When you think of the word timeshare, what springs to mind? While for some it might be stylish and carefree getaways in your favourite holiday destination, for others it could just as easily be pushy salespeople trying to bamboozle you into signing an unwanted, lengthy contract. Unfortunately, for a number of years the word timeshare has had negative connotations in the minds of many people, due to the often unethical and unjust way it was sold in the past. This is all changing though as the holiday market goes through a massive shakeup. Timeshare is evolving into something that everyone can enjoy!
How though you might ask? Can a product really evolve or is it just the same old tricks with a different style of marketing. Well in the case of timeshare, it really is going through a massive and positive revolution that has seen the most substantial changes in years. What’s important to bear in mind with timeshare is that for the most part it has always offered a brilliant and very useful product for those that were correctly informed about how to use it to its full potential. Now though it is being sold correctly and with a host of new excellent options.
While there has been a rise in the number of people searching for and heading to exotic far flung destinations, there is a still a huge place in the travel and tourism market for stylish, reliable and friendly hotels and resorts in locations that individuals, couples, families and groups of friends are familiar with and want to return to year after year. It is this familiarity and inviting atmosphere that draws these people back to the same destination each year, often on multiple occasions. While there are some that like adventure and exploring, there are others that enjoy that home away from home feel of their favourite holiday destination. To many people, the other guests and staff in a timeshare resort become friends for life and become almost like family!
While a holiday home is extremely tempting and a large number of people do opt for this option, it is simply not feasible for everyone. Nor is it particularly practical because while on paper it may look good, in reality you might buy a second home abroad but then not use it as often as you thought you would or not be able to afford the upkeep. This is where timeshare is the perfect option as it allows people to guarantee a place at their favourite resort or hotel on the same dates every year, but not have to buy a second home.
This makes a lot of sense because with a holiday home you may only use it once or twice a year, or even not at all some years but you’ve still purchased the whole property. Instead with timeshare you pay a yearly fee to guarantee a stay somewhere. Then for the rest of the year other people can use the apartment or room, hence the name timeshare.
Some of the biggest changes that have occurred in the timeshare market are in terms of the structure, flexibility and security. In the past a proportion of timeshare was mis-sold to people through unscrupulous sales tactics from pushy sales people only interested in making a quick sale. People were persuaded to sign up for timeshare after lengthy and intense sales presentations which could last for hours. This included parting with large deposits on the same day. Now though, following strict restrictions imposed on developers by the European Timeshare Directive which must be followed by all shared holiday ownership companies operating within the EU, there is a ban on taking deposits on the day of the sales presentation from clients. In addition there is a mandatory 14-day cooling off period between a presentation and signing up for timeshare in which the individual is able to change their mind. The contract offered must also be in the client’s own language.
These changes along with many others have completely transformed the security of timeshare, along with a whole host of other strict regulations that have come into place designed to protect the consumer. In addition to these regulations, the flexibility of timeshare has completely changed to better suit the requirements of today’s modern traveller. While there are many that enjoy visiting the same destination each year, people do not like to be tied down with a lifetime fixed contract. In the past timeshare contracts were even sold that would be passed onto other family members after the original customer had passed away. These kind of perpetual contracts plagued many unhappy consumers in the 1980s and 1990s but are becoming much rarer in today’s changing timeshare marketplace, although some big names do still offer these.
Instead what has emerged are agreements that last between 10-15 years which are far more the norm these days according to RDO. In addition to this there is also much more flexibility offered to buyers in terms of renting out their timeshare which often wasn’t allowed in the past. This is far more beneficial to travellers who may like to return to the same destination but may not always be able to. With the new options available, timeshare owners are now able to rent out their holiday entitlement if they are unable to use it themselves, either privately or through the in-house services of their resort. In addition if they become part of holiday exchange programme such as RCI, Interval International or Dial An Exchange, they can choose to swap their holiday entitlement in their usual resort for other amazing destinations around the world.
As you can probably tell timeshare has significantly evolved, with the benefits of a familiar destination and family like atmosphere that many travellers love, combined with the flexibility of exchange and option of also experiencing other destinations as part of holiday club. Owners can sell through the developer’s resale programme, or through private broker’s so there are no lifetime lockdowns.
Because of all these excellent changes timeshare is seeing a resurgence in popularity with around 600,000 owners in the UK and an additional 21 million around the world. According to RCI the worldwide shared holiday ownership sales have grown from approximately $15 billion in 2013 towards $20 billion this year proving that timeshare is becoming an increasingly viable option for millions of holidaymakers across the world. The suggested reasons for this upsurge in popularity are the affordability of having a holiday home abroad without the need for a full purchase, and the guarantee of buying future holidays at today’s prices. On top of this with a timeshare resort that you’ve already been to, you can guarantee a level of standard that you are happy with and can expect again. When going somewhere new, these may be a big disappointment which is especially annoying as people look forward to their holidays for months!
So if you are looking for a new way to holiday that you’d never thought of or thought you would never consider, then now is definitely the right time to reconsider timeshare. If all you know about timeshare is based on what you’ve seen or heard from years ago, then as you can see a lot has changed! You can enjoy peace in the knowledge that your holiday will be how you expect, but the flexibility of being able to exchange and change destinations. This is timeshare, but not how you know it!
This post is based on an article by Laura Whitcombe which recently appeared in The Spectator entitled: “Timeshare? Think stylish getaways, not dodgy sales reps”.