Timeshare History Part 2
Phase 2: Timeshare and Telemarketing
Eventually, word escaped that going to timeshare presentations was the worst experience you could ever have and would definitely ruin your vacation. This became the predominant mindset for travelers. Regardless of whether they had ever seen a timeshare resort or presentation, they wanted nothing to do with it. During the spreading of negative sentiment about timeshare, something else was happening…the people who bought timeshare were using it and loving it!
Since travelers were starting to get stories from many sources all warning them to beware of well dressed people bearing gifts in exotic locals, the OPC movement slowed, which in turn forced the timeshare marketing minds to think outside the box. This lead to the development of the timeshare telemarketing craze.
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Although OPC programs continued to have success in tour numbers, the rate at which those prospects actually purchased timeshare decreased dramatically. What seemed to be happening was the prospects were becoming savvier and knew what to expect from the presentation. They were happy to endure the 2 hours if the incentive was strong enough. They also had no intention of buying and since they knew they would be treated poorly when they said no, they were okay with the abuse. The sales process needed a major innovation and that is exactly what happened. The developers decided that they didn’t need to wait for you to go on vacation, they would call you in your own home and invite you to visit their office to pick up the “prizes that you won in our drawing” and while you are here we would love to show you a quick presentation on a new idea called “vacation ownership”. This accomplished two tasks: It got the prospect into the office by a means they weren’t expecting, because it was new and secondly it took their guard down because it wasn’t timeshare, it was “Vacation Ownership”. This put the machine back in action and the efficiencies soared once again.
Timeshare telemarketing has two basic models, the local program or Day Drive and the Mini Vacation. The local program is a twist on the OPC program. Local Program or Day Drive programs are designed to have qualified prospects visit a preview sales office in their city of residence. These sales offices are equipped and furnished with models of the suites and fantastic pictures of the beautiful locals in which their resorts are located. The program works almost exactly the same as the OPC program; the prospect is enticed to look at a 90-minute timeshare presentation, with a variety of fantastic gifts ranging from dinner for two to a Caribbean cruise. The major differences between the OPC marketing program and the day Drive Program are location and method of contact.
Next came the Mini Vacation programs. These evolved from the wish of patrons to be able to actually visit the destinations that they would be purchasing in. One the reasons given to the sales force at the day drive offices for not buying was that the client wanted to try it before they buy it. This sentiment lead to a whole new telemarketing approach. Phone rooms starting calling people who had already toured with the given developer and offering them a small getaway in a popular destination at a greatly reduced price, sometimes even free. In exchange for this fantastic deal, as always, the client agreed to take a 90-minute timeshare tour while on vacation. This movement embraced the best of both worlds. The efficiency of the early OPC programs, because the client is on vacation already and they are very aware that they will be viewing a vacation program while they are there. It also encompassed the tour volume of the day drive programs because the developer didn’t have to wait the prospective timeshare owner to happen upon them while on vacation, they just called them in their
homes and made them a vacation offer that they could not refuse. These getaways would commonly be a 3-day stay in Las Vegas with dinner and show for 2, total price $49. Another common offer would be 3 nights in Orlando with 4 tickets to Walt Disney World, total price $99. As anyone can plainly see, these offers were hard to say no to so the Mini Vacation programs experienced wild success through out the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Like everything in life, a good thing is never good enough until someone takes it too far… Which lead to the dreaded DNC the Federal Do Not Call Registry.
Read part 3 of Timeshare History Timeshare: Today and Beyond