Youth and Diversity Top Influencers

It seems that for most industries, reaching youth and diversity demographics are at the top of their marketing efforts, and many think that millennials are the most important demographic influencers to reach. Even politicians consider it a primary concern - Ivanka Trump, a millennial woman herself, introduced her father at the convention last week.  Early in her speech, she emphasized that as a millennial, she doesn't follow the status quo, but votes her conscience.

Companies are eager to understand the traits of and quirks of millennials. Taco Bell recently incorporated a company feature at its headquarters called, "Millennial Word of the Week". The words are curated by a group of employees in their twenties. The purpose - to keep its employees up on the lingo of Millennials to better communicate with their young customers. 

Timeshare Reflects the Trend

Timeshare is no exception to the trend. Our industry is also reflecting a different age and diversity. The profile of the new owner has changed. Information from ARDA International Foundation's (AIF) newly released Shared Vacation Ownership Study shows that new owners are younger, have higher-incomes than current owners, and are more culturally diverse. Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA, attributes the increase in timeshare sales (another positive in the study) to the new owners, "While existing owners continue to enjoy the lifestyle and purchase more timeshare, it's the new owners that are responsible for the majority of qualified sales".

What's changed?

  • Age: New owners are nearly 10 years younger than typical timeshare owners. Millennials actually give way to Gen X'ers here. Millennials, with a median age of 39 years, represent 30% of new owners. Gen X'ers represent 39% of new owners.
  • Ethnicity: Forty-two percent of new owners are African American or Hispanic. 
  • Education: New owners are highly educated. Seventy-two percent are college graduates and 23% of those have graduate degrees.
  • Income: The new owner has a median household income of $94,800 and disposable income to spare. Forty-seven percent made just a single payment to cover their purchase. Fifty-seven percent spent $10,000 or more on their timeshare.
  • Value: New owners are savvy consumers. They value long-term vacation savings and flexibility in timeshare. Thirty-six percent purchased timeshare to save on vacations and 31% bought for the flexibility timeshare offers. Seventy-five percent had some form of interaction with a timeshare resort before purchasing including staying as a guest at the resort where they bought or rented first. Before making a decision 35% attended multiple sales presentations.


Find more information at www.arda.org/foundation.

State of the Industry: 6th Year of Growth!

The 2015 numbers are in and we are pleased to announce another great year of substantial growth in our industry! Here are some highlights from the 2016 State of the Timeshare Industry Study conducted by Ernst and Young for ARDA International Foundation (AIF).

Sales Volume $8.6 Billion

Sales volume rose by nine percent in 2015 from $7.9 billion in 2014 to $8.6 billion in 2015. That’s the second largest increase percentage-wise since the recession!

Timeshare Resorts in U.S. at High of 1,547

In 2015 there were 1,547 timeshare resorts in the U.S. representing about 200,720 units. The average resort size was 130 units. Occupancy rates were up to nearly 80 percent, a two percent increase.  In comparison, the hotel occupancy rate was only 66 percent. Vacationers are loving their timeshares!

Average Sales Price for Timeshare at $22,240

That's a nine percent increase over 2014. Howard Nusbaum, President and CEO of ARDA was thrilled with our industry's performance in 2015 and said in a recent press release, "Timeshare offers a flexible vacation experience anywhere in the world. And with over 70% of the properties being two or more bedrooms, families are enjoying the space for everyone to actually relax and the privacy for individual or group time while on vacation."

Interesting Facts Quiz

Here’s a quiz to test your knowledge of the industry and see if you know the answers to some of the other interesting findings from the study. Don’t look at the answers before you choose!
  1. What is the most common type of resort? 
  2. Which resort has the highest occupancy?
  3. What state has the most resorts?
  4. What state has both the highest average occupancy and highest maintenance fees?
  5. What region has the lowest average maintenance fees?
  6. What state has the largest resorts?

Answers to Quiz

  1. Beach Resorts
  2. Theme Park Resorts
  3. Florida
  4. Hawaii
  5. Northeast ($690 per interval)
  6. Nevada (230 units on average)

For even more information, see ARDA's State of the Industry infographic at www.arda.org/foundation.

A Look at the Big Picture - Sale of Diamond Resorts

Mergers and acquisitions continue in the timeshare industry, and the most recent involves Diamond Resorts International Incorporated. On June 29th, private equity firm Apollo Global Management announced a $2.2 billion agreement to acquire Diamond and its network of 420 properties in 35 countries.  

Win-Win for Both Companies

The deal appears to be a win-win for both Apollo and Diamond. Following the announcement, Apollo’s stock rose 23.7% to $29.79. Apollo has been on an acquisition spree this year of more than $1 billion, buying among other entities, the grocer Fresh Market, Incorporated. Apollo's hospitality interests currently include a large amount of stock in Caesar's Entertainment Corporation and Norwegian Cruise Line. Last year, Apollo sold its Great Wolf Resorts to Centerbridge Partners LP.

