VIEWS AND INTERVIEWS
Q&A roll back - going down memory lane
Over the last four years or so, we’ve spoken to heads of large resort chains and exchange companies, we’ve spoken to stakeholders and project associates, and we’ve spoken to a wide cross-section of customers. The oldest customer we spoke to was 86 years old, and the youngest was thirteen.
Here are some excerpts from the interviews we have had with customers, and vacationers who have used timeshare at some point in time.
Sujatha Sashidhar - Curio shop owner and long-standing timeshare customer
During the early years of timeshare – when we got into it – the service was not so great. But with several large players coming in, the standards seem to be going up with an emphasis on customer service. Earlier, there were communication gaps between resort and customer - which even led to losing track of paying annual maintenance fees and things like that. Over the years, there has been a visible improvement in this area, with computerization and database management helping streamline and manage customer relationships.
Krishna Rajan – Senior IT professional and holiday enthusiast
Most people don’t realize this, but a timeshare holiday actually gives you close to 5-star accommodation and comforts – and this is something you really have to keep in mind when you’re looking at overall benefits. The second benefit is in the wide-ranging entertainment options – most hotels don’t give you the spread of activities that you would find at a timeshare resort, for the whole family. Only timeshare can give you a vacation that is constructive, engaging and activity-oriented.
Madhav Maheshwaran – Country head of a Swedish design firm
My first timeshare holiday was a long time ago – probably early 2000. My brother has been a timeshare customer for years, and he is the family’s sugar daddy on timeshare vacations. The best part for me on these vacations is the coming together of the entire family, with little children running around happily. Timeshare might actually help us plan around our busy schedules, to get away for a well-deserved break - helping us share vacation times with family members and friends.
Marie Rodrigues – An 86-year-old with wings
I’m basically from Goa and I find some of our favourite holiday locations in Goa, turning into resorts. Which is a good idea because you need to open your doors to the whole wide world and share your natural resources. Though I’ve not personally gone on a timeshare holiday, I have seen pictures and holiday videos of my nephews and nieces, at timeshare resort locations. And when I watch these videos, I sometimes wish I was 50 years younger - and in one of the swimsuits that I still have in my cupboard :)
Sharan Kavanal - 13-year-old holiday enthusiast from Bangalore
At home, we really wake up late during holidays; at the resort we are up at 5.30 – listening to the birds chirping outside our window. What we really like is the free open spaces and the freedom to run around, climb trees and pretend we are playing out an adventure story. In terms of feedback, we don’t like being treated like kids during a holiday – just because adults want us to get out of the way. Without planned activities, the only things available to us are board games, and more board games.
Ravikumar Damodaran – Senior manager, business development
Given the fast pace of life and the fact that both husband and wife are working these days - mostly under pressure - there is a need felt to take short breaks every now and then. Timesharing is a great solution, what with the convenience associated with the product to make the experience as holistic and enjoyable as possible. The resorts of today are getting increasingly modern in keeping with the requirements of the family. They are also catering to the small, compact family as well as the joint family type in terms of accommodation and choice. The beauty about timeshare is that resorts are present in the best of the locations in India - be it beaches, historical places, wildlife parks, or snow-capped mountains.
Srikala Bhashyam - Journalist and investment consultant
I think timeshare holidays are a great way to unwind and relax, at locations that are definitely a home away from home - with spacious rooms, flexible food plans and plenty of scope for activities. And yes, don’t forget the long-term benefits of timeshare holidays, year after year after year. When we first went on a timeshare vacation, it was an added bonus to be able to cook your own food. The husbands felt they were never too far from familiar food flavors and the wife’s apron strings. These days, wives want to take a break from the kitchen as well – they too want to put their feet up and call for room service, or try out the wonderful buffet spreads that greet you at the dining areas.
Lloyd Dsouza – Senior systems administrator based in Kuwait
Going by my own experience, people should not use WORK as an excuse, to deny their families a holiday. I don’t always manage to do this, but please do find ways to take a break, plan early and make your bookings. I guess this is easier said than done, but you stand to gain at the end of the day - it’s your hard-earned money that has gone into a timeshare plan. We must really reap and enjoy what we’re entitled to and believe me, there’s a lot to see and explore in India’s world of timeshare.
With a support organization like AIRDA, resort owners have the choice of becoming part of an organized body that is committed to a code of ethics, transparency and fair customer engagement.
Just in case you want a quick overview on AIRDA >
At an industry level, AIRDA shares member concerns within influencer circles – these are government departments that have timeshare and vacation ownership under their purview.
AIRDA is an independent, non-profit advisory dedicated to the timeshare and vacation ownership industry. We offer resort developers a constructive platform to share ideas and strategies on the running and promotion of timeshare. We also play an advisory role with end-customers and users of vacation ownership and timeshare - offering guidelines and tips on choosing the right timeshare packages. A key objective here is to raise awareness levels of consumer rights and responsibilities - where AIRDA could also play the role of an ombudsman, on areas that need resolution between developers and customers.