Some of the major vacation ownership companies in the world are still not using digital marketing strategies. One company recently celebrated 30 years in vacation ownership and has made some significant strides as a leader in the industry. The Marriott brand is associated with high quality resorts around the world, which is one reason that they are able to garner so much visibility for their vacation ownership brand, but they also integrate with social media to engage with owners and fans.
As an example of resort marketing and timeshare marketing, Marriott Vacation Club is a pretty good one. However, there are some things that the brand could change to really pick up momentum for their sales. After a slow summer as reported in the Orlando Sentinel, Marriott Vacation Club does need to show some growth to really turn around their stock rating but als o bring in new ownership. If they are successful in offering more digital options to owners, they could even excite their owners to act on other opportunities.
So what can be learned from a leader like Marriott Vacation Club? These are three tips to take away from Marriott Vacation Club.
1. Engage with Fans on Social Media
Marriott Vacation Club has over 101,000 likes on Facebook. The company regularly updates with photos of their resorts, promotions and pictures from Instagram. At the bottom of the Marriott Vacation Club website, the company links to several social media accounts where potential owner and returning owners can interact. This is a great tool for engagement and provides a quick way for someone looking to share Marriott Vacation Club with someone else through social media.
However,the website also provides space where they can show photos from their owners and engage with people through Instagram. This allows Marriott to constantly be visible and promote the quality of its brand right on the main website. One thing that Marriott Vacation Club should look to do is take their messaging completely online. Right now, the site still prompts people to make a phone call to request more information, and on the Facebook page, the “Contact Us” button at the top isn’t really engaging for potential owners.
However, a call-to-action for “Reserve Now” or “Take a Tour” could really improve the click-through reports from social media to the website as well as how the users interact with the content. The whole point is to make it easier for the customer to send you their information online. Right now the experience on Marriott Vacation Club doesn’t provide a 100% assurance of when they’ll get information. If you think about the actions that a person had to take just to go to the Marriott Vacation Club website, then it’s an additional action to make a phone call requesting more information or to fill in a form that would result in a call back. Many people just want to be able to have a streamlined online process that allows them to book tours or rent timeshare properties as easily as they could through Priceline or Orbitz.
2. The Mobile Owner
Most users these days are looking at content on their cell phones. They’re not going to wait to start researching a company or product. Instead, they’ll pull out their phone, type in a phrase and hopefully get directed to your timeshare resort site. While “Marriott vacation ownership” leads directly to Marriott Vacation Club, the mobile experience needs to be updated. There are a lot of things that Marriott Vacation Club isn’t doing on mobile to really protect its online brand. With a better mobile site, they could potentially reach thousands of new owners who want to purchase at Marriott Vacation Club as well.
Luckily, Marriott is a big enough brand overall that they can provide traffic from the main company website over to the vacation ownership brand. This is likely where a lot of owners come from. However, if Marriott really wanted to take over market share, they would update the site to be more mobile-friendly and start campaigns that target their users on social media to take a tour or sign up for more information online.
Owners should be able to browse your website and make decisions directly on your page from their phones or tablets. The amount of mobile users has overtaken desktop users in the past year. This would be a great step forward for any timeshare resort looking to get more bookings and sales.
3. Offer Better Tour Packages
One thing that is directly clear from Marriott Vacation Club’s website is that they don’t have any specific tour deals. This might be because their brand strategy relies on leads from Marriott directly. However, the website could be its own lead generation system if they provided the right call-to-action and tours directly on the site. For example, they recently opened a new location at Washington D.C. It’s hard to tell from the website if this is a great resort to purchase or even how to get more information. The links to this information are located at the bottom of the page without any sort of call-to-action. This resort could have really benefited from a campaign to celebrate the new opening and provide potential owners with beautiful photographs and travel ideas that would make them want to tour, and eventually purchase, at this new location.
Overall, for its market, Marriott Vacation Club is still a leader, but in terms of online timeshare marketing, it’s still behind. By creating integrated digital marketing campaigns for timeshare owners, building a better mobile experience and celebrating its resort offerings with better tour packages, the company could see some significant growth.