Like a lot of industries, timeshares and vacation resorts are keen on positioning their products in front of Gen X and Millennials. And like every other industry, they're finding these groups to be quite a bit different than the Boomers.
They’re online, they’re active in social media, addicted to their mobile phones, and they really know marketing. The slicker companies try to be, the quicker these folks will shy away (and possibly encourage their friends to run away too).
It doesn’t mean they can’t be sold. It just means the tactics have to change. In fact, if you do things right, they’ll come to you, and be totally open to your marketing.
It just has to be done on their terms. Try these five simple suggestions that can have a major impact on your organization and open the floodgates for success with a new generation:
1. Get active on social media
Key stat: Of the billions of social media users worldwide, over half are 25-44 years old
It probably goes without saying that social media is an important medium in changing the shape of timeshare marketing. Sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest , and even LinkedIn are all important platforms for sharing AND receiving feedback.
2. Go Mobile
Key Stat: 56% of American adults are smartphone owners
Social media will help with engaging prospective owners on their mobile devices, but you should also consider other tactics such as a custom app that allows people to book a property or exchange a weekend, a mobile coupon member benefit, and SMS messaging. A mobile-friendly website is a must.
3. Have honest conversations
Key Stat: 71% of customers who experience a quick response from a brand online will recommend that brand to their networks
We mentioned feedback because it’s important for organizations to have all online and offline channels open for a two-way dialog. You want owners and potential owners talking back to you, even complaining to you. Give them every opportunity to do so. By being responsive and honest, you stand to build relationships (and influence personal networks).
4. Emphasize the WIIFT
Key Stat: A 2013 Nielsen survey found that 65% of shoppers worldwide consider price to be the most important factor when making a purchase
For a large portion of Gen X and practically all of Gen Y, price and value are major purchasing decisions. While beautiful scenery and nearby golf are nice, they won’t buy in until they see the clear “What’s in it for them,” or some sort of ROI. This means a fair pricing structure and timeshare owner benefits that can show relevant value outside of the few weeks they may spend on your property.
5. Be flexible
Key Stat: 42% of Millennials consult four or more services before making a purchase
The typical millennial is held back by an average of over $20k in debt, and they’re big on saving money from each paycheck. In other words, they’re extremely cautious, and not likely to go into significant debt for a timeshare. They’re especially averse to long-term commitments. Consider short-term or even yearly terms for owners, or maintenance fee guarantees.
The vacation world traditionally has focused on older adults – they have more recreational money and plenty of time to travel. But with a little effort and a willingness to try some new tactics, timeshares can absolutely appeal to the value-conscious yet leisure-interested groups.