ARDA Insights Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Generation Next

(Initiatives and Trends, Guest Blogger) Permanent link

 

Generation Next  

By Franz Hanning, President & CEO of Wyndham Vacation Club and ARDA Chairman
ARDA Guest Blogger

July 11, 2014 

 

 Generation Next Photo sized 

 

As an industry, we are witnessing how technology validates the role we play in providing an outlet for people to unplug and spend quality time with loved ones. We’ve all seen the expansion of technology’s impact on travel over the last decade, and we have recognized how consumers use technology before, during, and after travel. That’s why the role technology plays in our industry was a key focus at this year’s ARDA World Convention in Las Vegas.

During many of the educational sessions, we shared lessons learned about how developers incorporate technology into their business models, products, operations, communications, and sales and marketing efforts. From a renewed focus on in-room technology to enhanced customer experiences and owner-engagement programs, our industry is constantly adapting. The use of technology has enabled our industry to communicate better with our owner base, and taught us how to communicate with the next generation of owners. This means gaining an understanding of digital marketing, social media, and new technologies.

Be sure to catch-up on technology-themed lessons from ARDA World in the June issue of Developments magazine 

2013 Was a Banner Year for Our Industry

(Research, Initiatives and Trends) Permanent link

2013 Was a Banner Year for Our Industry 

By Darla Zanini, Executive VP,  ARDA International Foundation (AIF)
June 25, 2014 

 Banner Year for Timeshare Industry 

We are happy to present the latest research from our State of the Vacation TimeshareIndustry: United States Study 2014.  It shows that the timeshare industry enjoyed significant growth in 2013.  Here are a few of the highlights:

When comparing 2013 to 2012

  • Sales volume increased nearly 11 percent, to $7.6 billion
  • The average sales price rose nine percent
  • There are 29 percent more resorts planned for the upcoming year
  • 1,540 timeshare resorts in the United States, representing about 192,420 units
  • Average resort size was 125 units
  • The average sales price increased nine percent to $20,460
  • Occupancy remained steady at around 77 percent, compared to a 621 percent hotel occupancy rate

There were some other interesting tidbits as well:

  • Beach resorts are the most common type of resort
  • Urban resorts have the highest occupancy
  • Florida has the most resorts -- 23% of the national total
  • Florida has the highest total sales volume -- $2.3 billion
  • Nevada has the largest average resort size -- 283 units on average
  • Hawaii has the highest average sales price -- $27,712 and occupancy rate 85.2%

For more details, check out our infographic and for a full copy of the State of the Industry Study, please contact me at darla.zanini@arda.org.

Love Working in Travel & Tourism? You Could Win a Cash Prize from the World Travel & Tourism Council

(Initiatives and Trends, International) Permanent link

Love Working in Travel & Tourism? You Could Win a Cash Prize from the World Travel & Tourism Council 

May 30, 2014 

Love Working in Travel & Tourism? You Could Win a Cash Prize from the World Travel & Tourism Council

Travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, supporting 260 million jobs and generating 9 percent of the world’s GDP—yet the perception held by many outside the industry is that it is a short-term career move rather than one that offers professional longevity.  

New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), a forum of business leaders in the travel & tourism industry, shows that companies today are missing out on the best new talent amongst graduates due to negative perceptions of a career in the industry. In fact, travel & tourism holds opportunities for job creation to address youth unemployment and gender inequality issues faced by countries around the world. The research findings also show that the industry employs a higher percentage of young people and women compared to the global workforce as a whole.

However, serious challenges have been identified when it comes to the understanding and profile of the sector amongst undergraduates. In an effort to combat those perceptions, the WTTC is launching a campaign to demonstrate the career opportunities available in the industry.

Anyone who works in travel & tourism can participate by creating a 15-second video to explain why they love working in the industry and answering one of these questions:

  1. How or why did you decide to start a career in the travel & tourism industry?
  2. Who has been most influential to you in your travel & tourism career?
  3. Why would you recommend a career in travel & tourism to someone?
  4. What was the most interesting or challenging moment in your travel & tourism career?

Then, upload your video to Instagram, tag @WTandTC, and hashtag #TourismMatters for a chance to win a prize—that’s it! WTTC will award a first-place prize of $1,000 and runner-up prizes of $500 and $250 to spend on a travel event of the winner’s choosing. The deadline to enter the contest is Monday, June 30, so act fast! 

For more details about the campaign, check out the WTTC’S YouTube video, or visit their site for the contest terms and conditions. Good luck! 

 

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.  

