As I have mentioned before, timeshares definitely have a bad reputation. This is the result of pushing sales practices, scams, hidden or non-explained fees and a general misunderstanding of the general complexities of timeshare ownership. However, with some practice, insight and knowledge, timeshare ownership is very good way to vacation at very nice resorts around the world. The key is to understand the intricacies of the programs, planning ahead and being flexible.
Timeshare ownership is definitely not for everyone but a large portion of the population would immensely benefit from owning a timeshare. I think the following non-exclusive list gives my personal opinion on who should own a timeshare:
1. Couples who enjoy traveling and make it a primary objective to take one or two week long vacations per years.
2. Families who travel at least once per year for a week and want or need to have extra space.
3. Couples and/or families who like to have the comforts of home on vacation and enjoy making meals while on vacation instead of eating out all the time.
4. Couples and/or families who travel extensively for multiple weeks per year and want to have full kitchens at their disposal.
5. Budget conscious travelers who enjoy luxury accommodations but don't necessarily want to pay hundreds of dollars per night for a hotel room.
6. Families with children who want space for children to sleep separate from the parents.
7. Families who travel with extended family members and want to avoid having to have multiple hotel rooms.
8. Couples and/or families who travel in and out of the United States by plane.
These are some general parameters where I think timeshare ownership can make sense.
Conversely, I think the following are general characteristics where timeshare ownership will not make sense and renting can be more advantageous.
1. Vacations are not done annually.
2. Vacations are usually done for long weekends or only for a few nights away from home.
3. Vacations are usually done within driving distance of your home.
I came across an interesting article put out by the American Resort Development Association that put out an updated overview of the demographics of a timeshare owner. My initial thought of the demographics of timeshare ownership usually consisted of retirees in their golden years who had purchased a timeshare decades ago.
However, it appears that the demographics have significantly changed from my initial perception. According to ARDA, the demographics of timeshare owners are as follows:
New owners are nearly 10 years younger
39% are Gen Xers
30% are Millennials
Median age is 39
42% are African American or Hispanic
72% are college graduates
23% also have graduate degrees
And this new owner has plenty of disposable income:
Median household income is $94,800
47% made just a single payment to cover their timeshare purchase
57% spent $10,000 or more on their timeshare
They are savvy consumers:
75% had some form of interaction with a timeshare resort before purchasing
44% initially stayed at the resort where they bought as a guest of another owner
42% experienced timeshare vacations through renting first
35% attended multiple sales presentations before buying
In my opinion, this information is fascinating as timeshare owners are not being duped into purchasing timeshares with the lure of reasonable priced vacations. Rather, they are wealthy, educated and savvy consumers. I personally fit right into the demographics above and think that they accurately portray may unofficial assessment of timeshare owners that we have met throughout our travels.
Here is the great depictions of the new demographics of timeshare owners.
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