November 19, 2010 — Timeshare industry insiders assert that in 2008 sales were down 40% and that in 2009 they were down 33% and that the 2009 slump “…was attributed to the lack of financing for rather than the ability to sell or desirability of the product to vacationing families.”
Some of these insiders are also suggesting that things are tapering off and showing signs of holding steady (maybe even improving) in the last quarter of 2010 and although I hope that is the ‘situation’ I am not yet a believer!
First of all when the big timeshare wakeup call hit in 2008 (aka: yes, our industry, too, is subject to financial realities), developers across the board were forced to immediately cut tour flow, close sales centers, cut sales lines (personnel, and management at various levels, too) and just about everything in between.
Secondly, ARDA and others released data recently stating that the current ‘closing’ ratio (average) is an embarrassing and dismal 15% and thirdly developers lost a lot of seasoned talent, whether they were ‘fired’ or ‘quit’ (because of cut-backs in their remuneration packages). And of the slots that ‘had’ to be filled it seems those ‘shoes’ are often being worn by people absent the required skills, knowledge and experience, etc.
So what is the real problem regarding the continued sales slump? Is it really getting consumers financed as is being suggested? After all, according to one authority the “desirability” of the timeshare “product” is strong and ‘if’ financing is the only ‘issue’ then I’d be inclined to accept that!
But quite frankly there are other issues that have affected sales (net results) in this industry going back to our ‘dark-ages’. Bluntly speaking, those are less than stellar sales management, lousy training, antiquated selling systems, abysmal recruiting practices, and so on. Add it all up and today not much has changed!
What I know for sure is that sales have been down the past couple years, billions have been lost and the way it is looking, unless developers get out of the marketing/sales fetal positions they’ve been stuck in for generations then billions more in losses are on the way.
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