Do You Know Your CLV?

Your CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) could be your most valuable tool in identifying the customers that represent the most value to your resort. Data and analytics help you determine your CLV metric.  According to Forbes Insights, your CLV can be used "to identify the customers that promise to return the highest future value, and position marketing activities to appeal to them.  It can also aid in balancing the costs of acquisition and retention against future spending."

Research supports it, and we see it happening in timeshare, that in the current market repeat and lifetime customers are driving sales. They are the customers that give your resort the good reviews and their recommendations aid in bringing in new customers. Lifetime customers are also more likely to continue to buy from you. Marketing Metrics says, "The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. Selling to a new prospect is 5-20%."

Data collection helps to identify how to attract and retain customers by aiding in gathering information at the individual level. Once you know what your customer wants and needs, you can use that information in providing the best possible customer experience. "Analyst firms forecast that by 2020, customer experience is expected to surpass product and pricing as the key business differentiator."

Creating Loyalty Through Memorable Customer Experiences

Though metrics and data-gathering systems are great for getting customer information, it's really about the personal experience and personal contact in gaining and keeping lifetime customers. The timeshare concept offers the perfect opportunity for this. Timeshare resorts are family oriented - repeat visits (often during special personal occasions - birthdays, anniversaries, holidays) provide opportunities for staff and owners to interact on a personal level. Resorts located in prime vacation spots with multiple activities and amenities provide unique, memorable experiences.

Gallup’s Four Levels of Customer Experience

In the book, First, Break All the Rules from the Gallup Organization, authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman determined four levels of customer experience through an extensive survey of businesses. The authors found that successful businesses build relationships with their customers founded on four types of customer expectations that need to be nurtured and developed over time. Companies that measure these levels gain a better understanding of what their customers really want.
  1. Accuracy – Give your customer what they want when they want it. 
  2. Availability – After the sale, your customer wants to know you are still there. In the timeshare industry, that means listening to customers.  Face-to-face contact, surveys, analytics, and social media are all ways to gather feedback on what your customers want and like, and don’t like.
  3. Partnership – Beyond service and delivery, customers want to feel like you understand their needs. How are you helping them? Are you proactively reaching out to see how you can help? Show your customer you care and they’ll think of the relationship as more of a collaboration and not just one-sided.
  4. Advice – Your customers want to learn from you. Do you have resources in place to educate them? Are you able to provide recommendations to improve their lives? If this last expectation is met, it can create the closest bond with your customers.
Customer Experience Key to Remaining Competitive

Competition is fierce in the vacation timeshare resort industry.  In order to remain competitive, resorts must focus on the customer experience and on creating and keeping customers for life. This focus should start the moment a potential customer walks in the door for the pre-sale and continue for a lifetime. 

The Future is Now - Exciting New Technology for the Hospitality Industry

Imagine smart carpets with sensors in the pile that sense when you get out of bed for a nighttime trip to the bathroom and then activate subtle lighting to ease your sleepy way. Or how about bypassing the whole check-in process by using your Apple Watch or phone app and heading straight for your smart room that knows who you are when you wave your device under the lock. At this point, your smart room has already set the air conditioning and lighting levels to your specific requests. Maybe you’d rather avoid the reception desk by using facial recognition software instead of a cumbersome key card to get into your room. 

Not only are technologies of this type being tested, many are already in use. Tech-savvy millennials are the group driving the trend for unique new technologies in the hospitality industry, but everyone benefits as customers of all ages look for ways to save time, increase comfort, and experience new and exciting ways to vacation both for pleasure and business. 

Starwood Tests New Technologies

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is using concept rooms to test the technology it hopes to soon use at their Aloft, Element and Four points brands properties.  According to Brian McGuiness, a Starwood’s Global Brand Leader, "Like Detroit tests concept cars, Starwood is using three complete, technology-stuffed rooms created to allow in-house designers to experiment, innovate and test to destruction". Here’s a couple of innovations Starwood is working on:
  • Botir - Personal butler service – Botir is a self-piloting room service robo-butler that comes to your hotel room with a flip-top head stuffed with necessities you may have forgotten - toothbrush, toothpaste, slippers. 
  • Buzzibooth – In need of a little peace and quiet as you work? The Buzzibooth is a desk surrounded by a noise cancelling cocoon of sound-battening materials. Complimentary PCs and tablets are provided.

Living Labs

Also doing technology testing is NH Hotel's Madrid Eurobuilding in Spain. The company has designated several of their rooms as "Living Labs." These high-tech rooms have tablets to connect you to the hotel staff, wireless charging, high-speed Wi-Fi, ultra-high-definition TVs and more. Think of the rooms as incubators where tech entrepreneurs study future hospitality technology. 


Starwood isn’t the only hospitality group enthralled with robots. If by chance you're traveling to Nagasaki, Japan in July, check-in to the Henn-na Hotel and you can be one of the first travelers to experience its ten humanoid robots. They will greet you, carry your luggage and clean your room. At this point according to company president, Hideo Sawada, the robo-receptionists, maids and bellhops will be supported by human staff, but he hopes to soon have robots performing 90 percent of hotel services.

Henn-na Hotel isn't the first to use a robot. The tech-advanced, Yotel opened its New York City property in 2011 with a Yobot, a robotic luggage handler that stores guests' bags. The capable Yobot can also send your luggage to the airport (by delivery service) when you check out.

