Brand Names Pay Off In Timeshares
Thursday, October 5, 2006
Timesharing has been around since the 1960’s and available in the US since as early as 1970 when the first right-to-use timeshare resort was developed in Hawaii. Most of the early developers were individuals or companies whose names were not well known to the general public. It took another fifteen years before big name hoteliers, interested in the timeshare market, made their decisive move.
To the surprise of many in the hospitality industry, the Marriott Corporation was the first major hotel chain to venture into the timeshare business. In 1984, Marriott purchased the assets of American Resorts, Inc., which at that time owned two resorts on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and had a third resort under construction. Marriott recognized the successful track record of American Resorts in this market and quickly hired many of American Resort’s top executives to run the Hilton Head properties.
Today, Marriot Vacation Club International (MCVI) features over fifty luxury resorts in more than thirty destinations including the US, Spain, the Caribbean, and Thailand. With Marriott’s demonstrated success as inspiration, Disney, Sheraton, Hilton, Hyatt and many other big guns of the hotel business soon found themselves developing and operating timeshares and vacation clubs. Their presence has benefited the industry across the board, raising standards of service, quality, and reliability, and increasing customer confidence in timeshares as a product. Hoteliers in the timeshare industry are able to take advantage of name recognition and customer loyalty from one branded product to another.
But the consumer interested in buying a timeshare resale should not feel left out of the “big name” market. A quick search of the internet reveals that resale opportunities are plentiful for hotel brand timeshares and vacation club memberships. Hotel brand timeshares tend to command higher resale prices, while retaining excellent value.
The timeshare buyer interested in a hotel-brand property as a resale should carefully confirm which of the present owner’s membership perks will transfer in a sale. The answer to this varies from company to company, but since many vacation club members claim their perks alone are worth their membership costs, it is important for the resale buyer to understand exactly what s/he is purchasing. It is also sometimes a good idea for interested buyers to tour a property as a new timeshare prospect, even if they know before they go that they are only interested in buying resale. The time spent listening to a sales presentation affords interested buyers several benefits. They will learn many details about the amenities of the property from the sales presenter. They will enjoy the opportunity to tour the property firsthand and to compare the costs of buying new with buying resale. And they will typically have the opportunity to enjoy a luxury vacation at a free or highly discounted price in return for their time spent at the sales presentation.
A timeshare buyer should always remember that buying resale and paying a lower purchase price does not mean settling for less in the way of quality, comfort, and amenities. In today’s timeshare market, almost any resort product that can be purchased new is also available at a much lower price buying resale from a broker or by-owner service, and dealing directly with the person who owns the timeshare now.