Timeshare Keeps Getting Better - Even After a Few Setbacks

The 60’s - Timeshare Gets Started - Europe Paves the Way

Many things have changed since the 60’s, including the timeshare industry. The concept was first developed in Europe and in 1964, a French company gets the credit as the first to take the plunge into timeshare with a ski resort in the French Alps.  At this time, commercial air travel had taken off, and it was the height of the travel boom.  Travel company, Society des Grand Travaux de Marseille, decided to take advantage of the vacation demand. The company offered an alternative to those who couldn’t afford a second vacation home, but could afford to buy a week of time in a resort condominium that guaranteed an opportunity to regularly ski in the Alps.

Timeshare Catches on in the U.S.

By 1965, the Hilton Hale Kaanapali in Maui broke ground as the first hotel-condo complex. It was quickly followed in 1969 when Vacation International began selling timeshare weeks on a leasehold basis in Kauai. Soon companies in Florida and California followed and timeshare expansion across the U.S. began in earnest. 

The 70’s

In the 70’s timeshare resorts grew to a total of 350 and ownership grew to 200,000. The timeshare industry consisted of small regional developers, the industry was unregulated and the emphasis was more on getting the sale, rather than the vacation experience. In 1974, Resort Condominiums International (RCI) became the world’s first exchange company, and at the same time, Vacation International, Ltd. initiated the first U.S. points based system. Timeshare now offered a little more flexibility and owners weren’t just limited to one week at the same location.

The 80’s

Growth continued in the 80’s. The number of timeshare resorts increased 400 percent, timeshare owners increased 300 percent, and sales volumes were up 500 percent. The 80’s saw the floating time concept introduced, and regulators established rescission, disclosure, and escrow requirements. Conversion of wholly owned condominiums, the first urban timeshares, fractional ownership, and a trend to larger resorts, all emerged during the 80’s. In 1983, Marriott Corporation led the breakthrough of major hotel chains involvement in timeshare with its purchase of American Resorts. 

The 90’s

The 90’s brought an industry change of focus to the vacation experience instead of the previous focus on getting the sale.  Major hotel chains entry into timeshare, an emphasis on full-service resorts, an increasing use of points and clubs, and the use of more sophisticated marketing and sales techniques, contributed to major geographic growth in the 90’s. Timeshare’s image also started to improve.

The 2000’s

Two events in the first decade of 2000 impacted the timeshare industry significantly. In 2001, the residual effects of 9/11 left many Americans fearful and reluctant to travel, and in late 2008, the collapse of the economy was devastating. By 2009, jobs were lost, companies cut-back or went out of business, travelers were not traveling, and construction of new resorts stalled and sales of timeshares plummeted. 

The Future Looks Bright

The year 2011 saw a turn-around for the travel industry and tourism seemed to rebound quicker than most other industries. The American Resort Development Association’s (ARDA) 2012 report, World Wide Shared Vacation Ownership, shows timeshare to be one of the fastest growing industries.  The report has North America topping the timeshare global list with 2500 resorts or 46 percent of the total market.  According to Vacation Ownership World (VOW), vacation ownership sales grew 7% in 2013 which when combined with the 10% rise in 2012, was the biggest back to back growth in years. New timeshare growth is also rising globally with 5300 resorts in 108 countries and new markets on the rise.
The timeshare industry has been spurred on by an improving economy, renewed interest in travel, continued timeshare flexibility using points and rewards systems and flex time. Also contributing to growth is the use of more sophisticated marketing tools such as the internet, social media and analytic data, and the use of these tools in aiding the process of exchanging, renting and selling.  Continued focus on the resort experience, identification of potential new timeshare buyers, and the addition of new global markets, all contribute to a positive direction for the industry.

Sources of information: ARDA, GlobalSpec, Timeshare Marketplace

0 Responses

Post a Comment