In the USA state of Florida, sales of holiday real estate slumped during the
early 70s and the Americans sought new and innovative ways of selling their
empty properties. The solution was 'timeshare' - or 'the sale of the use of one
property unit for each week of the year', with prices varying according to size
and seasonal demand.
Hotel chains soon realised they could dramatically increase occupancy rates,
hence increase year-round revenue by mixing the way resort developments were
structured ie convert a percentage of the resort into a mixture of
timeshare and hotel.
In 1974 the concept of 'holiday exchange' was developed
where owners could exchange their vacation period within the resort they own
with other timeshare owners throughout the world.2
Today, 'holiday ownership' or 'timesharing' is used by many families,
both her in Australia and around the world. It makes a way to have a holiday at
a considerable saving on accommodation.
So how does it all work?
The timeshare property is divided into 52 weeks. 51 weeks are available for
sale, whilst one week is kept for maintenance of the property. An individual or
group can then purchase one or more weeks as a fraction of the whole ownership.
There is also an annual maintenance fee that is levied for any necessary upgrade
of the property and its facilities.
This of course is not the end of what you can do with your ownership of the
timeshare. You can use it, or share its use with friends and relatives. If a
business has purchased timeshare, they can use it as a staff incentive. Demand
by owners for greater flexibility has led to the expansion of the exchange
systems and the point systems.
To find out more, there are a number of resources available on-line, some of
which we have listed below. Potential customers and consumers should also ensure
they do plenty of research before making any decision. Check the government body
for your country such as 'Fair Trading', 'Consumer Advice' etc for any
information they may have on holiday ownership and timeshare.