Check-in From the Comfort of Home

A bit less futuristic and in use now at the Villa Del Palmar Resort is technology that lets guests bypass the reception desk, and get a head start on their vacation by doing the check-in process at home before they arrive. The resort located at the islands of Loreto, Mexico, allows guests to pre check-in online from their homes. The process only takes 3 minutes and when guests arrive they can go straight to their rooms or head for the pool. Guests can also take advantage of a new online Vacation Planner to schedule vacation activities, or create a-one-of-a-kind family adventure. 

Have you experienced any new technology or have tech ideas of your own that you would like to share with us? Give us your comments at 

TBMA Continues its Focus on the Future of Legacy Resorts

At its upcoming fall meeting, the Timeshare Board Members Association (TBMA) will continue its focus on helping legacy timeshare resorts to successfully compete in the ever changing timeshare market. TBMA invites Board Members and Onsite Resort Managers to attend the meeting October 25-27 in Denver for an update on all the changes, challenges and solutions under TBMA's program, Timesharing 2020 - Creating a Vision for the Future of Legacy Resorts through Strategic Planning.

TBMA, a non-profit association, is dedicated to helping provide technical, organizational and moral support to directors of owner controlled timeshare boards. TBMA provides a forum for the exchange of views, and offers support, informational resources, and assistance to all association members in carrying out the responsibilities of the HOA.

TBMA Fall Meeting Offers Needed Insights

The October 25-27 meeting in Denver offers some needed insights from industry experts during an impressive agenda of educational panels. HOA Board Members will join in the discussions to add their detailed knowledge about running a timeshare resort, and establishing and implementing policies and procedures. 

Key Issues in Educational Sessions

Here are a few of the key issues that will be featured at the fall meeting:
  • Sunset Clauses - governing documents that call for expiration of the timeshare plan, and disclosure issues relative to those sunset provisions that affect resale.
  • Vacation Clubs - their impact on control of a resort and how they can help generate revenues from non-performing owners' association controlled inventory.
  • The Evolution of Marketing - a study of ownership preferences for new and younger buyers, and marketing strategies to reach them.
  • Creating and implementing property-improvement plans for refurbishing and reconstruction projects.
  • Evaluating your resort's financial health.
  • Monitoring a resort's public image, dealing with transient guests, and utilizing social media.

Special "Meet and Greet" session on Sunday

Board Members and on-site managers will get a chance to meet fact-to-face on Sunday prior to the start of the educational sessions. This is a good opportunity to discuss common interests and exchange contact information. More networking opportunities are scheduled throughout the sessions.

Membership and the meeting is free

Membership in TBMA is free and there is no registration fee for board members and resort managers to attend the TBMA meetings. Join at RSVP for the Denver meeting to

Is Fractional Ownership Making a Comeback?

Before the economy took a dive during the great recession and the real estate market plummeted, fractional ownership was going strong. But, like most vacation ownership properties at that time, it too took a hit. Now, it looks like fractional ownership may be making its way back into consumer consciousness, but only for a few properties - and location and financing seem to be key issues. 

Current Fractional Activity 

Seahorse Beach Club

A while ago we did a blog on fractionals and mentioned the new Seahorse Beach Club on the gulf outside of Houston.  At that time, the fractional ownership resort developed by Star Resort Group, was up and going, and according to Carl Barry, CEO of Star Resort Group, "Seahorse was knocking down its first sales".

Checking in with Carl now, he reports on his blog that sales at the luxury, private residence club "remain very sluggish due to pricing and the energy retraction in Houston."  Carl states, "Sales have been like pulling teeth. We still believe in the project and the homes we have built, but buyers have been few and far between, and the overall market slow."

Marathon Key and Crystal Cottages

Carl, a pioneer in the shared vacation industry says, "Though sales in fractionals in the past year have been few, the assumptions behind the product remain strong". In his opinion, "As prices for whole homes continue to rise, fractional interest looks all the better". One of the hot markets is the Florida Keys, a location that may contribute to the success for recently financed projects, Marriott's Residence Inn and Crystal Cottage in Marathon Key.

Other fractional projects in the works include Burnt Mill in Wells, Maine, Sunset Boulevard and Big Bear Lake in Southern California, and Telluride, Colorado.

What's the Fractional Appeal?

One Steamboat Place

An article in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago, touted the benefits of fractional ownership, one of which was the ability to own a million dollar vacation home for far less money than buying outright. A case in point, a couple who recently purchased a fractional ownership at One Steamboat Place, a Timbers Resorts' development in the affluent ski town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  In 2012, the resort was given a highly regarded industry award, "Best Fractional Development in the US, Canada, Mexico and Caribbean".

According to the Journal, what sold the couple on One Steamboat Place, was "the thought of a second home without the maintenance hassles, and the ability to stay in luxury properties in other areas." The couple said, "We didn’t want to feel like we had to go to the same place all the time to justify having it".

More Advantages Add to the Appeal of Fractionals

  • Fewer owners - Most fractionals have only 2-12 owners per unit.  
  • Longer Stays - Fewer owners means fractional owners visit their property more frequently and stay longer. (Typically 3- 4 weeks per year)
  • High-end/luxury accommodations and amenities - Fractionals more often feature luxury accommodations with concierge-level services. With larger ownership shares and more time spent on the property, fractional owners tend to take more pride in ownership. Properties are usually maintained better and operated more efficiently.
  • More owner control - In properly structured fractional properties, owners have more control of the operation of the property. Fractional associations operate much like homeowners associations and retain authority and control over their property. If the manager or management company responsible for day to day operations is not doing their job, owners have the right to replace them.

As with any major purchase, do your homework before signing on the dotted line. For a comparison of fractional vacation ownership options check out "Analyzing, Comparing and Choosing Among Fractional Vacation Ownership Options" at