“Like a hotel…but better”
Timeshare has had something of a global makeover since the concept was first introduced to Europe in the sixties.
Modern timeshare is the original holidaymaker’s flexible friend: fixed weeks have become flexible, timeshare owners have become more discerning, and timeshare is now more about the lifestyle itself than just “a product”. Yes, the average age of a timeshare owning couple is still mid-fifties but timeshare owners are ‘getting younger’, with young families beginning to see the benefits of buying into the lifestyle. Owners these days expect high standards and want to try out new destinations – hence the rise of destinations such as Turkey, Egypt, the Dominican Republic, Cape Verde and parts of Eastern Europe.
One of timeshare’s big plus points is its inherently “eco”- and economical – vacation model – it solves the problem of what to do with your holiday home during those forty-eight weeks when you’re not in it, and year-round occupancy rates as a percentage hover in the high 70s. The choice of destinations on offer all over planet earth has never been better: summer on a Greek island, autumn on a Scottish golf course, a spot of skiing in Austria to melt away the post-Christmas blues and then when spring arrives (or early February, if you’re British!) anywhere on the map where the sun still shines looks good.
Points-based ownership is the most flexible form of ownership because it generally opens the door to additional holiday options such as cruises, safaris or yachting holidays, and thanks to the facilities offered by the leading exchange companies, you can exchange your week(s) and can savour the flavours of different destinations. You’re not “stuck” at the same resort, country or even continent.
The timeshare industry historically has been surprisingly resilient over the years. It has grown beyond expectations and survived more than a couple of economic downturns. But perhaps more importantly for owners, the beauty of buying upfront is that you reap the rewards of taking your future holidays at “today’s prices”.
If you feel like dipping a toe into the shared ownership pool, a number of well established vacation ownership groups offer trial memberships, which are well worth a look at , as they’re affordable and a “hands on” way to test drive the product and resort(s) before you commit completely.
Resort models have also changed since the first small apartment blocks with a communal pool and not a lot more. New timeshare and fractional resorts mirror the four and five-star hotel and resort models – in other words, you can expect a boutique-style hotel at the heart of the development, onsite dining, live entertainment, a gym, beauty salon or spa, kids’ club and so on to be part of the resort mix. And
the old “check in, check out” reception desk has evolved into 24/7 concierge services at the majority of leading resorts.
Timeshare genuinely is a value-for-money holiday model, primarily because most two-bed apartments have sofabeds and will sleep up to six, and because you can self-cater for all meals it works out considerably cheaper than hotel accommodation when you may find yourself having to eat out at least once, possibly twice a day.