Remembering a Timeshare Founding Father

Earlier this month, the timeshare industry lost a great man and a part of its history.

Robert “Bob” Burns, Chairman and CEO of Vacation Internationale, died peacefully at his home in Sun Valley, Idaho on September 3, 2011, at the age of 87. He is missed by his wife of 33 years; his 7 children; his 24 grandchildren; and all who knew him or had the pleasure of working with him.

A passionate outdoorsman and skier, Burns was still skiing Mt. Baldy into his eighties.

A Pioneer in Timeshare and Vacation Ownership

In the early 1905s, Burns, along with five other families, jointly purchased and maintained a ski cabin condo in Washington. The property slept 25. Together the families restored the condo and enjoyed shared ownership, which they described as creating deep friendships and special memories.

Drawing on this experience, Burns, with business partner, Bob Ringenburg, developed the first non-hotel timeshare project in the US, selling beachfront leasehold condos at the Kaua’i Kailani on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

In 1974, Burns and Riggenburg founded Vacation Internationale in Seattle, Washington, a company credited with founding the original timeshare points system. Vacation Internationale expanded from Burn’s first condo venture to include the acquisition of a 72-unit motel which it converted to a 40-year right to use timeshare. Later the company added properties on four of the Hawaiian islands.

Bob Burns was the inspiration and initial backer of Les Saisons Resort, Sun Valley’s first fractional ownership project. His son Michael is the founder of Private Residence Resorts of Sun Valley.

Source: Resort TradesInside the Gate and others.