The Classic Formula: Use + Satisfaction = Lower Delinquency
By Nigel Lobo Vice President of Resort Operations, Grand Pacific Resorts | June 12, 2011
Whether your hospitality niche is timeshare, shared ownership, vacation club or hotel, customer loyalty and retention is at the top of everyone's priorities these days. Since I came from the hotel world into timeshare operations it has become increasingly evident that the most effective way to drive loyalty with our customers, guests, and in our case, owner, is to keep them engaged and continually reignite the flame that motivated them to invest in owning a timeshare.
Our strategy to keep our owners loyal and committed to their timeshare purchase is tied to a simple equation: Use + Satisfaction = Lower Delinquency. How do we do that?
An Owner engagement strategy typically targets encouraging owner usage. How do you get owners to use their timeshare either at their home resort or exchange their week and travel to other resorts? The key is keeping owners informed of what they own, the deadlines they need to be aware of to best use their ownership, and help them overcome procrastination. I believe procrastination is the biggest enemy of timeshare ownership. To get the best availability and options when traveling away from their home resort, plans have to be made well in advance. This goes in sync with the thought process of making and keeping a vacation a priority.
An important need from an owner perspective is "Information". How do we communicate and update owners with timely and easy to understand information and updates about their vacation ownership that will generate action and use? Professional management companies have this approach built into their operations. For instance, our company has a Division of Owner Loyalty which maintains a constant and thoughtful flow of information to our owners. E-blasts and customized reminder updates certainly help our owners with the appropriate information they need, and a follow up call from our Owner Services team helps them overcome procrastination.
We also send out high content newsletters and electronic updates to keep our owners "in the know". The Owner Satisfaction Survey that we have launched over the past couple of years has our owners letting us know they enjoy informational (non-sales solicitation) updates, which certainly assists with the owner engagement process. Our customized electronic e-blasts provide our owners the options they have available to them to make full use of their vacation ownership.
Grand Pacific Resort Management recently launched a "Let us help you plan your vacation" email campaign which serves as a gentle reminder to our owners on their myriad vacation options with a call to action. We also offer Vacation Ownership 101 classes targeting our owners, so they can fully understand how to maximize the usage of their timeshare. We have launched webinars to further enrich our owners' education and understanding of their timeshare ownership. As new options become available (new resorts, new split week options, cruise exchanges, etc.), we keep our owners up to date on how they can incorporate these changes into their timeshare use.