A Timeshare By Any Other Name … Might be a David Beckham Sports Contract
Thursday, March 26, 2009
If you are like me, always reading the news and updates in the world of timeshares, you may be getting really tired of running into headlines about soccer great David Beckham working out his timeshare deal between the LA Galaxy and AC Milan.
Nothing against David Beckham, but perhaps the news you really want is the updates about Marriott timeshares, Sunterra, Disney Vacation Club, and all the other developers, resorts, and associations in the world of timeshare sales and timeshare resales. Nevertheless, running into David Beckham news when you are trying to find out more about vacation ownership does verify one important fact: our culture is getting really comfortable with the word TIMESHARE.
Getting Comfortable with Timeshares
As far as I can tell (and I don’t claim to be an etymologist), the word “timeshare” or “time share” seems to have first shown up in the English language in the early 1950’s as a computer science term used to describe time shared on one computer or one computer system – a use you still hear today, as in “timesharing”.
Timeshare, as commercially marketed vacation ownership property, first came into use in Europe in the 1960’s. Developer Paul Doumier created a ski resort in the French Alps with shared ownership and shared usage. At about the same time, Guido M. Fenggli and Alexandra Nette formed a company in Switzerland through which its membership could holiday in different vacation locations, first in Switzerland, and not long afterwards, throughout southern Europe.
In the United States, Hawaii timeshare property was sold first on the island of Kauai in 1969. A timeshare owner had the right to use his Hawaii timeshare for forty years after purchase, but he or she did not have deeded timeshare ownership.
By the 1970’s, the timeshare business model had evolved to include timeshare by right to use, deeded ownership, and leasehold, with deeded ownership quickly becoming the predominating type in the US.
Today, you hear the word timeshare or timesharing applied to all sorts of situations from joint ownership of luxury automobiles, to skyboxes at sports stadiums, to boats, yachts, ladies’ designer handbags, and yes, iconic sports stars such as David Beckham.
While some timeshare companies have tried to downplay the fact that they sell timeshare by calling themselves a vacation club, that trend may change as we see the concept of timesharing becoming part of the mainstream vernacular.
We live in a changing economy. Many people are having to rethink their ideas about how they spend their money and whether or not it makes sense for them to tie up their dollars in a luxury vacation home they use only a few times each year or a luxury car they must bear the sole cost of insuring and maintaining. In a scaled-down economy, we may all be coming to terms with the fact that owning only the percentage of something that we actually use is actually better than owning (and maintaining) it all. And what could be more indicative of a changing comfort level about the idea of sharing than the fact that American sports fans are willing to timeshare David Beckham if that’s what it takes to keep him playing in the US?