The Timeshare concept began in Europe in the 1960's to increase the choice available to holidaymakers.
Consumer demands for greater flexibility led to the growth of exchange companies like Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II). Allowing owners to exchange their week for either a different week at their resort or for a week in another resort, exchange companies charge an exchange fee and usually a membership fee.
Timeshare offers an individual the ability to buy rights of occupancy in a property, for either a set period or in perpetuity. Once purchased, you can use it, pass it on to friends or relatives, include it in your estate, or rent it out. However, it should be understood that timeshare is not usually a real estate/property investment, it may have a resale value, but it is more like a club membership purchased to use and enjoy. Timeshare offers holidaymakers the ability to buy the rights to their preferred holiday venue into the future.
Timeshare is sold in many ways. The traditional interval week offers owners the use of their accommodation for either a specific week during the year or for a week during a specific period or season. In past years, consumers have sought enhanced flexibility which has led to today‚Äôs multiple use options, such as Vacation Clubs, Points Systems, Trial Packages and Fractional Ownership.
Vacation Clubs & Points Systems
Vacation Clubs give members access to resorts within a resort group, under a variety of different systems. In points-based systems, owners purchase points that can be redeemed for access to various types of accommodation, resort locations, amenities, number of days use, and other travel services.
Trial Packages allow consumers to try out holidays in timeshare resorts without the long term commitment of a timeshare contract. The trial holiday packages often include 3-5 weeks of holidays to be taken over a two to three year period at timeshare resorts.
Trial packages of less than 36 months are not covered by the European Timeshare Directive, which means that there is no consumer protection in place at present.
Fractional Ownership is very similar to that of the traditional week systems, but rather than the consumer being able to purchase an individual week, the consumer is able to purchase the right to use and occupy a vacation property from four to thirteen weeks a year.