What does the new decade hold for the timeshare industry?
As we enter a new decade, we’re asking ourselves if timeshares are still relevant, and how they can be made fit for purpose for the holidaymakers of the 2020s.
Timeshares first came to prominence in the 1970s and they quickly gained a legion of fans who saw it as an affordable way to purchase a holiday home and enjoy regular holidays in the sun. However, since their heyday, timeshares have suffered a decline in popularity, beset by incidences of scams and unfair contracts. So, as we enter the new decade, we asked timeshare solicitors what the future holds for the humble timeshare, and whether it can remain relevant to holidaymakers in the 2020s and beyond.
One of the biggest challenges the timeshare industry needs to overcome is its reputation. Thanks to issues such as high-pressure sales tactics, unfair contracts and hidden charges, many customers have ended up frustrated and unhappy, and this has helped create a negative perception of the industry, which could be a key cause of its declining popularity.
New market conditions
In addition to these issues, timeshare companies also have to cope with the challenge of a hugely altered holiday industry, with changing demographics and new market conditions.
The way we holiday has altered drastically since the 1970s. In particular, the growth of low-cost airlines and the success of holiday rental firms such as Air B&B has made it easier than ever before for people to travel abroad and explore exotic destinations around the world. This ease of travel means that people increasingly expect more flexibility from their holidays, and many choose to travel to different locations rather than returning to the same resort year after year. This is especially true for younger generations and, if not tackled, it could pose a significant threat to the long-term sustainability of the timeshare industry.
In order to adapt to this new marketplace and cater for holidaymakers’ increased appetite for variety and adventure, timeshare companies need to offer their clients a greater degree of flexibility. Some of the larger timeshare firms have already cottoned on to this and are starting to move in this direction with flexible ownership plans that enable customers to accrue points to spend in a number of different timeshare resorts. These plans can also include options for exchanging, banking, or purchasing additional points, enabling owners to create a holiday experience that is tailored to their needs.
These flexible plans have so far proven very popular with timeshare owners, and it’s something that we expect to see more of in the years to come.
In a world of low-cost, no-hassle holidays, timeshare companies will also need to offer their customers added value if they are to remain competitive in the longer term. Prioritising the customer experience, with features such as virtual resort tours, online sales services, tailored onsite activities and members-only perks, will help timeshare companies to steal a march on their competitors and attract a new generation of timeshare owners.
So, what does the future hold for the timeshare industry? Will it still be around when we enter the next decade? The short answer is yes – but only if the sector learns to adapt. With greater flexibility and an increased focus on customer service, the timeshare industry can continue to thrive through the 2020s and beyond.