auto market, the 500 would have naturally depreciated. Barrett Jackson (a premier car auction in Scottsdale, AZ) recently sold a GT Shelby 500 for $165,000.
HOW IT WORKS.
The demand in the timeshare realm has to do more with availability, and it is being grossly oversold. Timeshare companies are selling what appears to be an infinite amount of points or “flexible” interest and the actual desired availability is limited or non-existent. This is where the popular response “it’s not available, try again next year” was conceived. A lack of availability devalues the resale value which wipes out any demand, destroys the resale market and allows timeshares to remain in control.
Overselling flex or floating weeks and point memberships ensures they’re able to keep everything booked at maximum prices while timeshare owners consistently foot the bill. If they can make additional revenue by competing on the retail market at the expense of their owners, they will. Since owners are locked into perpetual agreements, detrimental repercussions loom if they choose to breach their contract.
They understand their owners will pay like clockwork. Customer satisfaction is not a factor in the resort’s bottom line. It’s why timeshare companies invest their earnings in themselves. If they’d stop overselling products and start delivering quality programs and inventory, then it’ll provide hope for the resale market. Until then, it remains bleak at best.
3. INVEST IN CUSTOMER SERVICE.
One of the biggest opportunities for timeshare resorts is finally making the transition from a sales operation to a customer service one. Improving the way they care for current owners would drastically improve retention and the industry’s reputation. Today, customer service teams are nothing more than incentivised salesmen. Instead of looking to service the vacation owner, they’re eager to close another deal.
In case you weren’t aware, sales reps are paid anywhere from $150K-$200K to simply sign people up at the initial presentation. When you take time to understand how their handsome commission structure works, you’ll clearly see why they’re so willing to lie to your face. Many of the vendors that run these seminars operate by their own rules in order to get paid. Building rapport and getting your signature is all they’re after.
The entirety of this process is extremely costly and customer service is nowhere to be found. Paying incentivised sales teams instead of quality problem-solvers doesn’t exactly set their customers up for a positive experience. Eliminating these tactics and focusing on hiring people with experience and integrity can help the industry turn things around. Serving the customer would bode well, nonetheless.
4. ELIMINATE SALES PRESENTATIONS.
Aside from disclosure, there is a ton of opportunity to improve on the front end. If timeshare companies invest their earnings in an automated process to pitch the experience – in an ethical manner – then they could save millions of dollars. While this requires a total pivot regarding operations, it could provide a lifeline for owners regarding a reemerging resale market. Instead of profiting by converting angry buyers (that were sold on over promised details), they could profit off of satisfied owners willing to pay for actual conveniences and heightened travel experiences.
In reality, these events involve a number of other costs that aren’t necessary to grow the business. Travel arrangements, marketing gimmicks and other expenses add up! But timeshare companies don’t have to pay for this. If they weren’t so focused on the hard-pressed sale while focusing more on transparency and creating a desirable product, then acquiring new customers wouldn’t be as difficult as it is today. Most importantly, it will stop feeding the scumbags that act out of greed.
5. REBUILD EMPLOYEE TRAINING.
Taking better care of timeshare owners and improving the sales process is key. But implementing change is imperative in order to sustain. This is why we believe the next step would be to start building a foundation of quality talent that turns timeshare travel into a premier experience. Now that we’ve helped the timeshare industry (in this exercise) save capital by eliminating wasteful approaches, they’ll have the capability to pull this off. But it’s going to take some time and a consistent effort.
Removing all the bad seeds and inserting good ones would give timeshare companies a chance to start creating quality training programs and a work culture that people are proud of. Oftentimes, former timeshare employees are the masterminds behind industry scams and fraud. Sadly, they’ve been trained on deception by the timeshare itself. If timeshare companies ever want to diminish the desire to cancel vacation ownership, then they have to clean house and implement better processes and policies.
Better Spending Would Turn Timesharing Around.
When timeshare companies invest their earnings in realistic solutions, a positive change will subside. If customer service becomes a priority and beneficial contracts are offered instead of onerous agreements, then there is hope for timeshare travel. At this point, it’s safe to say most aren’t too thrilled about oppressing contracts that collect beyond the grave. Especially when they know where timeshare companies invest their earnings.
Pursuing indefinite restitution for timeshare buyers and pleading with timeshare companies to alter their strategies should tell you all you need to know about VOC. Although our clientele consists of disgruntled owners, we pivoted out of a competitive industry to make a difference for those in need. At the end of the day, we’d like to improve the timeshare industry as a whole. It has caused a lot of problems for a long time now. If we’re able to help travelers enjoy vacationing without the fear of hidden inconveniences, then the battle has been won.
There is no hidden agenda at our cancellation company. Our attorney based process is proven and each of our clients have exited our program fully satisfied. While we too long for the day of happy vacation owners, we also understand we have a long way to go before that becomes a reality. In the meantime, any of our consultants would be glad to go over all of your options with you.
Truth be told, sometimes contract termination isn’t the best solution.