DVC Resale Market Interview with Theme Park Tourist on the Changes to Incidental Benefits
Earlier this month, I had the honor of being approached by David Mumpower from themeparktourist.com for an interview regarding the changes Disney Vacation Club made to incidental benefits for resale contracts purchased on or after April 4, 2016. For those not familiar with the changes to incidental benefits, Disney’s statement on April 4th was, “new purchasers of Disney Vacation Club® ownership interests not purchased directly from Disney Vacation Development, Inc. will not have access to Membership Extras, including Member discounts on dining, shopping, Member-exclusive events, and certain special Membership offers, as well as Disney and Concierge Collection options, already restricted for secondary market purchasers as of March 21, 2011.” It is important to note that access to Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower (for a Member staying at WDW), pool hopping privileges and no nightly rental fee for DVDs will still be accessible to all members. The article by Theme Park Tourist, which included Q’s and A’s from a few others in the industry as well, including Paul Little from the DVC Rental Store was published on July 22, 2016 with the following title, “Is DVC in Trouble? We Asked the Experts. Here’s What They Said.”
In summarizing much of the responses:
- The move by Disney was not surprising.
- It was felt Disney acted appropriately.
- The move has changed the resale market very little.
- There is not a strong belief Disney will be imposing further DVC Resale restrictions for the foreseeable future.
Our initial reaction at DVC Resale Market to the changes on April 4th, 2016 were published in the following article, “Less “Incidental Benefits” for New DVC Resale Members But How Much Do These Incidentals Matter?”. All the answers I provided for the Theme Park Tourist article are below:
Q: As someone whose business depends on DVC’s public perception, did you take the news as positive or negative for your company?
A: As a company that welcomes new Members to the club every day, you always want to be able to provide those new Members with as much benefits as possible. So, as a reseller you certainly don’t want to see additional restrictions, but at the same time there is an understanding that anything that is defined as “incidental” and “removable” is just that.
Q: What’s the general response you’ve received from customers? Have you lost/gained business over this?
A: Initially, the very first week there was a spike in business as I believe all the discussion made more people aware that there was a resale market. Since then there has been very little, if any, measurable business lost or gained. I think the vast majority of people that join Disney Vacation Club, fully understand that they are buying DVC to save thousands of dollars on accommodations, and through buying resale they can greatly increase those savings even more.
Moreover, you don’t want to purchase something for a benefit that may or not be there tomorrow. My team sometimes uses the example that when you purchase a home, your primary reason for purchase shouldn’t be because you really like the neighbor down the street as they could move away at any time. If the neighbor stays there for life great, but if not, you are still happy with the home you purchased.
Q: Now that the issue has received some resolution, have things gone back to normal or is the announcement still causing the occasional disruption?
A: Much of the discussion happened in the few weeks after the announcement on 4/4/16, but now things are very much back to business as usual.
Q: Moving forward, how do you anticipate the changes to impact your business as well as DVC as a whole?
A: I do not anticipate a lot of changes to our business. I think this additional restriction has caused a very slight decrease on prices as sellers understand they are conveying one less thing, but the loss of the incidental benefits for the most part are quite insignificant compared to the savings of resale. For example, on my blog, “Less “Incidental Benefits” for New DVC Resale Members But How Much Do These Incidentals Matter?”, the math showed that a Member would have to buy over 3,850 t-shirts at a 10% savings to overcome the savings difference when buying a typical resale contract.
I do think Members should all understand that when restrictions happen we are all in this together. For example, whether you bought direct, resale prior to 4/4/16 or resale after 4/4/16, if and when the day comes that you want to sell your contract, everyone’s resale value will be susceptible to the same resale restrictions.
Additionally, DVC may have a few more Members adding on 25 points from those new Members who are buying resale for the savings, but also really want the “incidental benefits”. It is important to note that many of the “incidental benefits” can also be received by having a Disney Visa Card.
Q: Do you believe Disney behaved appropriately with these changes? And do you have any concerns that they’ll add even stronger restrictions in the future?
A: I believe Disney certainly had a right to remove the “incidental benefits” as they are defined as something that can go away at any time, and DVC’s message regarding the change was that their intention was to provide more of a premium benefit to those Members joining directly. Given the price gap that can exist with direct and resale you can understand part of their motivation.
I don’t really have any concerns about future restrictions as every restriction that has taken place was something that was clearly defined as “incidental” and “removable”. Keep in mind, that if Disney was to restrict something that was a core part of the Membership (assuming they could legally), and this restriction significantly adversely affected resale value, that change would make it significantly harder for them to continue to sell direct as well. It would be like a car manufacturer selling new cars, and having the customers agreeing to let the car manufacturer remove the engine when the customers went to resale the cars. This would likely make it impossible for that car manufacturer to continue to sell.
Also, removing incidental benefits is not just found with buying resale. Over the years many things have come and gone regardless of whether someone purchased direct or resale. For example, there was a time when valet parking was complimentary to all DVC Members and now it is not complimentary for any Members. There was also an 18 month block for all DVC Members booking Disney cruises in 2011 and 2012 with the launches of the Dream and Fantasy ships. I think it is important that regardless of how anyone purchases DVC they need to make sure they are purchasing for the right reasons, and not for something that is incidental to the Membership.