Britain Leaves the European Union - How Will it Affect the Timeshare Industry?

On June 24th, major banks took a pounding and stocks plummeted when the Brexit referendum passed. Brits voted 51.9% to leave the EU and 48.1% to stay. Naturally, our thoughts turned to how it would affect timeshare and travel. 

The Good News

The good news is that in the short-term the drop in the pound precipitated by Brexit will benefit American tourists. Americans can expect huge price breaks in the UK - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland this summer. That's according to a Detroit Free Press article that said, "normally Americans pay $1.50 per British pound, but after Brexit, the cost was $1.37 per pound, a 30-year low". British tourism data reports Americans make up 9% of all tourists visiting Britain and spend the most—= - 3 billion pounds in 2015. And it doesn’t stop there - the euro also fell after the vote. It now costs $1.10 to buy one euro. Most of Europe is now a good deal for Americans.

After the vote on June 24th, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) issued this statement, "Travel to, from and within the EU and UK will not be affected in the short-term. The Lisbon Treaty allows a two year period of negotiation once the UK formally states its intention to leave the EU and this period could be extended by an agreement of all parties. During this period the legislation around Travel & Tourism will remain the same."

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC, said, "We are entering a period of market uncertainty which will undoubtedly put pressure on Travel & Tourism businesses, however we know that our sector is resilient and we expect business and leisure travel to hold up in the face of these challenges."

Affect on Timeshare

As of now, it doesn't look like Brexit will directly affect the timeshare industry in the U.S. The UK, however, is a different story. An April blog post from Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket®, a leading European timeshare resale company, outlined several ways the referendum could affect timeshare owners and travelers. It may have unexpected implications on timeshares UK citizens pay for in other EU countries. The currency fluctuations could also impact UK timeshare owners' annual management fees, the UK's free health care options for travelers and EU passenger rights and airfares.  

EU Timeshare Directive 

The WorldWide Timeshare Hypermarket® blog speculated that "the inconsistences between the UK and the EU on timeshare regulations may provide disincentives for UK consumers to purchase timeshare resorts outside of the UK". Before Brexit, "consumers were protected by the EU timeshare directive which benefits UK citizens considering purchasing timeshare in the EU as well as organizations owning, managing or selling timeshare. Now, owners may be exempt from the EU timeshare directive and at risk of losing protection, unless the Prime Minister secures assurances from the EU for UK timeshare owners." As you know, here in the US each state has a set of laws governing timeshare and they can vary from state to state. We wish the UK the best in this time of change.

Summer Airline Travel Will Be Challenging

Flying to your vacation destination may not be the best way to travel this summer. All indicators point to a record number of summer fliers and a long list of problems to follow. TSA staffing shortages and fewer than expected PreCheck signups (meant to shorten wait lines) have already left many airline travelers standing in line for hours. 

Security procedures were recently tightened when federal auditors managed to get fake bombs and weapons past screeners during a security test. The June 12th attack in Orlando brings even more aggressive security measures. Travelers are advised to get to the airport two hours early for domestic travel and three hours for international travel. 

Not Just the Lines...

Baggage Fees

Other issues compound the annoyance and inconvenience of flying. The high cost of baggage fees can add more expense to your trip. A recent check of airlines showed both American and Delta with baggage fees of $25 for the first bag, $35 for the second and additional bags $125- $200 each.

Of course carry-on bags are free, and that's fine for some who have mastered the fine art of squeezing everything needed for a seven day trip into a smaller bag. But the struggle of finding an overhead bin that's got any space to fit the bag, and lifting the bag in and out the bin and hauling it around the airport just doesn't cut it for everyone.

Extra Fees

Paying for checked bags, meals, food, entertainment, and even pillows and blankets, once free to all fliers, quickly add to flight costs. Apparently, these fees were started in 2008 as a way to counteract the rising cost of jet fuel, and the economic disaster after 9/11, but now airlines are making money. One would hope the fees would go away, but they haven't yet.

