1. Owner engagement and retention are crucial to a resort thriving instead of merely surviving. This process begins as soon as your owner arrives at the property. Assure your front desk staff is well trained, friendly and happy to answer any questions or address any concerns your owner might have. Call ahead to see if they have any special events or needs during their stay. Don’t forget your exchange guests, give them the same great service and they might be your next new owner.
2. Don’t let the yearly billing be the only communication you have with your owner. Collect email addresses and send fun updates throughout the year regarding improvements at the resort, special events or what’s happening locally. Highlight local restaurants or shops that have recently opened so your owners can make note of new places they might like to visit during their stay.
3. Social media is one of the most immediate ways to get information to your owners. Keep your website, Facebook or other social media pages updated with new content and photos from around the resort. Monitor and respond to any comments you receive. Encourage owners to post their favorite vacation photos and run contests to encourage participation. Who wouldn’t want to win an extra week stay for posting the best vacation photo?
4. Have activities for all age ranges. A vacation isn’t a relaxing experience for a grandparent or parent if they have to listen to “I’m bored” all week long. Offer various activities for kids (and adults) of all ages. Even if you have a limited budget there are very inexpensive ways to keep everyone entertained. Encourage owners to donate any unused games and movies to the resort to build a collection for everyone to enjoy.
5. Keep your resort as updated as possible. If you have the funds for a complete renovation great, but if not look for small, inexpensive ways you can update the look and feel of the resort. People now expect certain amenities and conveniences in line with what hotels offer and Wi-Fi is a necessity, not a luxury! Above all though make sure the rooms are clean, guests are willing to overlook older furnishing but not rooms that look or feel dirty. You want your owners to have a sense of pride in the resort and be happy to bring friends and family to stay.
6. If you have an owner paying their maintenance fees every year but not using their week find out why. Are they unable to travel, have they lost interest in vacationing at the resort? If your owner is not using their week in some way the chances are good at some point they’ll stop seeing value in their ownership and will eventually stop paying. Find out why they’re not using and offer them alternative ways to use their week and restore the value.
7. Educate your owners on all exchange resources available to them. Exchange is a great benefit of timeshare ownership and a big part of the reason why your owner probably bought in the first place. Don’t assume exchange has nothing to do with you. If your owners experience frustration exchanging and cannot go where they want, then this affects their perception of the value of their ownership. If your owner complains about a negative exchange experience, listen! Offer tips and various exchange company options to your owner so they can decide what works best for them.
8. Reach out to delinquent owners via phone to find out why they’ve fallen behind. If they’re having financial difficulty they may be embarrassed to admit to it, but showing concern for your owner and having solutions to help will go a long way, and may save the owner from walking away from their week. For owners who simply cannot afford it or can no longer travel, have an exit strategy in place to help your owners with no other option.
9. Engage the next generation. Your owner may say their children or grandchildren don’t want their timeshare but are they sure? Organize family weekends and have owners invite their family for a weekend stay or have an annual friends and family picnic. These family members probably have wonderful memories of their vacations growing up and might just need to be reminded of the value of timeshare ownership.
10. Realize that you have to constantly “sell” your resort’s experience to your owners. While there will always be complaints and owner issues if you show your owners you care about them and want to make their vacation experience great then you’ll have happy owners and happy owners pay maintenance fees, go on vacation, enjoy the timeshare lifestyle and most importantly they refer others!!
Guest post series courtesy of DAE USA, Phoenix, AZ. For more information about DAE visit www.daelive.com.