Top 10 Timeshare Stories in 2013

Happy New Year!

This last year was full of ups and downs for the timeshare industry. We share our top 10 stories for 2013:

1. ARDA's Annual Fall Conference in D.C. Informative and Upbeat

"2013 has been one of the busiest years ever for us in pushing and strengthening legislation for the benefit of timeshare owners. We have advocated for owners in 14 states this year, all the way from Arkansas to West Virginia, with the thrust of our efforts focused on providing specific guidelines related to resale and transfer company legislation." This quote from ARDA President and CEO, Howard Nusbaum, summed up what ARDA had been involved with this year. It will be interesting to see Nusbaum's analysis next spring in Las Vegas.

2. RCI Raises Fees

In December, RCI announced that fees are going up in January 2014. Exchange fees on will rise to $209 and call center fees to $219. Could this cause an owner exodus to alternative exchange companies? Some owners think so.

3. 2013 Timeshare Demand Index

The top ten most in-demand timeshare and vacation properties based on the number of offers received to buy or rent through SellMyTimeshareNow are:
1. Marriott's Aruba Surf Club - Palm Beach Aruba
2. Harborside Resort at Atlantis - Paradise Island, Bahamas
3. Marriott's Newport Coast Villas - Newport Beach, California
4. Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club - Oahu, Hawaii
5. Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas - Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
6. Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort - Orlando, Florida
7. Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort West - Kissimmee, Florida
8. Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa - Lake Buena Vista, Florida
9. Vacation Village at Parkway - Orlando, Florida
10. Marriott's Maui Ocean Club - Maui, Hawaii

4. 2013 Shows Resorts Recovering

All indicators point to the timeshare and travel industry making a recovery from performance drops in 2008 and 2009. Commercial construction and investment transaction volume in the hospitality sector is up, travel providers are joining forces to offer their members more destinations, timeshare companies are coming up with more ways to entice members with value add-ons, and hiring is on the upswing.

5. Luxury and Up-Scale Resorts Lead Industry's Recovery

Luxury and upper-upscale resorts are recovering from the recession at a quicker pace than more moderately priced properties. Since 2009, personal income has recovered to pre-recession levels, but employment recovery is forecast to lag until 2015.  Moody's Analytics shows that, with personal income leading the slow economic comeback, the luxury and up-scale resort market catering to individuals with rising personal income levels, recovers faster than properties in the more moderate price range that cater to individuals who depend on employment recovery.

6. Another Trump Tower -- $360 Million Vancouver Hotel-Condo Tower 

In June, Donald Trump announced his new Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver. Sticking with what the developer knows works best, the $360 million dollar tower features 147 hotel suites, 218 condos, a champagne lounge, banquet and conference center, and Vancouver's first pool bar nightclub. Also included, daughter Ivanka Trump's signature Mar-a-Lago Spa. Residential sales started in October with project completion expected in summer 2016.

7. Disney Company Doesn't Let the Economy Stop Their Expansion

At least one company doesn't accept the view that the timeshare industry is suffering from an economic downturn. Disney's Polynesian Resort at Disney World in Orlando confirmed construction of new timeshare units and broke ground on the project in September bringing Disney's total number of timeshare properties to thirteen. Disney also opened the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in October.

8. FTC Bans National Solutions LLC from the Timeshare Business

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ordered a $6.3 million judgement and banned National Solutions LLC from the timeshare business because of their scheme that allegedly deceived consumers trying to sell their timeshare properties. According to the FTC, National Solutions told consumers they had buyers lined up to buy their timeshare properties, and charged consumers up to $3,150 as an "earnest money deposit" to commit them to the sale or for sale-related expenses. The company promised to refund the money when the sale closed, but customers were often not contacted again, properties were never sold, and refund demands were ignored or denied. The case against National Solutions LLC is part of the FTC's ongoing effort to stop timeshare scams and protect consumers from fraud and deception in the marketplace.

9. Vacation Club vs. Timeshare Ownership

Vacation Club membership seems to be gaining in popularity and may be challenging timeshare ownership's domination of the industry. What's the difference between the two? For one big thing...cost! Vacation club memberships generally cost less than timeshare ownership. A vacation club membership that gives members two weeks to travel per year, plus unlimited non-premium weeks per year may only be a one-time cost of about $2,000. Whereas, the average price of a one-week annual timeshare is $10,000. Vacation clubs have no maintenance fees and no exchange fees. Club memberships last 100 years. Compare that to a typical deed timeshare of 25 years.

10. Manhattan Timeshare Owners Can't Get a Break

Owners in New York's Manhattan Club report their maintenance fees keep rising and they're not getting anything in return, and it's nearly impossible to book rooms or sell their timeshares! The developer of the Manhattan Club, Bruce Eichner, faces a New York State Supreme Court lawsuit in which the timeshare owners allege he sold more than 18,000 ownerships for 286 rooms resulting in a minimum shortage of 69 rooms every week.

Happy 2014!

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