A Glossary of Timeshare Terms and Acronyms
For those visitors who are new to the world of timeshare/vacation ownership, we offer the following Glossary of Terms to help you understand the variety of terms used in timesharing. We have included some of the terms used in the UK and Europe which are different from terms commonly used in North America, and included some terms that are used within the industry in sales rooms, etc.
Accelerated Use: A right-to-use program that allows the member to accelerate usage of the time purchased. For instance: you have a 10-year right to use one week per year at a resort offering accelerated use. Instead of using one week every year, you may choose to use 2 weeks every year for 5 years or 5 weeks per year for 2 years. (Based on availability.)
Accrued Weeks: Weeks that you “banked” from the prior year which are available for use in the current calendar year.
AIRDA (the All India Resort Developers Association): The trade association in India for the timeshare industry.
Amber week: See season.
Amenities: Features that add to the value of the property such as swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, spas, boating, fitness room, laundry facilities, etc. Generally speaking, the more amenities a resort offers the greater the increase in value and desirability of the property.
ARDA (The American Resort Development Association): The main trade association in the United States for the timeshare industry. Provides lobbying and other services in support of the industry.
Banking: Depositing a period of timeshare usage into an exchange company’s “bank”. If you do not use a week in a particular year, you are generally allowed to “bank it” and use it at a later time. See Accrued Weeks, Block Banking and Space Banking.
Be-back: Salesperson’s term for prospective purchasers who avoid buying by saying that they will ‘be back’. Salespeople sometimes refer to them as “riding the be-back bus” and in other less flattering terms.
Biennial: Use of a fixed week every other year (‘EOY’). Owners are referred to as ‘Odd’ or ‘Even’ year owners. See Odd or Even Year Usage
Block (or Bulk) Banking: The depositing, usually by the resort management or developer, of a large number of weeks into the exchange company “bank” at the earliest time possible.
Blue week: see Season
Bonus Time: Use of your resort in addition to your regular allocated time on a space available basis. A Developer Bonus Week (DBW) is available to members who own at participating resort. These bonus weeks are issued directly from the resort, often issued as a signing bonus upon the purchase of a timeshare interval. Sometimes owners can purchase bonus weeks from the resort as unsold developer-owned weeks.
A second type of bonus week is one issued by an exchange company. Owners of high-demand resort weeks receive them as incentives to deposit their timeshare week.
Camping Membership: A membership to a resort or resort community catering to campers, some of which are affiliated with national organizations providing camping locations for members in many states and other countries.
C.A.R.E.: Cooperative Association of Resort Exchangers. A trade association established in 1985 comprised of resort developers, independent exchange companies, management companies, travel clubs and resort service companies.
Check-In Date: The assigned date and day of week the interval week begins; usually Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The check-in day begins the seven-day interval week. For example, if the interval week begins on Friday, the week ends on the following Friday. The interval owner (or renter) need not always check in on the specific check-in day; however, late check-in does not extend the interval week beyond the scheduled checkout day.
Check-In Time: The assigned hour an interval week begins; usually 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, or occasionally 5:00 PM prevailing time. The interval owner need not check in at the precise time; however, late check in does not extend the interval week beyond the assigned check out time. Check-out time is normally 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM prevailing time on the seventh day following check-in. [Example: check-in on Saturday at 4:00 PM and check-out on the following Saturday at 10:00 AM].
Closing Costs: Those costs associated with the closing process, usually including: deed preparation or transfer of equity for right-to-use properties, recording costs, escrow fee, and administrative fees.
Club/Trust Membership: Year-round usage of resort facilities with purchase, on a space available basis. This is the most generally used system of timeshare ‘ownership’ in the United Kingdom and is growing in popularity everywhere else. Owners belong to a Club; their accommodation unit (and sometimes the leisure facilities) are held by Trustees who licence a ‘Right-to-Use’ to ‘Owners’. Sometimes club membership is backed by a deed of ownership, sometimes it is not. (The escritura system in Spain is a deeded system, but deeded timeshare ownership is not legal in the UK and some other countries.)
Constitution: The collection of inter-related legal documents establishing the relationship between timeshare owner, developer, trustee and management company. Effectively the rules by which the resort is run.
