Published in the Orlando Sentinel
With sales essentially flat last year, the U.S. time-share industry focused on the little wins when assessing the “state of the industry” last week: more-efficient marketing, consistent occupancy rates, and the fact that nine of every 10 owners with a mortgage remain current on their loans.
The industry remains a much smaller version of itself: Sales are down 40 percent from the industry’s peak, and some in the business say they don’t ever expect to see a return to the frenzied pace of four years ago.
“It’s a different business today than it was,” Sergio Rivera, chief executive officer of Orlando-based Starwood Vacation Ownership, said during the Shared Ownership Investment Conference at the Peabody Orlando. “Most of us on this panel — I would say all of us on this panel today — have smaller organizations that are more efficient. We’re doing a lot more with technology. We’re leaving our silos, and we’re focusing on the customer.”
“It’s getting to be the trend. A lot of small resorts are realizing that economy of scale — they can’t operate profitably by doing it themselves and they’re hiring time-share companies to do it for them,” said Dave Siegel, who has yet to pursue such an arrangement. “That is a future trend that we’re looking at.”