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The History of Timeshare

April 24, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 197

Timeshare ownership, a concept that is well known if a little misunderstood. Because of events within the last 20 to 30 years most people are aware of timeshares to one degree or another. Although the general consensus to what is meant by timeshare is highly confused, anything from it being a synonym for "pyramid selling" or possibly even "scam" right through to "owning property" and "investing in real estate". Like most misconceptions there is often a kernel of truth in there somewhere, although none of these things are entirely accurate, least of all a fair representation of what a timeshare actually is.

Timeshare sees its origins within Europe in the 1960s, between France and Switzerland. In France the Société des Grands Travaux de Marseille, owners of SuperDevoluy pushed the slogan "No need to rent the room; buy the hotel, it's cheaper!" Similarly Hapimag a Swiss company formed in the early 60s began buying resort properties across Europe and offered a form of timeshare membership through a right-to-use basis rather than deeding the ownership. Both of these companies saw the potential in offering premium holiday property to those who could not afford it paying by conventional methods.

Following in the late 60s, early 70s was the US, who first adopted timeshares in Hawaii and later Florida. By the early 70s it became clear that the timeshare method was growing very popular and as such the businesses engaging in buy timeshare and sell timeshare grew quickly. The number of resorts employing this method grew steadily and the first points programme was established by Vacation Internationale shortly after. Of course the term "time share" originated within computing and has been used prior to its adoption in holiday ownership. Although, it wasn't until the mid 70s did the term "timeshare" actually start being used by the industry, with Innisfree Companies of California opting to market it in this way, in the selling shares of vacation time.

The crux of timeshares was not the ownership of property, but rather of time - in particular, time in a specific holiday location. A famous analogy which has been attributed to various people in the past is something to the effect of "you would not by a whole cake, whilst it may look lovely, it would be too big for you and you would simply not be able to benefit from it all before it spoilt. You would however buy a piece of the cake and enjoy your share without excess cost or chance of it being spoilt."

Resort Condominiums International (RCI) was founded in 1974 as an answer to those who found the initial fixed-week method of buying timeshare too limiting. The concept, a potentially daunting one logistically speaking, was that RCI would offer an exchange program that would let timeshare owners deposit their week and take another one located in a different location. As RCI became affiliated with more resorts it offered a global points system to complement its exchange program in order to give the most flexibility possible.

The 1980 is really when we saw the boom within timeshare sales, the marketing budgets exploded and the competition grew exponentially. The range of those looking to buy timeshare now had even more choice with a range of budgets considered from the low-cost timeshare to the super-elite. Of course, the growing success of the timeshare industry saw the rise of the imitators. Many companies started selling lesser timeshares for more money and tactics began to vary in their scope and legality. A relatively new industry was rich pickings but unfortunately it was also very vulnerable to those looking to exploit it.

By the 1990s there were four million worldwide timeshare owners and some 2,000+ facilities/resorts to cater for them; it was around this time when the resale sector began to grow in size. It was clearly seen that timeshares, whilst not a financial investment, were intended to be kept and used year on year to really reap the financial benefits from the whole deal. However there comes a time where timeshare owners are no longer able to make it to the resort and ultimately need sell their timeshare. It is here that timeshare resellers come in, and the used timeshare market was born.

The birth of the used timeshare market was, however, followed quickly by those looking to make a quick buck at the expense of owners looking to sell and legitimate companies. Various scam timeshare resales companies appeared, promising quick and profitable sales that would ultimately never come into fruition. To protect consumers and the industry more laws and legislation have been introduced and governing bodies such as RDO, OTE, TATOC and ARDA have been established to protect those looking to buy timeshare and sell timeshare.

James Howson is a timeshare and travel expert with over a decade of experience reviewing top resorts. He owns several timeshare properties and can offer expert advice to those who may wish to buy timeshare.

Source: EzineArticles
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