Cooling Off Period: The time given to a purchaser following signing of a purchase agreement, during which they may cancel without penalty. In the UK the cooling off period is 14 days, elsewhere in Europe it is 10 days, in Mexico it is 5 days. In the USA the period varies from state to state. See Rescission
Deed: A legal document providing title to your property; gives you your ownership rights. See Fee Simple. (The escritura system in Spain is a deeded system, but deeded timeshare ownership is not legal in the UK and some other countries. See Club/Trust Membership.)
Deeded Property: True property ownership with deed recorded in the county where the property exists. This type of property has the same rights of ownership accorded to it as other deeded real estate. The owner may sell, rent, bequeath, or give away the property
Developer’s Price: The developer’s current or market price for a timeshare interval. Full retail price. Includes the developer’s expenses for developing the property, loan fees, sales and marketing costs, etc.
DAE (Dial an Exchange): One of the largest independent timeshare exchange companies outside of “the big two”– RCI and II
DOS (Director of Sales): The head sales manager, in charge of managing the sales process and all of the timeshare sales reps in a sales room. The actual duties will vary depending on the hierarchy at specific resorts or companies.
End-user Finance: Provision of a loan to enable an owner to purchase a timeshare. Some finance agreements are personal loans (without security) while others are loans secured by the timeshare week or, occasionally, by a mortgage on the principle residence.
Escritura: The Spanish term for the deeding and registering of a ‘Deed of Title’. Similar to registration of the Land Registry in England and Wales.
Escrow: A special secured account used to hold funds from the buyer and the seller related to closing of purchase and/or sale of a property
Exchange: The process of trading an interval week (or points) at one resort for an interval week at another resort or trading a specific week at the home resort for another week at the same resort. The exchange system allows an interval owner to trade their week with other interval owners, thereby allowing each owner to travel and vacation throughout the world. Some resorts have internal exchanges with other resorts which are usually owned by the same company, or exchange affiliations with resorts from other companies.
Exchange Company: A company or organization that accepts timeshare weeks on deposit from its interval owners/members to establish a pool of weeks from which other members may select the resort and vacation times of their choice. When a member deposits their week with an exchange company, the company compares the week the depositor is asking for with weeks deposited by other members and provides a suitable match based on availability and value. Factors affecting the exchange value are: the resorts’ rating, the time division; i.e., prime time versus low time, the size of the unit desired, etc.
Exit Program: Usually, a reduced cost package/trial program offered to a customer who is on the point of walking away. This serves two purposes: it rescues something for the salesman and entices you to use the resort’s facilities in the hope that they will get another crack at selling you.
Factoring Fee (‘Factorial’): The Scottish term for the Management Company profit mark-up included in the Management Agreement.
FDI (First Day Incentive): A gift of some sort offered to prospective buyers to entice them to attend a timeshare presentation.
Fee Simple: The preferred type of real estate ownership. This type of interval ownership is the opposite of Right-to-Use or lease ownership and continues in perpetuity. The owner holds a deed in his/her name and the ownership of the property can be bequeathed to heirs.
Fixed Unit: A time period that is fixed for each calendar year, either by date or by calendar weeks; most in numerical sequence 1-52. With a week number, your actual start date may vary slightly from year to year. Unlike a floating unit, a timeshare owner who owns a fixed unit at a resort will always vacation in the same physical unit each year he/she vacations at that resort. This type of ownership is particularly important if you have purchased, for example, an oceanfront property with the ocean at your door step and are not willing to vacation in an ocean-view unit. A fixed unit property assures the owner that he/she will always have the exact location and the exact unit they have purchased.
Fixed Week: Referring to the interval calendar, the purchase of a fixed week property assures the owners that they will always have the same week each year; i.e., week 52 or week 35, etc. Alternatively, an owner of a floating week may choose another week within their season allocation. A floating week owner may also elect to upgrade or downgrade to another season allocation to meet their annual vacation schedule. Upgrading to a higher time division usually incurs an additional cost.
Floating Week/Time (also called “flex” time): Your time period is defined by a season and your week period is not fixed. Most resorts have a High, Medium, and Low Season. The purchaser of a floating week has the flexibility of scheduling their vacation interval with yearly variations in accordance with the resort’s guidelines. Typically, resorts will accept requests for specific weeks by the interval owner as soon as the annual maintenance fees are paid. Therefore, the earlier the maintenance fees are paid the better the chance that the owner can pick a specific interval week. Owners of a floating unit at a resort might not vacation in the same physical unit each year. Interval owners may request a specific unit and if it’s available for that particular week the resort normally will honor the request.
