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ARDA World Download

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ARDA World Download

By Howard Nusbaum

ARDA World 15 CEO Panel

Every year at ARDA World—where I am surrounded by thousands of energetic people who work to make our industry so vibrant—I am reminded why I love this industry. Listening to the presenters, panelists and CEOs talk about key innovations that meet customer demand and exceed owner expectations at resorts around the globe is yet another example of our industry greatness.

Since the introduction of timeshare in Europe in the late 1960s, developers and resort operators have continually sought to make the product better. Our satisfied owner population domestically has grown over the years to more than 9.1 million U.S. households and is now expanding to the next generation of vacationers—the Millennial generation. This success in targeting and marketing to this new generation underscored much of the content and conversation at ARDA World.

The energy and buzz at Convention was also fueled by our phenomenal keynote speaker, Jay Baer, a renowned smart marketer, customer experience expert, New York Times best-selling author and timeshare owner. Jay talked about the concept of “youtility”—giving away information and resources for free—as an engine for driving smart marketing and how to be effective in a world cluttered with content. In today’s digital world, with 24/7 information at our fingertips, effective marketing is harder today than ever. At the same time, technology has enabled customer experience and marketing to intersect. Fact: Sixty-seven percent of a buyer’s journey is done digitally. People make on average 28 visits to travel sites before booking a trip. And, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price as a key brand differentiator. 

In our industry, using technology has enabled our resorts to communicate directly with and encourage engagement from our owners. Technology is also changing the way customers are introduced to vacation products. From ARDA’s AIF data, we know that new owners are more knowledgeable about the product before entering a sales discussion.  This is facilitated by the great information and learning about the product and resorts easily accessible online. With more and more purchases of timeshare products coming from younger populations, we are evolving our means to reach and communicate with them effectively.

As Jay told us, the key to having a successful marketing strategy is being useful and providing help. If you sell something, you make a customer today—but if you genuinely help someone, you create a customer for life. Words to live by!

More to come at www.arda.org/convention, where you can download the “best-of” photos and PPTs from sessions and re-live all the awesome moments of ARDA World 2015…



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