Defending Timeshares… Owners Respond to Negative AARP Article

In response to a recent AARP article castigating timeshares, owners have shot back with letters in defense of timeshare ownership. Timeshare industry leaders issued a call to action to owners and industry professionals to respond to the article with letters to the editor of AARP magazine (see the original controversy right here) and respond they did! Here are some of the points made in the letters to AARP by those who know the benefits of timeshare first hand:

  • Cost-Effectiveness of Ownership
A big concern of owners about the AARP article by Alan Roth involves his statement calling timeshare one of the “worst investment and financial products.” Many owners responded that a timeshare purchase shouldn’t be expected to be an investment returned in monetary benefits, but as an investment returned in life-style benefits. Owners such as Sharon S. stated, “Many of us would not explore vacation opportunities, especially outside the U.S, without the security and financial assistance timesharing offers.” And from Fred M., “We didn’t buy our timeshares as a financial investment—we bought them so we could afford to enjoy life more instead!”
  • Better than a Hotel

In response to Roth’s comment that one would be better off getting a hotel room rather than a timeshare, owners Matthew and Elva W responded, “Try getting a hotel room right on the beach or in a choice vacation spot anywhere in the world for 6 people for $900 per week!” Sharon S. added, “Whereas hotels may charge $300 or more a night, a timeshare owner is guaranteed a week’s stay for the price of the maintenance fee.”
  • Home-away-from-Home Accommodations
Home-away-from-home accommodations was another major plus cited by owners. Many commented on the value of and the pleasure of having accommodations that offered the comforts of home. They listed such amenities as spacious rooms with additional living space, fully stocked kitchens where you can cook a meal and save on the expense of going out; plus, balcony views, access to outdoor space, pools, children’s areas, barbecues and recreational areas and activities. Owners also valued the ability to have access to units with two to three bedrooms and additional bathrooms for vacations with family and friends.
  • More Travel Opportunities through Exchanging and Points
Many owners wrote about the flexibility offered through points and exchanging--how exchanging offers them opportunities to travel more often, and to travel all over the world to destinations that would not be affordable without owning a timeshare. Owners shared that using points has given them enhanced travel value, and the flexibility to travel when they want. They expressed appreciation of exchange companies like Interval International and RCI who post reviews of all exchange resorts and give owners the assurance that the exchange resort is all that it is reported to be. 
  • Ability to Rent Out 
The added advantage of being able to rent out their week when they were unable to use it was a plus for many owners. It allowed them to vacation at times of the year that weren’t the peak of the tourist season, or at a time when an event was taking place that they wanted to be a part of. Renting out their timeshares through companies such as RedWeek can make it possible to make enough money to pay for the maintenance fees on their timeshare.
  • Alternatives to Resale
One of Mr. Roth’s negative comments concerned the difficulty of owners in selling a timeshare and actually recouping the money they paid for it. Owners countered with alternatives to selling. They mentioned that as well as renting out their timeshares, another alternative was gifting or bequeathing timeshares to family members. This allows them to leave a legacy and the assurance that the tradition of sharing quality time with family members is carried on. Owners Matthew and Elva W. summed it up very well, “True, timeshares are not a good investment for a quick return on your money, but it certainly enhances the vacation experience. If we were to walk away from our timeshares today, they would have been worth every penny we have invested.”
Letters are posted in the TST Newswire

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