ARDA World 2018: Mapping the Customer Journey Goes Prime Time

I am proud to say we had a sell-out crowd at our workshop, called “From Lead to Loyalty: A Vacation Owner’s Journey,” at ARDA World 2018 held this first week of May in Las Vegas.

The draw for our 160 attendees: Frank discussions and practical advice about taking that critical step of customer journey mapping and then making changes in every interaction with the vacation owner to improve customer experience (CX) so you can boost satisfaction and revenue.

Setting the stage for ARDA World 2018

To kick off the workshop, we had a panel discussion with Ira Kristol, chief innovations officer at Welk Resorts; Dave Trettin, associate vice president of CX experts North Highland Consulting; and me.

  • Ira offered lessons from Welk’s successful customer journey mapping, which began two years ago with the goal of minimizing communication disconnects across various functions. Key insight: Welk revamped its organizational structure and created a new full-time position to lead vacation owner engagement. The benefit: As the company worked to learn more about their customers, CX became more personalized. They also added omni-channel communications to reach consumers on the platforms they use natively.
  • Dave underscored the need for an in-depth understanding of customer behaviors, feelings and motivations before companies can dial up strategies to improve the customer experience. But it takes more: Empathy is the critical organizing structure around which CX is built. He also offered practical advice on how to initiate the customer journey mapping process.
  • I discussed how breaking down silos between functional areas and leveraging technology to unify customer communications along the journey on a single platform was a great way to start improving CX. I also provided examples of customer interactions along the timeshare journey such as making a reservation or paying a maintenance fee, and how more effective communications can enhance the owner experience.

Getting to work

But this was a workshop, and it was time to put the audience to work. We had 16 tables, and each table was assigned one of four customer profiles to evaluate: trial owners, first-time buyers, elite owners and those who are dis-engaged.

To begin, we worked on the empathy Dave discussed by taking the customer viewpoint. We examined behavior such as paying an HOA fee or planning a vacation. We looked at what customers think about, such as whether they can afford to purchase. We also reviewed how customers feel – for example, nervous or excited.

We matched those findings to specific journey steps placed in five broad categories:

  • ENTER – examining the purchase experience
  • ENGAGE – to make their first reservation or exchange
  • ENJOY – their vacation experience
  • ENTICE – such as using incentives to book tours
  • EXTEND – through upgrade sales or referrals

The verdict?

The ARDA conference session wrapped up with a member of each table reporting back to the group on the best ideas to improve CX. Here’s what Ginny Vietti, Vice President of Marketing for Breckenridge Grand Vacations, had to say:

“We are big believers in directing and crafting the owner journey. From the point of initial interaction to repeat purchases, we are the best in sales because we are the best in service. The Nordis forum helped us see the value of shaping the entire experience even more. I could have spent all day discussing this topic.”

Thank you, Ginny!

For those who want to join or continue the conversation, please download our white paper, From Lead to Loyalty: A Vacation Owner’s Journey or send me an email at I would love to hear from you.

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, 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. 


Bryan Ten Broek
Vice President, Business Development