Fly-Buy: A mini-vacation package where the resort pays all or most of the holiday costs of a prospective purchaser in return for that prospect attending a sales presentation. See Mini Vac.
Fractional Ownership: Multiple week ownership at the same resort– 2 or more weeks of timeshare ownership for use in one calendar year. This term usually implies a more upscale, luxurious product that normal timeshare resorts provide, with prices to match.
Guest Certificate: A certificate issued by the resort’s affiliated exchange company authorising a nominated guest to use an exchange instead of the owners.
Hacienda: The Mexican and Spanish name for the Tax Office. The equivalent of the IRS in the United States.
Heat Merchant: A sales person who is willing to tell even the most outrageous of lies in order to make a sale.
HOA/POA (Home Owners Association/Property Owners Association): When a resort is sold out or approaching sell out its ownership is generally turned over to an HOA or POA consisting of the timeshare owners of the resort, with an elected board to administer the rules and regulations. Sometimes a sold out resort will hire an outside management company to operate the resort, collect maintenance fees, etc.; sometimes the developer maintains management rights.
Holiday Club/Travel Club/Vacation Club: A “club” which provides a number of weeks holiday, usually in timeshare apartments. These Clubs are generally not covered by the laws regulating the sale of timeshare and are often not able to fulfill their promises. Not to be confused with the generic term used by many vacation ownership companies as part of their name, such as Marriott Vacation Club, Hyatt Vacation Club and others.
Holiday Ownership: Another term for Timeshare.
II (Interval International): The second largest timeshare exchange company in the world.
In-House Reps: Sales staff employed to sell upgrades to existing owners who are staying at the resort. See IPC
IPC (Internal Personal Contacts): Sales staff employed to sell to existing owners who are staying at the resort. This term is used more commonly abroad than in the USA. See In-House
IVA: Abbreviation for Value Added Tax.
Interval: An assigned period of time. Based on the interval calendar wherein the fifty-two weeks of the year are numbered sequentially: Week 01 through Week 52 or Week 53. A specific interval week is a seven-day period encompassing one of those fifty-two weeks.
Interval Calendar: An annual calendar depicting the fifty-two or fifty-three weeks of each calendar year, showing starting days of Friday to Friday, Saturday to Saturday, and Sunday to Sunday, check in dates.
Lease/Leasehold: Some states and some foreign countries do not allow deeded ownership of timeshares. Alternatively, a lease ownership or Right-To-Use (RTU) ownership grants the leasor the right to use the property for a specified period of time, usually from 20 to 99 years. Ownership of the physical property is held by the resort developer or management company. Many properties in Hawaii, for instance, are leasehold properties.
Levy: In a points club, the annual charge to members to pay for administration of the club in addition to any management charge or supplementary management charge made for actual use of a week. Also a one-time charge made to owners by an Owners Club or Management Company to pay for major or unexpected costs. See Special Assessment
Linked Agreement: In the UK and Europe this is a method of getting around the law banning the taking of deposits. The Timshare Purchase Agreement, in which no deposit is shown, is linked with another (which might be a holiday voucher [aka: a “cert”] or some other holiday scheme) which is, in reality, the deposit. The two agreements appear to be separate, but in reality they are linked.
Lockout/Lock-off Unit: Typically, a unit which has the capability of being divided to create two separate but complete sections. If an owner buys a lockout unit, he can divide the unit and either stay in one half of the unit and rent the other half or rent both halves to different parties.
Lug: Obtaining a “premium” or higher price for a timeshare week than the developer is currently asking. Also referred to a “packing the deal”.
Maintenance Fee: Maintenance fees are established and collected by the Home Owners Association or Resort Management Company to maintain the property, pay insurance, utilities, refurbishing and taxes. These fees vary from resort to resort and with the type and size of the unit purchased. The cost of resort operation is spread among owners. This fee must also build up reserves to pay for non-recurring costs like furniture, appliances, etc. that need periodic replacement and other capital costs as normal physical deterioration occurs. Note: During the active sales period, maintenance fees may be temporarily subsidized by the developer as a marketing tool. When the HOA takes over, fees may rise to unsubsidized levels.
