A Look at Timeshare Evolution

The timeshare idea is not a new one. Its modern evolution, however, varies significantly from its original form. The substantial improvements to and expansions of the timeshare concept of the past make the future of timeshares even more exciting.

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Many people today use timeshares when they travel. Timeshares can provide a convenient means of securing quality lodging in the most sought-after destinations around the world for a reasonable price, especially for individuals who travel frequently. Timeshares have actually been used for quite some time; however, they have grown and changed substantially over the years.

Different timeshares today work differently depending on the company that operates them. Generally speaking, however, a timeshare allows you to buy a percentage ownership of a property operated by a certain company. Some companies, depending on how much you pay, awarded you a certain number of points to exchange for accommodations at any resort operated by that company. Other timeshares have you buy a specific week of the year in a specific location. You can always use that location at that time, or you can choose to trade with someone else that owns a different week or a different location.

The first timeshares appeared in the 1960s in Europe. However, the term “timeshare” did not actually appear until 1973 in America. The first state to introduce timeshares was Hawaii, though the idea quickly spread to other states (Florida was the next state to follow suit). By the end of the 20th century timeshares could be found all over the world, including Asia and many Caribbean islands.

One timeshare feature that has changed significantly is the flexibility that now comes with being a timeshare owner. When the timeshare concept was first developed, owners would always be tied to the week and location that they initially chose. Eventually, however, timeshare companies started introducing the ability to trade weeks with other people. A natural outgrowth of this idea, then, was allowing people to buy points instead of specific weeks, giving them the freedom to choose where and when they wanted to travel at their convenience. This idea was first implemented in 1974, when RCI was developed to assist timeshare owners in trading their weeks. Today, RCI is still a worldwide player in the timeshare industry.

There were over 4 million timeshare owners by 1990. This rising timeshare popularity convinced many hotel chains to get in on the act as well. Marriott was the first to establish a timeshare program, but many more exist today, including Ritz-Carlton’s, Four Seasons’, Hilton’s, Ramada’s and others.

Even Disney started offering timeshares in the 1990s; today they continue to operate their extremely successful Disney Vacation Club. Members purchase points that they can use at a number of deluxe Disney resorts in Florida and California, as well as the new Aulani Resort in Hawaii. Disney, like some other timeshare companies, also now offers owners the ability to “rent” their points to someone else.

Even since the first big boom in timeshare popularity in the 1990s, they have been a popular option for people going on vacation, whether they actually own a timeshare themselves or not. Many offer luxurious or deluxe accommodations for an affordable price, making the idea appealing to a wide variety of people. It seems likely that timeshares will only continue to grow and change throughout the years to come, offering even more flexibility and options for owners.

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Boris Razmiki

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