Millennials changing travelThe millennial generation is travelling. The United Nations estimates that 20 per cent of all today´s international tourists were born between 1980 and the early 2000s. This translates to 200 million travellers.

Younger travellers, it says, are looking for new types of travel. Timeshare resorts with weeks available for sale and rental need to know more about them.

1. They're committed to travel. According to a survey published by Expedia, those 30 and under report taking an average of 4.2 leisure trips a year, more than any other age group.

2. They don't visit destinations. They experience places. Younger travellers are less interested in "the traditional sun, sea and sand holidays" than previous generations.

3. They don't place as much value on ownership. Millennials place more value on access than on whole ownership. This could contribute to the surge in their purchasing timeshare, which offers access to a resort without the full investment of a second home.

4. They do their research. Before making a purchase, nearly three-fourths of millennials research the product on-line.  According to the American Resort Development Association, 42 per cent of new timeshare owners experienced the product first-hand by renting before making the purchase.

5. They're mobile. Younger groups are more likely to book and research their travel on-line and through mobile devices. Only 18 per cent of those under 30 have not used a smartphone for travel, according to an Expedia survey.

Jon Zwickel CRDAVacation ownership was founded to create better ways for the public to enjoy their leisure time – “but as resorts, recreational amenities and owners age, we have fallen behind in delivering on that promise.”

So said Jon Zwickel, president of the Canadian Resort Development Association (CRDA), at the organisation’s recent conference.

He argued that industry leaders couldn’t be content with simply staying the course and following trends:  They needed to step up their game by setting the course.

Listing the broad and diverse range of industry stakeholders including HOAs, re-sellers, developers, suppliers and exchange, rental and management companies, Zwickel acknowledged that everyone’s interests “are not always aligned.”

This must change to an atmosphere of co-operation, Zwickel told delegates

“If we do, the opportunity will exist to pool our collective resources and adopt vibrant, inspired, responsive programmes.”

Opportunities to consider included:

  • Defining standards for resorts and committing to maintenance programmes that support higher standards;
  • Renewing resorts with capital expenditure that is responsive to markets;
  • Exploring ways to provide unique, authentic, fun vacation experiences;
  • Creating products that appeal to the diversity of the market;
  • Refreshing sales methods to encourage the next generation of vacation owners;
  • Establishing exchange opportunities that promote owner engagement; and
  • Respecting the environment along with the local community.

“I am constantly reminded,” he said, ”that even though the scope of our industry is global, the challenges we face and the solutions we find can be shared. I believe that if we reset our compass and re-focus on the early vision of our industry founders, we will keep owners engaged, support re-sale values and attract new buyers.”

CRDA works with both TATOC in Europe and the National Timeshare Owners Association in the U.S.A. and shares a commitment to working with both developers and owners to improve the industry.

Langdale resortRegular Sharetime reviewer and timeshare owner Stephen Burton shares his thoughts on Langdale, a TATOC member resort, located in the Lake District.

Langdale was one of the earliest timeshare resort developments in the U.K and it’s my guess that, if there was ever a vote to decide the best resort in the country, Langdale would be voted best of all.

It comprises four resorts that are affiliated with RCI. They include Langdale, Chapel Stile Apartments at Langdale, Elterwater Hall at Langdale and Aroma at Langdale.

I have stayed on five separate occasions at this resort: four times at the main Langdale development and once at Elterwater Hall at Langdale.
Unlike others that have a significant number of units for re-sale, often at almost give away prices, Landgale has only a limited number of weeks available.

Indeed, many owners often enjoy a profit from the re-sale of their weeks - which is far from a common occurrence in other timeshare developments.

A principal reason for this situation is the location of the resort. Many of the lodges overlook a tarn (small lake) or are located by the side of a fast running beck (stream).

The other reasons are the high standard of the lodges and apartments and the superb on-site swimming pool and spa.

While I have not stayed at Chapel Stile Apartments, I am familiar with its location, just a few hundred yards from the main resort.

It is in the same building as Wainwrights Pub, named after famous fell walker and guidebook author, the late Alfred Wainwright.

The local Co-op convenience store is located just a few yards from these apartments, making it a very convenient location for shopping for groceries.

There are ten apartments at Chapel Stile and my understanding is that they are of the same high standard as the lodges at the main Langdale development.

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Robin Mills managing director of Aroma Mills, managing director of the points-based holiday programme Aroma, will be celebrating 30 years in the industry in 2015. His experience includes working with timeshare exchange organisation Interval International through to his work with the industry’s trade association, the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) – with much more in between. Sharetime magazine spoke with Robin to find out his views on the future of the timeshare industry.

What is your background in the timeshare industry and what experience have you gained during that time?

I joined the industry in 1985 just as so many others at that time, by pure accident!

I cut my teeth in the Algarve working with one of my greatest mentors, Jorge D’Almeida. It was mental but very enjoyable. We had hundreds of OPC’s in fleets of vans and were selling predominantly to Portuguese nationals backed, financed and marketed by two of Portugal’s main high street banks.

Some years later I went on to set up Interval International’s Portuguese operation. From there I went on to assume varying positions within Interval International based from the U.K. but operating across the European marketplace, culminating as group sales director.

Interval was a tremendous training ground for me in all aspects of the industry. Throughout my time there I was lucky enough to work on a global basis with the industry’s best, many of whom went on to be personal friends and still are.

It was here that an appreciation of the consumer’s needs in product development really started to feature in my thought process.

After my time at Interval International, I went on to develop a points scheme for RMI called Infiniti. I subsequently managed the merger of RMI with Jack Petchey’s Portuguese operation after he had acquired RMI to create Petchey Leisure.

Petchey Leisure was eventually sold to the MGM Group. Since then I have worked with Club Leisure Group to develop a European operation on their behalf.  

Club Leisure Group (CLG) is one of the world’s leading property management companies, overseeing the affairs of 20 points clubs, including two which service the South African government.  

I am working to promote our resort management company First Resorts expanding their extensive portfolio into Europe, starting with the acquisition of Brockwood Hall near the U.K.’s Lake District.

First Resorts currently manages 54 resorts in South Africa. In addition, Club Leisure Group has developed Aroma, a unique European-based points scheme, based loosely on their successful South African model, which offers  greater flexibility than any other vacation product on the market.

Further, I hold several key positions within the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), the European trade body. I do feel that my years of experience in the industry give me the ability to contribute positively as a ‘navigator’ to the differing directions we are certainly going to head in the coming years.

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