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Timeshare ‘must target Internet generation’

THE GENERATION COMMONLY referred to as millennials, defined as adults from 18 to 33 years of age, represent the primary target that companies in nearly every industry are currently focussed on to either grow or secure the health of their businesses. It’s no different in the hospitality sector, where investors in shared ownership (timeshare) and traditional hotel management, consider millennials to be their biggest consumer market. According to a 2015 America Resort Development Association International Foundation-sponsored study commissioned by Leger (formerly The Research Intelligence Group), and shared during the 17th Annual Shared Ownership Investment Conference, held recently at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, millennials comprise approximately 80 million adults in the United States. Forbes.com also disclosed that these 80 million-plus adults possessed an estimated annual buying power that exceeds US$200 billion. “Given that the average age of the typical timeshare owner is over 50, industry professionals need to look at ownership through a different lens if they are to be successful in their endeavour to market their product to the next generation of owners. “It is common knowledge that millennials differ from older groups such as Generation X (those born in the mid-1960s to early 1980s and the Baby Boomers (those born from the mid-1940s to mid-1960s),” the study showed. It also revealed that from an ethnic and racial standpoint, millennials were the most diversified, socially progressive age group, their usage of Internet-related technology, particulary on a smartphone, was an integral part of their lives, and their ability to access information quickly was most pervasive, particularly in their use of social media (such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). The study further indicated that while it was “critical to understand the vacation habits of millennials are unique when compared to the traditional, older group of timeshare owners, the timeshare industry should not ignore the Generation X groups (older and younger), which still represent a visible target market for vacation-based products.”