The first meeting of the Industry ‘Panel of Experts’, set up to look at the issues surrounding exit routes and how to bring in a new, younger ownership demographic to assure the long-term future of the timeshare industry, was held on Tuesday, May 9th. This group is made up of representatives from developers, the exchange companies, trustees, resale companies, the RDO Secretariat and management companies. It is chaired by Harry Taylor of TATOC.
What is clear from discussions held at this meeting is that there are already a number of exit strategies in place in European timeshare resorts and that the media view that owners have few/no options available to them when trying to dispose of their weeks is not always accurate and is most certainly one-sided.
The working group agreed that steps must be taken to redress this situation and in the first instance, the RDO secretariat will be approaching developers to ask them to provide details of exit strategies they may have in place. Once this information has been analysed, recommendations will be put to members and the media approached.
It follows that in ensuring that the industry has exit routes in place, the industry must be able to bring in a new ownership demographic and must also educate owners as to their opportunities for continued and creative use of their timeshare.
RDO has secured the services of the University Of Bournemouth School Of Tourism to carry out research in the UK on how to attract younger families, what other competitors in the travel industry do and how the industry is perceived by younger families. Work will start at the beginning of the academic year in October and the results will be available in the spring. At the same time, the working group will be looking into how the industry can better educate owners as to how to make the most of their timeshare.
Harry Taylor commented: “I look forward to the challenges that this working group will bring and to going back to the media with a clear plan from the industry. We’re still in the midst of a recession, so solutions will not be immediate, but I have already been very encouraged to learn of the options put in place at some resorts”.
Developers who have been contacted by the RDO Secretariat are asked to return their questionnaire to Sue McNicol at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.