Are timeshares becoming obsolete? How much impact are companies like Airbnb having on the timeshare industry? Can timeshare developers evolve fast enough to capture millennial’s interest?
Throughout the ’80’s and ’90’s timeshares were marketed to and appealed to baby – boomers. And that model worked very well for decades.
However, as generations change so do their preferences for levels of commitment, value, and options. According to recent studies, Millennials (those born in the early 1980’s and the mid-1990’s to early 2000’s), are not as attracted to long term ties to timeshares and sales are beginning to show it. The travel and lodging industry’s newest leader, Airbnb, caters specifically to this new generation through online bookings and phone apps. They offer 5 million lodging listings in 81,000 cities and 191 countries and has facilitated over 300 million check ins since its inception in 2008. Those are numbers the big timeshare developers like Marriott, Wyndham, and Starwood cannot afford to ignore.
Another thing that boosts the “wow factor” with Airbnb is variety. They offer a stunning array of options including restaurant reservations, excursions, 3,000 castles, and 1,400 treehouses. Top that RCI!
But timeshare developers are not really ignoring Airbnb. They seem to be attacking them. Through political pressure the U.S. has seen numbers of cities pass very strict laws and even bans on Airbnb. West New York, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and New York City have outright banned short term rentals that are less than 30 days.
Are timeshare developers behind the political pressure to fight against Airbnb? They have been no stranger to those tactics in the past. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were donated by the resorts to politicians in Florida in 2015 to get the new Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act, HB 453 on the books.
Rather than fighting against Airbnb the timeshare developers need to adjust to the times and market to the buyers where they are – like Airbnb has done.
Once again the big timeshare giants are looking like they are doing all they can to preserve their aging system and squash the new guys.
Sorry guys, I’d say, you’re too late.
Hats off to Airbnb.
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