Management Company: The company contracted, usually by the Owners Club/HOA, to carry out all the day-to-day management of the resort. Often owned or controlled by the developer. See HOA/POA
Management Fees: The fees usually paid annually by each owner or points club member to cover the costs of running the resort on a day-to-day basis. These fees are often, but not always, included in the Maintenance Fees.
Marketing Company: A company, separate from the developer, responsible for marketing. Sometimes a developer will manage the on-site marketing and employ a separate Marketing Company to manage off-site marketing
Maximum Occupancy: The maximum number of persons an interval unit will accommodate; usually from 2 to 10 persons. Maximum occupancy is typically expressed in conjunction with “private occupancy” referring to the number of persons the unit will sleep privately and the number of bedrooms within the unit. Configurations of units vary from resort to resort.
Mini Vac: A mini-vacation package where the resort pays all or most of the holiday costs of a prospective purchaser in return for that prospect attending a sales presentation. See Fly-Buy.
Mooch: A term used by timeshare sales people to describe prospective buyers who are attending a sales presentation only for the gift, with no intention of even considering a purchase. A professional mooch is someone who makes a regular practice of doing this. Also known as “Scoopers”, people who come in to “scoop up” the gift but who have no intention of buying.
Nosebleed drop: A sales term for quickly dropping the initial stated price a precipitous amount without much haggling in between.
NQ (Not Qualified): A term for prospects who do not meet the qualifications profile outlined by a resort or marketing company trying to make a sale.
Odd or Even Year Usage: Timeshare ownership usage every other year–some odd-numbered, some even. The ownership of this type of interval is valued at one-half the value of a full ownership property since the use is restricted to one-half of the annual usage.
OPC (Off Premises Contact; Outside Public Contact): A marketing term used to describe people who approach potential buyers on the street and offer an incentive, such as a gift or tickets to a local attraction, to visit a timeshare project or sales booth to find out more about purchasing options.
Owner Referrals: Resorts that are in active sales often have special vacation promos that they offer through their current owners. The owners are encouraged to submit referrals and will receive various incentives from the resort for their leads.
PD: The Project Director, who is, at least theoretically, in charge of running all the other departments at a timeshare resort. The actual duties will vary depending on the hierarchy at specific resorts or companies.
Points: Programs offered to interval owners by resorts (and some exchange companies) which allow the owners choice and control over when and where they vacation or for how long or short they stay. Points are a symbolic unit of measure having no intrinsic value separate and apart from interval ownership.
Points Clubs: A timeshare system where ‘owners’ hold points which entitle them to use a period (varying from a few days to a few weeks) every year from a choice of resorts. Sometimes points are backed by an actual deed, sometimes they are not.
Property Bonds: A system similar to Points clubs for owning shares or bonds in a company owning properties.
Qualified prospect: Consumers who fit the profile that the developer and/or marketer considers are most likely to buy timeshare.
Quartershare: 3-month interval ownership, with a rotating schedule. See Fractional Ownership
Rescission: A period of time granted by company policy and state statutes during which a person has the right to cancel a purchase contract for a timeshare without incurring a penalty. The person also receives a complete and full refund of his deposit. Rescission periods vary from state to state. See Cooling-off period.
:RDO (Resort Development Organisation: The European equivalent of ARDA, but more consumer oriented. This organization was formerly known as OTE (Organisation for Timeshare in Europe)
Resort Ratings: A system of comparison of resort quality, amenities, and location. The two foremost rating systems are Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II). RCI and II rate their affiliated resorts based upon predetermined criteria of exacting standards of quality and services provided by the resort as well as the availability of amenities at or near the resort.
Recourse Agreement: An agreement between a Finance Company and a Developer where the Developer pays off any outstanding debt if a purchaser financed by the Finance Company defaults on a Finance Agreement.
Red week: see Season
Repossession: The removal of rights to use by a Club (or Management Company) for breach of the Constitution (usually non-payment of Management Fees) and the sale of those rights to recover any debt. Deeded property cannot normally be repossessed.
RCI (Resort Condominiums International): The largest exchange organisation in the world, owned by Wyndham Worldwide.
Right To Use (RTU): Occupancy rights for a specified number of years, with no ownership interest in the property. Some states and some foreign countries do not allow deeded ownership of timeshares. Alternatively, a lease ownership or Right-To-Use ownership grants the lessor the right to use the property for a specified period of time; usually from 20 to 99 years. The resort developer or Management Company holds ownership of the physical property. However, during the right-to-use period, the owner may rent, transfer, or bequeath the remaining years of their right-to-use property.
