Three Top Owner Trends for 2017
Make booking a snap, consider new locations and offer authentic experiences to engage younger owners and travelers.
Vacation ownership continues to flourish and reach new owners in 2017. According to ARDA International Foundation’s (AIF) 2016 Shared Vacation Ownership Owners Report, the industry increasingly attracts younger and more-diverse travelers: 18- to 34-year-olds now make up 26 percent of owners, and 41 percent of owners identify as African-American, Hispanic or Asian-American. Darla Zanini, executive vice president of ARDA International Foundation, shares three owner and traveler trends and tips for how resorts and developers can motivate these groups.
Exploring unexpected destinations.
“Visiting less-explored and less-developed regions is a newer trend we’re seeing among travelers,” Zanini says. This is especially true for the younger crowd. The World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation recently surveyed more than 34,000 people from 137 countries and found that young travelers ages 23 to 30 are spending less time in major gateway cities and instead are exploring more-remote destinations. Smaller undiscovered areas, such as Joshua Tree, in California, or Colorado’s Rampart Range, that don’t necessarily have a major attraction nearby could be potential areas for growth. And finding spots like these Stateside could prove advantageous: According to the report, 79 percent of respondents plan to travel within the United States in 2017.
Booking online more frequently.
“[Travel] consumers are getting their information and enjoying the convenience of purchasing online or from a mobile device,” Zanini says. Resorts should consider investing in responsive websites that are designed with mobile devices in mind and allow users to book directly on the site. “However, consumers’ desire for more-interactive booking sites doesn’t lessen the need for quality customer service,” Zanini cautions. In the AIF owner study, 44 percent of respondents still look for assistance when booking lodging, airline tickets and rental cars.
Saving on authentic experiences.
“Consider offering authentic experiences to accommodate those owners who are looking for a wider variety of activities and a more localized experience,” Zanini says. In addition to greater activity choices, nearly half of timeshare owners expressed an interest in budget-friendly excursions. Resorts can utilize resources in the community, such as nature walks or food tours, to meet this desire for low-cost activities. Local outfitters may also be open to offering owners a discount in exchange for the use of resort facilities.
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