We’re back from ARDA (#ARDAWorld), which was held in a new venue for the first time in 25 years. We found New Orleans to be an exciting change, with fun options for dining and entertaining clients. The sessions were exciting, too, with these topics generating the most buzz:
- Industry growth and consolidation
- Ways to attract new customers
- Best practices for payment processing
Here’s what we heard, plus we provide some food for thought on these issues.
Growth and consolidation
Sales revenue in 2015 was a strong $8.6 billion, representing the sixth year of consecutive growth, according to the 2016 AIF Financial Performance Study prepared by Deloitte & Touche. Conversations at #ARDAWorld indicated the upward trend continued in 2016. (Numbers from 2016 will be released later this year). M&A also is unabated, with big brands and developers buying smaller players. While that often means deeper pockets for investing in technology and other innovations, it also poses some challenges.
Our take: Resort executives told us that the more diversified their resort portfolio becomes, the more important it is to speak with one voice to all customers. Coordinating communications and making acquired owners feel welcome is the key.
For one thing, make sure different internal resort groups aren’t reaching out to the same owner at the same time. You don’t want to send out communications that ask owners for referrals while simultaneously trying to upgrade their ownership and book their vacations. In addition to timing communications, presenting a unified voice requires that resort managers and their teams use materials that have the same tone, look and feel. (See Live from ARDA World 2017: How To Reach Your Owners blog by Richard O’Rourke on maintaining brand standards).
Attracting new sales
Your customer data is gold. In fact, that was the title of a breakout session. And for good reason: More than 55% of timeshare sales revenue comes from current owners and they spend more, too: The value of a new owner transaction is about $17,000 versus $27,000 for an existing owner, according to the 2016 AIF study.
Our take: Mining information on your current owner base will give you the foundation for future growth. The demographic/psychographic profile of a developer’s existing owner base can be a good indicator of what future buyers look like. For example, if the average household income is more than $100,000, then target customers of similar affluence.
But make sure you aren’t working with fool’s gold instead of the real deal. All communication methods should practice good data hygiene. Data hygiene deals with accuracy and consistency of data, and making sure there’s no duplication within your database. Any communications sent to vacation owners should first be processed through NCOA (National Change of Address maintained by the United States Postal Office), CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) and DPV (Delivery Point Validation).
Files that are processed through Expresso from Nordis Technologies are automatically run through NCOA, CASS and the DPV address validation process prior to creating the mail package. A return file is generated and sent back to the client that shows address changes or non-deliverable addresses so you can update your records.
The consensus from panels and discussions: If you accept and process credit and debit card payments, you must be compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – regardless of the number of transactions processed or the method used (phone or web).
PCI compliance requires following a dozen rules to help businesses and payment processors create and maintain a reliable, secure processing system. Penalties for compliance violations can add up, reaching $100,000 per month!
Our take: It’s a very costly endeavor to do payments on your own. As a result, using an expert in this area is a good option. At Nordis Technologies, we have ExpressoPay, a state-of-the-art application for handling online and phone-based payments.
We found the ARDA sessions thought-provoking and enjoyable, and we’d like to continue the conversation. If you’re interested in learning more about how technology can take the chaos out of managing complex owner communications, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Bryan joined Nordis Technologies in 2016 to manage and grow the company’s already-large vacation ownership client base. He also is responsible for business development and market expansion in the healthcare and financial services markets. Before joining Nordis Technologies, Bryan spent more than 21 years with Interval International, a leading global provider of vacation ownership services. Bryan graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor of science in political science.