Sales Inspection Visit (‘SIV’): Developer term for prospective purchasers to stay at a resort for a few days, for a low cost, on condition they attend a sales presentation. See Fly-Buy and Mini Vac
Special Performance Incentive Fund (‘SPIFF’): An industry term for a bonus, usually given in addition to a general commission, paid to a salesperson after making a sale.
Season: Exchange Company division of the weeks in a year into popular (Red), shoulder (White for RCI or Amber for II) and off peak (Blue for RCI or Green for II) for the calculation of trading power in exchanges. Each resort may have different seasons depending on the geographic position, etc.
Sinking Fund: A portion of the Management Fee specifically dedicated to ensuring that the main structure, furniture and fittings of accommodation units (and sometimes leisure facilities) are kept in an ‘as new’ condition for the full period of ownership.
Space banking: Depositing a week of owned timeshare with an exchange company. See Banking
Special Assessment: A fee over and above the annual maintenance fee assessed by the resort pro rata to interval owners. This fee, when assessed, is intended to defray expenses related to major repairs and refurbishing of resort equipment, facilities, and units. It often follows some natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane when unexpected damage occurs at a resort.
Timeshare: A right, shared with others, to occupy a unit of accommodation for a period of time (usually a week) on a regular basis for a number of years. Sometimes referred to as ‘Holiday Ownership’, ‘Multi Ownership’ or ‘Group Ownership’. Timesharing can be in a single building, an apartment block, a boat, etc.
TATOC: The Timeshare Association (originally The Association for Timeshare Owners Committees), a non-profit making limited company formed in 1989. It was established initially to act as a networking group for the appointed members of timeshare owners’ committees, and is headquartered in Manchester, UK.
Time Division: A system of establishing the value of an interval week typically based upon season. For example: a week 3 (Mid January) purchased at a New England beach resort would not hold the same value as a mid-summer week at the same resort due to the fact that the season in January is not conducive to vacationing on the beach. Time divisions are expressed as high time or red time meaning prime time, white time or medium time meaning medium desirability, or blue time or low time meaning the least desirable time. Some resorts, such as Hawaiian resorts, consider all weeks as prime time since their tropical climate permits pleasant vacations throughout the calendar year. Additionally, many resorts offer year-round activities, often referred to as four season resorts, in which the owner may participate in a variety of seasonal activities. Other factors that affect the interval week’s desirability would be holidays and special local events.
Trading Power: The assessed value of an interval week when trading or exchanging for another week within the same resort or at a different resort. In some situations, the owner of a red week at an RCI Gold Crown resort can trade that week for two or more weeks at a resort of lessor distinction or for weeks in a lower time division. Supply and demand rules prevail in this type of exchange and the owners can greatly enhance their trading power with high demand weeks and resorts.
Trustees: A bank, trust company or a group of individuals who hold timeshare accommodation (and sometimes leisure facilities) ‘in trust’ on behalf of the owners and grant owners a ‘right –to-use’ through a licence (‘Ownership Certificate’). Trustees provide security for owners in the event that a developer fails financially. Some trustees may have added responsibilities such as ensuring the continuity of the Owners Club.
Unit Size: Normally expressed as hotel unit, studio unit, and efficiency unit or by number of bedrooms. Hotel units, studio units, and efficiency units typically are a single room with sleeping accommodations and perhaps a small built in kitchen and sleep from two to four persons. One, two or three or more bedroom units are usually condominium style accommodations and feature a partial or full kitchen and other living areas.
VPG: Value per Guest (Also called the room- or personal- efficiency) — This measures how efficiently a sales force is doing. You take the dollar volume of your sales and divide it by the total number of guests you toured, and it tells you your VPG. The higher the VPG, the better you are doing. For instance: say that in a week’s time you have 7 tours. You sell one of them a deal for $12,000. Divide 12,000 by 7 and you get 1,714.29. Your VPG is 1714. (Dollar volume divided by number of guests= VPG)
Week 53: Almost all Calendars contain only 52 weeks of use in a year – but roughly every seven years there is an extra week, week 53 which is generally reserved for the use of the Developer/Founder Member.
Week Number: see Calendar
White week: see Season