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Key points to consider when choosing timeshare software

When deciding which software to use to run your business or indeed when analysing your current software to audit its suitability, you need to consider the following:

Core Features

Timeshare Software should cover four core areas or modules:

Marketing module

Your timeshare software should have a marketing module that allows you to:

  • build a database of leads and clients
  • record all of your marketing activities
  • track responses to marketing activities
  • determine response rates, cost per lead and cost per sale
  • profile clients
  • track sales

It should also allow you to mine your database and build complex cascade marketing campaigns that allow you to continue to market by:

  • direct mail
  • email
  • telephone

Sales module

The sales module should cater for all types of timeshare including:

  • fixed weeks
  • floating weeks
  • points
  • multi destination clubs
  • packs and trial membership or entry level products

It should allow you to:

  • build your inventory of products to sell
  • maintain control over unsold inventory
  • record new sales as well as changes of ownership when existing owners sell to new owners

It should interface directly with the other modules so that you can:

  • identify the marketing campaign that induced your new client to purchase
  • have the sale reflect in the appropriate ledger inthe accounting module
  • calculate commission on the sale and credit this commission to the relevant sales agents’ accounts in the appropriate ledger
  • have the ownership updated so that the new owner is billed for the maintenance fees at the appropriate time
  • link the new owner to the front office module so that their reservations are made for the periods when they can occupy

Front office module

The front office module should deal with all aspects of:

  • reservations
  • front desk check in and out
  • housekeeping
  • room maintenance

It should allow you to:

  • keep track of the reservations of all fixed, floating, multi destination and points owners
  • provide reservations for packs, trial owners and entry level members
  • manage rental pool and exchange inventory
  • check owners in and out at the front desk
  • interface with housekeeping to keep track of room cleaning and maintenance

Back office module

The back office module should:

  • handle multiple companies and allow you to keep separate accounting records for of each of them
  • include a fully functional accounting package that integrates with all other modules or allows you to easily export data to control accounts in your stand alone accounting software
  • cater for multiple currencies
  • record sales and track sales debtors as well as internally financed debtors
  • bill owners for their maintenance fees when these are due and track collections

Reporting

Everyone wants a different report and while most software vendors provide a set of standard reports, you will probably want something that nobody else wants and that is not in the standard set of reports.  Waiting for the software vendor to provide you with the new report you want can be frustrating and even costly.

Your software should allow you to create all the reports you need yourself by exporting to you the data that you need.  From there you can use your favourite reporting tool to create your own reports.

Web interface

When the Internet started web pages simply provided words and pictures embedded in the page.

Since then websites have become data driven with most content now being served from a database.

In addition most web sites are also capable of allowing users to transact on them as well.

The Internet is everywhere and you will be left behind if you are not able to give controlled access to your data to staff and clients alike.  Being able to transact on your web site is almost a must.

For staff:

this will allow them to access your data and to work from home or a hotel room on the other side of the world if necessary
it will also allow your remote resorts and head office to work in real time on the same data

For clients:

  • clients should be able to access their own personal data that you want them to have access to using their own log in name and password
  • update the fields that you give them rights to
  • transact in real time by seeking availability, making reservations, etc

Support

Support and training are essential when introducing new software.  Sadly, while it would be great to “Keep It Simple” the reality is that most software caters for the diverse and complex needs of many clients and you will need ot be guided and trained to use the new software you have installed.

Make sure that the software vendor knows and understands how timeshare works and that they can provide you with intelligent support rather than pure technical support.

General

All modules of your timeshare software should integrate with all other modules using a normalised database that will allow you to have features such as:

  • contact management
  • marketing automation, management and implementation
  • sales force automation
  • office automation
  • full CRM functionality

Finally, your new software should understand the way that you do business and not force you into inefficient processes that do not make sense.  Software has to be flexible.

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