Timeshare – or shared holiday ownership, as it is also known – is where you buy the right to use a specific period of time; normally a week or more, at a holiday resort property. It delivers the ultimate holidays in terms of flexibility and choice of where you go, when you go and what type of holiday experience you look forward to enjoying when you get there.
It puts holiday home ownership within the reach of millions of families who could not afford to buy a second home – or may not want to invest so much money.
• At a fixed time of year at a certain resort which you can revisit each year at the same time
• A floating week is allocated to you by your home resort each year and it is not necessarily the same week of the year each time, it will be a different week
• Points, which you can use as a ‘currency’ in the reservation of a holiday booking – as each resort week will be allocated a points value – or to book additional holiday and leisure products, such as car hire, theatre and attraction tickets, and more. You can add to your points’ portfolio and you can convert your weeks’ ownership into a points-based product
• A fractional ownership giving several weeks (usually one twelfth to a quarter year) use in an exclusive high-end property enjoying a much in demand location and often benefiting from concierge services, personal travel services and more. Use is often on a rotational basis or a mixture of fixed and floating periods within a season. Members often have a financial interest in the property and there is a trend for fractional property values to follow the values of the real estate in the locale
• Strata Hotel Investment: whereby the purchaser buys a hotel room for the period of the project, taking a share of rental income from its letting. This can be on the basis of a fixed sum per night let or a percentage of the gross or net revenue for the room. At the end of the specified period the hotel is sold and all parties share in any capital appreciation, whilst in the interim, the purchaser is free to sell his own interest on the open market.
All of the above can be exchanged for a different accommodation in a different resort – and at a different time of year.
There really is a holiday type and time to suit everyone. The spectrum of holiday ownership ranges from timeshare resorts which typically offer a single week option, although additional weeks can be purchased at the same resort or at several different ones, to fractional, private residence clubs and destination clubs which provide longer accommodation periods of several weeks of ownership at more expensive, upmarket properties.
Resorts can be run by professional management companies or, in some cases, by the owners themselves who appoint an Owners' Committee to administer the resort's operation.
The cost of cleaning, building maintenance, pool cleaning, gardening, security, etc, is shared between the owners in a resort development and this levy is called a Maintenance Fee. These fees start from about $550 per annum in a standard resort for one week’s ownership and will increase commensurately with the resort accommodation quality, size and type/number of onsite guest facilities to be maintained.
Many resorts use the fee payments to build a sinking fund to provide for major redecoration or refurbishment on a usually five-yearly plan so owners do not have to find additional monies for any major refurbishment programs. The fact that somebody else has the hassle of property repair and maintenance is priceless!
Typically, holiday ownership resorts provide more spacious accommodations than hotels, delivering the ultimate holiday experience, with many more guest facilities on site, including child pools and play areas, a selection of restaurants, spas, fitness centres and much more.
The biggest benefit of owning a timeshare property is the ability to have a ‘home away from home’ to holiday in, but at a much reduced financial risk and exposure, as the purchase price and maintenance costs are only a fraction of the costs of a wholly-owned property.
You cannot buy a timeshare from RCI. RCI is the world's largest holiday exchange network and does not own the resorts at which its members purchase. RCI’s holiday exchange service is available to owners of weeks and to those preferring to join a points system – or those owning both. Sometimes, points-based holidays are offered to timeshare owners in the form of taking up membership of a ‘Holiday Club’ and these members still benefit from the exchange holiday options.
Resort developers can choose to affiliate their resorts to a timeshare exchange network – and RCI has twice as many affiliated resorts in our exchange program as our nearest competitor. When buying a timeshare you may be offered membership to an exchange company – and in the unlikely event that it isn’t mentioned, you should always ask.
If you already own a timeshare and want to get more out of it through RCI membership call the number listed below.
Without association to one of the holiday exchange companies, you will not be able to swap your owned week or use your points to book a holiday – another week, in another resort at a different time. The holiday clubs offer internal holiday exchanges at resorts within their network. Membership with an exchange company then gives owners a far wider choice of holiday options.
• The timeshare industry is over 50 years old, and generates revenues of over $14bn per annum in sales and $45 billion in economic output (figures from the ARDA 2012 Worldwide Vacation Ownership Report)
• RCI was the first holiday exchange company in the marketplace – we celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2014
• There are approximately 20 million timeshare owners worldwide.
• Exchange companies monitor resort quality on behalf of their members – RCI carries out local inspections and rates its resorts on the basis of member feedback – to ensure the highest quality holiday experience
• Exchange companies can penalise resorts that do not maintain quality standards in accordance with their quality rating by withdrawing the quality awards (RCI Gold Crown, RCI Silver Crown and RCI Hospitality awards) – or disaffiliating them altogether if they fail to work with the exchange companies to bring the resort back up to acceptable quality levels
• If you don’t want to use your timeshare, you can pass the unwanted use time on to your family and friends
• There are a number of industry organisations – primarily Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC), Fiji Timeshare Association (FTA) and New Zealand Holiday Ownership Council (NZHOC).