RCI Uses Social-Analytics Support System to Monitor Brand Sentiment

Timeshare resort base has grown by over 50 per cent over the last six years showing great potential and promise. We speak to Sabina Chopra, Managing Director, RCI India on how RCI offers an immersive holiday experience.

Sabina Chopra of RCI India has completed two years in the company. As the Managing Director, Chopra’s main objective has been to grow the exchange network and continue to lead the market by growing the member base and affiliate partners in the target segment. “Our strategy is two-pronged – member growth and satisfaction by providing solutions that make travel experience with RCI truly world class and affiliate growth by engaging with affiliates to drive the growth in timeshare market and support their business,” she said. On her recent trip to the capital she tells us about her journey and the new initiatives planned for the future. Excerpts:

What are the strategic steps achieved so far? Have you come across any challenges in achieving your goal?

We have worked towards increasing affiliations with different resorts across the country like Clarks Holidays, Ramada Kumbhalgarh, Hill Stream Resort in Dehradun, The Global Family Home, Leh, Ananta Spa and Resorts in Udaipur, ‘Nest n Mist’ resort in Waynad, JC Residency Resorts in Kodaikanal and Madurai, Sterling La Vida Varca, Goa and Arie Lagoon in Sri Lanka. These affiliations and partnerships have not only widened our presence in the country but also provide our existing and potential members choices of high-quality properties in premium holiday destinations.

We also undertook a survey in partnership with Kantar-IMRB to get some insights into the timeshare space to support the concept in India backed by credible consumer understandings. It examined the motivation behind taking a holiday and the factors for location choosing and identified a significant gap in holiday satisfaction rates between timeshare owners and non-owners. The survey findings helped RCI highlight a clear opportunity for new players to look at timeshare as a viable business opportunity.

How different have you been in terms of competition?

In India, timeshare has grown from single resort hotel to the chain of hotels and resorts providing consumers with the opportunity to buy vacation time in any of their properties worldwide which typically offer an array of amenities. Timeshare resort base has grown by over 50 per cent over the last six years showing great potential and promise. As per All India Resort Development Association (AIRDA), over 5lakh families have subscribed to Timeshare in India and the estimated market exceeds 3.5 million.

RCI offers its members the opportunity to own condominium-style accommodations at quality resorts, which typically offer an array of amenities in popular domestic and international destinations. With the changing dynamics of the travel industry Timeshare is showing encouraging signs of growth as it offers travellers a personalized, immersive holiday experience where everything is taken care by the resort in the most cost effective way making it a good travel choice. The survey which was conducted by Kantar IMRB for RCI revealed that consumers view vacation ownership rather favourably with 7 in 10 consumers who don’t currently own timeshare reporting they find the concept appealing and relevant. The visible increase in number of membership sign ups in Timeshare market is a strong indication of shifting trends. Also, Timeshare companies affiliated with RCI, allows travellers to exchange their Timeshare with Timeshare of a different resort on a regular basis thus giving flexibility on travelling to newer resorts and locations. The Timeshare owner segment also has significantly less worries while on holiday as they are less concerned about quality of food, accommodation and facilities as they are guaranteed good experience. Over the years, Timeshare has redefined the satisfaction quotient for the Indian traveller by providing convenient bookings, planning efficiency to scenic destinations, five-star quality accommodation, and adventure activities.

Any new and special offers for your affiliates?

RCI is the worldwide leader in vacation exchange with over 4,300 affiliated resorts in nearly 110 countries with 1.8 million exchange vacations each year thereby giving affiliates’ more opportunities. RCI is focused at adding Quality Resorts and Urban Timeshare, giving our affiliates opportunity to make their members travel to more locations. We recently introduced TravelVUE, a multifaceted social-analytics and support system that monitors brand sentiment, gathers real-time brand conversations and provides insight for social media and marketing teams. Through aggregated reports, TravelVUE can help our affiliates make critical decisions related to the performance of digital and social advertising, audience engagement with content, reputation management and the delivery of social customer service. Built on the success of RCI’s award-winning Timeshare Online Listening Center (TOLC), the service monitors both the individual resorts and overall brand. TravelVUE can gather information in real time and compile data into reports that portray essential key performance indicators as well as ratings and reviews in a meaningful and actionable manner. Partnering with RCI on this initiative opens up a new avenue for our affiliates to gain a complete view of their digital marketing initiatives, customer attitudes and brand perception.

What are the top three travel trends for future?

With the consistently growing middle class and increasing disposable income, the Indian travel space has undergone several changes and advanced through time. More people are travelling than ever before, they are not doing only annual vacations, but also short vacations such as long weekends and seeking unforgettable experiences.

Indians are considering newer holiday experiences and are no longer narrowing options to popular or main stream destinations. In fact, traveller taking to lesser known destinations in exchange of mainstream locations destinations rank high on the search list of Timeshare customers.

In addition, thanks to breakthroughs in technology and high-speed internet, travellers are well informed and researched. Technology has also enabled easy access to more information on the place they are travelling to than ever before. Travellers today are spoilt for choices and are seeking more customised and ‘local’ experiences. This trend has considerably transformed every phase of hospitality.

Realising the importance of heritage properties Indians have grown more conscious and are now paying due attention on the preservation and proper maintenance of our heritage monuments. There is a growing awareness for heritage properties and sites and people are standing up to the cause of supporting their preservation. Government initiatives like Monument Mitra to maintain the monuments are steps in the right direction. Among the industries that are dependent on heritage and culture, the tourism and hospitality sectors can derive maximum value from such strategic initiatives.

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