Merriam-Webster online defines a resort as "a place providing recreation and entertainment especially to vacationers." Interestingly enough, the Internet being what it is; immediately following the definition were a series of advertisements linking to a resort, i.e. timeshare vacation.
I interviewed three people about what a resort mean to them and here are their similar answers:
Roger from Florida said that a resort is a "stress free place, with a kitchen and lots of activities, with privacy and more like a second home than a hotel."
Mark from Minnesota described a resort as "someplace nicer than a hotel, with tennis courts and a golf course, maybe a spa and big rooms with large beds and expensive furniture and the latest in technology in all the rooms."
And Rita from Illinois chimed in with "a resort is where you go to relax, have fun, be catered to and have no worries."
Hunt down your latest copy of the Interval International directory and you'll see that is a "Resort Directory." Same with the RCI directory.
If you check out the list of available amenities, Interval International shows this array: Auto Rentals, Babysitting Referrals, Bar/Cocktail Lounge, Bicycle Trails, Boat Marina/Landing, Casino Gambling, Clubhouse, Day Spa, Entertainment (Live), Exercis Room (Equipped), Fishing, Golf, Grocery or Convenience Store, Horseback Riding, Lake, Playground, Racquetbal, Restaurant, Sailing/Rentals, Sauna or Steam Room, Scuba Diving, Skating (Ice), Skiing (Cross Country), Skiing (Downhill), Swimming Pool (Indoor), Swimming Pool (Outdoor), Tennis, VCR/DVD, Waterskiing, Whirlpool Spa or Hot Tub, Air Conditioning, Cooking Facilities, Fireplace, Television and Laundry Facilities.
Obviously, it would be impossible for any timeshare resort to have all of those ameniti4es. Ice skating and casino gamblin in Orlando or Gatlinburg? Of course not. Cross country skiing in Cancun or waterskiing in Sedona? Not likely. And not expected.
But what if the timeshare "resort" that you own at, exchange into or are thinking fo purchasing at shares it's pool area with an adjacent rundown hotel, its exercise room consists of 3 machines and an exercise mat and all of which are located in the adjacent hotel? Does that resort have the right to call itself at resort? It does and it's rated 5 stars for some reason.
How about a five star resort located in San Franciso whose only onsite amenities are cooking facilities (which may or may not be a 700 watt microwave), television (WOW!) and laudry facilities? Is this what yu would call a resort?
There are of course, many true resorts affiliated with both II and RCI. Less than two miles away from the mysterious five star resort in Orlando that shares its pool with the run down hotel, there is a beautiful, well-maintained, amenity loaded resort in evey sense of the word, including 24 hour manned security. (Note to both II and RCI---this 24 hour manned security entrance should be an identifiable amenity in all future directories. As consumers are finding it scarier and scarier to leave home and travel to begin with, security has become a paramount concern.)
And while we're at it, how about timeshares calling themselves timeshares for a change? Bravo to Breezy Point Timeshare in Minnesota. There they are in the RCI Directory in all of their amenity laden (beach, boating, cross-country skiing, fishing, game room, lake, laundry facilities, live entertainment, indoor pool, restaurant, waterskiing, whirlpool/hot tub) glory, proudly announcing to the world that they are a timeshare!
If timeshare is ever going to shed its reputation for its less than transparent aura and position itself as a sometimes more costly alternative to vacationing at hotels and motels, it needs to get a grip on what consumers think a "resort" is and not use the term quite so freely.
Perhaps ARDA, RCI and II should all reconsider what passes for a resort in the timeshare world and not allow developers to use the term quite so freely.