Travel + Leisure has long celebrated hotels as the go-to choice for travel accommodations, and in recent years we've covered the explosion of the vacation rental market, from villas to Airbandb.com. Time shares were not often part of the conversation. Their merits as a good investment were questionable—limitations on use and impossible to resell. Enter Vacatia.com. With a special focus on the family market, this online marketplace for timeshares is changing things for the better. We caught up with Keith Cox, Vacatia.com's CEO:
Q: How is Vacatia.com disrupting travel?
A: Vacatia is creating a new online sales and marketing channel for the timeshare and fractional ownership industry, a $10B a year market segment of travel that is still selling almost exclusively offline using the same sales strategies that have been used for decades. In particular, with the recent launch of Vacatia.com, we are bringing transparency and liquidity to the secondary, resale market serving the 8.2MM American families who own timeshare.
They can post their timeshare interests for sale in a easy, safe and secure marketplace with no upfront cost. Buyers can research and discover fantastic deals and make offers and complete transactions online. We view the timeshare marketplace as the original "share economy” and we are creating an online platform to introduce the product to the next generation of buyers. And, because of the lack of liquidity, there are some incredible deals out there.
We will also be introducing rental deals at timeshare properties in the coming months, providing residential lodging combined with resort hotel services.
Q: Beyond Vacatia, what digital travel services/resources do you think are smart?
A: Mobile, mobile, mobile. All the airlines mobile apps have improved tremendously in the past few updates. Last-minute deal apps like Hotel Tonight and meta search apps like Room 77. Mobile and web check-in platforms like CheckMate will change our interaction with hotels. I want to have access to all things travel in the palm of my hand.
Q: What digital travel trends do you foresee for 2014 and beyond?
A: Growth of the sharing economy, including Timeshare 2.0! Vacatia.com will help usher in a resurgence of interest in sharing the ownership of vacation homes (fractional) and resorts (timeshare), and providing a smart way for families to access the best vacation experiences and build those lasting memories.
I also think that we will finally see the true ability to create your own a vacation package, unlike earlier attempts. Combining activities, local reviews, and itineraries while staying in different lodging types to accommodate various leisure experiences will be a big trend as new products are introduced into the travel market. I also see growing competition in the travel search space with the TripAdvisor's entry into the booking/search market.
Q: What’s your best travel tip?
A: Take advantage of your ability to take a well-earned vacation every year by investing in your vacation future! Don’t wait!
Adrien Glover is deputy digital editor at Travel + Leisure.