The all-cash agreement valued Diamond at $30.25 per share, a 26% premium over its Tuesday closing price. It's a strong testament to the business acumen of Stephen Cloobeck, Diamond's founder and chairman, who owns about a quarter of the company's stock. His shares rose by $60 million after the announcement. Cloobeck created Diamond in 2007 and is credited with coming up with Diamond's unique points-based system which allows customers to buy points to use in several select vacation destinations. Under his direction, Diamond’s annual revenue rose from $371 million in 2010 to $954 million in 2015.  Said Apollo partner David Palmer:

 "The management team and Diamond's more than 8,000 team members have built an amazing customer-centric business with a great reputation that delivers award-winning hospitality experiences at great value."

Even More Deals

The Diamond/Apollo deal follows this year's industry trend of mergers and acquisitions beginning with the merger of Starwood with Marriott. Starwood sold Vistana Signature Experiences, its timeshare business, to timeshare and exchange business Interval Leisure Group for $1.5 billion.  Diamond acquired Intrawest Resort Club Group for $85 million. Just last Wednesday, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Incorporated announced that it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to spin off its timeshare business, Hilton Grand Vacations, into a publically-traded company. 

Is the Industry Changing?

ARDA's "2015 edition of the State of the U.S. Vacation Timeshare Industry" may have some of the answers to that question. The report gives proof that the industry is thriving. Sales volume increased almost 25% since 2010 with an average annual growth of 6%. ARDA's results for 2015 are expected soon, and President and CEO Howard says the year 2014 shows the fifth consecutive year of sales increases in the industry. Reported sales grew by 4% to $7.9 billion in total sales in North America. 

Strong Growth Motivates

The healthy growth seems to be motivating big players such as Marriott Vacation Club, Breckenridge Grand Vacations and Welk Resorts to add new properties, and to bring new entrants into the market such as U.S. based Tropicana Entertainment. According to an article in Hotel Interactive, "Transformative Timeshare Market", other influences on market growth could include the move into different markets such as the urban market, new and different travel opportunities such as experiential travel, the changing demographics of the timeshare buyer and the willingness of companies to cater to their needs. Whatever the reason for the current state of the industry, it's all good right now! 

For more information:

Is Timeshare Popular in Costa Rica?

Breeze Private Residences Club, a timeshare resort
located in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica
One would certainly think so - just google it and you’ll see major timeshare companies such as Marriott and Wyndham featuring locations in Costa Rica, and major exchange companies such as RCI and II advertising their Costa Rica properties. And why wouldn’t it be popular - Costa Rica is one of the most stunning and unique countries, close to the U.S., and appealing to tourists, particularly millennials and families, because of its many offerings. 

Why the Popularity?

Everywhere you travel in Costa Rica, you'll see the expression “Pura Vida” emblazoned on billboards, resorts, t-shirts and souvenirs.  It's a common saying among locals which simply put, means "pure life", but it's more than that to the people of Costa Rica. The real meaning is more to remember to enjoy what you have, because there is always someone less fortunate than yourself. Life is short and we are all here together, so enjoy it! And there are many things to enjoy in Costa Rica.

One of the reasons Costa Rica is a top tourism destination is because of the vast diversity of its landscape. Its many ecosytems, range from rainforests with exotic flora and fauna, to pristine beaches with excellent surfing, and diving, from lush highlands that grow the best coffee in the world, to still active majestic volcanoes surrounded by gorgeous trails for hiking and mountain biking.  All ensure visitors never run out of adventures.

Something For Everyone

Millennials can find all the adventure and thrills that they crave - see the country from above by zip-lining or taking a canopy walk over the rainforests, experience white water rafting on world-class rapids, scuba dive, kayak, sky dive and pretty much any adventure aspired to can usually be found.

Families enjoy many national parks and attractions such as the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a private wildlife refuge where visitors can feed toucans, and hummingbirds by hand, release newly hatched butterflies and get up close to jaguars and red-eyed leaf frogs. A visit to the Po├ís Volcano in Arenal Volcano National Park is an educational experience for everyone. Visitors can learn all about how a volcano is made, and then hike up to the crater to see the actual caldera and sulfur pool. 

Popular for anyone are the abundant spas and retreats where tired visitors can refresh and repair mind, body and spirit. Take your pick of wellness retreat, holistic or luxury spa, featuring specialty massages, facials, yoga, aromatherapy and a soak in a hot tub or natural hot springs. 

Ideal for Timeshare


Since you need as much time as possible to see all there is to see and do all there is to do in Costa Rica, visitors usually spend more time vacationing, from two to four weeks on average. Often traveling with family and friends, timeshare is a welcome respite. There's enough room to spread out, kitchens to cook money-saving meals, a place to wash clothes well used from all the activities, and opportunities to mingle with other owners and renters to share travel tips and comradery. Costa Rica is a perfect place for timeshare.