Orlando Media Weighs- In on Timeshare Sales and Industry Health

Weigh In on Timeshare Sales
Finding balance in timeshare sales and timeshare resales

On the heels of last week’s 14th annual Shared Ownership Industry Conference (SOIC) held in Orlando, the Orlando Sentinel reported on the overall feeling among timeshare and vacation ownership industry executives. (See: Time-share industry sees daylight ahead). The Orlando Sentinel summarized the ups and downs of timeshare sales by identifying that the collapse of Lehman Bros., followed by the credit squeeze, together made it, “… very difficult to finance time-share purchases …”.

Capital One Financial Corp. was credited with getting into the timeshare market early in 2012, and in so doing, afforded timeshare developers and timeshare sales a measure of relief. The Orlando Sentinel quoted American Resort Development Association (ARDA) president Howard Nusbaum as saying that the involvement of the What’s in Your Wallet investors has been, “manna from Heaven.”

Timeshare Sales Hurt By More than Recessionary Economy

The article also pointed to other factors, in addition to the difficulty in financing timeshare sales, which have had a negative impact on vacation ownership, including:

  • General consumer uncertainly about the economy.
  • The decline in building new resorts has led to a reduction in inventory.
  • Baby boomers—timeshare’s traditional market—are giving way to Generation X, a demographic that tends to vacation differently than did their parents.

And let’s not overlook the elephant that is always padding about the room, timeshare resales. The fact that a generation of timeshare owners has reached a point in life that they want to sell timeshare they no longer use or can no longer afford,  and that there has been historically the absence of a timeshare exit strategy for them, has also hurt current timeshare sales. Selling new timeshare can never be enhanced by current owners clamoring  loudly about the challenges of resale. Although most timeshare can be resold, most owners understandably don’t know how to go about it, who to trust, how much to realistically expect as a resale price, and what to do if they happen to own timeshare that is not an easy resort or interval to resell.

Nevertheless, as the Orlando Sentinel accurately reported, the industry’s overall attitude is upbeat, with many leaders anticipating a return to pre-recession timeshare sales numbers in the near future. Ron Goldberg is president of Wellington Financial, a lender that has been there with the timeshare industry through thick and thin. He assesses the environment, saying, “… demand is really starting to pick up as the developers are working through the inventory they have amassed.”