Meet Nick Meredith, our Director of Preview Centre in Bangkok. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, he previously lived in New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan before making his way to Thailand. Nick has worked in the timeshare industry for over 32 years and knows it inside out, having started in the industry in 1985 by simply replying to an ad in the local newspaper. He began his career as a timeshare sales consultant off the coast of Brisbane and has worked with various brands in different locations since then.
Nick firmly believes that “prior planning prevents poor performance” when it comes to business management. He currently manages Anantara Vacation Club’s Preview Centre in Bangkok and oversaw its opening just over a year ago. He feels incredibly proud of the results that his team has been able to achieve ever since.
How has the timeshare industry changed since the start of your career?
Timeshare has seen an incredible evolution since I started in the industry. When I first joined, it was very inflexible. Clients were limited to buying a week in a specific resort throughout a specific period of the year. Today, the Clubs are more flexible and they offer a greater variety of locations. Therefore, the points that people use provide them with much more flexibility and variety. For example, at Anantara Vacation Club our core Club Resort product extends across Thailand, China, Indonesia, and New Zealand and Club Points Owners can travel whenever they’d like throughout the year.
Anantara Vacation Club is highly focused on an Asian customer base. Is there a difference in behaviour between Asian and Western timeshare buyers?
I feel that Asian customers are embracing the timeshare product in a similar way that Australians, North Americans and Europeans do, because the product is all about family holidays. It doesn’t really matter which culture you come from, most people universally love their families and want to spend time on vacation with them. That concept is at the core of what Anantara Vacation Club does – creating family memories for the next 30 years to come. This does not differ between cultures. The same benefits and beliefs apply to consumers, whether they’re buying timeshare in Asia or anywhere else in the world.
What advice can you give to those who manage large international Preview Centre teams?
You have to keep everybody engaged. There should be one goal, one focus. And even though your team members might be based in Bali, New Zealand, China or Thailand, we all still need to have regular communication. Team members must realize that it doesn’t matter whether they work on a large or small site – they are all contributing to an ultimate common goal. Having constant and regular communication with my team is the best way I know to keep them engaged.
How do you motivate your team members?
I am not a manager. A manager figure simply manages a process. I am a leader for my team. My objective is to inspire my team and my role is to develop people, identify their strengths and weaknesses and get the best out of them. My ultimate goal is to help my team be successful. Sometimes I walk around the Preview Centre identifying people doing things the right way and rewarding them for it. We want to create a positive atmosphere in the office and our team members’ attitude is crucial in order for that to happen. We hire people for their attitude. We can teach them everything else they need to know from there.
In terms of skills and qualifications, can you identify 3 qualities of a successful Anantara Vacation Club preview professional?
Firstly, vacation consultant professionals have to be ethical. Anantara is such a well-known brand. We have to protect the brand by ensuring that everything we do meets ethical standards.
Secondly, they have to be passionate and enthusiastic. We look for people who radiate energy and enthusiasm, because it is enthusiasm that helps bring our product to life.
Finally, they must have the drive to succeed. We search for the top professionals in the industry who are high performers and strive for success.
Other than those three qualities, we can teach all other skills to new hires including how to present the product and how to interact with the customers.
Has the development and boom of technology influenced the work of a timeshare vacation consultant?
As vacation consultant professionals, we definitely embrace technology. We use a lot more computers, iPads and mobile phones than we used to, but we consider them to be supportive tools. At the end of the day, timeshare is an industry which needs to build good relationships and trust with potential customers. You’ll never buy goods or services from someone you don’t like and so good customer service is key. We practice a technique that we refer to as “discovery”: we ask our potential customers a lot of questions and we offer a vacation package based on their needs. At the end of the Preview presentation, the customer decides whether the product ticks all of their boxes or not.
Technology is definitely important and it influences us every day. Nevertheless, in our business you need the human element of people and that personal touch.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?
I am very decisive and make decisions quickly. One of the lessons I have learned is to gather all of the necessary information before making a decision, and not just from one source. Gather information from every possible source and then make your decision accordingly. Don’t “shoot from the hip”, which is something I’ve done in the past.
For vacation consultant professionals, it is important to make a quick decision as you can’t remain passive and indecisive on the presentation floor. Sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong, which is part of the process.
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
The answer is PEOPLE. We are in the people business. And by people I mean both my team and our customers.
What I like about my team members is that they are all quite emotional. As you can imagine, this can be challenging at times. My role is to ensure that my team members are constantly in the right frame of mind. Every day we start with a morning meeting to ensure that we all are focused for the day ahead.
People are individuals, but we want to belong and be recognized. That is why we do a lot of team building exercises and recognize our team members’ accomplishments. We constantly celebrate our top performers and take the team out for dinner every month. This helps to create a collaborative environment and ultimately improve their mindset while working. Individually our vacation consultants are very talented, but when we unite them as a team they are invincible.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can take advantage of the many benefits of Vacation Ownership or have additional questions about what you’ve read, please email firstname.lastname@example.org