2016 TATOC Conference Highlights: TATOC update
In our final report from this year’s TATOC timeshare industry conference, LEIGH CONNELLY reviews the update given by TATOC director Geoff Chapman.
During his update on TATOC and the TATOC Consumer Helpline, director Geoff Chapman began by reaffirming TATOC’s mission statement: “TATOC exists to safeguard and enhance the timeshare holiday experience for existing and prospective owners and to be the voice of timeshare owners.”
He also reiterated TATOC’s two core beliefs:
- Genuine timeshare products, correctly sold and well managed, represent a high-quality, cost-effective, long-term holiday purchase and an excellent holiday experience for owners
- The future of timeshare is vitally dependent on a good understanding and relationship between timeshare consumers and all aspects of the timeshare industry.
Chapman then reminded delegates of the various institutions that TATOC is recognised by, including:
- BIS – Department for Business Innovation and Skills
- CMA – Competition & Markets Authority
- TS – Trading Standards Institute
- UK European Consumer Centre
- Citizens Advice Bureau
These are in addition to the European Commission and European Parliament.
Chapman then informed delegates of recent updates in the categories of Membership, Accreditation, Events and Activities, and the TATOC Consumer Helpline.
In total, TATOC has 95 member resorts: 35 in the UK, 23 in Spain, 14 in Tenerife, nine in Gran Canaria, four in Portugal, three in Lanzarote, two in Malta, and one each in France, the Gambia, Fuerteventura, Austria, and 1one points resort. There are also 612 individual members.
TATOC has 45 accredited resorts, four of which have come on board since the 2015 conference, namely Brockwood Hall, The Burnside Park Owners Club, Royal Oasis Club at Puerto Quinta, and Auchrannie Country Club. All resorts have chosen to renew their accreditation this year and there are also a further three awaiting their first accreditation. TATOC visited nine resorts during 2015 and plans to visit 10 in 2016, three of which are new.
In explaining the TATOC accreditation programme, Chapman was keen to explain that it did not operate a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but instead a tailored programme. TATOC recognises differences in resorts and understands there will be varying price points and target consumers. What all of the TATOC accredited resorts have in common is their focus on quality, with the main criteria being:
- Quality of accommodation
- Quality of grounds
- Quality of facilities
- Maintenance procedures
- Refurbishment procedures
- Reception and guest services
- Owner engagement
- Passion for excellence in customer service and the holiday experience guests receive.
Chapman then went on to point out how why resorts should consider TATOC accreditation:
- It gives a clear statement of consumer confidence
- It is recognised as a consumer ‘kitemark’ of quality
- A wide range of other benefits.
TATOC has clear goals when it comes to accreditation, he explained, saying this year it plans to reach 50 accredited resorts.
Chapman went on to discuss some of the association’s affiliates, explaining why TATOC has affiliates and how it gives them recognition. “The main reason for having affiliates is that we sail in the same ship,” he said. “We cannot achieve our mission on our own – we all share the same future. We cannot achieve the greatest impact and influence from the position of ‘antagonistic outsider’.”
TATOC has 12 Platinum affiliates, including RCI, and 16 gold and silver affiliates, with others currently under discussion. Chapman highlighted that people sometimes question whether it is right for TATOC to have relationships with industry providers – but stressed that it is proud of its affiliates and of their codes of conduct and practice. He explained that TATOC is open to work with more of the right companies, and that it occasionally – and sadly – has to part ways with affiliates who do not meet its high standards… something it is not afraid to do.
TATOC recognises affiliates by giving them each a landing page on its new website. Platinum affiliates will also have up to three articles available to read at any time. To see RCI’s page, visit tatoc.co.uk/affiliates/rci. Affiliates can also use the TATOC logo and there are a number of other benefits.
Events & Activities
Chapman discussed upcoming events and considerations for TATOC and its consumer helpline, as well as the wider timeshare community.
For the timeshare community:
- Consumer and product evolution
- The issue of exit strategy needs to be further discussed
- Continuing marketing challenges.
- Continued work towards the Five-Year Plan
- Closer engagement with government agencies
- Closer engagement with member resorts
- Increase Membership and Accreditation – enhance benefits
- Increase Affiliation number and engagement
- Increase media and web presence through Sharetime magazine and more.
For the Helpline:
- Continued excellent service
- Overcoming funding challenges.
Chapman then discussed the evolution of the timeshare industry, with a particular focus on new markets and new generations. He urged delegates to consider these new potential buyers and ask:
- What do they want?
- How will they look? Will they find your product?
- How do they want to buy?
- How and when do they want to book their holidays, and what duration are they?
“The new consumer is looking for something different, special and unique, but this must be managed while also protecting current owners,” he explained. “Resorts and providers must do all of this, all at the same time.”
The TATOC Consumer Helpline
Chapman shared some customer contact figures to demonstrate that enquiries and complaints to the TATOC helpline are decreasing. Enquiries in 2014 were 3,233 and at 2,707 in 2015. Complaints had also reduced significantly, with 525 in 2014 and 419 in 2015.
Unfortunately some of the cases TATOC deals with concern money being lost. However, the association has calculated that the potential money claimed back by TATOC or saved by owners/customers when they have followed helpline guidance is £564,288.