In conversation with Timeshare Crusader,
Lisa Ann Schreier
Lisa Ann Schreier is the driving force behind The Timeshare Crusader – a blog dedicated to helping consumers through the myriad of confusing information, as well as working with forward thinking organizations to be a catalyst for positive change. She is the creative force behind International Timeshare Appreciation Day, held annually on November 1st.
Author of two best-selling books, Surviving A Timeshare Presentation – Confessions From The Sales Table and Timeshare Vacations For Dummies, she also co-authored the college-level textbook, An Introduction To Vacation Ownership Management.
Lisa was a regular speaker and contributor to the National Timeshare Owners Association and the Florida Timeshare Users Group - in addition to being a featured speaker hosting an innovative Ask The Owners segment at CRDA’s 2011 conference, as well as TATOC’s 2012 conference. Lisa also is a Guest Lecturer at several senior living facilities and recently taught a class on avoiding timeshare related scams in conjunction with the Center for Lifelong Learning in Celebration, Florida.
In this interview, Lisa talks to us about the year gone by, and the year ahead of us – with thoughts of deep concern about industry revival and boosting customer confidence.
Did the International Timeshare Day go as planned in terms participation? What were your takeaways?
Sadly, it was not a success at all. Obviously in this most unusual of years, the industry had other things on its collective minds. With the start of 2021 here and some hopefully better news, we can once again plan for a successful celebration this year. I remain hopeful that the worldwide industry will embrace it. My experience is that entities outside the US have been more receptive.
After nearly one year of the pandemic situation, what is your assessment of prospects for the hospitality industry?
While it certainly has been, and continues to be problematic for the hospitality industry in general and timesharing specifically - I choose to look at the situation as a terrific opportunity to reset the clock.
The industry has never had a better opportunity to reflect, reset and renew itself. Timeshare does have some advantages over traditional vacation/holiday accommodations and for a cautious public, there’s no better time to market those advantages.
How would timeshare fare against the overall hospitality assessment?
Well, as I said, there are some advantages. The industry should in my opinion strictly limit occupancy to owners. This serves two important purposes; first it brings back the severely eroded value proposition to owners. Secondly, it creates a bit of sorely needed air of safety among owners that their accommodations aren’t open to just anyone. Then of course, smart resorts will focus their marketing efforts on whatever cleaning/disinfecting/screening procedures that needs to be done. As I said, a wonderful opportunity to reset.
How safe is “safe” when it comes to the many touch-points, and people interactions at a resort?
As I write this in the waning days of 2020, there is no such thing as too safe. People are rightfully very cautious and reluctant to come in contact with people outside their bubble. Timeshare resorts that are employing extra efforts to mitigate COVID -19 are smart to make those efforts known. Resorts must also be more accommodating if a traveler needs to change his plans.
It’s a new world out there and resorts have to find better ways of operating. Real safety precautions must be implemented, not just theatrical ones. How to determine what the consumer wants in terms of these safety precautions? Ask them. Reach out to them via social media and email. It’s never been more important to know what your audience wants and to respond to them.
What are the changing scenarios in the US? How are timeshare chains coping with the ripple effects of the pandemic?
Sadly, the timeshare industry here continues to be ravaged by the self-proclaimed exit companies which do incalculable damage. With more owners than ever not being able to use their timeshare due to COVID-19, these scam companies are preying on people’s emotions and ignorance.
With more owners not paying maintenance fees, in part because these companies tell them not to, more resorts are facing bankruptcy. I think 2021 will bring about unprecedented mergers in the industry. Small, independent resorts are in for a rough year in my opinion.
As a Timeshare Crusader, what role do you see for yourself in this rapidly unfolding situation?
The best thing I can do is educate people. There’s a tremendous amount of misinformation out there that is casting a huge shadow on the industry for both owners and non-owners. Being an independent person with no ties to any one developer, exchange company or type of timeshare, I think that’s what sets me apart.
Consumers seem to trust me. The more difficult obstacle is getting the industry to embrace the concept that an educated consumer is their best friend.
Can you share a message of hope for timeshare owners in India?
Yes! I fully believe that 2021 will be better and safer. If this year has taught us anything, it’s the value of experiences. Travel and timesharing allows us to experience so much of the world.
Start close to home if you want; there’s so much in India and surrounding countries. We as a people will get through this rather bleak period. Once we do, I think there’s going to be a huge pent up demand for travel. So go out there and experience the world.
Lisa Ann SchreierTwitter
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