Because there are as many as 20 million households worldwide owning timeshare - 500,000 of them being in the UK and owning 11 million weeks between them - it is important that this community has a voice to represent it. Speaking on behalf of European timeshare owners today is the recently launched European Resort Owners’ Coalition (EUROC).
This non-profit timeshare association is the official, independent body established to represent owners, and it has a published mission to stand side by side with timeshare owners’ committees, home owner clubs, home owners' associations known as HOAs, and resorts around Europe, to form an alliance of likeminded people who want to know that there is an organisation with a duty of care and commitment towards preserving, protecting and enhancing the world of timeshare ownership.
From buying to selling timeshare - and everything in between - EUROC will be the go-to organisation. The new body will be the front-facing advocate and public voice on timeshare-related issues. Resorts whose management committees and HOAs enrol their resorts into EUROC membership will be putting their owners, represented by owner/member committees and HOAs, at the forefront, as EUROC unites the timeshare-owning community in Europe, giving it a single and powerful voice.
Benefits and services of membership
EUROC offers a wide range of services and benefits to its members which, over time, will be developed and enhanced, based on member feedback. Membership is solely for owners’ committees and HOAs, and will be their primary one-stop shop for legitimate resources and advice on important information relating to the timeshare ownership industry.The association’s remit is to represent the interests of timeshare owners in Europe and it will be an “owners association run by owners for owners” according to the EUROC board.
The new body aims to develop relationships with Europe-wide government departments, consumer organisations, enforcement bodies and the media, ensuring that the voice of the timeshare ownership community is heard and owners’ interests are formally represented and acted upon.
Jane Gilmartin, EUROC’s Member Relations Manager, is now recruiting members from timeshare owners’ committees, home owners’ clubs or HOAs, and resorts around Europe. She explained: "EUROC aims to become the public voice on timeshare-related issues, providing support and guidance to EUROC committee members and HOAs, and protecting timeshare owners from fraudulent timeshare scam companies.
"EUROC membership is open to all timeshare owners’ committees, irrespective of their size and whether they are independently run by an owners’ committee or have a developer in place at the resort. Becoming a member of EUROC will put the owners represented by member committees and HOAs at the forefront of our activities and initiatives, as we come together as one voice to create a powerful united front.”
Support and guidance for owners
Jane and her team will be keeping resort owners' committees and HOAs aware of any current and potential legislative, regulatory and market-driven issues that may impact timeshare owners across the UK and Europe. EUROC is keen to keep a look out for any legislation that might negatively impact timeshare owners and their timeshare holiday experience, and is prepared to challenge and fight it, in the interests of the owners.
The association will work with legislators and regulators at all levels of government to educate policy makers within those bodies to ensure fair treatment across a broad range of issues. Papers and reporting will be drafted by industry professionals and submitted on behalf of committees, and HOAs - and the owners they represent - to local councils and governments on issues likely to affect timeshare use and operation, such as the potential implementation of the bed/tourist tax in the UK, the recent Spanish Supreme Court Rulings, and issues around in-perpetuity ownership contracts. Jane will be distributing regular communications and EUROC updates to keep members fully informed of developments which may affect them.
EUROC member committees and HOAs will be recognised as representing the best of timeshare by following the EUROC best practice practices. Members will have access to advice and signposting to contacts within the EUROC membership network who can provide and share ideas on issues, the same or very similar, to those faced by the majority of owners. For example, management fee matters and enhancing the owner experience. Where appropriate, EUROC will work alongside the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), the trade body which governs the timeshare industry and which has a strong record of successfully advocating and lobbying on behalf of its members, in working to protect and safeguard the quality of the overall timeshare ownership experience enjoyed by millions of owners worldwide.
Fighting timeshare fraud and protecting owners
EUROC members contribute towards the extremely important ongoing work of the Timeshare Task Force, operated by EUROC's industry associate, KwikChex, a UK Trading Standards-approved organisation which works closely with the police and other enforcement agencies across Europe.
It is the job of the Timeshare Task Force to identify fraudulent operators who are defrauding timeshare owners, and to collaborate with a variety of intelligence services, the police, government authorities and associates such as KwikChex, to expose the fraudulent operations, shutting them down and, where possible, bringing them to justice in a court of law.
EUROC-member committees and HOAs will also benefit from updates and alerts on current illegal timeshare activities and scams provided by the Timeshare Task Force. These can, of course, be shared and cascaded out to create a greater awareness among better-informed owners.
A networking community
If we take a look at the Cambridge Dictionary definition of the word 'community', it spells out, straight away, the importance of building one. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us a community is: A group of people who are considered as a unit because of their common interests, social group or nationality. In biological terms, a community is a group of plants or animals that live and grow together.
There is strength in numbers for those coming together with a shared interest. Earlier in this blog, we highlighted the crucial aspects of increased security and education that the EUROC community delivers; the peace of mind that comes with having the support of a strong unified body to represent your interests.
The many benefits of sharing
Underlying all of that is the caring and sharing aspect of being part of a community. Here are a few more ways in which EUROC member resorts - and owners within those resorts - will benefit from EUROC membership.
EUROC oversees and funds the operation of the Timeshare Helpline - a service available to timeshare owners who have concerns about a business or who require assistance with a problem. The Helpline offers advice on refunds, relinquishments, law enforcement, and general issues with timeshare, and is available in English, Spanish, French and Italian, with the future potential of additional languages being brought online, as more funds become available.
EUROC members support the extremely important ongoing work of the Timeshare Task Force, which is operated by KwikChex and funded by RDO. The Task Force works to have companies that defraud timeshare owners exposed, shut down and, where possible, it will work with the authorities to bring offenders to justice. KwikChex is UK Trading Standards-approved, and works closely with the police and other enforcement agencies across Europe.
Members will also receive educational materials, regulatory updates and advice to pass onto their owners as to how to go about protecting themselves from misleading resale, transfer and marketing scams.
Creating your own community
The sharing of ideas between timeshare owners themselves is just as important in the evolution and continued enhancement of the timeshare holiday experience as access to trusted advice when you need it. The EUROC community of resort committee and HOA owners can look out for their invitations to attend EUROC seminars and forums where they all come together to share their views on the good, the bad and the how it might be better, of timeshare ownership. They join together to develop solutions, strengthen ties and make connections with people just like themselves.
Being a central hub for so much timeshare ownership experience, the EUROC team itself will share its suggestions on topics which are relevant to the owner experience and the day-to-day running of the resorts' committees and HOAs.
The EUROC website is now live! You can visit it at www.euroc.eu for your one-stop shop to ensure you and your committee, HOA or club members have access to relevant up-to-date information about timeshare ownership, as well as lots of advice to share with them. Ultimately, this website will act as a sign post to direct you to the legitimate companies and to all those involved in businesses relating to the world of timeshare ownership. The website will be developed and enhanced over time, based on member feedback.
If you would like to learn more about making your resort, committee and HOA a EUROC member to become part of a growing timeshare community, or have any questions or comments about the new website, please email the EUROC Member Relations Manager email@example.com
If you own timeshare, but have yet to use it to travel the world in comfort and broaden your holiday horizons by swapping your stay period or week for fresh and different ones in the biggest selection of holiday exchange destinations, then you should check out the RCI Directory to see where your timeshare could be taking you - and then click on the Join RCI button if you like what you see.
If you want more inspiration, then visit the Holiday Ideas page on RCI.com, our members' website. While you are on our members' website, stop and have a play - take a flick through the pages of our online magazine, RCI Endless Vacation, to see the kind of holidays and worldwide travel our members enjoy with RCI membership.