DVC cuts sales associates' base pay


#1

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Disney Vacation Club, as it attempts to sell more inventory than ever amid a recession that has sapped time-share sales, has cut the base pay of its front-line sales staff by 10 percent.

But the Walt Disney Co.'s Celebration-based time-share unit has also boosted bonus amounts for employees who reach certain sales targets. The shift is an attempt by Disney to make time-share positions more incentive-driven and less hourly based.

The changes, announced to employees last week, affect approximately 100 “advance sales associates” or ASAs. Those are the workers stationed at the ubiquitous Vacation Club sales kiosks scattered throughout Disney’s theme parks and hotels, whose job is to convince prospective customers to take tours in a main sales center.

“We have made changes to the pay structure among our advance sales associates to allow us to provide more reward and recognition to top performers,” Disney Vacation Club spokeswoman Rena Langley said earlier this week. She said the changes are designed to make Vacation Club salaries “competitive in the industry and also to get great results.”

Disney Vacation Club, like other time-share developers, has been bruised by a global recession in which consumers have cut back on big-ticket luxuries such as time shares and banks have become more reluctant to buy up time-share mortgages. At the same time, Disney is attempting to sell interests in four just-opened time-share properties, including three at Walt Disney World and one at Disneyland in California.

Under the changes, according to employees who have been briefed on them, the hourly pay rate for Vacation Club ASAs has been reduced by 10 percent. Employees say entry-level pay for ASAs, before the pay cut, began around $11 an hour.

But those workers are now eligible for larger bonuses based on the number of people they persuade to take full sales tours. Disney also plans to begin paying quarterly bonuses to employees who finish in the top half of their teams in sales.

The problem, some employees say, is that reaching the levels required for the higher bonuses is exceedingly difficult amid the worst economic environment Vacation Club has yet faced.

Another bonus has also been made bigger but harder to attain: Workers say they used to get an extra $100 if 10 percent or fewer of the tours they booked for the main center were “solo” – for instance, a couple where one person decides to take the tour while the other opts to stay behind in a park or at a hotel. Such tours are much less likely to result in a sale.

Now workers can get $200 – but only if 5 percent or fewer of the tours they book are solos.

“They’ve made it more difficult for us to make a living,” said one Vacation Club employee who asked not to be identified for fear of losing his job. “Nobody will ever make back the money they lost.”

Disney says the changes are not designed to reduce overall costs. Langley said Vacation Club’s overall compensation budget has not been reduced.


#2

Well, when the economic windstorm finally settles and people start spending steadily again I REALLY hope that Disney reconsiders that pay structure again. I’ve never been in a high pressure sales situation to make my living, and I probably never could be :laugh:, but this kinda thing would keep me up all night if it were me.


#3

Well, they just turned dvc into a real timeshare. They always prided themselves in “no pressure” sales because it sold itself, but when you force the cm’s to fight for their paycheck, we will be seeing much more pushing so they can make a living.


#4

Honestly, this is a good thing for disney! I mean most “commission” jobs start you off at min. Wage or just above. 11 an hour is a livable wage for a lot of people so where’s the motivation to sell. And they’re not even selling, they are booking the dvc tour!! I can’t tell me how many times I’ve gone to the dvc kiosk and either was completely ignored or talked to, but not at all about the dvc! Shoot I should quit my job and work doing that, I am sure I could kill it. Especially knowing that I get bonused for signing up for a tour and not on the actual sale!


#5

I’m afraid this is more short-sighted Disney management. Instead of making the jobs more commission based (which tends to undermine tag-team approaches and handing off customers to another associate), they should focus on training the associates on effective selling techniques.

Can you imagine a commission based salesperson inside a Disney park? Are you kidding me? Where’s the magic in that?

This is not a good trend…

Disney is abandoning the concept of employee training and ineffectively focusing on the bottom line. The irony is that this is likely to undermine the bottom line.


#6

The irony here is that it is affecting everyone’s bottom line. Companies that are profitable are using the “bad” economy as an excuse to cut pay, to cut hours, to cut employees.

I am just sick of it. And over it. Enough is enough.


#7

Wow, what an unfortunate move. DVC has always prided itself on being the pressure free pitch. This really changes that whole dynamic.


#8

Haven’t they been enjoying great success with BLT? This is just wrong. Wrong wrong wtong. Like Karen said, it totally changes the dynamic.


#9

I think I misunderstood a little bit when I read this at like 7am this morning. :pinch: So they are NOT cutting DVC GUIDE’s salaries, the people who actually make the sales? This is only for the people that sit at the DVC kiosks and book people for tours?

Doesn’t make it any better 'cause nobody should have to deal with this kind of job stress but unless I am misunderstanding something I don’t think I’d mind sitting at a DVC kiosk talking directly to nice guests & booking tours for them at $11/hr. Sounds like a good early retirement gig to me, PLUS bonuses for when they actually take the tour. If my understanding is correct they don’t even have pressure to “make a sale,” right? Just pressure to BOOK people for a tour?

