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Back in the seventies, timeshare was practically unheard of. Forty years on the industry has boomed.

In the early timeshare years, timeshare was occupied by primarily the upper class, as the industry has grown so have the owners, ranging from all ages and walks of life. It was a dream for most to boast about owning a timeshare, albeit only for a week.

Families began vacationing in mainly two bedroomed luxury accommodation, having home from home luxuries. Initially, the hotel industry had considered timeshare to be a craze that would soon pass, but the craze soon transformed into a changing trend.

In no time at all the industry brought together, real estate, travel and hospitality industries in a combination that ultimately transfigured the American’s vacation traditions.

During the early part of the 1970’s there were only 45 US timeshare resorts, most of them in Florida. Although most Americans had hardly even heard of timeshares or even understood there concept the developers were interested by the new holiday alternative, and it broadened their way to sell condominiums. Originally there were several names for the new product, which included interval ownership, right-to-use, resort ownership, and ultimately vacation ownership, often used synonymously with timeshare.

When the 1990’s hit timeshare companies were trading on the stock market, by the early 2000’s timeshares were in 47 states and 95 countries, reflecting the rising timeshare phenomenon.

As with any new industry, it’s never plain sailing and obviously there were hurdles to jump along the way. At the start of the 1980s, many corrupt developers were out of control. It wasn’t too long before “aggressive sales tactics” and “used-car salesmen” were linked, with “timeshare.” Thankfully with backing from ARDA, Florida passed the state’s first timeshare law in 1983 that assisted to limit immoral selling practices. This law restricted many timeshare developers and ultimately put some of the charlatans out of business. Looking back, this initial regulatory action may have saved the industry from an early demise.

Usage has grown from a single fixed week to floating weeks to today’s more common point-based holiday clubs, allowing for shorter, more frequent stays. Many points-based holiday clubs have created VIP programs for those major buyers, developing larger high-end luxury units for them to enjoy.

These exchange systems also offer luxury breaks on cruise ships, to breath taking locations and other unique holiday experiences.

Consumers no longer run when they hear the word timeshare. The biggest testament timeshare resorts can brag about are more than half of all timeshare sales are made to existing owners, that itself speaks volumes about the timeshare industry.

However, all that said there is still a desperate need for a secondary market for owners to dispose of their unwanted timeshares. This alone has opened the door to the growth of timeshare relinquishment companies out there, sadly some creating the same kind of negative PR that existed when the industry started as the result of aggressive sales tactics and bogus companies.

As always, Timeshare.lawyer believe there will always be competition and new ideas just around the corner, today the only rival timeshare sees are from the rental industry which has become very easy to use, booking via reputable online website, thus bringing the price down by cutting out the middle man, the travel agent. The online distribution systems are driving down the cost of travel and will require today’s timeshare resorts to constantly enhance the owners experience to withstand a sound value proposition at the sales table. The industry’s challenge is to create new products that match changing lifestyles and cater for the younger generation. Some resorts offer short term, holiday club style products such as ‘pay as you go’, this is more desirable to the younger audience. However, the jury is still out on this option.

Thankfully for many, owning a slice of their own paradise is still affordable. Although most only own a week they still they feel a genuine sense of pride about that ownership and treat it with respect. Today, there are still more than nine million U.S. timeshare owners who choose to holiday at their timeshare resort, some have tried the ‘typical’ family holiday at non-timeshare destinations, however 9/10 say their preferred travel destination will always be at their timeshare resort. Resorts are now located in over 110 countries and new developments are occurring and emerging outside the U.S! I guess it’s easy to say, timeshare is going nowhere.

See our recent post regarding secrets & scams in timeshare.