November 14, 2014 — If you visit the two major timeshare exchange company websites today – II and RCI – you likely already know they claim, collectively, to have about 5.7 Million members. II is quoting around 2 Million II members and RCI asserts about 3.7 Million RCI members. Notable stats to be sure but these numbers sort of leave me confused as to how many ‘folks’ are and/or have become timeshare owners/members just since the inception of II in 1976 and RCI in 1974.
So Here’s the Scoop. I’ve been in the ‘biz’ a good chunk of those past 40 years and how many folks purchased ‘time’ (and became members in the two exchange networks) is, IMO, a tough one to verify but I’ll start with a recent statement regarding ownership by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) in their recent Press Release on November 5th whereby they affirmed: “And overall ownership has increased: U.S. households that own a timeshare rose from 7.2 percent in 2012 to 7.9 percent today.”
Hmmm, “U.S. households” and “7.9%” of ‘em own a slice of Paradise. That seemed a little high to me, which led me to immediately search online to locate a clear definition of what constitutes a “household”; and how many “households” are there in the USA?
I discovered by using U.S. Census Bureau data and two other reliable sources that it’s a safe bet to believe that between all the renters and owners represented as being “households” there are likely around 125,000,000 “households” in the USA.
That would mean, as suggested by ARDA’s “7.9%” quote, there should be just about 9,875,000 (Million) current timeshare owners and/or members (aka: “households”) just in the United States. Now, check my math to be sure I have that right.
If true that creates some of my confusion because if that many “households” in the USA own a slice of Paradise – that is a little over 4 million more than there are members in all of II and RCI.
Of course I do believe II and RCI members live in countries all around the world – and they collectively claim to have a combined number of ‘properties’ approaching 6,900 with II having ‘properties’ in a little over 80 nations and RCI in around 100 countries.
But that begs the next question, which is how many of those ‘properties’ over the past 40 years have at some point in time been in an active marketing and sales mode whereby the developer or some other selling entity was open for business peddling ‘slots-of-time’; and during what years and for how long did those activities take place?
Of course many of the ‘properties’ are owned by single entities which have multiple sales centers at their various locations – often in several Cities, States or Countries – and a ton of other individually owned and operated ‘properties’ have long since been sold out.
But to get to this number of how many ‘people’ have purchased an interval in the past 4 decades and using RCI’s 4,000 ‘properties’ currently in their system as a foundation – we’d also need to know how long each of those ‘properties’ (resort or company) were selling, how many sales guests did they ‘tour’, what was their net closing ratio, etc.
And I haven’t a clue – but, as an example only and assuming each ‘property’
- was at one time in a full marketing and selling mode
- and had an active sales cycle of just 36 months sometime during the past 40 years
- and the average number of sales guest per ‘property’ was 30 per day during those 36 months
- and the sales center was open 300 days per year during those 3 years
- and the net average closing ratio was 18%
then, at some point in time, nearly 19.5 Million ‘folks’ around the world became owners/members.
Again, check my math and see if you come up with the same results – or create your own equation, email me what you’ve discovered – or simply post your findings below in the comments.
The example I just used is either spot-on or way off the mark and requires, in part, that each and every one of those 4,000 ‘properties’ – at one time or another – was indeed marketing and selling Paradise and did so for NLT that 900 days.
Whatever the real numbers are – speaking globally – ‘IF’ 19.5 Million folks have purchased a timeshare over just the past 40 years – and ‘IF’ the average net closing ratio was 18% – that means – collectively – the global ‘biz’ has ‘toured’, to date, about 108,333,334 (Million) sales guests to sell those nearly 20 Million ‘buyers’.
So what happened to them all? Maybe 13.8 Million just don’t belong to II or RCI anymore or maybe a whole bunch of ‘em walked away from their timeshare interests. Again, I don’t know but I and our readers would enjoy others’ thoughts on the subject.
And by the way – just for kicks – if the average net selling price per contract among those 19.5 Million buyers was say $10,000 (USD) – then our total global sales volume during that era would have been in the fairly impressive $195,000,000,000 (Billion) neighborhood – about $4.875 Billion per year – averaged out.
Good Luck Out There
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Contributing sometimes extravagant, bombastic, emotional, pompous or even pretentious writings about the timeshare industry, Scoop covers an array of industry related subjects each week including inside information, tips, scandals, interviews, forecasts as well as new (good or bad) products and services — and, of course, all the ‘Good’, the ‘Bad’ and the ‘Ugly’.
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