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“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

- Martin Buber



Q&A: Talking to end-customers of timeshare

June 2011

Madhu Kopparam from Bangalore, is the Communications Project Manager at PlasticsEurope. He has also worked for WABCO, and 3M in Luxembourg. Madhu currently lives in Zoersel, in the Belgian province of Antwerp.

Over to Madhu, on his thoughts and views on timeshare…

Q: Madhu, when was your first timeshare holiday?

A: My first was in 1996 – I’d bought a timeshare plan from Sterling in 1993, but hadn’t had the opportunity to use it until 1996.

Q: What timeshare holiday locations have you been to?

A: We have been to and used our timeshare in Ooty, Munnar and Goa. I am currently working on converting my timeshare to an RCI one to be able to use it across the world.

Q: Which according to you, is your most preferred timeshare location?

A: For me it would be a hard choice – Goa first, I’d guess. That’s because the kids love it there; I’d find it equally good to be in Munnar, which is great for walks and the lovely countryside.

Q: What are the plus points of a timeshare membership?

A: Being able to afford luxury - my accommodation budget usually does not stretch to staying at 4 or 5-star hotels. The timeshare option helps me take care of that. I can also accumulate holidays and use them whenever and wherever I want; or gift, sell, trade, buy or exchange for more days.

Q: Is there any other benefit that comes to mind?

A: Convenience and comfort; good clean places for a one-time investment + a small annual maintenance fee + amenity charges - which adds up to much less than what it would cost to stay at a fancy, up-market hotel. Timeshare also gives you value a little above what you’d experience at a budget hotel.

Being able to cook your own food also helps you bring the overall cost of your expenses down as well as getting independent of hotel food which is a bit tiresome after a few days. Most of these resorts are also easily approachable by your own transport or by public transport. The locations are usually beyond reproach as well.

Q: What about the customer service, what’s your view?

A: No complaints about the resorts themselves. However, your ability to book and find a place seems directly dependent on your ability to pay more money, than has already been paid for your initial membership, or on upgrading your membership to a ‘better, more powerful’ one.  I sometimes find that you cannot really make a call to customer service without them wanting to suggest upgrades.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for timeshare customers?

A: Since the entire timeshare concept is one of constant upgrades and upsells, I’d advise customers to go with companies which will last the mile and show financial stability. I would also advise people to book or plan well in advance – it could be difficult getting the dates you have in mind all the time.

Q: Do you have suggestions for timeshare resort owners?

A: Try and avoid pressure selling / force selling to customers – especially those who are already sold on the idea.  

Q: Do you have suggestions for timeshare resort owners?

A: No, how does AIRDA come into the picture?

Our answer to Madhu’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.

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