October 5, 2012 — Back in the 1960’s/70’s there was a U.S. airline carrier known as Western Airlines. Their very popular advertising slogan was delivered by an animated cartoon bird sitting on the fuselage sipping champagne and smoking a cigar; while the jet was flying Wally Bird would suggest to the viewers that Western Airlines was “The oooooonly way to fly!” when it came to traveling.
So here’s the scoop. When it comes to flying a lot has changed since those days but there is one inescapable truth and that is whether soaring the “Friendly Skies”, taking a cruise, chartering a private fishing boat and/or spending a weekend in Las Vegas or a vacation retreat in Mazatlan going 1st Class is the “oooooonly way to fly”, so to speak.
And that is exactly how most consumers feel. If money were not a consideration and if (e.g.) American Airlines announced at all the airports they serviced around the world that ‘today’ any passenger wishing to upgrade to a ‘1st Class’ seat on any of their 1,500 daily flights without any additional cost there would be a stampede to the gate.
People like going ‘1st Class’ and in the travel industry if vacationers can rent a car at a budget price but get the luxury model or sail the seven seas and upgrade from a cramped lower one-room cabin to a 2-bedroom upper suite at the same price they’d surely take advantage of the opportunity.
Upgrading and/or going ‘1st Class’ has tremendous consumer & market appeal. Yet as an industry we continue to promote the timeshare lifestyle as a low-rent hospitality product/service and we do so in spite of the overwhelming evidence that millions of consumers the world over appreciate, have the means and in fact purchase ‘1st Class’ vacationing experiences all the time.
Our industry’s less than stellar promotional approach goes back more than 40 years and started, as it continues today, with the dreaded and feared marketing and sales cost ratios and the never ending worry and concerns by the developers that such normal and traditional costs of doing business were exorbitant.
The other part of the problem, and I mean this respectfully, is that most developers (then and now) and many of their senior level management have never sold products or services at the consumer level. And when it comes to our industry these folks are often not quite sure why and which consumers freely and willingly outright seek and purchase a quality ‘1st Class’ vacation lifestyle for themselves and their families.
And because the ‘deciders’ are fixated on the marketing and sales costs they only see numbers and do everything within their powers to prevent so much as a penny increase in those costs in spite of a fundamental business principle which is that marketing and sales costs are ultimately absorbed by the ‘buyer’.
That mindset, IMPO, mistakenly then leads them to stay with the ‘old ways’ and bypass or flat out ignore a plethora of other proven and highly successful promotional approaches that would actually target and attract their ‘known’ market (buyers) to their sales centers.
Nearly a half a century ago our industry’s original developers conceived, created and then introduced the traveling public to a ‘1st Class’ vacation product, service, lifestyle and experience.
And since those early days millions of consumers of a specific demographic have clearly demonstrated their desire to go hobnobbing in an upscale manner by owning their vacations and they have proven, without question, that doing so is the “oooooonly way to fly!”
With such overwhelming evidence and nearly 50 years of absolute proof of who the ‘buyers’ are, developers would be well advised to promote their slices of Paradise as the ‘1st Class’ commodity that it is and to do so only to that specific market that has the needs and means to become an ‘owner’. And they should stop wasting time and money on sales guests who merely breathe and/or barely have a pulse.
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