The Impact of the Economy on the Timeshare Industry – Panel Discussion

A few days ago, timeshare executives discussed the impact of the economy on their industry during a panel discussion at the 31st Annual New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.  Beth Kormanik, the managing editor of Buyer Interactive and editor of Hotel Interactive writes about the discussion here.

Here is a summary of some of the more interesting points:

– With retirements being wiped out, more people are opting to keep discretionary income rather than spend it, especially on a timeshare.  So, timeshares are looking for a new pool of buyers.

– They want to emphasize rigorous maintenance of their properties, “even if it means raising fees.”

– They wish to cut down on the colossal marketing costs of timeshares

– Mortgages will require higher downpayments

– Timeshare owners for the most part kept paying their fees in spite of the economic downturn
“Will the consumer not pay the $800 and give up the $24,000 they have already spent?” he [
Stephen Cloobeck, chairman and CEO of Diamond Resorts International] asked. “That’s the issue in a nutshell.”
TR360 comment: Interesting statement…think about what that implies.  Timeshare owners feel compelled to pay the maintenance fees regardless whether they use the timeshare or not.

– Lower cost options are on the way with fewer ammentities and upgrades.

– We may see conversions into condo-hotels.

Last statement from Johann Murray, senior vice president of financial services for Hilton Grand Vacations: “We’ll be out of this downturn in five to six months. We’re already seeing signs of bottoming,” he said. “There’s just too much money to be made in this industry.”

Read that last sentence a few times.  He’s talking about timeshares making the money, not owners.