Timeshare – or shared-holiday ownership – means you purchase a specific period of time, usually a week or more, in a resort property. Timeshare puts holiday-home ownership within the financial reach of those who would like a second home in a destination they love, but may not be able to afford to buy whole ownership – or may not want the degree of financial commitment of a second home purchase.
Resorts typically offer a single week ownership and stay option, with the potential to purchase additional weeks at the same resort, or at others owned by the same developer. Fractional-ownership properties and destination clubs usually offer longer periods of ownership over several weeks – often at upmarket properties in prime locations.
The biggest benefit of owning a timeshare or fractional property is the ability to have a guaranteed holiday in your ‘home from home’ and more – but with the reduced financial risk that owning and maintaining a property outright can bring. Holiday ownership resorts can provide more spacious accommodation than hotels and may boast more on-site guest facilities.
However, without membership of a Holiday Exchange services provider, you will not be able to swap your timeshare week for an alternative holiday elsewhere. Joining RCI gives you a huge range of holiday options – exchanging into properties that are signed up to RCI’s exchange programme, as well as opportunities to stay at our partner-company accommodation within the Wyndham Worldwide hospitality group. There are currently almost 4,500 resorts affiliated to the RCI Holiday Exchange network in more than 100 countries, providing an exciting range of holiday experiences.
You can purchase:
- A week (or more) at a fixed time of year, at a specific resort, which you can revisit each year at the same time.
- A floating week – allocated to you by your ‘home resort’ each year. This may not be the same week of the year each time.
- Points – used as ‘currency.’ Each resort/week is allocated a points value. Points can also be redeemed on RCI Points Partner products, including car hire, airport hotels and attraction tickets.
- Fractional ownership – gives you several weeks (usually one to three months) stays in high-end properties in high-demand locations. These properties often feature concierge services, personal travel services and more benefits. Use of your fractional ownership holidays is often used on a rotational basis or a mix of fixed and floating periods within a season. Fractional ownership can include a financial interest in the property, given that fractional properties have been known to follow the resale values of the real estate in the area.
- Buy-to-Let schemes – You buy a share in a property for a fixed period of time and benefit from a rental income when you’re not staying there yourself. At the end of the specified period, the property is sold and all parties share in any capital appreciation. In the interim, you’re also free to sell your interest on the open market.
With membership of the RCI Holiday Exchange programme, or The Registry Collection (RCI’s fractional leisure property exchange programme) buyers of shared-holiday ownerships of any of the property types listed above are eligible to exchange their ‘stay time’ or ‘home week’ with one or more weeks at resort properties affiliated to RCI and The Registry Collection respectively.
Timeshare owners benefit from stronger consumer protection legislation than any other retail customer. Since 2011, the EU Timeshare Directive has placed stringent regulations on the way timeshare is sold, including a ban on the taking of any form of deposit, and a 14-day cooling off period after the signing of the contract for purchase. During this period, the purchaser can cancel the contract and walk away without having to make any payment.
Your home resort’s constitution will give details of your rights and responsibilities in relation to ownership and occupancy. You will usually be responsible for an annual maintenance payment which covers the cost of cleaning, building upkeep, pool cleaning, gardening and security. These can start from £250 for a single week of ownership, and will increase depending on the size of your timeshare, quality and onsite facilities.
Resorts can be run by professional resort management companies – or by timeshare owners who appoint an Owners’ Committee to oversee the resort’s maintenance.
Industry-consumer organisations, such as the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) exist to offer advice, support and guidance to timeshare owners.
Developers of resorts do just that; they build and develop a resort or several in multiple destinations. They may also offer financial packages to support new purchasers. Once their properties are ready to sell, the developers will put a process in place to protect timeshare owners’ rights according to the legalities of the country the property is located in, and in accordance with the EU Timeshare Directive.
These are typically:
- A management agreement for the resort – This sets out the budget for the resort’s operation, and details the relationship between an owners’ committee (if created) and the management company.
- Timeshare owners’ own rights to use their accommodation, rather than owning the accommodation itself. Legal ownership is typically vested in a trust company. The developer hands over rights to the property to the trustee in exchange for membership certificates in each unit. To ensure that you are protected financially, the properties are held in trust.
Some developers will contract and liaise via a notary, who will check the legal validity of the agreement which transfers rights of use of the property from the developer to the purchaser.
No. RCI is an Exchange Holiday services provider and does not own any properties or resorts. Resort developers can choose to affiliate their resorts to a timeshare exchange network – like RCI!
We have twice as many affiliated resorts in our exchange programme as our nearest competitor so, when thinking of purchasing your timeshare, it’s worth asking which exchange company your developer works with – and which one you want to become a member of.
If you already own a timeshare and would like to get more from it in the way of holiday choice and membership benefits, joining RCI gives you access to almost 4,500 properties at its affiliated resorts, in more than 100 countries. Adding your timeshare week to our network of Exchange Holiday accommodation could bring you one or more holidays in destinations worldwide – all for the same exchange fee per property, per week.
Your property is allocated trading power or points value, depending on the membership option you choose (RCI Weeks or RCI Points). You simply book a holiday worth the same value or less and pay your exchange fee. If you want a really special holiday for a family group or perhaps at a resort above your trading power or points value, RCI lets you combine your weeks from one use year to another, or to save and borrow from your points annual allocation to get away on a dream holiday. You can always ‘trade down’ as well, meaning a high-value ownership week’s stay can be swapped out for two or three lower value ones to give you more holidays.
As an RCI member, you will benefit from great discounts on cash holidays – RCI Late Deals and Extra Holidays – to give you and your family even more opportunities to holiday without using your weeks or points. Our members are also offered late booking points value reductions and discounted exchange deals allowing them to use any left-over credits or points they may have – so nothing is wasted!
- The timeshare industry is more than 50 years old.
- RCI is the oldest exchange holiday company in the marketplace – we’ve been sending members on holiday since 1974.
- There are more than 1,300 resorts in Europe.
- Several prestigious hotel brands have been offering timeshare for many years, including Hilton Hotels, Disney, MacDonald Hotels and Resorts and Sol Melia. Many more are joining them.
- If you don’t want to use your timeshare, you can pass unwanted stay time on to your family and friends.
- In response to customer demand, short-term and trial ownerships are being developed so you can enjoy the timeshare lifestyle without making a lifelong commitment.
- Industry-consumer organisations, such as the Resort Development Organisation (RDO) exist to offer advice, support and guidance to timeshare owners.
- As an Exchange Holiday service provider which does its best to ensure a consistency of quality across the resort experience it offers, RCI monitors resort quality on behalf of its members. Our Affiliate Services teams inspect affiliated resorts, working with them to maintain set quality criteria.
- RCI members help to set RCI quality ratings for affiliated resorts because we use their Welcome Home feedback scores.
- RCI will disaffiliate any resort that falls below acceptable quality criteria if they do not maintain quality standards.