The timeshare and vacation ownership industry is one of the toughest consumer services to sell. The high subscription fees (up to $15k+ per year), the fact that it’s a want and not a need, and the long sales process make it tough.
Below, I’ll share two timeshare customer acquisition models (Disney & Hilton) that have successfully bridged the gap. Here’s how the article is broken down:
- How Disney Vacation Club Generates Free Consults and Sales (High-Priced Membership – $18k on Average per Year)
- How Hilton Grand Vacations Does the Same ($199-$699)
How Disney Vacation Club Sells $18k per year Memberships
Disney Vacation Club – Acquisition Stage
When Disney first engages with users, they start out with a benefits-oriented approach. Note that a “great family experience” doesn’t have to be limited to pictures/videos of the family having fun and the great views.
What Disney also does well is that it takes full advantage of its brand assets. If you look at the photos below, the first picture has minnie mouse, the second picture has tiaras on the girls, and the third picture has their signature pixie dust animation.
Similarly, your brand should have a defining differentiator (or set of differentiators) that not only delivers the benefit but also makes it unique. It doesn’t have to be a “visual” differentiator. As long as there’s a unique (or uncommon way) of delivering the benefit, then that’s good enough.
Once people click on the ad, they’re then directed to this landing page where they ask people to sign up.
Unlike other brands which make it relatively easy for people to sign up (i.e. fewer fields), Disney has more form fields and asks whether the visitor wants to get either a Free DVD or Watch the Introduction Video online.
You might ask why?
The reason is that it helps qualify and filter who are truly serious about getting the Disney Family experience and those who are browsing around. Furthermore, those actions are also a form of “micro-commitments”.
The psychological principle is this – the more people invest into something, then the more they desire it and less willing to consider other options. Note that you can only pull this off under two conditions: 1) you have strong brand like Disney or 2) you’ve figured how to drive lots of traffic to your site (and you need to create more filters to remove the ‘bad’ leads).
Once people get the DVD or watch the video, they’re treated to an even longer elaboration of the benefit. Note that they don’t go into the “how” yet; rather, they focus on the “what” and “why”.
Disney Vacation Club – Activation Stage
If people bounce off, then they get retargeted with an ad which uses a different benefit angle. This time, it’s more about the service.
Once they click on the ad, they start sharing the other benefits that the membership has (instead of focusing on the family experience).
Apart from benefits, another angle that they use is the pipeline of events in the next few months. One common question when it comes to memberships is “sure, I can get something now; but will I get something in the future?”. A sense of reliability is important to relieve people of that fear.
Scrolling down, you’ll see this:
Disney Vacation Club – Conversion Stage
Lastly, if they’ve engaged a lot but still haven’t opted-in for the sale yet; then you start running some direct sales ads. This means that you can start leveraging sales principles of urgency and value (i.e. save X if you become a member by Y). See below for an example.
And this is how the landing page looks like. There are parts which are still benefit-oriented; but a good chunk of the landing page is now more sales-oriented.
As you’ve noticed, the Disney funnel is heavy on the on retargeting and conversion. They also never put the price on the landing page. The simple reason is that they know that their club is one of the most expensive out there; and they’d rather do the sales in-person or through phone.
Now that’s for a 5-digit package. Now let’s look into something that’s cheaper – Hilton Grand Vacations.
How Hilton Grand Vacations Does the Same ($199-$699)
Hilton Grand Vacations – Acquisition Stage
For Hilton Grand Vacations, their approach is similar to what you would see from travel agencies and sites like Groupon: it shows a pre-made package and its positioned as a local deal.
But what’s important and interesting about their funnel is that their landing page is 100% congruent with the ad: same photo and same format.
Too many brands and websites lead people to a generic shopping page where people have to scroll and click through a few things before they get to the page that they want.
From the same brand, here’s an example for a Honolulu or Waikoloa package worth $699.
Similarly, there’s also a dedicated landing page. Note that if you look at the navigation bar, there’s no way to look into t other options apart from Honolulu or Waikoloa. The reason is that they don’t want people to browse around and look for other options. More optionality means more indecisiveness on the part of the visitor, so it tends to reduce conversion rates.
Hilton Grand Vacations – Reconversion Stage
Once the person or family has bought and went to the location, they will be presented with an ad that encourages them to extend their membership.
They do a video sales ad through a representative, and upon a click, they will be directed to a landing page which has the instructions on how to extend their club points.
This is how the landing page looks like.
There you have it: two proven acquisition models for the timeshare industry. If you’d like to have a personalized timeshare customer acquisition strategy through digital marketing, feel free to schedule some time with a Facebook Blueprint-certified and AdWords-certified consultant here.