The Big Questions- #1: Will timeshare ever solve the resale quagmire?

As we approach the end of 2017, Resort Trades is asking several industry professionals to ponder some major questions facing our industry. One major question we’re contemplating is the never-ending resale issue.

We caught up with Doug Milbrath, chief marketing officer for Bay Tree Solutions, an advertising and marketing company that specializes in assisting owners who want to sell their vacation ownership interests. (They specialize is handling interests at resorts that are still in active developer sales, so he has a pretty good grasp of the developer’s point of view.)

Here’s what he had to say. “I’m very optimistic. The resort developers have seen what happens in the absence of an organized resale market, which has tended to take the form of rogue players. First it was timeshare relief, and now it’s taking the form of ‘get out of your mortgage companies.’ So, I think developers are starting to see that doing nothing has created its own set of problems. It might be worth looking into a reputable third-party company like ours so that there’s less negative content on the Internet.

“Timeshare is unique in that there’s really no difference in a used timeshare and new timeshare interval. Our approach is to only handle resales at better resort properties and avoiding legacy properties that are clearly poorly maintained. A major reason for this is that timeshare is not a product that ‘sells itself.’ Developers spend a fortune to bring families to their resorts, where skilled salespeople show them the property and explain its features and benefits. This process creates the desire on the part of consumers to buy a timeshare, and many will buy right then and there. However, many others will leave without buying, but still have a serious interest in doing so — these people make up the bulk of resale buyers.

The advantage of our approach is that we are committed to upholding the reputation and positive aspects of the vacation ownership concept. That’s a major part of our business philosophy. We are an ARDA member and refer buyers to VacationBetter.org to get more information about the industry. We try to keep the prices high, not as high as what developers are charging, but still more than many other resale sites. We set ourselves apart by offering financing and buyer protection plans to consumers, which enables the purchase and also creates peace of mind. When developers refer their owners who want to sell to reputable companies like ours, everyone benefits.

Judy Kenninger heads Kenninger Communications and has been covering the vacation real estate industry for two decades.