As others have covered before, Access works closely with a number of companies in the vacation resort industry. Our primary role with almost all of these companies is member engagement. Our merchant content is often cited to prove the value of a membership, or to help members save a few bucks at a new destination.
The down economy has obviously impacted the travel industry, and maybe no segment of it moreso than timeshares. These companies have it doubly difficult: they not only need to convince consumers to spend from an ever shrinking vacation budget , but they also have to endear themselves to a new, marketing-savvy generation that is skeptical of the traditional methods timeshares use to attract sales.
Our VP of Corporate Sales Dave Cook was recently asked to weigh in on this transition and what timeshares can do. In the "Changing Faces of Timeshare," from the January 2013 issue of Developments, the official publication of ARDA, Dave states the importance of adding value that goes beyond a simple place to stay:
Dave Cook, vice president of corporate sales for Access Development, agrees.
'A lot of our clients are emphasizing overall value, which includes unique benefits they offer outside the core purchase.'”
Member benefits are turning into a make-or-break facet for any paid membership club, from timeshares to online video streaming services. When the customer is sitting down to pay their dues each month, they need to recall value beyond the membership itself.
Social media is also playing a big role for timeshares. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube are all sites that consumers run to for information and recommendations on travel purchases. It's important for timeshares to not only market themselves on these channels, but also to make themselves transparent. That means they need to be open to an honest back-and-forth dialog with consumers.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Pinterest enable companies to share what they offer and build engagement that can lead to sales, adds Dave Cook, vice president, corporate sales for Access Development, an incentives/loyalty company.
“But they’re also dangerous in that customers can broadcast their experiences to a wide audience—good or bad.”
Cook estimates that roughly 20% of customer service issues are routed through social media today.
“Those conversations are public…and in five years, that figure will be closer to 50%. Yet few companies are monitoring and responding. Those that do will have influence over not just the complaining customer but also his/her network.”