3 Reasons Why People Still Buy Timeshares in 2018
We’ve entered an age where toddlers operate smart phones, cars can drive themselves, and soulmates are found with a swipe. For many individuals, innovation has fueled their consumer behavior with a need for instant gratification and social acceptance. While several industries haven’t been able to stay in tune to meeting these needs, most of the travel industry has proven to thrive in this environment.
As travel continues to become more affordable and easier for consumers to use, the principles of timeshare ownership no longer hold the same worth it used to carry. In the 1970s, people associated timeshares with a sense of pride and prestige. For many, this association has since changed to hold a more negative connotation. Still, an ever-pressing question remains, why do people continue to buy into the primarily outdated practice of timesharing when the rest of the travel industry is booming with progress, convenience, and value?
In 2016, the American Resort and Development Association (ARDA) reported an approximate total sales volume of $9.2 billion, an increase of 7% from the previous year. Yet, even with the external progresses in the travel industry, ARDA states in their 2016 case study that nearly 41% of these timeshare sales came from new owners¹. You might be wondering how the timeshare industry has been able to pace with the other advances in the travel industry, which is why we’ve identified 3 reasons why people continue to buy timeshares today.
Bit by the travel bug
Consumers tend to eat more, sleep more, and spend more while on vacation. There’s a “travel high” that takes over. When people travel for pleasure, there’s a natural tendency to leave reality at home, and timeshares thrive on this. ARDA reported in their 2016 case study that 100% of resort respondents reported using on-site, in person presentations as sales tactics². Resorts are eager to take advantage of people while they are on their peak during this state of euphoria. Vacationers can’t associate what responsibilities they are taking back home with them after purchasing a timeshare like maintenance fees and perpetuity clauses. For many new owners, it’s not until they go home and read the fine print of their 50 page contract that the travel high dissipates and buyer’s remorse sets in.
Many people have become timeshare owners after attending mentally and sometimes physically straining high-pressured timeshare presentations. More often than not, the presentation is usually the very first interaction a typical consumer has ever had with timeshares. This allows the timeshare salesmen to emphasize the benefits of timeshare ownership greatly, knowing that most consumers don’t have much background of the associated risks. There’s a great deal of ignorance and lack of regulation on the subject. Even outside of the standard sales presentation, timeshares are selling for $1 on sites like eBay – which may initially seem like a great deal in comparison to rental or booking sites like AirBNB or Expedia that list similar amenities for hundreds of dollars. Without taking the time to properly educate oneself on the pros and cons of timeshare ownership, consumers sign into contracts simply because they’ve been sold on false promises or haven’t fully vetted what it means to own a timeshare.
Timeshare contracts are unique, and mortgages and maintenance fees can vary even within the same property. Given the number of frustrated owners, it is unclear how effective timeshares are at identifying the demographic that can fit a timeshare in with their lifestyle vs those that cannot. And even though consumers now have many avenues and platforms to book travel, some consumers do still enjoy timeshare ownership. These individuals find value in it because it fits their lifestyle. These consumers can book their timeshare, have the time to use it, and have the finances to support the responsibilities that come with ownership. Some timeshares are also point-based allowing owners to travel to more than one location which gives them more options to create and share new experiences.
As the general travel industry advances and becomes even more consumer focused, it’s possible that the timeshare industry may follow suit. Recent changes to protect consumers from high-pressured sales tactics and unfulfilled guarantees have come but the industry has proven to make little change to their practices throughout the decades. If you or a loved one is considering purchasing a timeshare, or maybe you’re just about to plan your summer vacation – we encourage you to educate yourself on the risks associated with timeshare ownership to decide if it will align with your lifestyle before you sign a contract.
If you currently own a timeshare and are looking to get out safely, educate yourself on your options. Reach out to others who have successfully exited and take the time to read through and understand your timeshare contract. Timeshare Exit Team offers free consultations where you’ll be able to get an expert to review your documents with you. If your timeshare no longer fits your lifestyle, maybe it’s time to be one of the many who are actually getting out of their timeshare in 2018.
1. American Resort Development Association (2017, p. 6) AIF State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry United States 2017 Edition
2. American Resort Development Association (2017, p. 16) AIF State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry United States 2017 Edition