 

Celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week

(Research, Initiatives and Trends) Permanent link

Celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week 

By Peter Roth, ARDA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications
May 7, 2014 

 

Celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week 

 

In the timeshare industry, we know that travel is good not only for health and relaxation—it’s good for our workplaces and our country’s economy.  During this year’s National Travel & Tourism Week (May 3-11) , we think it’s a good idea to remind ourselves of this impact. Here are some more statistics and facts on the travel industry from ARDA’s friends at the U.S. Travel Association:  

Let’s start with jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. travel industry recovered faster than other economic sectors—restoring 111% of the jobs lost to the recession—while the rest of the economy has only recovered 90% so far. Travel is among the top 10 employers in 49 states, directly employing about eight million people at a payroll of $209 billion. Throw in jobs supported by travel, and the number almost doubles to 15 million workers: one of every nine American jobs.

Travel also positively impacts local economies and taxes. U.S. residents and international visitors now pump more than $28,000 per second into cash registers across the country. It adds up to a $2.1 trillion economic impact, contributing more than $130 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues.Every household in America would have to pay about $1,100 more in taxes annually to make up what the travel industry alone brings to our schools, roads, search-and-rescue teams and other public programs.

Travel also boosts profits. One study found that every $1 spent on business travel drove nearly $3 in profit—a 300 percent return on investment (ROI) after adjusting for cost.

Finally, travel weathers economic storms. Sectors that decreased business travel during the 2007-2011 recession were more likely to see profits slow or drop, while industries that amped up business travel grew faster.

We can feel great about being one of the very robust areas within the travel industry – timeshare!   

 

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. 

 

Introducing the New VacationBetter.org

(Initiatives and Trends) Permanent link

Introducing the New VacationBetter.org

By Peter Roth, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
March 12, 2014 

Introducing the New VacationBetter.org

Our industry is in a very exciting place—high customer satisfaction rates, new product offerings, and a positive financial outlook. 

To reflect this, ARDA has re-energized its consumer website, VacationBetter.org, to embody this new energy and vibrancy. We created this site as a trustworthy resource for consumers to turn to for timeshare information and resources—with the main goal of reinforcing the positive experiences of owning and vacationing with timeshare.

With this goal in mind, we took several steps in revamping the new VacationBetter.org site, including:

  • Worked closely with members of the Communications Committee to help determine how to better engage the industry and provide a valuable tool for our developers and others in the industry.
  • Conducted a competitive search for an agency to help us develop a world-class website to accurately reflect the excitement, beauty, and fun of timeshare vacations.
  • Hired the same firm that helped the U.S. Travel Association create their high-impact Travel Effect website and campaign. NJI Media is an interactive design firm with significant travel and association experience.
  • Conducted primary research with a variety of ARDA members and constituents to learn how they would leverage VacationBetter.org and what they wanted to see from the site. Based on this input, we developed a strategic framework—along with a new logo, design, and content elements.

The overall tone of VacationBetter.org is consumer-friendly, reliable, trustworthy, and conversational. Through more interactive content, it provides helpful information without being sales-focused, serving as a neutral go-to source for two key audiences: would-be owners and new owners. Key highlights of the site are:

Content for Audiences New to Timeshare 

For first-timers, we provide compelling content that educates them on what timeshare is and how it works. On the homepage, they start with a “What Kind of Traveler Are You?” quiz that identifies their travel type as: Adventurer, Relaxer, Family Member, or Urban Explorer.

Content for New Owners 

Content for the “new owners” audience is framed to help reaffirm their decision during the critical rescission period, so they remain confident that their timeshare purchase was a great decision. The site includes a Timeshare Owners’ Guide with “hidden tips” for owners that tell them how to best use and enjoy their timeshare. We also have a section on understanding and using exchange programs. Finally, there will be a place for owners to share their own vacation stories or tips with other site visitors. The “What’s New” section offers visitors a reason to return, with frequent posts discussing the benefits of travel and timeshare.

How to Use VacationBetter.org 

The new site will be a terrific resource for consumers—owners and non-owners alike—and will gain traction via wide industry support. It is designed for ARDA members to use through their various communications channels—and when their owners also use it, we will be able to truly develop an “echo chamber” of support.

There are many ways that we can collectively encourage use of the site like (1) direct linking to VacationBetter.org, using our logo or “bug”; (2) provide information in the sales room and directly after the sale; (3) promote the site on social media and in owner communications; and (4) send people to the site when they book a tour or sales visit.

We encourage you to visit VacationBetter.org and to use it with your owners and future owners. It’s a credible resource that can provide third-party information to educate your prospects and make your owners smarter and more loyal vacationers. Check out the all new VacationBetter.org site today!