This Week In Startups: Timeshare Juice Taking On The Establishment, Part 2

Here’s the continuation of my interview with Erick Arndt of Timeshare Juice and for those that missed Part 1 you definitely need to see what he’s been up to, you won’t be disappointed.

 

You’ve had the site up for sometime, what have you learned so far that you didn’t expect and have you had to pivot from your original idea?

Our business process completely changes the way timeshare exchange has been done for 30 years. That’s a big challenge and big opportunity Timeshare Juice is revolutionary. “Design is function, not form. Design is not decoration” – Steve Jobs, UI design is an art. Designing something for the masses to use is not easy and not for the faint of heart. You really appreciate devices like the iPod because of its simplicity. And then you get really frustrated when things aren’t friendly like Wikipedia!

Your business model came up, has that changed and why? (Michael and Jason gave a bunch of ideas)

No, the business model is the same “Timeshare exchange for free”. Doing something good for people, I’ve gotten several emails from people in the industry asking what the real story is, like there’s a catch. I think people in this industry are more cynical than others because there’s such a dark cloud on timeshare industry. Community Rule: He who has the community makes the rules. Revenue model is that we are going to make money off of the travel booking.

You mentioned you were going to call each resort and pitch them on your cost effective model (to help prevent spoilage) because of the economy, were you able to get any traction (kickbacks were brought up)?

I have spoken to some resorts and the response was like “hallelujah!” really positive. I don’t know anything about kickbacks, that was Michael’s thought. Spoilage is a big issue, resorts cannot keep doing the same-old, same-old, hoping it just works out. They have to address this I wrote a couple of blogs about it. It’s a million units last year that went unused. Do the math and it’s over a $ billion in lost revenue for resorts. This is a gargantuan problem, talk about fixing your bottom line. TimeshareJuice is a big step towards fixing that problem.

Teaching people how to format their listing was suggested, have you developed a template on how to market timeshares, have you had time to explore this direction?

Users were ahead of me on this one. They began using the site to showcase their timeshare on other sites like craigslist. I didn’t have to do anything. It’s one of those things where users figure out a way to do what they want. The reason is that craigslist is not a very pretty site but it does have insane penetration. So people use it to list their property for rent and sale. For exchange it is too complicated to do on their site, it doesn’t work. The end game is I love the approach, it provides discovery of my site and helps with SEO.

Are you going to consider seeking funding?

Fundraising is time-consuming and if you’re not a Harvard MBA it’s very difficult to get an ear without a prior success under your belt. Not to mention getting the wrong people on board can blow the whole thing up. If the right opportunity comes along that’s a combination of contacts, $, know-how, and symmetry…I’ll certainly consider it.

How can the TWiST community help?

The TWiST community is awesome, I received so many great emails from people congratulating me, a few people said it inspired them to get going on their dream too. That’s very cool. I got an email from another guy suggesting I contact this writer at a newspaper who wrote about timeshares. He sent me the article and everything. I would LOVE help, everyone knows someone with a timeshare, get them to the site and ask them to use it and give feedback. If they like it, can they refer people they know that own a timeshare. Also, connections to bloggers, resorts, etc. Please blog about timeshare juice. It’s a million to 1 shot…but if it happens, it’s going to be a MONSTER!

If the start is any indication of the ending, I think we will continue to hear good things from Erick Arndt and Timeshare Juice.

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