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The Concepts And History Of Timeshare
The multiple ownership of individual weeks brought with it the guarantee of reservations for those who wanted to ski in the area. It was an immediate success. By the 1970's some faltering condominium projects in St. Thomas, Fort Lauderdale and Puerto Rico were converted over to vacation ownership and thereafter timesharing became a viable vacation alternative. Once the concept of vacation ownership was embraced by the United States it began to gain wide acceptance by the public. Sales jumped to over 50 million by the mid 1970's and has climbed to more than 2 billion annually today.
Vacation ownership has enjoyed substantial growth over the years with approximately 3.3 million timeshares sold since 1980. Currently there are over 5,000 vacation ownership resorts in over 75 countries around the world. Exchanging a vacation ownership week in one resort for that of another resort was introduced in 1974 and thereafter timesharing offered variety and flexibility in the vacation experience. Although there are many exchange companies available which provide excellent service, the two major forces are Resort Condominiums International (RCI) which has approximately 3,250 member resorts and Interval International (II) with approximately 1,600 member resorts.
Combined, these two companies provided over 1,600,000 exchanges last year. During a 30 year span, the industry has grown from small (15-20 unit ) hotel conversions to the high quality condominium resorts of today. The evolution of the industry from scattered entrepreneurs to well managed professional development companies has brought with it a noticeable change for the better. Definitive leaders have emerged and created standards and ethics for management, marketing and sales practices. One such organization is the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) who's members are required to comply with the established "Code of Ethics." The recent entrance into the marketplace by major hospitality chains such as Disney, Hilton, Ramada, and Marriott has greatly enhanced the quality and image of the industry. Vacation ownership resorts of today are luxurious, spacious and well located. By the advent of these stronger and more professional development and management companies along with the weeding out the less desirable developers and marketers, the industry is experiencing a noticeable swing from a historically negative to a very positive public image. One of the industry's leading analysts (Ragatz and Associates) concluded that the majority of timeshare owners are very satisfied with their purchase and in fact, many own multiple weeks. The future of vacation ownership is very optimistic and has tremendous potential.
What Is Vacation Ownership ? Vacation Ownership "Timesharing" is the right to use specific weeks of a resort during a specific time period. Simply put, it is the pre-purchase of a vacation. It is important to understand that vacation ownership is a commodity which is purchased to be enjoyed and used over the years. One should never purchase a timeshare with the intent of reselling it for a profit. Vacations are holidays for which we spend money to relax and rejuvenate; they are not investments. Ownership of a timeshare is very similar to ownership of a condominium except that your rights are limited to a certain week during the year. The form of ownership can be Deeded, Leased or a License. The License is somewhat different in that it is most commonly a membership in a club. Providing you are a member in good standing, you have the right to use the club and all it's amenities. Be sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions of your club membership before you make the decision to buy.
Most vacation ownership consists of either a deeded interest or a leased interest for a specific number of years. A Deeded interest is owned outright forever. It an absolute right which can be sold, leased, or even willed to your heirs. Most timeshares which exist today are deeded ownership. The Leased interest is much like an apartment lease except right to use it is restricted to a specific week during the year. Upon the expiration of the lease term your right to use will generally terminate and return to the resort. With a leased interest you should know the terms and conditions of the lease prior to making the decision to buy. The time of your use can be either Fixed or Floating. Fixed time is a specific week during the year usually defined by a number. Generally the week will begin on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday and is given a number starting with the first week in January an run through the end of December.
(Example - week 14 might be April 7 through April 13.) Floating time means you have the right to select any available week within a certain season of the year. Therefore, if you own a summer season week you could pick any week which falls within the defined summer months. However, competition between existing owners for prime weeks in very desirable location can impact availability. It is important to find which type of use best fits your specific travel needs. Each resort is different and you should ask if there are other benefits which are available to its owners. Many resorts offer special reduced rental rates for extra nights or us of other resorts which are owned by the developer. This can add to you flexibility and provide substantial saving on vacation costs. Additionally, consider carefully how and where you normally vacation.
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