Catering to International Owners
Like most other subsets of the travel industry, the timeshare industry has experienced the effects of increased globalization and, in the last decade, has experienced expansion worldwide through both an increase in resorts and timeshare companies based outside of the US and the growth of international owner-bases. Today, there are more than 7,400 resorts across 180 countries worldwide, including a significant share of resorts based in the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions. About 20 million households globally that own at least one timeshare, with about 11% of these owners owning a timeshare internationally. Indeed, many of Flywire’s clients in the space quote an international owner base of over 10% and say the population is increasing.
Because of this, the demand for a more global approach to digitization of processes has emerged. Owners are increasingly expecting to be able to manage their ownership account from wherever they are in the world and be able to access personalized and localized data and communications. Yet, the process of accepting payment for annual or monthly fees becomes rapidly more complex when a timeshare company has an owner-base spread across hundreds of countries, and expensive, as described previously. Not only is it difficult and costly to process these transactions in foreign currencies, but it is also challenging to comply with country-by-country payment regulations and requirements.
When making international payments, it is not recommended to use the following methods:
International wire transfers
While an international wire transfer or Telegraphic Transfer (TT) is one of the more conventional ways to receive international payments; it can be risky. By displaying sensitive information on your website or invoice, you are increasing the risk of your bank account getting hacked. To send a wire transfer, the owner will likely be offered a poor exchange rate and charged a fee, which may be sizable and discourage them from making the payment. Businesses are also likely to receive short amounts due to intermediary bank charges. Moreover, if any of the account details were entered incorrectly, and the money is wired somewhere other than your bank, the wire transfer may be tricky to trace or recover. Reconciliation of wire transfers is also a common issue as wire information might be truncated, lost, or not provided in the first place.
International money orders
For a money order, a customer goes to a bank, shows an ID, and gets a money order either in their local currency or in your currency, which they then mail to you. The entire payment process can take several days, and there’s a risk of it getting lost in the mail. Counterfeiting of international money orders is also a significant issue, exposing the institution to fraud risks.