ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Going Digital in the Sales Room

(Initiatives and Trends, Developments Magazine, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

Going Digital in the Sales Room 

By Judy Kenninger, RRP
ARDA Guest Blogger

May 14, 2014 

Going Digital in the Sales Room 

Today people increasingly turn to technology to get their news on-the-go, communicate with friends and family, shop, research, and more. Consider the statistics: Facebook counts 945 million monthly users of its mobile service, Yahoo! has 400 million monthly users who access it on their mobile phones alone, 89 million people in the U.S. watch 1.2 billion online videos each day, and 73% of adults online use a social networking site of some kind. According to Deloitte Hospitality 2015, mobile technology and social media are transforming the hospitality industry. People can research and book their own travel, visit peer review sites, take an interactive tour of a resort, and share their own vacation experiences online—all from their tablets or phones. 

The timeshare industry is adapting to the fast-paced environment by integrating more visual content into their websites, developing interactive marketing tools, using social platforms to deliver meaningful content, and enriching the communication channel between brand and consumers. Such tools are particularly evident in timeshare sales organizations. Gone are the days of printed materials and brochures as consumers want to visually experience the vacation before they plan a trip. Resorts now incorporate multi-dimensional visuals and graphics into the presentation and some have developed a real-time inventory search and pricing information.

To read more about innovation in timeshare sales and marketing, check out the article on this topic in the April/May 2014 issue of Developments magazine.  

 

Asia’s Emerging Market

(International, Developments Magazine, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

Asia’s Emerging Market 

By Annemarie Valli, Wyndham Exchange & Rentals
ARDA Guest Blogger
April 22, 2014 

Asia's Emerging Market 

Timing is everything—and being the first to deliver new and exclusive vacation experiences to consumers is invaluable. Today, Asia represents one of the world’s largest growth markets for tourism and leisure. 

Given the sheer size and demographic of the region, its timeshare market is primed to experience incredible growth levels over the next 10 years. Several factors—including a growing and prosperous middle class, shifting consumer preferences and attitudes toward vacationing, and the elimination of currency controls—are all contributing to this region’s fantastic future development.

Forecasts designate China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia to host 64 percent of the global middle class, and account for 40 percent of global middle class consumption by 2030—a huge opportunity!

Asia’s estimated average household income boom, combined with a steady increase in its consumer confidence and spending intentions, are all important growth catalysts for the region. Developers who can capitalize on Asia’s favorable economy and lucrative location are best positioned to secure the land and buying dollars of timeshare travelers seeking memorable vacation experiences.

Read much more on the specific market conditions and opportunities in March’s Developments magazine article on this topic. 

Expansion in Latin America

(International, Developments Magazine, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

Expansion in Latin America

By Matt McDaniel, Tourism and Travel Journalist
ARDA Guest Blogger
April 15, 2014 

Expansion in Latin America 

Of the 550 million people who reside in Latin America, an impressive one-third is part of the middle class. And this emerging group is expected to grow across the region—presenting substantial opportunities for the leisure industry. 

Interval International’s Marcos Agostini, senior vice president of resort sales and business development for the region, says that “both the overall economic health and its emerging middle class are a boon for shared ownership.”

The economic outlook for Latin America is encouraging for the remainder of 2014, with growth projected to be up nearly three percent. The global recovery and faster growth in the United States will also have a positive impact on the region’s expansion.

An article on this topic in the March issue of Developments magazine delves deeper into highlights from four key Latin American markets: Brazil, Columbia, Peru, and Mexico. Get all the details here! 

 

Millennials Weigh in on Vacations and Timeshare

(Research, Initiatives and Trends, Developments Magazine, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

Millennials Weigh in on Vacations and Timeshare 

By Rob Kaplan-Sherman, Senior Vice President of HSR Associates
ARDA Guest Blogger
April 2, 2014 

Millennials Weigh in on Vacations and Timeshare 

It seems that whenever I speak with someone in the industry about sales, the conversation quickly gravitates toward Millennials and the tremendous opportunity they provide for the timeshare industry. 

A quick Internet search supports why this group and timeshare may fit together so well:

--Millennials take more vacations per year (approximately 4 each year) than Gen Xers (approximately 3) and Baby Boomers (slightly more than 3 annually)

--Millennials rank vacations and travel as the most important reason to save money—even more important than saving for retirement!

If vacations play an integral role in Millennials’ lives, it is clear we should want to understand their values. 

In late 2013, the AIF and HSR Associates conducted a series of focus groups with Millennials to better understand how they shop for and purchase vacations, and to identify potential opportunities for the industry.

When planning a vacation, Millennials appear to have four core requirements: unfettered access (their planning is limited only by their inspiration, research skills, and budget), completely customizable, no restrictions, and excellent value. 

From this and other observations we are able to capture some significant insights.

--Millennials seem very apprehensive about commitment, so positioning timeshare as a life-long ownership product instead of an alternative to the next vacation can make the thought of timeshare a non-starter. Deliver a great vacation and create a relationship—and thus a credible, trustworthy source on the short-list for their next vacation.

