Shared holiday ownership is the umbrella term for timeshare and fractional holidays. The concept of a timeshare holiday was introduced to travellers as far back as the 1960s and today there are 6.7 million timeshare owners worldwide. Timeshare holidays made their mark by turning the traditional approach of a week in a hotel room, a caravan or returning year after year to the same family-owned holiday home on its head.
According to the 2009 Resort Development Organisation Timeshare Owners’ Survey, the greater majority of the 6.7 million timeshare owners are happy with their purchase. The report states that 87 per cent of respondents are satisfied with their purchase and nine out of ten say timeshare is better than other self-catering holidays they’ve experienced.
Timeshare gives holidaymakers more choice of destinations and property types, with all the comforts of home. In fact it’s choice that’s key – timeshare ownership comprises the right to use a chosen resort property for a week each year – or for several weeks if multiple purchases are made. The sales of these ‘rights to use’ are often over a 25-year period or even in perpetuity, though recently shorter-term and trial ownerships have been introduced for those who may not wish to commit to a longer-term arrangement or want to try before they buy.
Fractional meanwhile offers people the opportunity to purchase a fraction of an often exclusive property. These are usually in terms from ten years upwards, though some can be in perpetuity, and some can have some level of investment potential. But principally fractional properties are an investment in a high-spec lifestyle product. Fractional properties also come with many other benefits and privileges such as personal and lifestyle conceirges, private jet hire or memberships to sports and other clubs.
Shared holiday ownership: a world of choice
Through membership of an international exchange company, owners of timeshare and fractional also have the choice to exchange their purchased use period in their home resort for a stay in another property of consistently high quality. This gives owners a world of choice and is delivered by international exchange companies.
The two leading global exchange companies are RCI which has over 4,000 affiliated resorts for its members to choose from, and Interval International with more than 2,500 resorts in its portfolio. Exchange companies often provide their members with associated services – flights, car rental, holiday insurance and more – at competitive prices. Additionally, some larger companies with extensive portfolios of resorts and hotels operate their own internal exchange clubs.
Typically a shared holiday ownership property offers owners and their guests spacious accommodation, usually with a fully-equipped kitchen and high spec fixtures and fittings. The accommodation varies from studio apartments sleeping two to villas accommodating as many as eight guests, and they are invariably located in popular and attractive holiday destinations in beach, mountain, lake and urban settings.
Today’s holidays are so often about so much more than sun, sea and sand. Recognising that fact, shared holiday ownership developers ensure there are many amenities in resort for owners to enjoy from bars, restaurants, pools and relaxation areas to spas, saunas, water sports, boating and equestrian activities. Shared holiday ownership is about more than sharing time in a holiday property – it is about sharing memorable experiences and an enjoyable lifestyle with family and friends.
Timeshare – and indeed the many other forms of shared holiday ownership that have evolved in the last decade – bring a holiday ownership lifestyle within the reach of many who could not afford to buy and run a holiday home outright. And for those who can afford to buy a second home, in these economically challenging times a shared holiday ownership represents far better value than wholly-owned property, offering more holiday choices, as well as great on-site amenities and the sort of lifestyle and experiences not available in the average second home – and all for a relatively low financial outlay.
Take a look at some timeshare resorts and fractional properties.