Concept of Shared Accommodations Not New - Timeshare Started it All

Kauai Kailani, the U.S.'s first timeshare.
With all the attention given to home sharing services such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and others, one would think they had originated the concept of the sharing economy. The truth is timeshare started it all. 

Timesharing began in the mid-sixties in Europe with a French ski resort.  It offered the new concept of selling units for vacationing and used the slogan, "No need to rent the room; buy the hotel, it's cheaper." The first timeshare in the U.S., Kauai Kailani, began selling units in 1969. As timeshare grew in popularity, the concept of timeshare exchange was added. In 1974, RCI led the way by helping owners trade their week at their resort for a week at another resort. In the early 2000's, online timeshare rental companies such as RedWeek (now the largest online site), provided another benefit to owners, a safe and easy way to rent their timeshare. Timeshare revolutionized vacationing by giving vacationers more flexibility and control over the way they vacationed.

Sharing Services Risky Business?

Though companies like Airbnb and Homeaway have many fans, there has been criticism about these companies. The risk of booking through peer-to-peer listings, the lack of regulation and guarantees on what the host is like, or whether the properties meet safety requirements are a few of the issues. 

Recently, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors hit the home-sharing industry with a new bill requiring home-sharing services to remove listing for units that are not registered with the city's Office of Short-Term Rentals. The bill allows the city to fine sharing services not registered with the city, up to $1000 per listing. A study from financial services firm, Canaccord Genuity, says other cities are likely to follow San Francisco’s example resulting in a significant reduction of listings for these companies.

Timeshare Offers More

Though timeshare and sharing services both share some of the same concepts such as a variety and diversity of destinations and residence types, there are advantages that only timeshare offers. A big one is knowing what you are getting - the consistency of brand product, brand experience, and level of service that well-known timeshare companies such as Westin, Hilton and Marriott can be counted on to deliver. 

Timeshare resorts are owned and run by professionals, they have strict standards for accommodations and traveler experiences. They follow safety regulations and tax laws. Home sharing services may not even be aware of these practices and many sharers have no experience in the hospitality industry.

Another advantage of timesharing is the family orientation. Children who have grown up with a positive relationship of timeshare often carry on the legacy. 

Potential Distribution Channel for Timeshare Industry

One professional who sees a positive alignment of timeshare and sharing economy alternatives is ARDA President and CEO, Howard Nusbaum. He sees them as potential distribution channels when listings comply with timeshare standards. 

In a recent article in Hotel Management, he was quoted, "Homeaway and Expedia are members of ARDA. We have a program through VacayStay Connect where timeshare resorts can list their product on those sites and harmonize it with them, and I think we offer a better environment because you're not seeing somebody's family pictures, you don't feel like you're invading somebody's privacy, you don't have to worry about cleanliness, or health, or safety, and you still get that condo environment."

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Timeshare Big Contributor to the U.S. Economy

Owners and industry professionals are aware of timeshare's benefits to the consumers, but timeshare also has a huge impact on both local and national economy. The recently released report, 2016 Economic Impact of the Timeshare Industry on the U.S. Economy, from ARDA International Foundation's (AIF), provides impressive figures on the actual size of timeshare's impact.

"It is not just the vacationers that benefit from the timeshare industry," said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA, in a recent press release. "This industry has a huge impact on local economies through jobs, spending by vacationers, and taxes."


The report, conducted by Ernst & Young, illustrates that timeshare's influence on the U.S. economy goes far beyond timeshare resorts. It includes the sales and marketing offices, corporate operations, construction of new resorts and renovation of existing resorts. It has significant effects on vacationers’ expenditures during timeshare stays. Here are a few of the highlights of the report.
  • Economic Output
79.5 billion in consumer and business spending
16% increase over 2013
  • Employmen
511,782 full and part-time jobs
8% increase over 2013
  • Labor Income
$28.1 billion in salaries and wages
19% increase over 2013
  • Consumer Spending
$10 billion total spending by timeshare vacationers
$3.4 billion onsite, $6.6 billion off-site

Everyone in the timeshare industry has real reason to feel proud of these achievements. Not only does the industry provide millions of people a perfect vacation year after year, and many private sector benefits, it also provides substantial tax contributions that are a source of revenue for federal, state and local governments - $10.2 billion in 2015, a 21% increase over 2013.

