Social Media Use Earns Guests Rewards - Resorts & Hotels Gain Brand Loyalty

We recently stayed at a hotel property in Northern California and just by liking them on Facebook, we received a free bottle of Napa wine. Now, in case you think we did it just for the wine, we did enjoy our stay and it wasn’t any effort to like them on Facebook. Hotels and timeshare resorts are more than ever before using social media to connect with guests and to reward their loyalty with various perks and points when they use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In addition, it’s great advertising for the resort or hotel.  Guests and members posting positive reviews and pictures they've taken at the resort, are often viewed as more authentic and believable than more traditional types of advertising.

Major Chains Embrace Social Media

Major hospitality chains are expanding their rewards programs beyond just the reserving of a room. Members and guests are now more likely to be rewarded for certain behaviors and actions.  Many of these hotel groups have coordinating programs with their vacation ownership arms.
Starwood’s Preferred Guest Program and Caesars Entertainment's Total Rewards programs have come together in a strategic partnership. Members of both programs have the ability to both earn and redeem Starpoints and Total Rewards when staying at either of the chains’ resorts.  Mark Vondrasek, Starwood’s SR VP of Distribution, Loyalty and Partnerships, explained that through the new partnership, "we can fuel our members’ passions by creating exclusive opportunities that allow guests to experience the best of Vegas and beyond, from world-class restaurants to famous shows, shopping and nightlife."
With Marriot Reward Plus Points, members can earn points by doing what they were probably already doing anyway. Rewards are earned by checking in on Facebook, uploading pictures to Instagram and tweeting about their resort stay. Extra points are added for following participating hotels’ Twitter and Instagram accounts or re-tweeting content form the Marriott Rewards Twitter account.

Social Loyalty Platforms

If a resort or hotel would rather, there are companies that can handle the setup and maintenance of the resort’s loyalty program. These companies include I.C.E. and Leisure Loyalty.

Timeshare Advisor

Timeshare Advisor advertises itself as one-stop website for the resort industry and timeshare developers and managers. It provides them the opportunity to showcase their properties to current and potential timeshare owners. On the Timeshare Advisor site, you'll find more than 5,000 worldwide timeshare resorts with pictures and reviews. Their Go and Tell points program, makes it easy for members to share their personal resort experience with their own reviews and pictures. Members receive points for participation which qualifies them for prizes.

Loyalty 360

The Loyalty Marketer's Association, Loyalty 360, sums it all up best with this quote, "As companies continue to strive for the ultimate customer relationship, loyalty marketing is continually evolving to include engagement marketing, customer relationship management, experiential marketing, voice of the customer, data analytics and more. No matter the industry or size of a company, a loyalty strategy should be a top priority."

Upcoming Timeshare Conferences Provide Wealth of Information

Conferences are always a great source of information and networking for individuals and businesses alike. As timeshare owners and professionals, it's always a good idea to keep up on the changes and the innovations that could affect you. Knowledge is power in any industry!

Canadian Resort Conference

The Canadian Resort Conference of the Canadian Resort Development Association (CRDA) takes place September 23-24. This annual event is dedicated to promoting the interests of the resort industry in Canada and throughout the world. Not only will participants be treated to presentations by the industry's key players, CRDA's President & CEO Jon Zwickel promises opportunities to "learn, network and take advantage of business-to-business opportunities." Over the two day event participants will experience a half day networking activity, and a day and a half of debates and educational sessions.
The event is being held at the Pantages Hotel in Toronto and attendees can spend their time outside the conference enjoying downtown Toronto’s art, entertainment and shopping districts.

Conference Highlights

The conference features such industry experts as CRDA's President/CEO Jon Zwickel, Bob McGrath, and VP of Business Development for RCI, and Robert Craycraft VP of Industry Relations for ARDA. Gregory Crist, CEO of the National Timeshare Owners Association, Mark McCullough, Senior Territory Manager-North Americas for TripAdvisor, and Jim Madrid, CEO of Advance Corporate Technology Inc. and Bob Kobek of CustomerCountTM will also be among the many timeshare experts sharing their knowledge.

Kicking off the conference is a State of the Industry overview which will include updates on Timeshare, Travel Clubs and Vacation Clubs. The first day’s key note address, Employee Engagement and Culture, will be delivered by Jim Madrid, who as CEO of Advance Corporate Technology, has plenty of experience in that area. He will share his employee engagement process and the effects it has on company culture.
The second day’s keynote speaker, Mark McCullough from TripAdvisor speaks on what he knows well, the explosive impact of online review sites on the travel industry and how best to utilize TripAdvisor. Other intriguing session topics include "There’s No Escaping Getting Old—how does the industry cope with aging buildings, an aging customer base and an aging HOA, and So What Now?", a panel discussion on how to take the concepts discussed in the sessions from great ideas to working implementation. 

Shared Ownership Investment Conference

Interval International gets its Shared Ownership Investment Conference (SOIC) going in Miami Beach October 13-14. This event promises to provide complete resources for both new and established developers who are looking to learn more about future trends in resort financing, sales, marketing and operations in the industry. Hospitality executives and investors, hoteliers, real estate investment trusts, investment bankers, shared ownership consultants and private equity firms are encouraged to attend.

