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Timeshares need to reflect travel preferences


Last updated 5/30/2019 at 10:21pm

Some businesses have concluded that offering to provide information with no obligation to buy does not constitute a violation of the telemarketer do not call list, so I’ve received several recent calls from timeshare companies inviting me to their presentations and offering me free travel gifts just for attending. The mere emphasis of some of these calls indicates to me that timeshare companies need to change their priorities to reflect the actual travel demand of potential shareholders.

The calls often offer trips to Hawaii, Florida or Cancun and describe the luxuries of the resort itself. This information is contrary to my travel needs and desires.

For me a hotel or motel is a place to sleep, shower and store my luggage. I can stay at home if I just wish to relax. If I go to a city or unincorporated town, I want to take advantage of the activities there as much as possible and wish to spend as little time as possible in my hotel or motel room.

The locations offered, both over the phone and at the presentations, indicate to me that the problem with timeshare companies isn’t just an emphasis on staying at the resort rather than exploring the city or town. Where I travel and what they emphasize are different.

My son lives in Kentucky, and my godson lives in Oklahoma City. None of the timeshare callers have resorts in Kentucky or Oklahoma. In reality many people travel to see family members and timeshare companies should replace their luxury-oriented marketing with a program which allows shareholders to take advantage of venues in the towns of family members.

I grew up in San Diego, so I don’t need to go to Hawaii to go to the beach. I’d like to go to Hawaii in the future only because eventually I’d like to visit all 50 states, but I have no more desire to go to Hawaii than to West Virginia or North Dakota. Timeshare companies don’t have locations in West Virginia or North Dakota. A program with a venue in each of the 50 states will allow members with that goal to fulfill their travel desires.

I’ve also never been to Alaska, but a few years ago I compiled my sports bucket list and the Iditarod dogsled race is on the list. Nome, Alaska, is not on the list of timeshare company venues. A timeshare package with sports destinations such as Nome, Alaska; Williamsport, Pennsylvania, – the home of the Little League World Series; Omaha, Nebraska, – where the College World Series is played; South Bend, Indiana, – to see a Notre Dame football game, and Louisville, Kentucky, – the current lack of Kentucky locations rules out timeshare use for the Kentucky Derby – would be more attractive to many potential members than a focus on beaches.

One timeshare company which called offered either free airfare or free lodging. I expressed my desire to visit Cheyenne, Wyoming, Frontier Days rodeo, noted that airlines don’t travel to Cheyenne and told the caller that lodging in Cheyenne, Wyoming, would be my choice. I asked whether rooms would be available during Frontier Days or whether I’d have to travel from Scottsbluff in western Nebraska or Denver to take advantage of the shortage of lodging during the rodeo. I didn’t receive a response to that question.

A sports package would involve travel to towns during high lodging demand, so that package could include transportation for the members. A timeshare with no units available is not a useful arrangement for travellers, so the issue of demand during specific peak periods must be addressed.

The current emphasis of timeshare companies is not selling lodging but rather selling the concept that being at pools and beaches, which does not require out-of-town travel or a multi-day schedule disruption, is more preferable than travel to visit family members or town activities. If timeshare companies desire to succeed they must change their business model and focus on why travelers actually leave their own town.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected]


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