As 2010 winds down and the timeshare industry is looking for ways to rebound, recoup and regroup in 2011 and beyond, this writer thinks that there is a great opportunity for the first timeshare company to break apart from the rest and exclusively offer right-to-use timeshare.
Disney Vacation Club has had great success with this. Talk to any DVC owner and ask if they had any qualms about purchasing a 50 year right-to-use product over a deed in perpetuity as is the case in most US based timeshares and you'll hear "of course not."
Let's be honest here...as technology has jumped leaps and bounds each year, there has been a correlation in our attention spans as well as ability to comprehend "forever" in part, because everything else changes so frequently. What does "forever" mean anyway?
For years, timeshares have gotten an undeserved bad reputation for the fact that if you die and your timeshare goes to your heirs, they have to pay annual dues on it. Well of course they do, just as they have to pay real estate tax and maintenance on a house that they inherit. But the timeshare naysayers, quick to find something wrong, pounce upon this "horrid" fact. This is basic Ownership 101...you own something, you have to pay for the upkeep.
But there is an opportunity for a savvy timeshare company to avoid all of this and make a product available to the consumers that is simply this: "a pre-paid vacation plan for the next 20 years." Interestingly enough, this is exactly how I used to sell timeshare back in my timeshare selling days. You're going to go on a vacation every year anyway, why not pre-pay for those vacations at today's rates?
The added benefit of such of a plan is that it would take timeshare out of the real estate basket, thereby avoiding the pitfalls of the basket. Confused consumers would no longer think of a timeshare as a real estate investment (it isn't), there wouldn't be the battle between the licensed timeshare resellers and the unlicensed timeshare resellers would vanish as would the opportunities for lying timeshare salespersons to use the "back in 1964 Walt Disney bought 27,000 acres of land for $185 an acre and today that land is worth $1,000,000 an acre" pitch, a variation of which is used everywhere deeded timeshare is sold.
There ARE solutions of the myriad of timeshare problems out there. Timeshare remains a wonderful product. Many people, including myself, have posed several solutions...why is it that timeshare companies don't listen?
Let's work together and make 2011 the year that timeshare makes some positive changes which will allow the benefits to finally outweigh the pitfalls for everyone!