Conference Highlights

Kelly McDonald, a nationally recognized marketing expert and author of "How to Market to People Not like You", headlines the conference’s networking luncheon with her speech "Multicultural Marketing Today."
Other prominent speakers include Howard Nusbaum President & Chief Executive Officer of ARDA, Michael Flaskey, Executive VP Chief sales and Marketing Officer of Diamond Resorts International, and Madeline Berges, VP of E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, Consumer Marketing for Interval International.
Participants can learn more about the trend toward joint ventures and fee-for-service structure in the session, Hospitality Investment Trends, and can engage leaders in the hospitality industry for their unique perspectives in the session, "A View From the Top."
Other session topics include: Lender Talk, the Reality of Rentals, Marketing, the Engine that Drives Sales, and Social Media: Real people, Real Results. To register for the conference, email at:

The Busy Summer Season is Over - What does it Mean for the Timeshare Industry?

When the kids go back to school in September, it's the end of one of timeshare’s prime seasons. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that resort business will go down. For some resorts, this may be the time of year they pick up more business, or at least maintain summer’s demand. 

No Low Demand Season for Certain Areas

The demand for many resorts varies seasonally - as a standard, beach resorts are more popular in the summer, ski resorts more popular in the winter. But in certain areas, there are no low demand seasons. Summer weather often extends into September and October and beyond in Southern California. In fact, sunny days and year-round good weather can be expected most of the year. California’s abundance of theme parks, Disneyland, LEGOLAND, Universal Studios are a draw for families, and a preponderance of year-round schools, allows families to travel outside of the summer season, thus providing area resorts family business throughout the year. Similarly, Hawaii's perfect weather and beautiful beaches keep it a high demand area all year long too.

A Good Time for Adult Travel

Exotic Destinations

Now's a good time for adults to explore international timeshare opportunities that, with the addition of air travel, might be too costly for an entire family to attempt. The popularity of international timeshare is on the rise. Vacationers are looking for timeshare options in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Western Europe. 

Urban and Seasonal Destinations

The fall is a good time for timeshare properties in urban areas where trees abound in glorious fall colors, weather is crisp and vibrant, and often lower travel prices are in effect. Cities like Chicago and New York offer many cultural activities and parks to experience the fall colors. Portland, Oregon has limitless microbreweries for unique beer tasting and central and northern California abounds with wineries. Wine and beer focused properties in those areas arrange tours and tastings, and food-pairing dinners to enhance the timeshare experience and pull in more bookings.
Timeshare properties near National Parks and in ski resorts are also options at this time. Weather is often lovely and the summer crowds have dispersed. Properties in those areas offer hiking, biking, tram rides and beautiful scenery.

Smaller Properties

Smaller upscale boutique properties such as L'Auberge Del Mar, which cater more to adults and have fewer child friendly amenities, are often another draw for adult travelers at this time of year. L'Auberge’s prime location above the beach in scenic Del Mar, California has easy walking to stores and restaurants, and also offers gourmet dining and a luxury spa on the property.  

In the months ahead, owner weeks can still remain steady greatly impacting the economy of the area. As one season goes, another one follows with other offerings for owners and guests. ARDA’s recent report on the "Economic Impact of the Timeshare Industry on the US Economy" states - spending by timeshare visitors brought $7.9 billion to the communities where timeshare resorts were located, and that wasn’t just in "high" season.

Are “Singles” the New Timeshare Market?

We've done recent blogs on both Millennials and Baby Boomers as viable sources of timeshare buyers, but now it seems there is another viable source to consider - singles. A 2013 Gallop Poll population survey found that only 54% of the US population was married. With barely half of the adult population of the US married, that leaves a lot of singles - about 103 million of them.
In the past, timeshare marketers tended to overlook singles as potential buyers; sometimes even requiring marriage as a prerequisite to attending a time share presentation. As Ph.D. Richard Ragatz says in his study of the timeshare industry, the reasons listed for ignoring singles as prospects were: "they weren’t as stable as married couples, single women didn’t have the money, and single men would not fit in at a family resort." But that study was done in 1978, and as we all know, things have changed considerably.

5 Reasons to Market to Single Buyers

1. Singles are active: Timeshares appeal to the single buyer because many are looking for an active vacation with plenty of ways to socialize. Timeshare resorts offer numerous activities, dining and nightlife choices. The timeshare lifestyle is fun!
2. Singles like to have choices: Some don’t want to be tied to one location and appreciate the flexibility a timeshare offers such as the opportunity to exchange for a different resort in a different destination. 
3. Singles appreciate security and also getting the most for their money: A timeshare is perfect for singles that like to vacation in their favorite location year after year. They like accommodations that are familiar, secure and have room for a guest. Though they have discretionary income, maybe they don’t want to get involved in purchasing a vacation or second home that often includes a large down payment or the hassle of a another mortgage. Timeshares offer an easier and less expensive option.
4. Singles have children: Most timeshare resorts have activity programs for children - pools, water parks, playgrounds, and other activities built around children. Single parent families can have all the comforts of home - kitchen, entertainment center, separate bedrooms and plenty of room to spread out. Some resorts even offer babysitting or can provide a list of qualified sitters, and may help with arrangements for family activities in the area.
5. Singles may someday get married: A 2013 Gallop Poll on the importance of marriage found that of unmarried singles, 21% of all adults 18 and over want to get married and a whopping 56% of unmarried 18-34 year olds want to get married.  If they've enjoyed the timeshare experience, they know that one of the advantages of a timeshare includes a great family vacation. Plus, they'll have the perfect place to impress their significant other and maybe the perfect place for a wedding! 

Let’s keep the current strong growth in the timeshare industry going and make sure we don’t overlook any segments of the population that could potentially be timeshare buyers. Current Articles like Judy Kenninger’s "The Power of One", in Interval International’s Resort help to reinvigorate the topic of singles as potential buyers, and to remind timeshare marketers of the potential of this market.