Timeshares Versus Vacation Clubs | Travel vacation

Things have changed in the last 30-40 years when it comes to vacations. When I grew up, a week or two at the local lake in a tent, or a camping trailer or even a cabin was a treat for my family. If your family was a little more “well off”, you could travel across the country and go to a bigger resort like Disney Land. That meant staying in a hotel and that was really “up-town” for us.Timeshares and Vacation Travel Clubs were not even in existence then. Today, we have so many more choices available to us. Between cheap hotel sites, timeshares, and travel clubs, it is difficult to know where to find the best deals. In this article, we are going to compare two options available: Timeshares and Travel Vacation Clubs.WHAT ARE TIMESHARES?So let’s start with the timeshares. A timeshare is a form of ownership or right to the use of a property. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each sharer is allotted a period of time (typically one week, and almost always the same time every year) in which they may use the property. Units may be on a part-ownership or lease/”right to use” basis, in which the sharer holds no claim to ownership of the property.The notion of the term “timeshare” was originated in Europe in the 1960s. Hapimag, a ski resort developer in the French Alps, was experiencing trouble finding customers for his high-priced resort. Realizing that coffee shops sold cake only by the slice (since the entire cake was too expensive and could not be consumed at one sitting), he marketed his resort by encouraging guests to “stop renting a room” and, instead, “buy the hotel”. Success followed and the concept of partial ownership was embraced by developers worldwide, boosting sales of surplus condominium units at a time when the resort industry was depressed.Due to the promise of exchange, these units, called “vacation ownership” by the industry, often sell regardless of their deeded resort (most are deeded into a certain resort site, though other forms of use do exist). What is not often disclosed is that all differ in trading power. If a unit is in Hawaii or Southern California, it will exchange extremely well; however, those areas are some of the most expensive in the world, subject to demand typical of a highly trafficked vacation area. The vast majority of inventory flows briskly through two international exchange companies: such as RCI and Interval International.WHAT ARE TRAVEL VACATION CLUBS?To fully understand Travel Vacation Clubs, we have to go back to the late 1980′s when a group of hotel and resort entrepreneurs (Timeshare developers) were typically experiencing 40% vacancies in their properties. In brainstorming solutions, one thought was to offer these vacancies at maintenance cost, way below regular prices. So they put it to the test by implementing weekly deals at these reduced rates.A few months later, the team met to evaluate the results of their experiment. What they discovered surprised them. Not only had they sold most of the hotel and resort vacancies, but their revenue from other amenities at or around the resorts (casinos, bars, restaurants, stores, etc.) had increased by 20%. Even though they weren’t making money on the hotel and resort sales, they realized guests were now spending the money they saved on other available services. Hence, the birth of the luxury resort travel vacation clubs such as Sheraton Resort properties, Marriott Resort Properties, Wyndham, Hyatt, WIVC, Club Intrawest, Fairmont, Four Seasons, and many other luxury resort vacation destinations was realized.Vacation Clubs take some of the best timeshare features and make them affordable. For that reason alone, they are becoming popular with people who go on regular vacations and want to enjoy high quality locations.Vacation clubs are usually the exact same properties as timeshares, just a different way to get access to them. That means the locations, quality, support staff, amenities, etc. are all the same as timeshare properties because they ARE the same properties.There is some overlap between vacation clubs and timeshares, as I mentioned earlier. Some have complex time-sharing or exchange plans for members, but others operate more like getting reservations at a hotel. Those simplest to use are typically the best for the vacation shopper – it just takes less time and it’s more likely you’ll get the vacation you want when you want it and where you want it.These clubs have membership fees which can be either annual, multi-year, or lifetime. Members then have access to discount rates on timeshare properties and luxury resorts.I have had personal experience with 2 timeshare properties and I am currently involved with a Vacation club – Global Resorts Network.In each of the Timeshares with which I was involved, I had a virtual property (condominium) ownership for 1 week a year. This legal ownership was designated as a mortgage which was, on average, $20,000 plus interest fees. I also had an annual maintenance fee which was around $750. I used one property once and didn’t like the actual week we had because it was in the fall, not summer. The other, we never got a chance to stay on the property overnight, but we did get to use the amenities several times.Both companies eventually went into bankruptcy and that certainly soured my experience with timeshares.With Global Resorts Network, I have the advantages of merely book my vacation online through the club’s website. There are no ownership expenses, no maintenance fees and most resorts on the list are readily available. Global Resorts Network even offers deeply discounted travel found on the club’s “hot list”, featuring weeks in luxury resorts for as little as $100 for an entire week.So now you know the basics of Timeshares versus Vacation Clubs. Which one sounds more appealing to you?Personally, we cannot see why any reasonable person would ever want to pay timeshare costs and associated maintenance fees when they could pay less for the same thing, often, even the same resort, and go anywhere they want; anytime they want.

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