Timeshare in Brazil?

Many of us have always had a romantic image of Brazil. When the song "The Girl from Ipanema" came out we were seduced by thoughts of long lazy days on gorgeous beaches, with azure oceans and swaying palm trees, and nights of partying carnival style to throbbing Brazilian beats. But recently, our pleasant thoughts have been intruded upon by what the press says is reality in Brazil - Zika Virus, pollution, a high rate of street crime and corruption, and the recent impeachment of Brazil's president.

This year's chaotic Olympic Games have added more fuel to that tarnished image. Some Olympians have refused to compete in the games because of the doping scandals (no fault of Brazil), and the substandard facilities for athletes—clogged toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wires in the athletes' accommodations (definitely a Brazilian problem).  The boa constrictors, crocodiles, capybaras and burrowing owls on the Olympic Golf Course have not helped. So far, hotel and airline bookings have suffered, but last minute demand from regional and international buyers is expected to bolster sales.

A Beautiful Country 

Amidst the negativity, Brazil still remains a beautiful place of vast natural beauty, and the joyful spirt of Carnival prevails. With its many attractions - the vibrant nightlife, music and food of Rio, the great Amazon River and its wildlife, the pristine white beaches, and the clear, calm waters filled with colorful sea life - Brazil is still a popular destination and not to be missed. Throughout the enormous country there are paradisiacal landscapes, astounding rain forests, exuberant activities to try, and an impressive culture to explore. There is something for everyone to enjoy in Brazil. 

Timeshare in Brazil

With all that Brazil has to offer it’s an excellent choice for a timeshare vacation and timeshares offer the perfect accommodations for staying there. They are usually more spacious and often more luxurious than a hotel room, and outfitted with kitchens, living rooms and multiple bathrooms. A family or group of friends can stay for weeks in complete comfort and also save money. Onsite amenities offer great perks - concierge service, pools and spas, laundry facilities and the ability to communicate with other timesharers who offer valuable suggestions and insider tips about activities, restaurants and the customs of the country.

Where to Stay

A good place to start your timeshare search is exchange and rental sites, as well as user group sites like RedWeek, of course! As an example, one of the resorts listed on several of the sites was the Marina Palace, a high rise rated 4 ½ stars, located in an upscale section of Rio across from Ipanema beach. It's family friendly, loaded with amenities and near to many attractions. Westin, Sheraton and Starwood have resorts in Rio and other cities across Brazil. You’re sure to find just the right timeshare for your Brazil vacation. 

To get started, consider checking out these sites:

Youth and Diversity Top Influencers

It seems that for most industries, reaching youth and diversity demographics are at the top of their marketing efforts, and many think that millennials are the most important demographic influencers to reach. Even politicians consider it a primary concern - Ivanka Trump, a millennial woman herself, introduced her father at the convention last week.  Early in her speech, she emphasized that as a millennial, she doesn't follow the status quo, but votes her conscience.

Companies are eager to understand the traits of and quirks of millennials. Taco Bell recently incorporated a company feature at its headquarters called, "Millennial Word of the Week". The words are curated by a group of employees in their twenties. The purpose - to keep its employees up on the lingo of Millennials to better communicate with their young customers. 

Timeshare Reflects the Trend

Timeshare is no exception to the trend. Our industry is also reflecting a different age and diversity. The profile of the new owner has changed. Information from ARDA International Foundation's (AIF) newly released Shared Vacation Ownership Study shows that new owners are younger, have higher-incomes than current owners, and are more culturally diverse. Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA, attributes the increase in timeshare sales (another positive in the study) to the new owners, "While existing owners continue to enjoy the lifestyle and purchase more timeshare, it's the new owners that are responsible for the majority of qualified sales".

What's changed?

