The Best Days of the Industry are Ahead

"The Best Days of the Industry are Ahead" - those were the closing remarks of Howard Nusbaum, ARDA CEO and President, in a recent interview with Shep Altshuler of Time Sharing Today Radio. The interview entitled "The State of the Industry" was mostly positive and addressed such issues as consolidation, the new buyers of timeshare, legacy resorts, and the effect of big brands on the industry.  Nusbaum says, "The 'Golden Days' of timeshare are ahead of us, not behind us and the industry is now on solid ground." There are currently 8 million timeshare owners domestically and another 3-4 million in Mexico. A worldwide study by ARDA to be completed within 6 months will show the total global numbers.

The Headline is Consolidation

Nusbaum said it's probably not surprising that the headline in the industry is consolidation, as large brands have been buying smaller timeshare companies for the past 15 years. He feels that consolidation is a good thing as we are a capitalistic society. The big brands like Hyatt and Hilton contribute to making the industry more mainstream, they are well capitalized and have the ability to "weather the storms and to grow their business."

What New Owners Want

According to Nusbaum there is a culture shift in the industry from 30 years ago. New owners are more diverse. Of the purchases made in the last 36 months, only 49 percent were Caucasian, buyers are younger and more affluent. They are college educated and own a home. Fifty percent have kids at home and that’s the reason they are looking for a better family vacation. The millennials in particular don’t want to vacation in the same place year after year - they want to see the world. 

Legacy Resorts

Altshuler questioned Nusbaum about legacy resorts and asked what was being done to help the aging owners and the piling up of inventory at these resorts. Nusbaum said the industry should work to "create elegant exits" for the long-time owners who may no longer be able to use their timeshare, or have no one to leave the timeshare to.  He stated that the ability to recycle inventory is a key to a solution for struggling legacy resorts. Currently, ARDA is working on tools to help legacy resorts. Says Nusbaum, "We have the responsibility to educate owners." He urges owners to contact him at and says he answers all of his emails.

Negative Press

Another question posed by Altshuler was concerning a New York Times article about the hard sell being back and if in Nusbaum's opinion, it was still around. Nusbaum, who says he has been going to timeshare presentations for 25 years, doesn't agree. He finds now that the presentations are much more consumer centric. He says the regulatory structure we have that includes rescission has helped greatly. Also, buyers are more educated. The average person attends 3 tours before buying a timeshare. 

Nusbaum feels the big brand companies have brought in a new level of hospitality that has helped the timeshare industry. According to Nusbaum, there is an 83 percent satisfaction level among timeshare buyers, but it is the 17 percent dissatisfaction level that concerns him. We need to find out what happened to those 17 percent. Did they not understand what they bought? Could they not afford the timeshare? Did they not get the service they expected?  He indicated that possibly the negative press comes from people who want to profit from helping buyers get out of a contract.

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