Part one of our TATOC 2012 conference report
The Timeshare Association (TATOC) chairman Harry Taylor has hailed this year’s conference the best yet. The annual meeting of timeshare minds, saw a record number of timeshare owners and members of the industry join together in Warrington, in the UK.
This year 150 delegates at the TATOC conference listened to presentations from numerous speakers including owners, timeshare resort managers exchange and timeshare resales companies.
Director Geoff Chapman kicked off the TATOC conference with a summary of the consumer organisation’s achievements in the past year. He said TATOC accredited 29 resorts in 2011, from Spain, the Canary Island’s, the UK and Malta. It has 97 member resorts – up 11 in 2011 and 26 affiliated companies, including LiveShareTravel.
Chapman revealed a number of statistics about the consumer organisation at the TATOC conference:
- Its consumer help line receives approximately 9,271 calls a month.
- Approximately one-third of these are complaints.
- 90% of those complaints are about rogue companies (i.e. non timeshare companies selling holiday packs and holiday clubs)
- Only 3% of complaints are about reputable timeshare companies
People with vision will understand where technology is taking us and will be better able to serve customers and sell their products
Keynote speaker, Professor Dimitrios Bulhalis
Sharetime magazine columnist Lisa Ann Schreier of Timeshare Insights predicted timeshare would evolve with shorter, more flexible plans, offering owners more ways to use it. She also believed people would be more educated about timeshare and incentives to attend presentations will go by the wayside.
Meanwhile Macdonald Hotels and Resorts’ chief executive Simon Jackson spoke on the importance of an exit strategy. A survey of Macdonald’s owners revealed that a high percentage of them would be looking for ways to sell on their timeshare as their needs and circumstances changed.
The company has been preparing for this by developing a strategy with its owners to help them exit their timeshare.
“If we don’t find answers there will be others that will,” he said, highlighting rogue companies that offer resales and give customers no returns. “We must do something to stop the scam merchants.”
Explaining how unpaid maintenance fees by people who no longer want their timeshare could also be broached with this strategy, Jackson said: “Solve the exit strategy problem and the issue of maintenance fees disappears.”
The future is social TATOC conference hears
Keynote speaker Professor Dimitrios Bulhalis brought delegates up to date on the eTourism revolution sweeping the globe. The Bournemouth University professor told the TATOC conference about the need to engage people with what is going on inside timeshare.
He said social media and online activity would be vital for the survival of hospitality businesses in the future: “People with vision will understand where technology is taking us and be better able to serve customers and sell their products.”
Professor Bulhalis played delegates the following video with staggering facts and figures about social media adoption.
One delegate feared negative comments appearing on social networks could be damaging for the resort where he owns a timeshare. But Professor Bulhalis said: “If they are negative comments that are true do something about it to improve people’s experience of the product.
“If it’s something negative that’s false go back and address it – show people videos of the resort, photos and testimonials.”