Timeshare History Part 1
In The Beginning, Genesis: Birth of Timeshare Marketing
Timeshare marketing, historically has always been direct marketing. When timeshare originated, very few consumers were aware that it existed. The ones that did probably couldn’t explain how it worked. So the marketing method of all timeshare companies was essentially the same; set up an outgoing attractive person in a resort location to persuade tourists to spend 2 hours looking at a new “real estate investment” , “vacation property” “vacation idea”. The marketing agent “OPC” or Off Premis Contact, would usually offer the unsuspecting tourist an unbelievable deal in exchange for their 2 hours. These deals they were offered, or premiums would range anywhere from a quiet dinner for two, all the way to a helicopter ride over the grand canyon, depending on the location of the resort that was being promoted.
Since the idea of timeshare and the reputation of timeshare salespeople were both virtually unknown to travellers, the tourists almost always said yes. Who wouldn’t, the helicopter ride costs in the neighbourhood of $250 and the nice person is only asking for 90 minutes of our time. What the naive couple didn’t realize is that this was not your everyday presentation to show you a new idea. This was a well thought out well planned process designed by some of the sharpest business minds and executed by some of the most ruthless salespeople in the history of man.
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The pitch was pretty simple, start by making sure that the prospect understands that they are not under any obligation to buy anything. Follow up by asking them to promise that they will look at this idea with an open mind. This sounds like a very fair request. Since the timeshare prospect is already vacationing in this exotic location, the timeshare salesman doesn’t have a tough job convincing the prosect that this is good vacation spot. So the salesperson spends the next 2 hours explaining that by becoming a “timeshare owner” instead of someone who just rents their vacation whenever they get a chance, the couple will take more vacations, in better spots staying in higher level accommodtions for what would work out to be ultimately less money. Throughout the two hours, the timeshare sales person gets the prospect to agree that they should take more vacations, that owning is better than renting, that taking vacations is something that is good for their family and that the would really enjoy staying in suite accomodtions in resort rather that a motel room.
Timeshare thus far seems like the best idea they have ever heard and this whole experience has been really fun. The problem with the presentation is that if the prospect decided not to become an owner, the gloves would come off. You see the developers often would spend upwards of $200 just getting the prospect into the office, between the cost of premiums and the wages for the marketing agent, so obviously not becoming an owner was not an option. So the friendly salesperson would spend the ensuing 2 hours asking the prospect, how much they loved their family and berating them for saying they love their family but not enough to ensure that they would get quality vacations. They would also question their intelligence because the prospect had already agreed earlier in the conversation the taking more vacations is a good idea.
Read part 2 of Timeshare History Phase 2: Telemarketing