[once again, I am NOT advocating a salary cut for anyone or demeaning their job. I think I just misunderstood who this was pertaining to this morning]


#10

I can just imagine how that plays out in the parks, the resorts and where ever else. The people manning the kiosks will be accosting the guests and they’ll have to dodge them “No thank you, I just signed up for a tour over there” blah…


#11

I hope it doesn’t become that type of issue. DVC hasn’t needed to do the pushy timeshare sales thing in the past but the CMs may feel they need to be pushy so they can feed their families.


#12

[QUOTE=lovemysons;999325]The irony here is that it is affecting everyone’s bottom line. Companies that are profitable are using the “bad” economy as an excuse to cut pay, to cut hours, to cut employees.

I am just sick of it. And over it. Enough is enough.[/QUOTE]

Fabulous post. I couldn’t agree more.

Bruce


#13

[QUOTE=lovemysons;999325]The irony here is that it is affecting everyone’s bottom line. Companies that are profitable are using the “bad” economy as an excuse to cut pay, to cut hours, to cut employees.

I am just sick of it. And over it. Enough is enough.[/QUOTE]

I agree with this statement too! We’ve heard of the “me” decade and the “we” decade. I’ve been calling this one the “corporate greed” decade. It seems like many companies have been doing this since 9/11.


#14

I don’t get this. If it sells itself, why would the kiosk people have to take a paycut? Everything I hear about DVC is that it is one of the few guaranteed revenue makers for Disney. If that is true, why would they have to issue pay cuts?

<sigh>


#15

[QUOTE=KingOMiami;999694]I don’t get this. If it sells itself, why would the kiosk people have to take a paycut? Everything I hear about DVC is that it is one of the few guaranteed revenue makers for Disney. If that is true, why would they have to issue pay cuts?

<sigh>[/QUOTE]

In my opinion, and after speaking with someone who has the “in,” I think it was more of a sales strategy than revenue saving. These kiosk ASA’s often have the very FIRST contact with guests (they are the “front line” if you will) & obviously the more tours they book the better the chances of a DVC sale later. If they were making $11/hour, Disney cutting their pay by 10% is only $1.10 cut from their hourly wage. This is ENTRY LEVEL wages. YES, if you worked 40 hours per week this would cut $160. from your paycheck every month which can really hurt people who live off this small wage.

Although, I think Disney’s strategy is that if we put just a little more pressure on the “front line” to earn that extra bit of $ & get the desired bonuses it will result in MORE tours booked & MORE DVC sales in the long run. This strategy kinda weeds out those on the front line who just wanna sit & not chat or even acknowledge guests while getting paid $11./hour VERSUS those motivated to book tours. DVC sales reps obviously benefit from the motivated ASAs 'cause they bring them more sales.

Once again, I am not advocating this change but I am just giving my opinion on what the motivation may be.

I also can’t confirm this 100% but I am pretty sure that there are some serious standards enforced during training about professionalism and ‘approach’ while working at the kiosks. I know Dopey mentioned that the ASAs may now be forced to “accost” guests, almost like when you’re in the mall dodging off those people from the miracle hand lotion kiosks. Although, I don’t think ASAs are “allowed” to approach guests like this, Disney DOES have higher standards of guest interaction than that. People are often WAY turned off by the aggressive approach and Disney knows that, I personally think one of the reasons DVC has been so successful is because of it’s friendly, non-threatening, non-aggressive approach. They aren’t going to risk ruining that image.

I can almost guarantee that Disney guests aren’t going to notice a big difference in the behavior of the ASAs when they pass by the kiosks. ALTHOUGH, eventually maybe you will notice some difference in the visual attractiveness or something a little more exciting to “pull families in” & entice them for a tour. Perhaps once they’re lured in the spiel to book a tour might be a little more persuasive but I don’t think we’ll ever see anything even CLOSE to accosting guests who are passing by.


#16

I also can’t confirm this 100% but I am pretty sure that there are some serious standards enforced during training about professionalism and ‘approach’ while working at the kiosks. I know Dopey mentioned that the ASAs may now be forced to “accost” guests, almost like when you’re in the mall dodging off those people from the miracle hand lotion kiosks. Although, I don’t think ASAs are “allowed” to approach guests like this, Disney DOES have higher standards of guest interaction than that. People are often WAY turned off by the aggressive approach and Disney knows that, I personally think one of the reasons DVC has been so successful is because of it’s friendly, non-threatening, nonaggressive approach. They aren’t going to risk ruining that image.

I can almost guarantee that Disney guests aren’t going to notice a big difference in the behavior of the ASAs when they pass by the kiosks. ALTHOUGH, perhaps you will notice some difference in the visual attractiveness or something a little more exciting to “pull families in” & entice them for a tour.