by Scoop (June 30, 2017)
here is a colloquialism involving a rather large person who is bellowing out the words to a final song, causing some people to say the performance is an indication that something is nearing or at its conclusion. We all know the maxim and in the Land of Time there are a few industry insiders I’ve spoken with recently who, off the record, told me that for some time now, at least from a marketing and selling perspective, they believe the timeshare industry in the U.S.is rapidly approaching its demise.
So Here’s The Scoop: After careful analysis of their individual perspectives and further evaluation of some of the known facts I’m beginning to lean towards their arguments suggesting the era involving our industry’s traditional marketing and selling (M/S) process at the developer level in the U.S. could soon become a faint memory.
To be clear I’m not suggesting that there won’t be some remnant of M/S activities by U.S. developers during the years ahead. And I also believe that those U.S. owners/members who have contractual ‘use’ relationships with the big developers will have many more years to enjoy their timeshare vacations with family and friends.
On the other hand the individual working stiffs in M/S (management, too) and other supportive services in the U.S. (including ancillary companies) that do ‘business’ with those developers may not have futures that will be as bright as they once anticipated.
I make that assertion because of the ‘C’ word (consolidation); in our industry when some of the the big companies bought out the smaller ones the pond of independent timeshare developers who helped forge this industry all across the U.S. dwindled to a mere handful when compared to their ranks not that long ago.
With that in mind, and while we’re speaking of diminishing numbers, even this year’s big annual American Resort Development Association (ARDA) convention a few months ago in New Orleans, LA seems to have experienced a noticeable drop in attendance.
If memory serves me correctly there was a time when it was not uncommon for 3,000 – 4,000 industry folks to attend the annual affair but this year the headcount for the conference may have fallen to somewhere around 1,700 attendees.
At the same time it also appears the number of vendors that paid pretty hefty fees to travel to “The Big Easy” so they could set up & exhibit their ‘wares’ for about 10 brief hours in the ARDA Exhibit Hall this year was also down to around 70 vendors (+/-).
That number, if near correct, pales in comparison to previous years when the exhibitor count during the annual meeting was usually around 100 and 120 (+/-) merchants who set up, displayed and showcased what they could provide to our industry and developers.
Even some of the ARDA faithful who’ve often presented their companies, products and services, etc. during the yearly event were not set up as exhibitors this year, though a few C-Level Executive types from those entities may have been spotted walking about the ARDA Exhibit Hall as attendees.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that it seems the “Corporate” membership numbers in ARDA are also declining and right now, from what I think was a one-time high just a few years ago of around 1,100 (+/-) total “Corporate” ARDA members – this year the number may be about half of what it once was.
So ‘if’ everything my off-the-record insiders have suggested (to me) is correct and ‘if’ what I’ve added herein today is anywhere near accurate then the big question is what does all this mean to those folks who generate their livelihood (aka: incomes) either directly or indirectly and/or in full or in part from their association with U.S. timeshare developers?
Well, I’ll leave that for those folks to determine but there’s one thing that is unquestionable, crystal-clear and happening right before all our eyes. Whether we like it or not, accept it or reject it – the U.S. timeshare industry continues its metamorphosis and that transformation will continue to have a direct cause and effect on many peeps’ incomes, well-being and their futures.
But fret not because there are also great opportunities for those who adapt to what appears to be inevitable, and right here in ‘Scoop’ we’ll soon begin exploring some of those options and the potential they’ll provide to those so inclined to seize the day.
In the meantime to those who refuse to gaze down the road ahead I leave a caveat this week via a well known line from a movie in which the incredible, award-winning actress Bette Davis, who played the role of an aging performer known as Margo Channing.
In that 1950 movie “All About Eve” ––- nominated for a record breaking 14 Academy Awards — there is a scene when Margo (Bette in her unique voice and with those “Bette Davis Eyes”) turned from the stairway, looked back towards everyone in the living room attending the cocktail party and famously said: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”.
Good Luck Out There
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