VIEWS AND INTERVIEWS
Talking to end-customers of timeshare
Madhav Maheshwaran runs a graphic design firm in Bangalore called Creative Network. Creative Network is strong on brand identity and offers total advertising solutions to clients across wide ranging industry segments. Madhav’s early career days had a lot to do with travel – he started off at Sita. Probably why he’s always winging his way to interesting holiday destinations.
Q: When did you go on your first timeshare holiday?
A: My first timeshare holiday was a long time ago - probably early 2000. My brother has been a member of Mahindra for years and he is the family's sugar daddy on timeshare vacations. The best part for me on these vacations was the coming together of the entire family with little children running around happily.
Q: Which according to you, is your most preferred timeshare location?
A: We've done Royal Goan Beach in Goa, and Mahindra in Goa, Ooty and Coorg. The Mahindra resorts in Goa and Coorg are nice properties - good 4-star facilities at an unbelievable price-value equation. Also very comforting in terms of holiday experience and facilities.
Q: What are the plus points of a timeshare membership?
A: Actually, I can see a lot of benefits. You can aggregate your holidays and carry over unused weeks. You get to experience different resort locations. And you can plan your holiday around a time when you can take a break. Another plus point is the flexibility to take the extended family along – we invariably have 20 family members on a holiday. Our vacations are like reunions that everyone looks forward to.
Q: Do you have any suggestions for timeshare customers?
A: I’ve got a word of advice for timeshare customers. Make a light breakfast or tea in your kitchenettes by all means, but please don’t bring your masala dabbas along. I have seen how aggressive food odors can linger on for days. It is also difficult for maintenance people to dissipate cooking smells in the brief time they have to refresh a room.
Nowadays, with excellent F&B plans the trend is changing - people really don’t cook heavy stuff in their kitchenettes. I’m pretty hands-on when it comes to cooking, but on vacation, I’d rather be hiking, trekking, or just unwinding.
Q: Do you have suggestions for timeshare resort owners?
A: I mentioned excellent F&B in my previous response, and other customers may not agree with me here. I feel there’s always too much of a good thing – far too much food on spread at timeshare buffets.
My advice here would be to take a cue from resorts in Europe for instance. Simplify the spread, economize on platter variants and widen the experience. You don’t have to cater to the tastes of every region.
Q: Are you interested in picking up a timeshare membership for your family?
A: I am favourably inclined towards timeshare – especially as our family likes to holiday regularly. We came pretty close to picking up the Zest option from Mahindra – it’s a wonderful format where the resorts are within easy driving distance of your home base. I must reconnect on that option one of these days.
Q: Have you heard of the All India Resort Development Association?
A: I have a faint recollection – maybe I have seen a certificate at one of the resorts. But tell me more.
Our answer to Madhav’s question may be useful to other timeshare customers / prospects who have not heard of AIRDA.
The All India Resort Development Association is a self-regulated, independent advisory dedicated to the timeshare and vacation ownership industry. AIRDA’s primary members are resort owners, who benefit from AIRDA’s constructive sharing of ideas and strategies on the running and promotion of timeshare. AIRDA works closely with members to cut a clean image in the industry and offer fair value to end customers.
AIRDA also represents the industry and lobbies with the government on policy issues that could have a bearing on timeshare and vacation ownership in the country.
AIRDA has a balanced end-customer focus and provides updated information on the official website. This covers the timeshare marketplace, advice on making informed choices on vacation ownership and assistance on complaint redressal, if any.
AIRDA is an affiliated member of the American Resort Developers Association.