Who are you calling old?

“Timeshare owners and guests are too old for online surveys”. “My board won’t let me spend the money”. We are too small, we are too big, we are closed, we are open. We are hot, we are cold, we are happy, we are sad. All reasons I have heard about why a resort will not take the simple plunge into the land of custom survey’s designed specifically for the timeshare community.

Finding out on a regular basis what guests are experiencing is the staple of all successful hospitality companies. Hyatt, Wyndham, Marriott, Starwood, RCI, all of them (and many, many others) have some mechanism to gain the feedback from their members and guests so they can fix, to the tiniest detail, what might be broken. They know it pays for itself, and then some.

Some employ additional benefits like figuring bonuses, awards and rewards for a job well done.

Yes, timeshare is a part of the hospitality industry and the successful resorts, including and especially developers, measure owner and guest satisfaction at every level, every touch point. From marketing and sales (tour/no buy-buy) to check out to regular owner and member guest satisfaction surveys. The legacy resort and the management company should be leading the way but the excuses given are as varied as the types of grapes there are on earth.

There are differences between the ways to gather data and they really depend on what you intend to do with the data. How actionable do you need it to be and how fast do you need to act? Fact: the quicker you act the greater the relationship between loyalty and the speed at which maintenance fees get paid!

Timeshare, more than any other segment of hospitality, relies on customer loyalty to create and sustain a positive vacation experience.

And, there is more as benefits go, anytime you have the opportunity to have a conversation with a customer you should take it… it is your job and a luxury at the same time. You really need to let them know you are responsive, and simply put, you care.

It is called “customer engagement” and the end game of customer engagement is customer loyalty. Timeshare, more than any other segment of hospitality relies on customer loyalty to create and sustain a positive vacation experience. Owners, exchangers, renters and other guests deserve a positive experience and when they do, they tell others. The downside and the more likely scenario is they tell everyone when they have a bad experience. See: Trip Advisor, Expedia, Facebook, Twitter, or any other rating or social media site.

FYI: three years ago 19% of our surveys were completed on a device other than a desktop, i.e. tablet, smartphone etc. Today that number is north of 40%. And, in our particular case, a 40% response rate is not unheard of where a 10% to 15% is collected via the paper comment card.

These responses are not millennials, they are owners and guests and exchangers of timeshare. Grandma and Grandpa, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, next door neighbors, everyone has a smartphone or a tablet and they use it.

So, I ask the question again, who are you calling old?

DEFINITIONS

Paper Comment Card; the human element: typically, a paper “card” left in a unit that encourages a guest or owner to share their vacation experience. The guest fills it out, hands to someone at the front desk where 1 of 2 actions occur. The front desk immediately turns it over to someone who enters the information into a spreadsheet, keeps track somehow, and turns in a monthly report to someone who acts or does not act on the information. Or, the comment card never makes it to the report stage if it has negative comments.

Survey; a technology element: usually, in an attempt to save time or money or both, a survey is built and deployed using an instrument named after an animal, vegetable or mineral. The survey is a one-time snapshot, perhaps deployed somewhat regularly, but has very limited reporting, almost no tracking or trend reporting and since it is so inexpensive has its own branding all over the place limiting the resort to minimal opportunity to demonstrate that it is attempting to have a conversation.

Feedback; the usually online element: never quits. Given the major accountability of online reporting, the feedback system is generally followed by the term “management system”. The FMS is a system that deploys surveys regularly and has reporting available immediately and 24/7 with alerts generated to call attention to “low scores”. It can be relatively expensive especially when compared to the two previously discussed. With endless features, the benefits should outweigh the cost.

The paper comment card provides some information, albeit it late and not always accurate, but it does give the guest the sense that someone is listening.

The online survey, the same but it has the advantage of speed. Information gets into some reporting mechanism immediately upon submission however typically the reporting is limited and the ability to track trends or benchmark are nonexistent.

Online feedback management system, hugely robust with features that accomplish all the goals intended, assuming it is designed correctly in the first place. Example, adding the ability to rate a resort, send alerts, come in a host of languages, provide a strong dashboard and have actionable reporting value to many business units within an organization.