  • Age: New owners are nearly 10 years younger than typical timeshare owners. Millennials actually give way to Gen X'ers here. Millennials, with a median age of 39 years, represent 30% of new owners. Gen X'ers represent 39% of new owners.
  • Ethnicity: Forty-two percent of new owners are African American or Hispanic. 
  • Education: New owners are highly educated. Seventy-two percent are college graduates and 23% of those have graduate degrees.
  • Income: The new owner has a median household income of $94,800 and disposable income to spare. Forty-seven percent made just a single payment to cover their purchase. Fifty-seven percent spent $10,000 or more on their timeshare.
  • Value: New owners are savvy consumers. They value long-term vacation savings and flexibility in timeshare. Thirty-six percent purchased timeshare to save on vacations and 31% bought for the flexibility timeshare offers. Seventy-five percent had some form of interaction with a timeshare resort before purchasing including staying as a guest at the resort where they bought or rented first. Before making a decision 35% attended multiple sales presentations.

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State of the Industry: 6th Year of Growth!

The 2015 numbers are in and we are pleased to announce another great year of substantial growth in our industry! Here are some highlights from the 2016 State of the Timeshare Industry Study conducted by Ernst and Young for ARDA International Foundation (AIF).

Sales Volume $8.6 Billion

Sales volume rose by nine percent in 2015 from $7.9 billion in 2014 to $8.6 billion in 2015. That’s the second largest increase percentage-wise since the recession!

Timeshare Resorts in U.S. at High of 1,547

In 2015 there were 1,547 timeshare resorts in the U.S. representing about 200,720 units. The average resort size was 130 units. Occupancy rates were up to nearly 80 percent, a two percent increase.  In comparison, the hotel occupancy rate was only 66 percent. Vacationers are loving their timeshares!

Average Sales Price for Timeshare at $22,240

That's a nine percent increase over 2014. Howard Nusbaum, President and CEO of ARDA was thrilled with our industry's performance in 2015 and said in a recent press release, "Timeshare offers a flexible vacation experience anywhere in the world. And with over 70% of the properties being two or more bedrooms, families are enjoying the space for everyone to actually relax and the privacy for individual or group time while on vacation."

Interesting Facts Quiz

Here’s a quiz to test your knowledge of the industry and see if you know the answers to some of the other interesting findings from the study. Don’t look at the answers before you choose!
  1. What is the most common type of resort? 
  2. Which resort has the highest occupancy?
  3. What state has the most resorts?
  4. What state has both the highest average occupancy and highest maintenance fees?
  5. What region has the lowest average maintenance fees?
  6. What state has the largest resorts?

Answers to Quiz

  1. Beach Resorts
  2. Theme Park Resorts
  3. Florida
  4. Hawaii
  5. Northeast ($690 per interval)
  6. Nevada (230 units on average)

For even more information, see ARDA's State of the Industry infographic at

A Look at the Big Picture - Sale of Diamond Resorts

Mergers and acquisitions continue in the timeshare industry, and the most recent involves Diamond Resorts International Incorporated. On June 29th, private equity firm Apollo Global Management announced a $2.2 billion agreement to acquire Diamond and its network of 420 properties in 35 countries.  

Win-Win for Both Companies

The deal appears to be a win-win for both Apollo and Diamond. Following the announcement, Apollo’s stock rose 23.7% to $29.79. Apollo has been on an acquisition spree this year of more than $1 billion, buying among other entities, the grocer Fresh Market, Incorporated. Apollo's hospitality interests currently include a large amount of stock in Caesar's Entertainment Corporation and Norwegian Cruise Line. Last year, Apollo sold its Great Wolf Resorts to Centerbridge Partners LP.

The all-cash agreement valued Diamond at $30.25 per share, a 26% premium over its Tuesday closing price. It's a strong testament to the business acumen of Stephen Cloobeck, Diamond's founder and chairman, who owns about a quarter of the company's stock. His shares rose by $60 million after the announcement. Cloobeck created Diamond in 2007 and is credited with coming up with Diamond's unique points-based system which allows customers to buy points to use in several select vacation destinations. Under his direction, Diamond’s annual revenue rose from $371 million in 2010 to $954 million in 2015.  Said Apollo partner David Palmer:

 "The management team and Diamond's more than 8,000 team members have built an amazing customer-centric business with a great reputation that delivers award-winning hospitality experiences at great value."

