Due to sales tactics used in the past and pervasive in the industry for years, people have developed a bad taste in general to timeshares and hard-selling Timeshare agents or brokers. Timeshare vacation plans have unfortunately gained a bad reputation among the populace. But let’s take a look back on how the industry evolved, and better yet, how one can thrive in this industry.
According to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the timeshare vacation plan industry is a billion dollar industry, with sales increasing in a range of 5% up to 9% annually in the US. Timeshares have become significant profit pools for hotels and resorts, with annual revenues ranging from USD 500 Million to as high as USD 1.5 Billion.
Since it began in 1969, the industry has become robust and thriving, with a lot of Americans considering timeshares as a good option for their vacation plans. According to ARDA statistics, about one of every 12 Americans owned a timeshare in 2014, which was an approximately 7% increase from 2012. Also, the demographics have changed through the years. What once was thought as an option for senior retirees, timeshare sales among the younger generation (with a median age of 39 years old) have increased through the years. Owners have become much younger – a brood that consists of college or graduate degree holders, with an average income of approximately USD 95,000.-
Timeshares for some people stand for a “guaranteed vacation”, since you have fixed amounts of time for use annually. Also, timeshare providers usually offer better accommodations – more space and in-room amenities, as compared to a regular hotel room. For some owners, they choose also to trade their shares for accommodations at other resorts or hotels that are included in the timeshare program. These benefits have been the main driving points for timeshare sales.
Unfortunately, recent culture has depicted timeshares as a bad risk, due to high-pressure tactics used by sales agents, and due to the numerous scams that have developed through the years. Also, the risks for owners wanting to sell their timeshare have increased, and unfortunately, for some, timeshares are often sold at a loss. On top of that, even if you do not use your timeshare, you still have to pay maintenance fees annually, that can usually amount to a few thousand dollars, which may even increase each year.
So if you are a company looking into selling timeshares, say you are a mid-range resort in the US or Asia, how would you go about selling your timeshares without damaging your brand’s reputation with hard-selling, scammer-like strategies? How can you go about building your brand and increasing your bottom line, without resorting to questionable tactics?
Here are the top three effective strategies that your company should consider for driving your timeshare sales:
Timeshares are not an investment, contrary to how most companies and sales agents package it, and you need to be upfront with this fact. Timeshares are vacation plans which you purchase now to ensure a hassle-free, guaranteed vacation in the future. If your buyer loves a particular area, resort, or club, and he finds himself going back to the same location each year, buying a timeshare plan can be a great way of somehow owning a property he loves, without shelling out a significant amount comparable to owning an actual unit or home.
You can also stress the point that purchasing timeshares means buying peace of mind and convenience, knowing that you have a definite place to stay in your beloved vacation spot, without the hassle of calling for reservations, and hoping there are available accommodations. You know exactly what you are going to get, and you can spend time thinking about other things that are part of your plans or itinerary.
If you have additional perks to offer, much better! Some timeshares include free use of resort amenities, or even on-site storage, which decreases your buyer’s hassle of shuttling things (surf boards, skis, etc) each time he travels. If you have a good exchange program in place, then it is easier to sell your timeshare as an opportunity to experience vacationing not just in one area that the buyer loves, but being able to receive the same quality of service and enjoying the same perks in another spot, still with the same convenience of having a definite place to stay in that new location.Purchasing timeshares means buying peace of mind and convenience, knowing that you have a definite place to stay in your beloved vacation spot, without the hassle of calling for reservations.Click To Tweet
Another benefit that you can mention to your buyer is that timeshares present a great “opportunity for generosity”. Some owners use their timeshares as gifts for other relatives and friends, allowing them to use their timeshares in their stead. Other owners can even use their timeshares as donations to charity, by donating a timeshare week for benefit events.
If your buyer still seems to be leaning towards monetary benefits for him to consider buying timeshares, then you can suggest an option for renting out his timeshare. He can also sell his timeshare for that year to companies who use vacations as incentives for top performers.
Be realistic though with setting your buyer’s expectations. If he seems to be a lone traveler who would like to have a taste of each country in the world, then unless your exchange program covers multiple locations across continents, then timeshares may not be an option for him. Consider also the length of your buyer’s average vacation time. If your buyer is an extended vacationer type, wherein he spends months in one area, then, again, timeshares may not be a good option for him. And going back to our initial statement above, timeshares are not an investment. If your buyer is leaning towards savings or re-sale value, be transparent in pointing out that there are fees to be remitted for maintenance, and re-sale is indeed possible, but not immediate.
2. Enthusiastic Sincerity
Timeshare sales involve making the buyer appreciate and desire the intangible. Yes there are concrete benefits to be gained (the fixed dates, better accommodations than regular rooms, use of amenities, etc.), but in order to effectively sell timeshares, you may need to focus on the aspiration needs of your buyer. Emotions are at play in this whole transaction, because timeshares are most of the time “impulse” purchases rather than a discerned buying decision. Your sales representatives should veer away from sounding too much like a used car salesman, but instead, convey positive emotions when speaking with a potential buyer. If asked questions about the possible CONs in owning a timeshare, your agents should be truthful in setting your buyer’s expectations, and sincere about expressing that his interest is at heart, going back to the intangible and tangible benefits of owning a timeshare.
Your sales agents should be artists in such a way as they have mastered the fine art of transforming a selling opportunity into a “helping initiative”, without making the buyer feel that he is being sold-to with high-pressure tactics. Their communication skills should be benchmark, their pitch and script should be compelling, they should have a thorough knowledge of everything that the timeshare plan offers (including nearby attractions, current events, alternative activities, etc.) and their manner should be so that your buyer can trust the company your agents are representing. Your agents represent your brand, and they should give the same premium quality of service that your brand offers, whether it is selling your timeshares, or providing support for owners, even after the sales transaction.
ICCS provides only white glove service – our agents are experts in setting appointments for your timeshare sales presentations. We have many years of experience with it and all our closers and verifiers have at least 6 years of experience in the industry. Call us now and allow us to help you with your timeshare day drives.