‘The Timeshare Revival’
In 2003, over 6.7 million households owned a timeshare and there were 5,400 timeshare resorts worldwide (RCI, 2003).
A timeshare provides someone property ownership or the right to use property, especially for resort condominium units. Initially, the timeshare concept had been introduced with the purpose of providing timeshare owners the possibility to visit the resort where they had become an owner of for a determined amount of time each year. The goal of timeshares was providing customers cheaper holidays on the long-term. With a timeshare the price of renting the property remains the same for a determined amount of years whereas the price would actually increase yearly.
When timesharing really became popular worldwide, organizations started to expand and to own several resorts worldwide. Customers had now the possibility (vacation ownership program) to buy a timeshare from a particular organization with which they could visit an optionally resort of the particular organization. When buying a timeshare from this program the owner receives a determined amount of points initially. The number of points that are required to rent a property in a resort depends upon the popularity of the resort, the size of the accommodations, which time period you are staying and the duration of the vacation (Marriot vacation club, 2013).
Timeshares are exchanged to customers by the organization/resort itself, by exchange agencies, by independent exchange companies or by direct exchange with another owner.
Next to the transaction fee, direct exchange excluded, timeshare owners have to pay an initial amount for the timeshare to the timeshare exchange body and to the organization/resort they can visit with their timeshare a yearly fee for maintenance and service.
Nowadays, timeshares have a negative image. Timeshare owners do not have a clear, easy to use, professional platform in which they can sell their timeshares and many people argue that the timeshares are overpriced (Crimes of persuasion, 2013).
First of all, local newspapers don’t have the worldwide reach, and non- specific marketplaces are often not the places where interested buyers look for timeshares. Moreover, platforms where timeshares can be advertised are often high charged and have no guarantee of sale. At last, the websites are not easy to use, which can be especially challenging for the sellers: often people of older age.
Because of the negative image many buyers are reluctant to buy timeshares. However, the timeshare owners still have to pay their yearly fee if they do not sell their timeshare.
There are timeshare organizations who have a buy-back policy, they buy-back a percentage of the annually sold timeshares, but since the organizations sell less timeshares (Hapimag, annual report 2013) to new customers they cannot buy back many timeshares from the owners.
There is a need for a transparent and easy-to-use platform where demand and supply can meet. This platform will be able to shift the perception of prospective buyers and facilitate the transfer of shares internationally.
The platform shall enable timeshare holders to make an advertisement for their timeshare. Timeshare owners can list their timeshares on the platform for free and only pay a service fee when the transaction is completed.
Furthermore the system shall enable buyers to search for a timeshare that they want to buy and enable them to bid on it.
This platform will realize ‘the Timeshare Revival’. It will help to rebuild the image of timeshares: the increased ease of reselling them will increase the demand for traditional timeshares. This will again, increase the possibilities and ease of reselling timeshares.
- Crimes of Persuasion (2013) Deceptive Timeshare, Campground and Travel Club Sales. Available: http://www.crimes-of- persuasion.com/Crimes/InPerson/MajorPerson/time_shares.htm. Last accessed 19 October 2014.
- Hapimag (2014) ‘Annual Report 2013’, Annual Report 2013.
- Marriot vacation club (2013) 2013 – 2014 Vacation Club Points Charts. Available: https://www.my-vacationclub.com/common/vc/en- us/pdfs/enrollment_legal_docs/points_charts.pdf. Last accessed 19 October 2014.
- RCI (2003) ‘Resort timesharing worldwide’, 2003 edition summary report, available: https://www.rci.com/CDA/HTML/PDF_Conversion_Files/Worldwide_Timeshare_Summ ary_Mar_31_03.pdf , last accessed: 19 October 2014