What can be done about timeshare's bad reputation?

Ask the Timeshare Crusader / July, 2011

I have been a timeshare owner for the past 12 years and have been reading with increased dismay the media articles bashing timeshare. With this type of coverage it's no wonder the timeshare industry has a bad reputation. Is there anything that can be done to combat this rash of negative media attention?

I'm sure I've read the exact same articles as you, and I won't give them any more press by including links here. This rash of articles has me both worried and upset.

Anyone even remotely familiar with my name and my work over the past six years knows that I have a LOT to say about timeshare. Some of what I have to say (OK, a good deal of what I have to say) focuses on the need for the industry to institute long overdue positive changes in the areas of marketing, sales, and providing a true value proposition.

I've also said from the start that timeshare is a great vacation alternative to millions of people: those who already own and those who could really benefit from timeshare ownership. The mainstream media and even some timeshare media outlets don't focus on the positive though.

Article after article talks about timeshare being a "bad investment", but never quite getting around to the fact that hotel expenses are an even worse "investment". Writers who are not familiar with the benefits of timeshare bemoan the fact that timeshare owners are "tied to the same week of the year at the same resort forever", and of course the ever popular and incorrect "you can never get rid of a timeshare". But the recent articles go even one step further in talking about timeshares as a "vacation scam" and lumping it into the same category as fake taxi drivers or pickpockets.

What is the public to make of these stories? Based on my conversations, consumers are more tempted than ever before to mistrust ANYTHING having to do with the word timeshare, and that's where my worry and upset come in. Misinformed media, leading to misinformed consumers, could very well lead to a further downfall of the entire industry; and that would be a VERY bad thing.

I believe that the legitimate parties involved in the timeshare industry - and that is about 99% of the industry - along with timeshare owners, need to band together and do something. Years ago, I challenged ARDA to come up with an effective pubic relations campaign for timeshare. Much to my dismay, they didn't. Seven years later, things are much, much worse. The need for an effective public relations campaign has increased substantially.

I urge everyone involved in the timeshare industry and the millions of owners to start to work together on the 85% of things that we all agree on, and worry about the other 15% at a later date. Action must be taken and taken quickly. Who is with me?

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Lisa Ann Schreier

Lisa Ann Schreier - The Timeshare Crusdaer aka The Timeshare Crusader

The answer to this question came from Lisa Ann Schreier.

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