Award Date

8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Hospitality Administration

First Committee Member

Robert H. Woods, Chair

Second Committee Member

Carl Branlich

Third Committee Member

Mehmet Erdem

Graduate Faculty Representative

Lori Olafson

Number of Pages

161

Abstract

The timeshare industry, also known as vacation ownership, is the fastest growing segment of the hospitality industry with sales totaling $9.7 billion in 2008 (ARDA, 2010). The typical timeshare sales process is a 90-120 minute sales presentation conducted by a timeshare sales representative to customers. At the end of the sales presentation, the customers are given the option to either purchase a timeshare unit at a discounted price with first-day incentives or to purchase at a later date at the full price and without the extra incentives. This today-only sales pitch is perceived as an unsavory process by a many potential customers. This process, however, does not seem to discourage the 4.7 million U.S. customers who have purchased a timeshare unit over the past three decades (ARDA, 2010).

There is relatively little research on purchase intentions at the time of sale among timeshare owners. Most of the existing research has reported that consumers purchase timeshares based on the three primary consumer purchase themes of travel, money and value, and life experiences (Crotts & Ragatz, 2002; Lawton, Weaver, & Faulkner 1998; Sparks, Butcher & Bradley, 2008; Sparks, Butcher & Pan, 2007). Therefore, this study sought to answer the research question: Why do consumers purchase timeshare units?

Using a grounded theory approach, this study used three phases of analysis to determine the reasons consumers purchase timeshare units. First, the content analysis of 2,079 timeshare consumer documents collected over an 18-month time period were analyzed. Sixteen timeshare purchase categories emerged from the data and were named using in vivo codes, terms drawn directly from the data. The second analysis phase incorporated data from 12 in-depth interviews with timeshare salespersons on their perceptions of why their customers purchased a timeshare unit. In the final phase of analysis, the theory was tested against eight interviews with customers and sales representatives during a timeshare sales presentation.

Four major themes and 16 categories emerged in the open coding process. The major timeshare purchase themes identified were (1) the timeshare sales presentation and staff, (2) the timeshare resort facilities and accommodations, (3) travel vacation motivations, and (4) money, price, and value. Of the 16 timeshare purchase motivator categories, the timeshare salesperson emerged as the central timeshare sales purchase motivator. Other top categories included (a) First Day Incentives, (b) Liked Resort Accommodations, (c) Ease, Convenience, or Flexible, and (d) Affordable Price or Deal. The grounded theory process and the emergent theory are explained. Managers could apply this information to develop sales and marketing campaigns geared towards improving sales closure rates. Future research, implications, and limitations of the study are discussed.

Keywords

Grounded theory; Motivation (Psychology); Motivators; Purchase; Purchasing; Sales; Shopping; Timeshare; Timesharing (Real estate); Vacation homes; Vacation ownership

Disciplines

Marketing | Real Estate

Language

English


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