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Why Timeshare?

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Timeshare – or shared vacation 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 in a property during these uncertain economic times…

 

And timeshare purchasers benefit from stronger consumer protection legislation than any other retail customer. In 2011 a new EU Timeshare Directive was passed placing stringent controls and regulations on the way in which timeshare is sold. Among the many regulations in place to protect timeshare buyers is the ban on taking any deposit monies and giving buyers a 14-day cooling off period in which time they can back out of the contract at no financial loss or penalty – no other retail business offers that latitude.

 

You can purchase:

 

• 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 in periods of weeks – 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

 

• Condo-Hotels Buy-To-Let schemes 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 – from the weeks deposited in the exchange pool of your chosen holiday exchange service provider.

 

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.

 

Increasingly, timeshare and fractional property ownership is being offered as a value-add to purchasers of wholly-owned leisure property. For example, condo-hotels and some holiday homes are sold with rental schemes in place operated by the management company. Such programmes allow the owner to split their usage of their property between personal use; depositing some unwanted weeks’ usage with a holiday exchange company like RCI to take holidays at a wide selection of resorts worldwide, or renting out unused weeks to gain a share of the rental revenue.

 

The resort’s constitution also gives details of the owner’s rights and responsibilities in relation to their occupancy rights.

 

The running of your resort

 

Resorts can be run by professional management companies or, in some cases, by the owners themselves who appoint an Owners’ Committee to administrate the resort 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 £250 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 programmes.

The fact that somebody else has the hassle of property repair and maintenance is priceless!

 

Home from Home

 

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 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.

 

Your accommodation will be:

 

• 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 in periods of weeks – 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

 

• Condo-Hotels Buy-To-Let schemes 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.


And you don’t have to go back to the same resort, same place at the same time every year – as an RCI weeks or points member, you have over 4,000 amazing holiday properties in more than 100 countries to choose from around the world!

 

RCI’s Role

 

You cannot buy a timeshare from RCI. RCI is the holiday exchange network provider and does not own the resorts at which its members buy. 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 ‘Vacation Club’ and these members still benefit from the exchange holiday options and advantage.

 

Resort developers can choose to affiliate their resorts to a timeshare exchange network – and RCI has twice as many affiliated resorts in our exchange programme 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.

 

The availability of resort and accommodation (units) will fluctuate from hour to hour, day by day and month by month. This is because the system is dynamic – as members make Deposits and book Exchange Holidays, what is in the exchange pool changes. If an RCI member, it is always advisable to use the Ongoing Search which regularly checks your holiday request against availability to find the perfect match – and lets you know when it is found.

 

If you already own a timeshare and want to get more out of it through RCI membership contact us or visit   

 

How it works

 

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 vacation clubs offer internal holiday exchanges at resorts within their groups. Membership of an exchange company then gives owners a far wider choice of holiday options.

 

The exchange companies provide the ‘banking’ facilities to manage the accommodation inventory and exchange mechanisms. These companies make year on year continual investment in back office systems, from call centres, website and online booking systems, to working with the developers – RCI has an unrivaled team of resort operations staff across Europe – to ensure resort standards are maintained and their members are getting the holidays they expect and deserve.

 

On top of those services, the larger exchange companies such as RCI, which is part of the world leading Wyndham Worldwide hospitality group, is able to use its purchasing power and sister company associations to develop new great value accommodation deals and packages exclusive to its members, as well as other discounted holiday product such as travel, cruise and insurance.

 

For RCI Weeks Members

 

Each timeshare use period is allocated a Trading Power and if, for example, the owner is a member of the RCI holiday exchange network and wishes to holiday in a fresh destination or try a different experience, they can deposit their week(s) (making a Deposit) into the RCI exchange network and take a holiday of equivalent or a lower Trading Power at another RCI-affiliated resort, and at another time of the year than that of their period of use ownership (making an exchange).

 

Members can also combine Week(s) Deposits to access a resort of a higher Trading Power than their owned one to get their preferred holiday. Any Trading Power that isn’t used in an exchange transaction will be returned to their RCI account for them to put towards another holiday – this is known as a Credit, and can be combined with any future Deposits to boost your Trading Power.

 

Trading Power values are based on a number of criteria – seasonality of week; size of unit; demand for that week as indicated by historical booking data; and, at RCI, the quality standard of resort which is based on our member’s feedback from their Welcome Back Comment Cards.

 

To learn more about RCI Weeks visit www.rciweeks.co.uk/inside

 

For RCI Points Members

 

As the industry’s first and largest global points-based exchange system, RCI Points provides members and their families with flexible holiday options, enabling them to customise their perfect holiday. RCI Points subscribing members automatically gain access to the RCI Weeks affiliated resorts as well as Points resorts. Plus, by adding the RCI Points Partner programme to their membership, they can apply their points to other travel products and services such as car hire, cruises, hotel stays, and much more. The programme, now in its 11th year, currently has more than one million members worldwide.

 

To learn more about RCI Points visit www.pointstoremember.co.uk (English language only)

 

Did you know

 

• 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 International Foundation, 2010)

 

• RCI is the oldest holiday exchange company in the marketplace – we celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2014

 

• There are approximately 20 million timeshare owners worldwide, of which over one and a half million reside in Europe alone

 

• With 1,312 resorts in Europe and over one and a half million owners, it generates £3.2 billion in European tourism expenditure annually

 

• 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

 

• With high occupancy levels, averaging at 72% year round, timeshare is an important contributor to economies in parts of Europe that suffer from high unemployment

 

• Increasing number of prestigious hotel brands have offered timeshare for many years, including Hilton Hotels; Disney; McDonald Hotels & Resorts, Sol Melia – and many more are joining

 

• In response to customer demand, a series of new short-term and trial ownerships are being brought into the marketplace so you can now sample the timeshare lifestyle without making a lifetime commitment right away

 

• 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 consumer organisations – primarily Resort Development Organisation (RDO) and The Timeshare Owners’ Association (TATOC) in the UK and Europe who are there to offer advice, support and guidance to timeshare owners.

 

Role of Timeshare Resort Developers

 

Timeshare developers have the principal responsibility for shaping the development of the timeshare resort as they take the decisions which establish the characteristics of their resorts and, in most cases, the way in which they will be run. Developers may also put in place consumer finance facilities.

 

Once the resort is ready for sale, the developer puts in place a mechanism to protect timeshare owners’ rights, according to the legal framework of the country where the development is located. In the United Kingdom, for example, there are typically two principal parts to the package of rights which the developer puts in place.

 

1. The management agreement for the resort. This agreement provides for the smooth running of the resort on behalf of the members. It sets out the means by which the budget is fixed and approved and the relationship between an owners’ committee (if created) and the management company.

 

2. The relationship between the timeshare owners and the developer. Timeshare owners own rights to use their apartment, as opposed to owning the apartment itself. Legal ownership is typically vested in a trust company. The developer hands over all rights to the property to the trustee in exchange for membership certificates in each unit. The trustee then holds the property and protects it on behalf of the owners. The third party owners receive a membership certificate in exchange for their contracted payment and this certificate gives them occupancy rights in the property and membership of the club.

 

In most other European countries the principal mechanism for transferring rights is for the developer to contract with the timeshare consumer via a notary. The notary checks the legal validity of the agreement which transfers the ownership rights to the timeshare from the developer to the consumer. In Spain, for example, a refined legal system has been put in place. The rotational rights scheme is based on the sale of real rights, rather than property based rights.