Even More Deals

The Diamond/Apollo deal follows this year's industry trend of mergers and acquisitions beginning with the merger of Starwood with Marriott. Starwood sold Vistana Signature Experiences, its timeshare business, to timeshare and exchange business Interval Leisure Group for $1.5 billion.  Diamond acquired Intrawest Resort Club Group for $85 million. Just last Wednesday, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Incorporated announced that it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to spin off its timeshare business, Hilton Grand Vacations, into a publically-traded company. 

Is the Industry Changing?

ARDA's "2015 edition of the State of the U.S. Vacation Timeshare Industry" may have some of the answers to that question. The report gives proof that the industry is thriving. Sales volume increased almost 25% since 2010 with an average annual growth of 6%. ARDA's results for 2015 are expected soon, and President and CEO Howard says the year 2014 shows the fifth consecutive year of sales increases in the industry. Reported sales grew by 4% to $7.9 billion in total sales in North America. 

Strong Growth Motivates

The healthy growth seems to be motivating big players such as Marriott Vacation Club, Breckenridge Grand Vacations and Welk Resorts to add new properties, and to bring new entrants into the market such as U.S. based Tropicana Entertainment. According to an article in Hotel Interactive, "Transformative Timeshare Market", other influences on market growth could include the move into different markets such as the urban market, new and different travel opportunities such as experiential travel, the changing demographics of the timeshare buyer and the willingness of companies to cater to their needs. Whatever the reason for the current state of the industry, it's all good right now! 

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Is Timeshare Popular in Costa Rica?

Breeze Private Residences Club, a timeshare resort
located in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica
One would certainly think so - just google it and you’ll see major timeshare companies such as Marriott and Wyndham featuring locations in Costa Rica, and major exchange companies such as RCI and II advertising their Costa Rica properties. And why wouldn’t it be popular - Costa Rica is one of the most stunning and unique countries, close to the U.S., and appealing to tourists, particularly millennials and families, because of its many offerings. 

Why the Popularity?

Everywhere you travel in Costa Rica, you'll see the expression “Pura Vida” emblazoned on billboards, resorts, t-shirts and souvenirs.  It's a common saying among locals which simply put, means "pure life", but it's more than that to the people of Costa Rica. The real meaning is more to remember to enjoy what you have, because there is always someone less fortunate than yourself. Life is short and we are all here together, so enjoy it! And there are many things to enjoy in Costa Rica.

One of the reasons Costa Rica is a top tourism destination is because of the vast diversity of its landscape. Its many ecosytems, range from rainforests with exotic flora and fauna, to pristine beaches with excellent surfing, and diving, from lush highlands that grow the best coffee in the world, to still active majestic volcanoes surrounded by gorgeous trails for hiking and mountain biking.  All ensure visitors never run out of adventures.

Something For Everyone

Millennials can find all the adventure and thrills that they crave - see the country from above by zip-lining or taking a canopy walk over the rainforests, experience white water rafting on world-class rapids, scuba dive, kayak, sky dive and pretty much any adventure aspired to can usually be found.

Families enjoy many national parks and attractions such as the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a private wildlife refuge where visitors can feed toucans, and hummingbirds by hand, release newly hatched butterflies and get up close to jaguars and red-eyed leaf frogs. A visit to the Po├ís Volcano in Arenal Volcano National Park is an educational experience for everyone. Visitors can learn all about how a volcano is made, and then hike up to the crater to see the actual caldera and sulfur pool. 

Popular for anyone are the abundant spas and retreats where tired visitors can refresh and repair mind, body and spirit. Take your pick of wellness retreat, holistic or luxury spa, featuring specialty massages, facials, yoga, aromatherapy and a soak in a hot tub or natural hot springs. 

Ideal for Timeshare

Since you need as much time as possible to see all there is to see and do all there is to do in Costa Rica, visitors usually spend more time vacationing, from two to four weeks on average. Often traveling with family and friends, timeshare is a welcome respite. There's enough room to spread out, kitchens to cook money-saving meals, a place to wash clothes well used from all the activities, and opportunities to mingle with other owners and renters to share travel tips and comradery. Costa Rica is a perfect place for timeshare.