If there’s one thing I have always believed in, it’s about investing in your customer. Nothing new, if you view it as a phrase - but can be invaluable if you translate that into meaningful relationships. It’s an equation that goes beyond ensuring a good product, good service and good value, as you will soon see.
Let me use a couple of illustrations to explain what I have in mind.
Today’s young professional, (let’s call him Ashok, for convenience) is probably getting into timeshare at 30. At that age, he can look forward to 25 years of timeshare holidays – a vacation every year. But there’s something else you need to look at - Ashok’s activity check list will change, every five years – from maybe from dare devil outdoor activity, to a slowing down in pace and maturing of interests. Over the years that could even include things like golf, for instance.
What I am leading to here, is a close monitoring of the customer as he evolves – to understand, track and maybe anticipate his changing needs and interests.
Secondly, we can safely assume that at 30, Ashok probably has parents who are around 55 years of age – in a sense, they are customers, too. If you extend this logic, we also need track them in terms of needs and interests. Thirdly, there is another aspect that you might want to consider. At 30, our client will probably have a child in the family – may be the first child for the young parent.
The five-year cycles that we’ve been talking will also be a growth phase for the child. When the customer is 40, the child will be 10 and when he is 45 he will be 15. Here’s where this gets interesting - when your customer turns 60, the son will be 30 years old and ready for his own timeshare experience.
In other words, the relationship with your original customer goes through a complete circle, with the potential to extend the relationship to another 25 years - and a whole new generation.
So what would you eventually sell to the customer’s son, who already has some wonderful experiences of timeshare. He knows the product, and has experienced it in more ways than one. And if you have kept track of his changing needs, you know the mind of typical prospects of his generation.
In a way it is tactically convenient to be in an industry such as timeshare – this is the only business model that lets you manage and sustain extended relationships with customers. And twenty-five years is a long, long time. No other industry engages with a customer for such a long time – helping you span generations, and observe tastes, preferences, lifestyles, and vacation options.
In this article, I may have just opened the door to a whole new way of looking at customers and forging long-term relationships. In the years to come, I can even imagine an extremely resourceful memory archive that young people will be able to access at the resort – to look at videos and photo galleries of their parents, going back 20 years or more.
In today’s new world of business enterprise, you’re not just dealing with market trends - you’re dealing one-to-one with people. And the best way to engage with the customer is not to look at them as a bunch of statistics.
They’re real people, with real dreams, real needs and real aspirations.
B. S. Rathor
Advisor & Member - Executive Committee
What does an AIRDA membership mean to resort owners and developers? AIRDA comes in as your industry partner, conscience keeper and business catalyst - with a wide portfolio of support services.
What does AIRDA mean to holiday seekers and prospective customers? AIRDA comes in to provide information and offer guidelines on making the right timeshare decisions.