Comfort Issues

Comfortable flight? Hardly. We all know we can pay extra for comfort by buying business class or first class tickets, but some travelers are required to pay for an additional seat if they are deemed too large for the standard seating arrangements. Who decides who is too big for the seat? It can cause some very sensitive issues and most people confronted with this have just gone along with paying for another seat rather than causing a scene. 

Maybe it’s Time for a Road Trip...

Avoid the problems of flying this summer. Timeshares offers many great drive-to locations and though you may get into some traffic, you can go on your own time schedule and set your own course. You won't have to deal with the tangle of airline setbacks and delays.

Owners on the West Coast can find outstanding summer deals in Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Phoenix. The California coast is beautiful and offers many beachfront timeshare opportunities. Lake Tahoe is a favorite timeshare location and a quick drive from the Los Angeles area.

Owners on the Eastern Seaboard have Florida, Hilton Head, New York and more.  Popular ski resorts in both areas are perfect for family summer vacationing (no long ski lift lines!) with hiking, biking, river rafting and other activities. Have a stress-free summer vacation! 

If you’d like to express your views on airline travel, contact us at Timeshare Info.

Is Gaming a Draw for Timeshare Owners?

Some in Northern New Jersey think so and if a ballot question is approved by voters on November 3, there will be two new casinos in the area. Voters will be asked whether to amend the state constitution to repeal a provision that limits casinos only in Atlantic City. The approval could bode well for New Jersey's timeshare industry, which has suffered from being clustered in struggling Atlantic City. Atlantic City has lost half of its casino revenue to competitors in neighboring states. Some of the new casino revenues may be used to aid Atlantic City's floundering economy and casino business.   

The timeshare developments, possibly to be built in the Meadowlands sports complex where the New York Jets and Giants play, and in Jersey City, will offer more affordable lodgings with easy access to New York City and its attractions.

Pros and Cons

A recent article in The Real Deal, "Timeshare Trials and Tribulations" says those in favor of the referendum claim the revenue-sharing would help Atlantic City casinos, bring more visitors to a rejuvenated resort destination and make its timeshare resorts more attractive to potential owners and guests.

New Jersey attorney, Vincas Vyzas, says local timeshares now promote their proximity to the seashore and gambling, but many people want other activities. Perhaps better to promote would be the proximity of the new timeshare resorts to New York and Philadelphia for easy access to alternative activities, like day trips to museums, parks, concerts and theater. 

New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie, who is against the referendum, says, "Atlantic City is headed for a disaster, and north Jersey gaming is headed for defeat."

Another opposed to the diversion of funds from the new casinos to aid Atlantic City, is Andrew Mulvihill, chief executive officer of Crystal Springs Resort Real Estate in Vernon, New Jersey. Quoted in the Real Deal article he said, "I don’t believe the proliferation of gaming into Northern New Jersey will have any impact on increasing the number of timesharing offerings in New Jersey. The main players are promoting locations next to Manhattan in very urban settings that are more industrial than commercial."

Las Vegas Positive Example

For an example of the positive effects of gaming on the timeshare industry, just look at Las Vegas with its numerous timeshares. Along with the attraction of the casinos, the popularity is due in part to the perfect accommodations timeshares offer for Las Vegas vacationing. Families and friends can vacation together in comfort and still have privacy. Timeshares have the winning combination of home-like accommodations along with resort-style amenities. Activities to satisfy both adults and kids are onsite. All are located in close proximity to the casinos, and a few like Westgate even have casinos onsite.

Keep Competitive With Mobile Apps

Does it seem like there is a new technology innovation popping up daily in our world? Every industry is affected by technology, and timeshare is no exception. Anything that makes it easier, faster and more convenient to travel is key. Owners and guests are using their mobile devices to get what they want from the travel experience. The use of travel mobile apps for smartphones and tablets to explore areas and activities, book reservations, control in-room features, and carry out resort transactions, are a few of the ways mobile apps are used.

