Bournemouth University has revealed the results of a recent survey which analysed the needs and aspirations of younger timeshare buyers.
Final year students at the school of Tourism at Bournemouth asked 30 to 40 year olds what they looked for ideally in a timeshare holiday; the students had to come up with proposals as to how the timeshare industry can attract this younger age group.
The classic image of the retired timeshare couple is now outdated and many younger families are buying timeshare holidays and choosing from the much wider range of options available, ranging from trial memberships to longer term plans as well as other types of shared ownership, including fractional properties.
The students visited timeshare resorts in the UK and the Canary Islands where they interviewed timeshare owners, met with key industry contacts and analysed the media’s view of timeshare from past to present.
After their extensive statistical and face-to-face research, the students came up with a number of recommendations for the industry. Some of the main ones include:
1. Integrating the latest technology throughout resorts
Younger timeshare owners expect high standards of connectivity such as Wi-Fi and mp3 docking stations at a luxury resort. It’s important for contemporary resorts to be fully interactive and offer guests the facility to use their tablets and smart phones through social networks both within and outside the resort. Holidaymakers tend to share their holiday experiences on Facebook and Twitter and both social media platforms are used by resorts to inform their clients of the latest events at the resort and holiday news.
2. Introducing short term products
Shorter term products are far more attractive in terms of affordability to the younger demographic and a try-before-you-buy product or trial membership can be the ideal introduction to longer-term ownership.
3. Developing the fractional ownership concept
In general, this is a step up from timeshare in terms of quality and with (some level of) guaranteed returns at the end of the cycle.
4. Raising public awareness of timeshare
80% of the survey respondents had no knowledge of timeshare so one of the recommendations was that the industry should aim to educate this group of the benefits of the product.
5. Using modern media to communication with the younger generations
The younger demographic is highly computer literate and has been brought up with technology so online marketing methods offer the opportunity to advertise to many more consumers in a cost effective manner
6. Investing in marketing to improve public perceptions of the industry
In conjunction with TATOC, creating a marketing campaign to improve the image of the industry and introduce the benefits to the younger demographic would be beneficial, using testimonials as well.
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis of Bournemouth University was one of the key speakers at last year’s RDO Conference in Marbella at the Don Carlos Hotel, where he presented a compelling case for change to the delegates. He discussed the concept of eTourism and outlined the steps the industry needs to take to embrace the “empowered consumer”.