--Leverage the superiority of timeshare lodging units over traditional hotel rooms. Focus group participants consistently expressed very positive reactions toward lodging units, and specifically enjoyed having a kitchen. In the absence of price, timeshare units generated greater preference than traditional hotel rooms. When learning of the similarity of price points between hotel rooms and timeshare units, participants appeared to view timeshare much more favorably.

--Promote flexibility and choice. While some Millennials may view these characteristics in almost unrealistic terms, it may be sufficient to start a conversation with them.

Read about all of the findings from the Millennial Focus Group in the March 2014 edition of Developments magazine. 

 

The Universal Appeal of Timeshare

(Meetings and Events, International, Developments Magazine, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

The Universal Appeal of Timeshare 

By Franz S. Hanning, RRP, Chairman of the ARDA Board of Directors
ARDA Guest Blogger

March 28, 2014
 

The Universal Appeal of Timeshare 

Vacations have a universal appeal—they’re a common interest that crosses cultures and borders, as evidenced by the expansive international presence timeshare already has today. 

From Finland to Thailand to South Africa, timeshare is not only breaking ground, but also breaking records around the world. Sales at the Anantara Vacation Club: Phuket in Mai Khao, Thailand, have increased 100 percent, year over year. Kodagu Valley Resort in Coorg, India, is now working on a sister property, thanks to overwhelming demand. And a full sell-out of Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is projected in the next two years.  

This indicates that demand for timeshare across the world is growing steadily—a trend we hope to see continue in the coming decade.  

But the real beauty of international expansion is that everyone benefits. Consumers abroad have access to the product in their local regions, owners have the opportunity to travel to new, exciting destinations through exchanges, and the communities in which we operate locally reap the rewards from the continued growth of international tourism to America. 

Over the years, we’ve broken down borders to the point where vacations are now a global enterprise. It’s safe to say the world is now more interconnected than ever—and when it comes to timeshare, the sky is truly the limit. 

Read more about the universal appeal of timeshare in this month’s Developments magazine. And I’ll see you soon at ARDA World in Las Vegas! 

 

Gear Up for ARDA World With Your Creative Energy

(Meetings and Events, Developments Magazine) Permanent link

Gear Up for ARDA World With Your Creative Energy 

By Kathryn Mullan, Editor of Developments Magazine

February 6, 2014 

Gear Up for ARDA World with Your Creative Energy

With ARDA World 2014 right around the corner, all of us at ARDA are thinking about the value of bringing our industry together. It seems that ARDA World serves its greatest purpose as a “connector” and a “collective”—otherwise known as a “collective connection!”  

A recent article in Developments magazine discussed this very issue. It stated, “Collective progress comes from the application of collective intelligence: putting more minds to work on a problem…makes the discovery of new and better solutions much more likely.” 

Isn’t that what ARDA World is all about? Innovation that becomes progress and then best practices…it’s been woven into the very fabric of our industry for 45 years. This energetic force field of new ideas dwells at the core of ARDA World. 

We look forward to another year of bringing our industry together to create a mash-up of ideas, best practices, and brainstorm to fuel our own “collective creativity” engine to push forward in new ways.

Early-bird registration deadline is February 7, so sign up now—can’t wait to see you there! 

 

Economic Momentum

(Initiatives and Trends, Developments Magazine, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

Economic Momentum

By Kevin Hassett, American Enterprise Institute
ARDA Guest Blogger

January 29, 2014

Economic Momentum

The last quarter of 2013 was filled with all kinds of economic uncertainty—budget gridlock, labor market challenges, international disruptions, and the Washington shutdown. But many “dashboard indicators” give me optimism about our economic future.    

There are four metrics that I watch to track a return of economic growth:

1. The deficit has been reduced enough that uncertainty is no longer a drag.

2. American wealth has gone back up to pre-crisis levels.

3. Bank balance sheets are now looking healthy and profits are back, with the disposal of bad assets. The crisis in lending also seems to be behind us.

4. Long-term unemployment will be a very serious challenge for 2014.

Looking ahead to 2014, there are a few trends you should keep your eye on. On the economic front, I think we’re going to have a relatively uninteresting policy year, due to where we are right now and how corporate tax reform has died again in Congress.

This means politics will be front and center. What I see happening this year is Republicans will go into the election talking only about the Affordable Care Act. On the flip side, Democrats have an advantage this year, as a rebounding economy always helps the party in the White House. Interesting things will happen at the crossroads between the economy and politics this year. 

As for what’s happening on the world stage and international economic factors, I see these more of a sideshow at the moment. There aren’t strong enough pockets in the world that they’re driving activity here nor are there pockets of weakness that are so awful they are upsetting our activity.

In terms of real estate, the leisure real estate market and housing in general are all experiencing significant recovery points. But I would use caution moving forward in this in terms of the future for interest rates—the risks are balanced unevenly right now so it’s best to be cautious.

For timeshare developers specifically, I’d encourage expanding operations because the economy looks good—but I’d be sure to lock in financing before interest rates rise. Odds are pointing in that direction and the risks are higher than they’ve been in a long time, so I’d act accordingly.

For much more from Kevin Hassett, please see the interview in the next Developments magazine, available digitally and in print in February.

Kevin Hassett is a senior fellow and the director of Economic Policy Studies for the American Enterprise Institute.

 

 

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