Feb 08, 2017
It seems that millennials are known as the “penny pinchers” these days. Real estate reports show that they are very slow when it comes to buying homes, and that carries over into other industries, as well – including timeshares. There is some concern about the fate of the timeshare industry as the millennial generation gets older, but there is also some evidence to suggest that it could flourish, too.
The Current State of Things
As it stands, the average age of a timeshare owner is 51 years old, and the vast majority of owners are part of the baby boomer generation. Some of the largest timeshare companies are celebrating 30, 40, and 50 years in the industry, and despite the fact that they are enjoying significant revenue growth year after year, there’s one common trend – the vast majority of their timeshare sales are to existing owners. In fact, some of the largest resorts, including Wyndham, Marriott, and others, are purposely marketing new timeshare sales toward their existing owners. They have good reason to do so.
Positive Trends for Younger Buyers?
Many resort companies are reporting some positive trends when it comes to new sales, particularly to millennials, but many experts believe that the lack of marketing directly toward this group is problematic. A blog written by Simon Jaworski and Lance Henic and published on ARDA’s Insights shed some light on this. According to the writers, millennials want a few things when it comes to timeshares: sleeping capacity, the balance of commitment and cost, and exchange or exit strategies. These are where timeshare resorts need to focus if they want to attract millennials.
Changes in Common Sales Strategies
When a timeshare company or resort attempts to sell something to an older buyer, or a buyer who already owns a timeshare, they’ll typically use face-to-face techniques like call centers, marketing departments, sales managers, and more. This makes marketing quite expensive. Resorts will often take their existing buyers on tour – while they are on vacation – to attempt to interest them in buying. In today’s day and age, where millennials would rather get out their phones and contact Airbnb for lodging, these companies need to rethink their expensive (and often ineffective) marketing strategies to help grab the attention of the younger generation. They don’t want a sales pitch while vacationing.
What Needs to Happen
While baby boomers (the current majority of timeshare owners) aren’t in much of a hurry to get things done, which means that current marketing strategies work well for them, millennials are different. They are the generation of instant gratification – drive-thru windows, instant internet access, and everything they could ever want or need available to them on their smartphones. It is up to timeshare companies to cater to these individuals using the strategies they’ve come to expect. For example, virtual tours through a VR headset could make the sales process seem new and innovative rather than boring and a waste of time.
Whether the timeshare industry flourishes or flounders with millennials is largely up to the timeshare companies themselves. If they find a way to market to this new generation of potential buyers, then the possibilities are limitless. Until then, though, millennials still make up lowest segment of buyers, and the baby boomers make up the largest.