January 15, 2016 — A few years, ago using my own unique mathematical formula, I guesstimated that over the course of the 50 years following the founding of ‘the biz’ during the mid 1960’s in what quickly became a worldwide industry, we may have sold well over 100 billion dollars of ‘time’. I had also speculated that number equaled about 10.4 million consumer ‘contracts’ (aka: owners/members) and, if I remember correctly, I suggested it was likely that not less than 58 Million ‘tours’ had been generated who visited a sales center – worldwide – during the last 5 decades.
So Here’s The Scoop: I don’t know of anyone who really knows the exact ‘numbers’ over these many years but I read something recently that started me pondering the current numbers and what secrets, if any, they might reveal in the Land of Time.
For example, it may likely be reported that for 2015, just in the USA, about $8 Billion in sales were made and that the average consumer contract price was around $20,000. Now, I say “it may likely be reported” because the last official numbers I read from ARDA (American Resort Development Association), if I remember correctly, was about $7.6 Billion in sales (just in the USA) during 2014.
So, if my prediction for 2015 is correct ($8 Billion in sales) and if the numbers I have for 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 are also correct then during the previous 5 years – just in the USA – it is likely that NLT $36 billion in sales happened during those brief 60 months.
And, if the average sales price during those five years, again, just in the USA was (e.g.) $18,000 then that would suggest that about 2 Million new owners/members purchased a slice of paradise, which is great but something seems muddled.
You see – if, just in the USA, 2 Million peeps bought a vacation plan during the last five years and ‘if’ what I just read on an RCI website is correct whereby they say they have “a community of 3.7 million timeshare owner members” plus II suggesting they have about 2 Million members – collectively that would be 5.7 million members.
However, as we all know many resorts and their owners/members are in both the RCI and II systems so there is a good likelihood that the 5.7 Million totals may not be accurate unless RCI and II are only reporting membership numbers that are not in both exchange systems.
Regardless, the math is fuzzy because our industry has been hawking and selling ‘Paradise’ to consumers over the last 50 + years – and doing so worldwide. So, if, just in the USA, we sold those 2 million contracts during the last 5 years – and if RCI and II collectively have about 5.7 Million ‘members’ – then that suggests that about 35.09% of their total membership joined in the last 60 months.
And that begs the question – just in the USA, what happened to all the folks who were sold a timeshare plan going back the previous 41 years between the end of 2010 and the late 1960’s?
Then, there is another tidbit to digest. Just before the great
rescission recession that kicked off in late 2007 – if I remember correctly, ARDA reported a banner year with sales for that year of around $10.7 Billion. And using the same average selling price of $18,000 that means that in that year alone about 595,000 (1/2 a million +) folks in the USA became owners/members in 2007.
And what about all those people that bought a piece of Paradise outside the USA?
You can draw your own conclusions. I have and as I said, the math is fuzzy. Could it be that after most new owners/members pay off their initial purchase contracts, usually within five years – at some point in time thereafter they ‘walk’ on their remaining contractual obligations such as annual maintenance fees, special assessments etc.?
Of course in places like Mexico those ‘members’ mostly have a 25 year right-to-use (RTU) timeshare plan and those who bought prior to 1992 – well by now they’d be out of the system anyway, assuming some didn’t renew with their home resort (or another developer) for another fixed set of years.
All that said – and looking at the global picture including Canada, the USA, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central & South America as well as all over Europe, the subcontinent of India, the Middle East, Africa, throughout Asia, the Pacific basin and ‘down-under’ in Australia etc. whereby the selling of them thar timeshares has been going on for a very long time – something just ain’t addin’ up.
Good Luck Out There
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