This year marks a new era in the timeshare industry, one that embraces branding, diversity, globalization, digital media and more, says Lawrence Hefler, a marketing and branding expert and founder of Hefler International. Hefler sees seven trends that will transform the industry:

  1. Demobrandics: Preview centers, sales galleries and resort destinations will offer the alternative of self-guided, audio-visual tours that will give diverse audiences a clear and consistent brand and product message, at their own pace, and in the language of their choice.

  2. Maxi-vacs: The days of one-dimensional, printed collateral materials, displays, presentation books and signage are fading. They will be replaced by multimedia screens, interactive touch screens, kiosks and mobile tablet PCs.

  3. Postviewing: Old will become new again as electronic media, such as TV and radio, will be used to reach and target local market segments. Face-to-face marketing will edge out telemarketing as the dominant way to connect consumers to the brand and the product.

  4. E-mmunities: Websites will become more content-based, user-friendly, interactive and transactional, creating opportunities for lead generation, rental inventory, re-sales and eventually, purchasing online. With more than 60 percent of Internet users in the U.S. having broadband, you can expect to see greater use of rich media to engage users online.

  5. Brandsharing: Companies will seek out and embrace strategic partners for co-branding, co-marketing and data sharing. This will enhance their databases with their partners' databases to gain more robust views of their customers and prospects.

  6. TPG (trust per guest): To avoid consumer dissatisfaction with the sales and marketing process, companies will pay more attention to the Code of Standards and Ethics of the American Resort Development Association, also known as the Timeshare Bill of Rights. These guidelines are a template for best practices.

  7. Glocalization: The coming year will be the time to watch the growth spurt of the industry's global marketing plan with strategic specific guidelines. Major players will look to grow their brands in new markets around the world.

  8. “Timeshare style marketing, sales techniques and product experiences will be blogged about in social media-spheres,” says Hefler. “Some companies will fall short, while forward-thinking companies that engage in more education and compliance will win the hearts and minds of the buyer, their friends, their family and most importantly, create brand advocacy.

“The tolerance for aggressive, outdated direct sales practices is lower than ever before and comes with greater risks to our new found status as the desirable vacation product timeshare.”

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