Let’s face it: our business – the timeshare/vacation ownership resort industry – is quite narrow. To a vendor new to the field, it may not appear to be a market worthy of exploring. For example, a software developer accustomed to serving the broader hospitality industry might not think it worthwhile to create the additional functionality to handle such one-off’s as exchange, real estate inventory management and homeowner association management, to name the most obvious. Why not just lower your price and pick up another La Quinta franchisee, they might ask.

But to those software professionals who have “grown up” in the industry, there are challenges and rewards that make it all worthwhile. Most of the software gurus in our world are very proud of their creations; many have worked for years tweaking and fine-tuning their software to be a perfect fit for the timeshare resort industry. Bill Chaffee, of Advanced World Concepts, Inc., started his business in 1989. The company’s certified reserve professionals are licensed and trained in implementing the PRA System, which offers reserve study software tools including providing scenarios, forecasting models and reporting features to make reserve management run like clockwork.

Often vendors come to discover the opportunities inherent in handling vacation ownership from the service-provider side, rather than from having worked in a resort environment. This was the case for Dave Heine, whose company Timeshare Pro Plus deploys online software for resorts to use in handling their escrows, requests for estoppels and other title closing functions. When Heine’s title company created timeshare-specific cloud-based software to assist a major timeshare development company with these tasks a few years ago, he recognized there was a unique opportunity to provide this functionality to the community at large.

He took the project on, wholeheartedly, and eventually unveiled a wide array of options: The resulting TimeshareProPlus.com was so unique, he obtained a U.S. Patent to protect his investment. The beauty of TimeshareProPlus.com software-as-a-service (SAAS) is that it consists of four modules that handle daily timeshare title and transfer tasks. Several of these — RequestMyEstoppel.com, JiffyDocs.com and HoldMyEscrow.com – can operate independently.

Another software company offering a unique, niche product is TrackResults. “Our focus in timeshare gives us a competitive advantage,” comments TrackResults VP Ryan Williams. “The work required to get any other system to conform to the timeshare industry and specifically address a developer’s needs is voluminous and can get prohibitively expensive. Our clients know it makes more sense to take that time, energy and capital; and allocate these resources to acquiring more tours!” TrackResults has successfully established itself as an easy way for managers to see data-driven sales and marketing performance information, and see how to improve without the high costs and delays of IT or analysts. “

“This powerful, full featured, web-based Business Intelligence tool was invented and thrives in the timeshare space,” says Williams. “Resort sales and marketing professionals don’t have to take my word for it, though. We get comments all the time, such as ‘Once we started digging into the data we found our reports are wrong…and TrackResults analytics are right;’ ‘I’ve never seen anything like it;’ or ‘Now, we can have a theoretical conversation backed up back facts.

When it comes to software, most resort operators are looking for one-stop-shopping. TSSI offers to do just this, by making their system “affordable, complete, customizable and configurable.” The company has been providing superior service to resorts and travel clubs in US, Canada and Mexico since 1998.

Its creators say their cloud-based system is powered by Oracle and was built for speed and security. “Our system is highly customizable, infinitely scalable and configurable,” says owner/creator Jack Voutov. “For an all-inclusive, affordable monthly fee, you get a full-feature Hosted System that includes: Maintenance Fees, CC payments, Rentals, Deposits, Reservations, Sales, Marketing, Bulk Billing, Front Desk, Owner Portal, Extensive Reporting, Custom Reports, Accounting, Integration with Expedia, Booking.com, RCI and others, as well as integration capability with various other software products. Plus, it’s licensed month-to-month. Users can cancel anytime!”

Here are some other companies which offer totally integrated services:

  • RNS Timeshare Management Software touts its product as all-in-one software for legacy timeshare management. And,
    indeed, they cover the full list: “Member/Owner Services, Guest Relations, Maintenance Billing, Work Orders,
    Housekeeping, Statistic Reporting, Online Booking Website for rental weeks, reservation management with electronic tape chart and so much more…,” they explain.
  • TimeShareWare provides resort management software for all sizes and types of shared-ownership resorts, including vacation clubs, fractional properties, condo-hotels, vacation rentals, timeshare, and mixed-use hotels. “Whether you are looking for a simple cloud-based, out-of-the-box solution or a customized end-to-end enterprise application, TimeShareWare has what you need,” they say.
  • SPI CEO George Stemper says, “As technology evolves, it inherently presents new complexities; but, at the same time
    new-found opportunities to leverage business objectives to a wide audience across multiple platforms such as desktops,
    mobile devices, browsers and network connections. Today, the SPI enterprise Orange System has evolved with the latest
    technologies to drive new business to the property, provide access to critical information in real-time, create enhanced
    business efficiency and operate more effectively through extended web and cloud-based capability, anytime and anywhere.”

Many resort operators – particularly those handling mature resorts with limited budgets – may be hesitant to try a new way of doing things. In many instances, decision-makers may feel it incumbent upon themselves to continue patching a legacy system with band-aids “because we’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars building our own, in-house system over the years.” And, yes, converting age-old data to a new platform is a taxing, deleterious-to-your-mental-health process.

But welcome to 21st Century technology with its far more advanced capabilities. Plus, there are the long-term benefits to consider when moving to a more current system, including training. (Do you really want to keep showing millennials how to navigate through your old-timey maze of steps?) Not to mention, the more advanced your system, the less vulnerable you are to cyber breaches, user error, and computer meltdowns. So, if all this sounds intriguing, it might just be time to explore some new, and probably more advanced, options.*

* For resource information, visit the Resort Trades Supplier Directory.