As timeshare continues to battle against its stigma, many people still do not understand what timeshare actually is, preferring to relegate it to the realms of scam rather than see the potential it can have for many people. Here we will discuss what timeshare actually means.
Timeshare can refer to all kinds of vacation products that come in a variety of forms, price ranges and durations. However, what unites most of these products under the umbrella of timeshare is the notion that you are purchasing a vacation home to be shared amongst multiple owners or shareholders.
Not a new concept
Although timeshare has been big since the late 1980s, the concept is not new as many families and friends have long since purchased vacation homes together sharing out the time and the cost of second home ownership. Timeshare companies simply took this idea and streamlined it for unrelated parties so that you could share a property with more people, without the hassle of organizing payments, and coordinating timeslots etc.
The first face of timeshare came in weekly allotments whereby resorts or developers would divide their inventory, selling weekly slots in particular suites. Thus, the fixed week timeshare came into play, meaning that you would stay in your property during the same week each year for as long as your membership was valid. This then extended to floating weeks which could be reserved within particular seasons, giving more flexibility, and later into points based memberships that give total freedom to how long you stay (no longer limited to 7 night stays) and when you stay, depending on your membership.
As timeshare owners looked for more and more flexibility for their vacation homes, international exchange companies emerged, with the two most famous being RCI and Interval International, whereby timeshare owners could swap their timeshare weeks for destinations throughout the world.
During the 80s and 90s, where timeshare companies were popping up all over the world, regulations for timeshares were somewhat lacking, leaving the industry vulnerable to scams, high pressured sales and other unethical behaviour. Today, the timeshare industry is subject to much stricter regulations including cooling off periods and greater transparency, making it a much better scene than a few decades ago.
Types of Timeshare
Fixed – Fixed week timeshares were the first form of timeshare to be offered commercially, which provided owners with access to their timeshare during the same week each year.
Floating – Floating week timeshares allow you to reserve your week during a particular season according to your needs.
Points – When you purchase timeshare points, they can be used to reserve a range of different suites at your home resort or any of the properties owned by that chain. Points provide greater flexibility, meaning that you can spend shorter or longer times at your timeshare, rather than being restricted to a week.
Fractional – Fractional ownership usually refers to purchasing weeks, months or a whole season in a property and is often in perpetuity.