A brief synopsis:
In order to fully understand what is taking place in the global timeshare resale markets it is important to briefly look at this aspect of the timeshare industry and what has transpired for some two generations and continues, mostly, to this day.
During the 1960’s when the resort timesharing concept was introduced to consumers in the United States and sales began, after explaining to prospective buyers the benefits of owning their own vacation accommodations, sharing those ownership costs with like-thinking vacationers, etc., sales reps would ultimately tell every prospect something to the effect that:
“Unlike hotel/motel receipts that are valueless and mount up over the years, as an owner, when you’re through vacationing you can sell your timeshare (or rent it out) and get your money back, if not much more…”
Sales reps of the era pushed equity, too, as during those mostly unregulated days they sold owning timeshare accommodations (aka: Real Estate) as an investment, and since most would-be owners understood that as a general rule real estate does tend to gain value over time they naturally believed what they were being sold.
It isn’t known exactly in what year or at what resort or with what owner, but eventually one day the very first timeshare owner somewhere, for whatever reason, contacted their home resort and said they needed to sell (or rent) their timeshare.
With no resale or rental system in place, the basic response (attitude) was, “Sorry Charlie, you bought it, you own it”. And for the most part that became the prevailing industry mentality and unwritten policy over the decades that followed.
The Sales Process is Standardized:
By the mid 1980’s the basic sales presentation was well rooted with the emphasis being that if a prospect was going to travel and spend the money anyway on hotel/motel accommodations, surely they’d be wiser to be an owner, have “pride-of-ownership” including all the benefits and features, etc., and then get their money back years later by selling or renting out their timeshare when they had finished traveling.
It is interesting to note that what the sales reps were telling prospective owners was exactly what they were trained to do, and it might have been true if the developers of the era had been farsighted enough to create a resale (and rental) service network for all owners. But they didn’t back then and some forty years later most still haven’t to this day.
So the status quo was in full swing as reps kept telling would-be buyers the same story. Yet by now the word was slowly getting out to consumers that selling and renting their timeshare was a challenge, to say the least.
With management becoming creative, the sales reps were then trained to tell prospects that as an owner they could take ads out in their local newspaper and sell/rent it themselves, list their property with real estate agents, post a sign on the company bulletin board or donate their time to their church which in turn could hold a (e.g.) raffle and raise money for the timeshare owner and the church.
By this time the resale problem (and inventory) was growing exponentially as millions of people worldwide now owned a timeshare interest, and with mostly no legitimate resale outlet in place the vast majority of owners were left holding the proverbial empty bag when it came to selling their time.
The Internet Arrives:
That process and dilemma would likely have continued indefinitely, but about the same time that timeshare developers first began selling intervals back in the late 1960’s something else was taking place known then as “Arpanet” (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) that would eventually and forever affect the secondary marketing and selling of timeshare interests (and timeshare developers, too).
Briefly, in part, Arpanet was a cold war communications project and system funded by U.S. tax payers to keep the line of communications going between Government bureaus and agencies, etc. in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States.
By the 1990’s, Arpanet had expanded to ultimately become the commercially available version used and depended upon by billions of people the world over: The Internet.
These days, consumers worldwide are on the super-information highway daily doing research, seeking current news and information and reading reviews about products and services, etc.
Most of the global business community is there, too, selling and marketing their products and services and that of course includes those involved in the secondary timeshare sales markets.
There is a reason that the creator of Classmates.com has moved into the online world of the secondary market for timeshares, along with many other entrepreneurial business people who understand the power of the Internet and the needs of timeshare owners.
Yet most timeshare developers continue to ignore their owners’ selling needs, even in the face of the phenomenal growth of the Internet’s consumer appeal and the ever increasing number of resale companies (and inventory) available online offering anyone and everyone discounted timeshare intervals for sale.
To this day many timeshare developers also continue to pretty much keep their fingers crossed, hoping that new buyers at their sales centers won’t get online within the rescission period and find all that timeshare information, reviews, opinions, prices, etc.
And especially hoping they won’t find the intervals available, often originating from their own resorts, via a private party (owner) or resale company offering deeply discounted “time” at a fraction of the price the now new owner(s) just agreed to pay the developer.
While this all continues, including increased cancellations at the developer level because of that online information, a plethora of both legitimate timeshare resale companies and scam artists/fraudsters have proliferated on the Internet, aggressively going after timeshare owners wanting to sell their time as well as consumers seeking purchase information.
Be they legitimate companies or not, they are indeed separating untold thousands of developers’ clients (owners and prospective owners) from significant sums of money in the secondary market while the developers (mostly) stand on the sidelines, as if nothing is going on, as they did for decades!
Considering all the money, time and effort that each timeshare developer invested over the past 40 + years to first attract prospects to their sales centers with gifts, etc. to attend the presentation and then convert (sell) many prospects into becoming believers (owners), it is perplexing that most developers continue to ignore their clients’ (owners) other ownership needs.
That is especially curious since all along the developers could have, for a fee (profit), assisted and addressed their owners’ (clients) needs and had they done so it would have been, and still could be, a win-win relationship.
And yet with all that said, as unbelievable as it may sound, there are still reasons why prospective owners should first consider dealing directly with the timeshare developer before they jump willy nilly into the complex secondary timeshare market.