October 24, 2014 — After Switzerland-based Hapimag started what became the timeshare industry in 1964 ‘the biz’ soon made its way to the shores of the Hawaiian Islands in the late 60’s. Back in those days many of the sales guests were born between 1925 & 1945 – aka the “Swing Generation” and I’ll bet you youngsters reading this week’s Scoop think of those years as ancient times; but don’t get too snooty because your own primordial moment is just around the corner – but I’ll leave that topic for another day.
So Here’s The Scoop: The “Swing Generation” folks lured to our sales centers back then were pretty much born during the middle of the “Roaring 20’s” (1920 – 1929), throughout the “Great Depression” (1930 – 1940’s) and up to the conclusion of World War II (1945).
The next generation that was coming down the chute and soon to be ‘hawked’ into our sales centers were those from the post World War II era (1946 – 1964). The “Baby Boomers” generation, 75 Million strong, who ultimately dominated the lion’s share of our industry’s sales guests and became the largest single group of timeshare owners/members the world over.
But like the “Swing Generation” the “Baby Boomers” will soon become a mostly forgotten memory because even those born in 1964 are now 50 years old, and since time stands still for nobody it’s only a matter of a few more years until it’s Hasta La Vista to the ‘Q’s’ from that generation.
While they are fading away what will soon be filling up the ‘pipeline’ – and I’ve written on this preciously – are today’s ‘kids’, nicknamed “Digital Natives” (“Generation Z”) and/or “Techie Tots”. They are those born in the early 1990’s, up to now and into the years to come – and who’ve been weaned on all things digital.
And yes, it will be awhile before they show up in huge numbers – but their predecessors from “Generation X” and “Generation Y” are already attending ‘an informative 90 minute presentation’ and many are using their handheld devices prior to their attendance, or if they purchase they are checking things out ‘electronically’ immediately thereafter and it’s no secret that in some instances what they are discovering is a direct cause for cancellations during the rescission period.
Now just imagine when the day arrives and every sales guest in every timeshare sales center around the world is filled with nothing but these “Digital Natives”/ “Techie-Tots’ armed to the teeth with the ‘gadgets’ of tomorrow.
And by the way, those new owners cancelling now aren’t doing so just because they learned they were (e.g.) lied to by a heat merchant. No, they are having second thoughts because they get online and discover facts like what it really costs to rent like-style vacationing accommodations Vs owning.
That is better known as “comparative shopping” which is already huge and when doing this these new owners/members are also discovering the secondary market where they can often purchase a slice of Paradise available at their ‘home resort’ from a private party seller – and as we all know, often, at a fraction of the developer’s price.
They are also reading reviews from other timeshare owners/members whose lifestyles changed so they they no longer travel, their kids don’t want the TS and because in many instances there is no legitimate ‘out’ for them as an owner/member, they must continue to pay the ongoing annual maintenance fees and special assessments (when/if applicable).
And if that isn’t enough to scare new owners/members there are the never-ending and widely publicized timeshare-related scammers out there totally destroying the reputation of an otherwise outstanding industry, travel product and service with a 50-year track record of success.
All I can say, IMPO, is that it will worsen exponentially for those developers who continue to avoid this coming train wreck; and in the meantime, I’m pretty darn sure it’s becoming more challenging than ever before for those particular developers’ sales reps to sell those slices of Paradise and have the deals ‘stick’.
And yes, there are ways to prevail and some developers are already addressing the ‘issues’; but based on decades of personally being in the TS trenches I’m convinced most other developers won’t do what is necessary and quite frankly they’ve had a great ‘ride’ and some couldn’t care less about the ultimate destiny and/or final disposition in the Land of Time.
Instead, those particular developers will continue to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ – and when the time comes to pull up the tent pegs they’ll sail away, so to speak, and you can bet your last sawbuck they’ll do just that without so much as a second thought of all the “little people” (owners/member/reps/admin, etc.) who made it all possible.
One final thought for all non-Executive level management, marketing and sales reps reading this week’s Scoop.
I’ve been cautioning you all for the past few years that if you’re staying in our industry for the long haul — as in having an actual career path offering upward mobility, some basic ‘job’ security with benefits, a retirement plan, etc. — you best get on board NOW with the progressive forward-thinking developers demonstrating that ‘long-view’.
As for the rest of the ‘gang’ (developers’) who don’t see things that way – well, that, too, I’ll leave for another day.
Good Luck Out There!
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Contributing sometimes extravagant, bombastic, emotional, pompous or even pretentious writings about the timeshare industry, Scoop covers an array of industry related subjects each week including inside information, tips, scandals, interviews, forecasts as well as new (good or bad) products and services — and, of course, all the ‘Good’, the ‘Bad’ and the ‘Ugly’.
Stay tuned for what is sure to be a fun ride and check back to Timeshare Scoop du Jour each week for more of the inside scoop.