Developments April-May 2014 - (Page 82)

INNOVATION Tapping In Mobile, Social & Visual Sales Made for Timesharing BY JUDY KENNINGER, RRP T he mobile "revolution" is here. At the January Consumer Electronics Show, the renowned annual technology extravaganza in Las Vegas, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer revealed that about half of the site's 800 million monthly users access it on their mobile phones. Facebook counts 945 million monthly users of its mobile service. And HeBS, a leading Internet marketing and strategy firm, reports that nearly 40 percent of their hotel clients' on-line traffic comes from either a smartphone or a tablet. Clearly, the time has come for timeshare companies to embrace mobile. All indications are that resort developers who don't make the investment in an app or a mobile version of their Web sites risk falling behind. What other digital tools are becoming "must haves" for our industry? Developments looks at what's here-and what's coming soon-to a device near you. Sales Sizzle They may be using a tablet device, high-definition monitor, or even a laptop, but in 2014, timeshare sales representatives are speeding away from printed pitch books and directories. "We're seeing most timeshare sales organization migrating from printed brochures to digital media," says Bryan Ten Broek, Interval's senior vice president of resort sales and marketing. "It makes their presentations even more engaging and credible." ARDA President and CEO Howard Nusbaum, RRP, agrees. "These tools provide more flexibility in the sales process to go where the prospect wants to go," Nusbaum says. "You can go wide with them and talk about locations and options, or go deep and focus on benefits and amenities." 74 - Developments arda.org He also points out that shared ownership resorts in so many diverse and picturesque locations are particularly suited to a multi-dimensional, visual sales process. At Hyatt Ka'anapali Beach on Maui, Hawaii, Hyatt Residential Group proves Nusbaum's point. A proprietary, interactive presentation is accessed on a 46-inch touch screen built into each salesperson's tabletop. "We have used high-tech graphics before but not with multi-touch capability," says Alan Reed, Hyatt's vice president, information technology. "Guests expect the latest technology from Hyatt, and our new multi-touch screen delivers. We feel that it is cutting edge for our industry." The software has various modules that associates can guide prospects through, allowing guests to reach out and touch their answers. One discerns their preferred vacation style, another asks about dream vacations. Along the way, the representative can e-mail the information to the sales manager for later use. Because the resort is located in a high-demand area with limited supply, another module displays remaining inventory in real-time along with pricing. "There's a red circle around weeks with low supply," Reed says. "It helps create urgency." Welk Resorts recently updated the sales center wall tour at Welk Resort San Diego with a high-definition display linked to an iPad. "The ability for prospects to see where Welk owners are exchanging in nearly real time adds instant credibility-and it's sexier," says Ira Kristol, Welk's senior vice president of operations, sales and marketing. "Everyone is used to lots of video and color and sound, so the digital technology is really expected now." Welk Resorts Sales Presentation In fact, according to digital analyst ComScore, 89 million people in the United States watch 1.2 billion on-line videos each day. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18-34 than any cable network. Interestingly, 73 percent of adults who are online use a social networking site of some kind. "As effective as the Interval Exchange Tracker has been, we've taken it to the next level by adding an interactive globe to the app, which serves as a great http://www.arda.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Developments April-May 2014

UP FRONT
FIRST WORD
AROUND THE INDUSTRY
MEMBER PROFILE
TRENDS
INTERNATIONAL
LEGAL
LET'S ROC
RE-INNOVATE: FROM LEGACY TO CURRENCY
RECIPE FOR GROWTH: KEY INGREDIENT FOR SUCCESS
PROCESS AND PROGRESS
TAPPING IN
WIN
CHARITY SPOTLIGHT
FINANCE
AIF
RESORT OPS
MEMBERSHIP
MEMBERSHIP UPDATES
LAST WORD

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