Timeshare Resort Tactics: Double-Booking Units

Key Takeaways:

  • With an average of more than 45 owners per timeshare unit, booking your vacation can prove tremendously difficult (ARDA)
  • In 2016, the timeshare industry reported more than $1.9 billion in rental revenue (ARDA) – generated when unit owners are unable to book their vacations


Everyone who enters a timeshare contract knows that their new unit doesn’t belong just to them – you can’t just saunter off to your unit for the weekend on a last-minute whim – you must work around who has already booked their time and wait for your opening. Scheduling your hard-earned vacation time is a difficult venture even when you don’t have to consider the schedules of other owners – but the timeshare resorts want to make that scheduling process easy for you, right? Unfortunately, double-booking or even triple-booking timeshare units is an all too common occurrence, leaving at least one owner or family tied up at a resort with nowhere to stay. Even more unfortunate is that the resorts actually benefit from it happening – it has turned out to be an incremental source of revenue for them!

There are approximately 206,080 timeshare units in the US and 9.5 million total timeshare owners across the country (ARDA). That means, on average there are more than 45 owners per unit attempting to book specific weeks of vacation, on top of resorts ‘blacking out’ travel-heavy dates like Memorial Day or Labor Day. Keep in mind that this is the average – in some cases, there are over 52 owners per unit (as many weeks in a year), which makes it impossible for some owners to redeem their hard-earned vacations.

A competition among owners for preferred vacation times is inevitable – and so is the resulting disappointment when owners can’t secure the weeks that work for them and their families. While the timeshare industry reported a whopping $9.2 billion in sales in 2016, another $1.9 billion was generated by secondary market – rentals (ARDA). How does that work? Essentially, if an owner is unable to use their property during their allotted time, that time goes directly back to the resort. Then, the resort rents that vacancy one-off to non-owners. By doing this, resorts can capitalize on this new secondary rental revenue, plus the original fixed sale revenue of the unit. In other words, why would the timeshare resorts bat an eye when their units’ owners are unable to redeem their allotted vacation time? Further, any damage to your unit caused by renters could result in special assessment fees – falling directly on your tab at year’s end.

While this secondary revenue is a boon for resorts, one would hope they’d be more mindful and prioritize consumers so they get to experience the vacation they paid for – especially when the consumers already don’t realize the full benefits of traditional second-home-ownership. For instance, if you own a vacation home independently, not only do you get to use it whenever you want, but you also get the financial bonus of renting that home out to others. In the timeshare industry, the rental revenue can go directly back to the resorts. We have heard about this pain-point of timeshare ownership far too often, and it has regularly driven owners to exit. If you have had your timeshare unit double-booked and had to rent another unit as a result, we want to hear from you! Sometimes direct exit through a timeshare resort is not a viable option – if that is the case for you, reach out to Timeshare Exit Team for a free consultation.

Brandon Reed, CEO, Timeshare Exit Team