Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guest Post-Successfully Rebranding Timeshare

Chris Green from Travel and Leisure in the UK , http://www.travelandleisure.co.uk/ contributes a wonderful and thoughth provoking guest blog today.

Successfully Rebranding Timeshare?
The word “timeshare” is a loaded one, in the UK, Europe and USA it has become synonymous with scams, deceit and fraud over the last 20-30 years. The reputation timeshare has acquired is due mainly to those who have mis-sold the product as an investment or been less than forthcoming about the long term financial implications of taking on a timeshare. The product itself is still cherished by thousands the world over and for those they would not have a bad word to say about it.

The trouble becomes the perception which proceeds timeshare, the loaded connotations of it. Timeshare does not mean scam, timeshare resale does not mean rip-off and buying timeshare is not an inherently bad thing. Whilst this is the case in most instances, the reputation is enough to damage the industry. To side-step the issue some companies have worked on re-branding the timeshare product, to sell the virtues of ownership removed from the baggage which we are all-too familiar with.
Vacation Ownership Vs Timeshare

Vacation Ownership is a growing term in the travel and leisure industries and has been around for the last 5 to 10 years at least. Some believe that it is just another term for timeshare, one that feels more empowering, flexible and ultimately less daunting for the customer. The idea of taking control of your holiday with vacation ownership is a much more appealing concept, but is it the same thing? Yes and no.

In some instances Vacation Ownership has different lease types, others treat timeshare as a type of vacation ownership, others including vacation clubs, members clubs, point schemes and similar. The reality is that the difference is mostly superficial, those wanting to distance themselves from the term “timeshare” will discuss the advantages of a Vacation Ownership property, most of the time the actual added benefit is very little.
Fractional Ownership Vs Timeshare

Another commonly used replacement for “timeshare” is fractional ownership, a very similar concept on the surface. There are  two sides to this story; one hand there is no real difference, on the other some say that there is much more different from the two than from vacation ownership; timeshare is what the name suggests, a share in the time – i.e. one week a year, whereas fractional ownership is deeded ownership of a fraction of particular property. The biggest difference is essentially that you own a greater proportion of the year with a fractional, usually a minimum of 4 weeks.

Often there is the assertion that a fractionals are easier to sell and you reap the rewards of real estate ownership. In some cases this is true, it is also certainly true that the market for fractionals is much stronger than timeshare at the moment – the difference, however, is much more based on perception than most would have you believe.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

“Make a holiday yours with Vacation Ownership.”
“Become part of the exclusive elite and own your own slice of heaven with Fractional Ownership.”

“Get coaxed off the street to sit through a 3 hour presentation and get convinced to buy a Timeshare.”
Three very broad statements that paint hugely different pictures of three holiday products that are more often than not, the same thing at their core. In fact the differences between the three can be smaller than the differences between buying the same timeshare product at different resorts or from different developers – the essence stays the same

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