I think, therefore I transfer.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Social Media as a Smart Way to Connect with Timeshare Owners

With the number of owners trying to get out of their timeshares these days, timeshare companies have found a new way to better communicate with its clients. The timeshare industry is known for its marketing savvy and now, it is adopting social media strategies. While timeshare brands and associations have different approaches for their varying customers, most are using social media outlets to strengthen the bond with their most critical mass which are the current timeshare owners.

According to Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of the American Resort Development Association, they’re trying to educate their members that viral and word-of-mouth marketing now has a huge megaphone. He added that this is an opportunity every day to ensure you’re igniting your fans and answering your detractors, and it’s almost as if comment cards are now in the public domain.

Meanwhile, that concept of “igniting fans” has plenty of marketing clout, according to Ed Kinney, VP of corporate affairs and brand awareness for Marriott Vacation Club. He said that they found that social media really isn’t a transactional marketing channel. Thus, we should back off from that and use it for other means, like service and awareness. Kinney further said that the Marriott team was keen to not turn people off with its social media strategies, which include Twitter and Facebook.

On the other hand, defining the social media space is different for different companies. Some use established channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to monitor how owners perceive their vacation properties and spread the word that way. Others, such as Interval International, have created proprietary members-only sites to corral all forms of shareable online media.

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