Courting the Millennial…There’s Hope!

David Stillman, Bridgeworks

David Stillman, BridgeWorks

As promised in “Faces & Places” of the November 2015 edition of Resort Trades, following is our review of a presentation given by David Stillman during the 2015 Shared Ownership Investment Conference.

According to David A. Stillman, co-founder of the marketing consulting firm BridgeWorks, if you are of an opinion that you just can’t interest a millennial in purchasing a timeshare interest, you can rethink that! In his remarks at last month’s Interval International’s Shared Ownership Investment Conference, Stillman offered insight on the potential value of marketing to those aged between 25 to 35, as well as tips on what to tell them.

His book, The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace (HarperCollins) has become a business favorite and with good reason. Resort developers and managers have been comfortable promoting sales, rentals and resale weeks to Gen Y’s elders for quite a while now. The ‘traditionalist’ (born prior to 1946), ‘baby boomer’ (1946-1964) and ‘Gen X’ (1965-1979) are a fairly well known quantity.

In the traditionalist’s case, marketers learned they are a loyal, hard-working group; accustomed to self-sacrifice. Baby boomers are optimistic, idealistic and competitive. For this generation, marketers need to keep the choices simple (offer two options, rather than ten), help them feel they are on the cutting edge and avoid turning a concern about an issue into fear. (For example, minimize the concept of maintenance fees by emphasizing the factors that will keep them on the cutting edge.) On the opposite side of the coin, Gen X needs options and information. They are innately distrustful and skeptical, preferring to be well informed and self-reliant. They hate to be “sold to”; they thrive on transparency. With this group, flexibility is crucial. They want to build traditions with their family, however. So when they challenge you and appear to be negative, they are sending a signal that they just need the facts. They’re not going to buy the 3-day/2-night pressure. You need to be viewed as a resource and not hit the ‘BS-o-meter.’

Millennials, on the other hand, thrive on collaboration. Surveys show their perception of timeshare is rated higher than any other age group. They just need for you to work with them. This is the group that grew up bonding with their parents almost as partners. Decisions were made in a democracy wherein the children were consulted before taking a vacation, changing the channel or even choosing a new car. While they, by themselves, may be NQs, they are definite influencers and love to share. Your time spent with them may have a payoff with residual interest.

Older millennials are fast becoming great prospects as they marry and start having families of their own. Here are a few facts from a survey referenced during the SOIC:

Millennials:

Married–52%
Use mobile device–97%
Use a tablet–9%
On social media                –77%

The same survey found that of non-millennials surveyed who say they don’t own a timeshare, the majority says they are planning more travel, do their research online and routinely look for deals. 55 percent of them prefer to be contacted by email. Their priorities are:

#1           Quality
#2           Flexibility
#3           Value
#4           Choice

Asked to respond to marketing messages, the phrases “home away from home” and “timeshare encourages more vacations” were least likely to resonate. Millennials found destination, short-term product and low interest rates to be critical in making a buying decision. It’s reported that in most cases:

  1. Millennials and Gen Xers can be big advocates.
  2. Millennials are ready to buy.
  3. Millennials are interesting in traveling globally.
  4. Online communication is vital.
  5. Millennials want short-term bargains.

So if you can engage them on their terms and offer affordable, short-term products, they are great prospects. It may be time to change our concept in addition to modifying our marketing and products.

Generational Divides

Whether you’re dealing with Millennials (those roughly ages 18- 33), Generation X (those ages 34-49) or the 50-plus/Baby Boomer generation, you’ve probably experienced there’s a cultural disconnect between age groups. Resort managers and operators deal with it on two levels: First when members of their own team clash and, second, when dealing with owners/members or prospective new owners.

How can you  overcome these divisions and find a unifying way to cope? David A. Stillman, co-founder and a Generation X voice of BridgeWorks, a company dedicated to speaking, writing, training, and entertaining on generational issues in the workplace and the marketplace, says he has some advice for professionals looking for answers.

He’ll be offering up his top tips during Interval International’s Shared Ownership Investment Conference  at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach from September 30 – October 2. In particular, Stillman will offer hard-hitting facts on generational attributes and their potential impact on the timeshare industry. The Resort Trades team – Founding Publisher/CEO Tim Wilson and yours truly – will be covering it in detail.

