Collaborative Consumption – The Sharing Economy In Europe

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22 Nov 2013

Collaborative Consumption – The Sharing Economy In Europe

On Tuesday of this week I joined a breakfast meeting at the offices of a firm of City of London solicitors, for a “Roundtable on Collaborative Consumption” – why I hear you ask? Well RDO had put out a release a few weeks ago from RCI that Matt Holmes from the Registry Collection would be on the panel, so having looked at the outline of the meeting I thought I should fly the flag and support one of  our members. Not surprisingly, there were a smattering of faces from the industry at the meeting and Matt was sharing the platform with the MD of Zip Cars, Mark Walker (the car sharing people – now part of Avis) and Marcos Stevelynck, co-founder of an art sharing operation called Rise Art and the meeting was chaired by Debbie Woskskow from “Love Home Swap” where you can swap your home for a period of time with like-minded people around the world.

I suspect many of you can see where this is going – or maybe not, as I can be a bit obscure at times! Much of what was being talked about was effectively what the timeshare industry has been talking about and doing for the last 30/40 odd years, only in the past the sales pitch had been on “ownership” and “certainty of holidays” whereas today’s “20/30 somethings” are less turned on by the ownership concept, more about the convenience of usage as and when they want to use it and where applicable, the “experience”. (There are even dog sharing companies in the market – well good luck to them is all I can say, they are welcome to our eating/molting machine on four legs anytime!). The meeting was headlined as being “what the newcomers can learn from the old-timers” and

there was a useful exchange between those in the sharing economy who were newcomers and some of the old-stagers like ourselves.

The latter “experience “ point is something some of us were discussing when we met at the recent World Travel Market event and perhaps this and the “sharing economy ” idea is something the industry needs to be thinking more about as we look at ways of how to communicate with and attract the next generation into timeshare (not timeshare ownership you will note!). So what I feared might be a bit of a waste of time, in fact turned out to be a very stimulating couple of hours and I will be looking out for the next one.

Just as a postscript, the Board approved the 2014 budget at its November meeting with a very full programme for next year, about which more will be announced. This included a proposal on how RDO member companies should treat inventory trade-ins from other member companies. The practical operation of this proposal will be monitored between now and the next Board meeting.

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