A potted history
When package holidays were in their infancy, the idea you could purchase a lifetime of holidays at today’s prices for a one-off payment was very compelling. For many, the reassurance and familiarity of visiting the same much-loved resort, at which high standards were maintained, staff treated you like old friends and your money was being used for your own future benefit was reason enough to purchase a timeshare.
The major advantage of timeshare ownership is the ability to stay in a spacious multi-bedroom holiday apartment or house, often with a separate lounge & kitchen, whilst enjoying all the facilities and services of a hotel. To take a family away on holiday to a four star hotel in an upscale resort can see everyone crammed into just one room without the ability to self-cater and often without any private outside area.
A two week family holiday can prove frustrating & costly and can actually cost about the same price as for a 10 year timeshare product in a similar style resort – and this would be for a week every year in a two bedroom spacious apartment!
Timeshare resorts also tend to be built in prime areas, established long before the private holiday property building boom of the last 20 years. Early timeshare property developers were able to purchase the choicest locations with the best vistas and access to beaches, mountains and lake often without fear that views would be obscured by later developments.
Unlike owning your own property, you do not need to worry about cleaning, maintenance, renters, security or taxes. Simply unpack, relax and you are on holiday from the minute you arrive.
The traditional fixed week, fixed resort timeshare has very much evolved as the industry has stepped up to meet changing customer demand. With people living longer and asking more from their holidays in terms of authentic experiences, flexibility and greater value for money, we have seen the rise in the last ten years of the ‘sharing economy’.
As such, the ability to convert your timeshare weeks to points has been explored, tested and refined with some timeshare owners reporting that they have never visited the same resort twice. Owners can bank points, borrow against future points, buy additional points and exchange them with other owners.
Major exchange companies such as RCI and Interval are continually adding resort options to their portfolio, and the line between typical timeshare developments and mainstream holiday resorts has completely blurred as the industry recognises its mutual benefits.
Major hospitality companies have also entered the timeshare industry such as Disney, Marriott and Starwood with a wide range of resorts and residency packages on offer.
Read in more detail how timeshare products work along with exchange programmes by clicking the link here.
It is little secret that timeshare has suffered from some negative press due to sales abuses by a minority of companies operating on the industry periphery. This has led some people to try and sell-on their timeshare creating another opportunity for unscrupulous companies to offer bogus sales assistance for an upfront fee – assistance that never materialises. Read more here.
Cleaning Up Shop
Trades bodies such as the RDO (Resort Developers Organisation) in Europe and ARDA (American Resort Development Agency) have invested significant time & money into keeping such bogus companies out of the timeshare industry. This has led to several high-profile arrests recently. Find out more about the good guys of the industry here.