February 21, 2014 — Sometimes it can be said that I am extravagant, bombastic, emotional, pompous or even pretentious in my musings about the timeshare industry. But when you are as all-knowing and important as I am & when you express yourself in the lofty manner in which I do then those adjectives would apply. I am, after all, a greater person than all others in our industry and I have forgotten more of what I know about the Land Of Time than what the collective masses ever knew in the first place.
So Here’s The Scoop: That was a joke Bubba – and with that clarification on the table, this week I wanna talk about BRIBERY. You know, whereby a business or industry such as ours solicits the general public and how we alter their behavior by dangling the possibility of transferring something of a perceived value (aka: gifts, premiums etc.) to them that influences their often reluctant willingness to attend a TS sales presentation.
Now I’m all ‘down’ with that approach. I have other bribery ideas that I believe would work better; one being if you’re gonna have a quid pro quo marketing model then get off the ‘low-rent’ premiums, etc. and step up to the plate and play ‘quality-gift’ hard ball for land’s sake!
One of my favorite lines in the 1942 motion picture classic Casablanca staring Humphrey Bogart (as Rick) is when Ugarte (played by Peter Lorre ) was fleecing people by selling them forged travel papers to escape the Nazis, etc. and said to Rick: “I get it for them for half. Is that so parasitic?” Rick responds: “I don’t mind a parasite. I object to a cut-rate one”.
And it has always been that ‘cut-rate’ approach to marketing in our industry that drives me crazy.
For example, I was around during the days when OPC’s in Waikiki would dangle a mere six-pack box of low quality cheap (and sometimes spoiled) pineapples to generate tours — a box, I might add, that could be purchased by the tourist locally for just a couple bucks. Yet the pineapples worked as planned.
I was also around south of the U.S. border in beautiful Mexico when often all it took was for the OPC’s’ to offer a bottle of the cheapest and foulest tasting rotgut Tequila imaginable and, like the pineapples, the tequila did the trick.
And not to be outdone I can remember a time back in the eastern USA when developers’ marketing departments would offer potential sales guests a ‘giant screen TV’ and when they showed up and went through the ‘pitch’ all they received was a cheap magnifying screen to place in front of their television sets that made their (e.g.) shows appear larger. And of course it, too (the gift) worked as planned.
I should also mention back then at least one developer up in stunning Lake Tahoe, NV would have their ‘marketing’ people send postcards to homes in the N. California area that offered a “GENUINE DIAMOND” for coming to the Lake and attending the presentation. Of course that DIAMOND turned out to be an industrial grade, uncut diamond that was a melee (less than 0.25 carat) and basically worthless — but it, too, ‘worked’.
And here’s a zinger for everyone including developers to ponder. Even with the cheap and often spoiled pineapples, the lousy rotgut tequila, the phony giant TV and those diamonds, the developers back in that era — some of whom are around to this day — bitched, moaned and groaned about the cost of the ‘gifts’ and the few bucks they paid the OPC’s to get the “tour” in the door.
Of course here we are all these years later while developers are still making gobs of money — as they rightfully should — and some of those very same developers, as they did decades ago, are still moaning about the costs of gifts & marketing, etc.
But here is the real POW – BAM – BANG & BONK (make that last one BUNK). In the real world the developers, as it is with most other sales driven businesses, never did and don’t today have any direct out of ‘their’ pocket marketing costs.
Because – drum roll please – I would argue that ultimately it is the TS buyers who reimburse the developers’ marketing expense because those costs (sales commissions, etc., too) are traditionally factored into the ‘selling-price’ anyway!
So please dear developers – and you know most of us admire and respect each and every one of ya and some of us even envy your accomplishments – but enough with the moans and groans!
Besides, if that money did come directly out of your ‘private stash’ most of you would have surely improved your ‘marketing’ madness methods and ‘heat-pitching’ selling techniques over the past nearly 50 years. But to date most have not, and that speaks volumes regarding this week’s brief moment of introspection.
Stay tuned folks. Coming soon: The Quality of the Gift Equals the Quality of the Deal’, whereby I will clearly demonstrate that since the ‘buyers’ are paying the marketing costs anyway, dangling an expensive ‘premium’ is a far better way to entice potential sales guests than a dinner for two, a tank of gas, a Debit/Gift Card, Show Tickets and other such nonsense and low-rent inducements.
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’.
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