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    I have a Marketing degree and a Sales background of 29 years, I have for a long, long time attempted in every way to convince the ‘gurus’ that traditional ‘marketing’ methods should be pursued. When Starwood rolled out their new advertising campaign in 2006 for EVERY brand EXCEPT Timeshare I asked “Why?” The answer was: “We dont feel that Timeshare is a sought after product.” My response was that it will not BE a sought after product until WE make it one! On every blog, web forum etc. concerning Timeshare the most negative and anti-Timeshare contributions relate to the Marketing process ( I call it AMBUSH MARKETING) in effect since Timeshare was born in this Country.

    I cannot think of another product or service where Marketing is diametrically opposed to the Sales process; “You don’t have to buy anything!”, “It will only take 45 minutes”, “You get a great gift for your time and you dont even have to listen”, “Tell them you make ‘X’ amount of dollars per year”, “Tell them you are/are not married.”, etc etc. Every other product or service is PROMOTED by Marketing and the Marketing/Advertising effort POSITIONS the product/service FAVORABLY to the potential Client, ASSISTS the Sales process, delivers to the Point of Sale an Open-minded, anticipatory and engaged Customer who seeks to determine if the product/service will BENEFIT the Client.

    ONLY in Timeshare do we continue to pay SALES Professionals LESS so that we can pay MARKETING more to deliver a Close-minded, negatively positioned customer that the Point of Sale representative must spend at least an HOUR to build CREDIBILITY and TRUST because there is NONE when the Client is delivered in this way.

    I believe that the REASON for this is because Marketing holds the Sales department hostage by turning ON and OFF the pipeline whenever Sales demands a BETTER or MORE Qualified Customer. “IF you want BETTER tours then we will send LESS or CHARGE you MORE!” So Sales continues to buy into the idea that it is better to flood the floor with bodies who can fog a mirror rather than have a ‘trickle’ of more Qualified tours to sell. So the Average Sales Price gets lower, cancellations rise, defaults abound and Sales people get paid less and less and Marketing continues to get paid MORE and MORE even though they are LESS and LESS successful.

    Kudos to Marriott and Diamond who are among those developers who ARE utilizing a more mainstream Advertising Market. Diamond Resorts currently is airing an INFOMERCIAL on the Travel channel and will soon appear in the new season of ‘Undercover Boss’.

    I would LOVE to see a prime time commercial where a family plays on the beach, skis down a slope, hikes through a mountain and at the end a tagline : “Isnt it about time you started sharing?” My QUESTION IS THIS: Why isnt ARDA already running THAT commercial?

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    Excellent points Ray.

    RE: “We don’t feel timeshare is a sought after product”.

    That is because they don’t know what is being sold which is, in a nutshell, vacations and staying in superior accommodations and oh by the way TS developers, both “products” (vacations and accommodations) have been sought after since you know who reportedly walked on you know what; if not before that!

    And as for these so called TS Marketing Gurus. Pure and simple it is and has been for decades a case of the tail wagging the dog.

    I have more to add but it really gets me all riled up when I think of the absolute marketing incompetence in this business.

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    Well, I don’t have 29 years experience, but I have a Marketing degree and 15+ years of being a media buyer/planner/copywriter in Chicago and can say that traditional advertising WORKS.

    Of course it is not a sought after good, because the industry does not allow it to be sought after, it is hidden from view and consumers believe that if it is hidden, that there is something wrong with it. You can agree or disagree with the fact that timeshare has something to hide, but the truth is that’s what consumers believe.

    I just finished watching a 30 minute program on The Travel Channel for DVC. Nicely done of course, it is Disney, but it included a call to action and consumers could get more information if they wanted to or simply buy over the phone.

    This is not rocket science people, why do they pretend it is?

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