Gain an Edge on the Competition

"Incorporating an app-driven experience into your resort service strategy can be a key differentiator in attracting and retaining visitors and potential owners," says Christine Ciccone, vice president of online marketing at RCI. Apps can provide a better customer service experience. They can be a great way to explore the property and showcase the location and amenities with vivid video images, one of the fastest-growing trends on social media. According to Jessen O’Brien in his article, "The Power of Video" in Ventures magazine, statistics show that both Facebook and Snapchat have recently recorded eight billion daily video views.

Use Apps for Resort Transactions

Mobile apps such as Oombaga make it convenient for owners to take care of business seamlessly via their mobile devices. Owners use the mobile app to pay maintenance fees, make reservations and carry out various resort transactions. They can choose float assignments, exchange, rent and book their time all in one place through mobile interfaces, websites, emails and instant messaging. Taking care of business has never been easier.

Personalize and Add Value to the Owner Experience

Resort apps are a way to personalize the resort experience for owners and potential owners and to highlight the resort's special offerings. It may be as simple as a greeting using the owner's name whenever they download the app. It can be used to keep owners aware of special promotions and new activities, or include a chat function that makes it easy to ask questions and get quick responses. Apps provide immediate information relevant to the resort area such as weather information, particularly important in ski areas when the amount of snow is a big factor.

The information an app can provide is endless. It's a perfect tool for the timeshare industry. A recent Skift's trends report, The Future of Messaging Technology in the Travel Industry states, "As their customers adopt new ways to communicate, resorts and hotels must do the same. With upward of 2.5 billion people using messaging platforms, the vacation industry needs to ensure that it is meeting consumer demand for this form of communication."

When Are Timeshare Owners Vacationing?

Is there a particular time of year that most owners are using their timeshares? We found that just like other vacationers, timeshare owners are dependent on their life circumstances to determine when they vacation. There is another factor though that is exclusive to timeshare - the type of timeshare plan.

Life Circumstances 

  • Owners with families are likely to make their vacation plans around school schedules - summer, spring and winter, school holidays. Year-round school schedules can add other options for vacationing.
  • Business circumstances play a large part in decision making. People who are employed have to plan vacations well in advance. Companies may have regulations on when employees can vacation.  A recent trend noted is to book a timeshare around a company conference, or when calling on clients. It's nice to have a comfortable timeshare to come home to after a day of stressful work. You may be able to combine business with pleasure and use a few vacation days.
  • Generally retirees have more flexibility in choosing vacation months. Retirement can be the perfect time to take advantage of the many timeshare options.
  • Special activities or special events can be another factor in vacation decisions. Skiers want to vacation in the winter months and look for timeshares in ski resorts. A horse racing enthusiast may want to book resorts where major racing events are taking place.
  • Where you live full-time plays a big part in vacationing choices. Those that live in colder climates want to escape in winter to sunny resort areas - those living in desert areas want to leave the summer heat for cooler beach areas. 

Type of Timeshare Plan

The particular timeshare plan owned affects the choice of vacations and times that can reserved. Vacation clubs and points programs require advanced bookings and the willingness on an owner's part to work a little harder in monitoring availabilities and planning vacations well in advance. 

By owning multiple properties in different areas, vacation clubs increase their variety of vacation options. There is an initial cost to join and an annual fee. Points programs offer multiple resort choices too. Members buy a membership and receive a number of points every year. They can exchange the points for participating resorts. There is an annual maintenance fee.

Exchange companies are another way to find flexibility in vacationing. It requires the owner to deposit a week with the exchange company. As others deposit their weeks and resorts deposit unsold weeks, the exchange company builds up inventory of exchangeable weeks. Exchanging works particularly well if the owner is willing to vacation in off seasons when inventory is more available.

Timeshare Advantage

Take the advice of and others - it isn't just where you vacation that matters, what really matters is that you take a vacation. Americans are not taking their vacation time and it's not good for their health and well-being. Timeshare guarantees regular vacation time away with all the relaxing and rejuvenating benefits of vacationing.