Timeshare is one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel and tourism industry today. And yet its origins go back more than three decades. The concept of timesharing or vacation ownership began in Europe in the late 1960s and was introduced to the United States in the early 70s. Today, timesharing is a $6 billion industry worldwide.
Today, timeshare, a business historically driven by individual resort developers, is now being embraced by dozens of high-profile, premium-quality hotel and hospitality entities such as Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, Four Seasons, and Ritz Carlton. And the excitement doesn't seem to be waning. It's estimated there are over 4 million timeshare owner families worldwide. In less than 10 years, that number is expected to double.
Why are so many people choosing timeshares? Timeshares or vacation ownership offer owners the opportunity to purchase furnished vacation accommodations, using future rental dollars, at a resort villa or cottage for a fraction of cost and without the financial and physical responsibility of traditional whole ownership. Timeshares can be exchanged for other timeshare resort properties; or used as a timeshare rental when the owner cannot use the property.
Most timeshare weeks are sold as a deeded interest, providing a deed as in other real estate transactions, which can be used and passed on in perpetuity. Others are sold as a right -to -use agreement, which provides usage of a resort property for a pre-determined period of time.
Many resorts offer fixed weeks, which provide you use of resort accommodations at the same week, time, and unit every year. Other resorts offer float weeks within a given season, giving extra flexibility in selecting a week inside the season you have purchased. To add even more selection and flexibility, many developers have structured their timeshare programs for the use of vacation club points.
Vacation exchange provides an important component in owning vacation ownership or timeshares. In addition to staying at their home resort, owners have the flexibility of exchanging weeks through the exchange networks, Resort Condominiums International (RCI) or Interval International (II). For a nominal fee, owners can exchange their week to thousands of resorts worldwide.
Interested in more timeshare information? The following links provide further insight and perspective into timeshare ownership.
American Resort Development Association
Resort Condominiums International