The importance of nurturing existing customers and the need for greater innovation in the timeshare industry were amongst the dominant themes discussed at The Forum, the industry event organised by Generator Systems and Perspective Magazine in London on 9-10 December.
With a full programme of interactive panel discussions, The Forum aimed to give industry professionals a platform to share their views and discuss current issues. Timeshare pioneer, Frank Chapman, as well as other industry leaders such as Roy Peires, founder of Club La Costa Resorts, and John Spence, Chairman of Karma Royal Group, shared their stories with those attending the event.
RDO was also present to give an industry update and answer questions about the impact of forthcoming legislative changes and other current issues. Chairman Richard McIntosh (Hilton Grand Vacations) used the opportunity to present a lifetime achievement award to Frank Chapman in recognition of his contribution to the timeshare industry.
Key players in the industry analysed the current market situation and compared their experiences in a debate poignantly entitled “Triumph out of adversity”. Most stated that customer retention is their main focus at the moment and they expect only a modest growth next year, with better prospects for 2011.
The difference between traditional timeshare and fractional ownership was discussed in a lively session, with suggestions that the timeshare industry should learn from how fractional ownership is sold and become more innovative and customer-focused, creating new products to suit the needs of the consumer.
An insight on the American market situation was provided by ARDA’s president and CEO Howard Nusbaum (via recorded video), who claimed that the resilience of the industry and the introduction of new ideas to deliver more transparency would see it through the recession. Interval International’s managing director for EMEAA, David Clifton, was optimistic about the future of Dubai, despite the recent market collapse.