Owners Say Top Benefit of Timeshare Ownership is Vacation Flexibility
WASHINGTON (February 21, 2013) — Timeshare exchange programs are an important benefit for timeshare owners, giving them the ability to travel anywhere with the same level of quality and accommodation style as their home resort. According to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the flexibility of vacation products is among the top reasons owners say that timeshare is a better way to vacation—and exchange programs provide owners the opportunity to experience new vacations by giving them the ability to trade or exchange.
“While some timeshare owners enjoy the consistency of their home resort, others want the variety to explore different vacation destinations,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA. According to ARDA International Foundation’s 2012 Shared Vacation Ownership Owners Report, 38 percent of traditional timeshare (week or points) owners either “banked” (saved the time for future use) or exchanged their timeshare in the past 12 months.
Exchange programs enable owners to trade their timeshare for comparable accommodations at other resorts worldwide. Most resorts are affiliated with an exchange company, and many resort companies also offer an internal exchange program within their resort group. The major exchange companies, Interval International and RCI, streamline the process—making it an easy online or telephone interaction.
Some owners use their exchange vacation to celebrate a special occasion and others use it to explore new destinations. Bill Mueller of Michigan met his wife Gina during exchanges over a four-week period at several Interval member resorts in South Florida. The Muellers went on to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary with an Interval exchange to Las Vegas, and hope to vacation together in Europe.
Two couples traded in their U.S.-based home resort stays for back-to-back Interval exchanges in Sydney, Australia and Wanaka, New Zealand. “It was a great trip with wonderful, lifelong friends,” said Roger Masten of Dublin, Ohio, who traveled with his wife Barbara.
RCI members often post their exchange stories on RCI’s blog. The stories range from a member who sent her parents to the Grand Canyon for the first time to celebrate their 50th anniversary, to a family that stayed at a RCI Gold Crown resort on the western side of Baha in Los Cabos, Mexico.
According to RCI, popular trading destinations include Orlando, Las Vegas, the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, Malaga, Spain, San Diego, Oahu, Puerto Vallarta, and New York City. RCI facilitates approximately 1.9 million vacation exchanges each year.
“There’s a perception in the market that timeshare is limiting, but this is completely false,” continues Nusbaum. “Through exchange, owners have the world at their fingertips.” He recommends that owners develop a list of ideal vacation destinations, be flexible with their travel dates, and understand their product type and exchange program in order to get the most from their trading power.
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.