Stillman has also written and co-authored a couple of books that can help. When Generations Collide: Who They Are. Why They Clash. How to Solve the Generational Puzzle at Work (HarperBusiness). His latest book, The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace (HarperCollins) has become a business favorite.

Himself an early Gen X voice in a business world dominated by Baby Boomers, “David has become one of the youngest, most outspoken, and popular keynoters to hit the national circuit,” according to Generations.com. “His unique blend of humor, fairness, and frankness won over audiences of all generations and made him a go-to speaker for organizations that ranged from the IRS to MTV. David’s keynote speeches and workshops on bridging the generation gaps in the workplace and marketplace continue to receive rave reviews from corporations and associations nationwide.”

“As part of his mission to connect the generations using humor, David wrote and produced TimesFour, a one-man show that is breaking new ground in the corporate entertainment market as a comedy about how the generations click, collide and cope in the world of work. David’s creative communication projects have earned him numerous accolades including gold medals at the NY Film Festival, and the much coveted CLIO Award. He was named to the prestigious list of “Forty Under 40” movers and shakers by The Business Journal, as well as one of 200 Leaders to Watch.”

It sounds like he’ll present a very entertaining session. We’re looking forward to having a laugh and hopefully, learning a lot.

Resort Operators/Managers: Share This!

The Value of Vacation

ARDA posted the following blog on its web site, VacationBetter.org and is encouraging resorts to spread the word. This is not copyrighted material; ARDA prepared it for your use. So, use away! The site also has infographics that might be useful in promoting sales/resales.

How do you place a value on vacation?

Do you measure a vacation’s value by finding a good deal on airfare? Getting a chance to relax? Spending precious time with your loved ones? Chances are, it means different things to different people. Over the last decade there have been numerous studies conducted to measure the value of vacation. The good news is that the research has found vacations are good for you – that taking regular time away has positive effects on health, wellness, job performance, relationships and lifestyle.

The bad news is that millions of Americans each year choose to ignore the evidence. Last year, 169 million Americans did not take all of their earned vacations days last year!

In a new infographic from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), taking time to get away has important health and lifestyle benefits that, if neglected, can lead to negative consequences. Ever hear of burnout? Yes, research has found that people who don’t take time to reset their batteries are more likely to suffer from burnout. Everything from work performance, added stress, strained relationships and decreased mental stamina are among the many negative results from not taking time to get away from it all.

The timeshare industry and its owners say that in addition to the lasting health benefits, the pre-paid nature of ownership guarantees that you will vacation at least once a year and ensures you take future vacations. In fact, owners save $18,160 over 18 years of vacationing with timeshare, compared to an average hotel vacation over the same time period.

But the real value of taking regular time off with loved ones is the special memories it creates. How do you place a value on that?

SharonINK to Manage Resort Trades

SharonINK to handle Resort Trades’ editorial, promotional and advertising activities.

Resort Trades, timeshare’s most widely-read B2B news journal, recently announced it has retained SharonINK PR & Marketing to oversee all of its editorial, promotional and advertising activities.

“One of our primary duties will be to clarify Resort Trades’ quality of editorial content and depth of readership,” says SharonINK CEO Sharon Scott. “While other publications in the industry serve a useful purpose and reach a select audience, Resort Trades is the only one sent every single month to every single resort in the US, as well as to a subscriber-base of senior-level executives at development, management and timeshare-related travel companies.”

“Sharon began writing for us in 1996 and has served as Resort Trades’ contributing editor since 2006,” says Publisher Tim Wilson. “We are looking to her firm to continue our information-rich tradition, as well as to promote a better understanding and appreciation for the value we bring to the timeshare industry.”

“Resort Trades is an avid ARDA supporter,” Scott adds. “This year we are looking forward to forging alliances with organizations and entities that support the growth and health of the industry. I welcome a discussion along these lines and can be reached at 1-310-923-1269 or Sharon@SharonINK.com.”

About Resort Trades

The Trades was established in 1987 and distributes approximately 5,500 copies monthly to every US timeshare resort, a voluntary subscriber base of resort professionals of all walks and at various conventions and industry conferences. The Trades adds value to the industry as a whole with an enormous volume of informative content to assist resort operators run their properties more efficiently, raise revenues more effectively and make better-informed buying decisions.SharonScott_Trades card_2014