Diamond Resorts CEO Michael Flaskey spoke at the Annual American Resort Development Association convention expo this week. He spoke on a panel of CEO’s for Timeshare companies about challenges to their industry. One of the topics up for discussion was the impact of Airbnb on the hospitality industry. Airbnb connects users with people renting out space in their properties all over the world.
According to quarterly financial reports, the biggest Timeshare resorts such as RCI, Diamond Resorts, Marriott International and Wyndham Worldwide seem to be doing ok, but are we going to see a change in this, as the millennial generation come into financial maturity and the following generations grow up. Is the Timeshare industry ready for this? Can they compete with the likes of Airbnb?
The question is: can the Timeshare industry keep current, up-to-date and ahead of the game? Are millennials likely to put up with expensive monthly maintenance fees, planning holidays very far in advance, tons of paperwork and a limited choice of destinations?
In contrast, Airbnb is incredibly easy to use, it can be very cheap and you can plan last minute.
According to Diamond CEO Flaskey, Timeshares can compete and they are prepared to evolve in the ever changing holiday industry. “We’ve grown up“, Flaskey told a crowd at Caesars Palace.
Flaskey firmly believes in investing in the future of the company and thinks the variation of their products and points based system allows the flexibility and quality Diamond customers seek.
Flaskey then went on to comment that the organisation enjoyed an 89% approval rating with regards to the quality of their product. However, he did admit that this figure plummeted when customers were quizzed about the Diamond sales process.
His answer to this was that, 4 years ago, they implemented ‘Brand Ambassadors’, including Country and Western singers, PGA tour events and 3000 special events for new and existing members to experience concerts held at their resorts. Diamond organise around 100 concerts a year, where new and existing customers can immerse themselves in the hospitality Diamond Resorts has on offer. Flaskey then went on to add, “Customers then come into the sales presentation in a whole different mindset and the close rates tripled when we put them through this experience”.
It’s in no doubt Diamond have invested heavily into getting customers to the sales pitch, hopefully they will also address there aggressive sales reps, spiralling maintenance fees and lack of choice and availability.