I sat down with Roy Forsdick, the Commercial Director of Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket Ltd. (the parent company of eXpectations Holidays) to find out more.
Lisa: How did you come up with the idea for this adventure?
Roy: There was a very popular TV series in the 80’s which featured Monty Python’s Michael Palin in which he was challenged with retracing the footsteps of Phileas Fogg from the original “Around The World In Eighty Days” novel. This was my first real introduction to the story and I happened to stumble across one of the episodes on YouTube last year which brought about the question “Could we travel the world on 80,000 points?”. Despite what I felt was quite a compelling case, I couldn’t convince our CEO to send me round the world for 12 weeks! However, since the aim was to demonstrate the value and flexibility of points, a virtual journey using real-time availability from RCI was equally effective and also in keeping with the original novel.
Lisa: How can one become a member of eXpectatiions Holidays?
Roy: “First Time Buyers” can become members by simply purchasing a minimum of 30,000 points. They’re great value, for example, the purchase price for 80,000 points (which may be an excessive membership level for some people) is only £3,799 (approx $6,000). You then own the right to use that same amount of points year after year.
For existing owners it is important to first explain how the club has been set up. We wanted to make sure we are offering fantastic value to all our members and so underpinning all our points is a portfolio of carefully selected timeshare weeks from various, well-managed resorts around the world. We’ve built the portfolio using our knowledge of the resale market to ensure that every timeshare in the portfolio yields a high level of points for every £ / $ or € paid in annual management fees.
It’s surprising just how dramatically the value of different timeshare products can vary and so there is some fairly strict criteria regarding what timeshare weeks can be introduced to the portfolio meaning not all existing owners will be able to convert their timeshare into eXpectations. For example, the points value of a low season week in a 2 bedroom apartment is likely to be relatively low which, in itself is OK, but, the annual fee is likely to mean that there just isn’t the required value in order to introduce that week into the portfolio. The owner of a peak week in the same 2 bedroom apartment will have a much higher likelihood of being able to convert their week into eXpectations points on the assumption they pay the same annual fee as the low season owner since the peak week will be worth maybe 3 times the points value of the low season week.
I hope all that makes sense!! We actually have another video you can watch which explains this with a lot more ease! here’s the YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX7-EKgM6xw
Lisa: How long is membership for?
Roy: The club is set up to run until 2042 and we’ve built in a guaranteed exit to allow any members to simply walk away after the first three years if they so wish. As you probably know very well, some resorts and clubs can tie their members in indefinitely until ownership is transferred to another party. Because of our business model there’s simply no need to try and retain members who’s holiday habits have changed.
Lisa: Is there anything that can't be done with these points that you can do with RCI points?
Roy: OK, so I think the only real difference is that unlike many other points programs there is no “home resort” for you to book into meaning that you’ll…. I think instead your readers will want to know that they can also bolt on access to hundreds of hotels across Europe where provided they book 6 weeks or less before check in they only pay for Breakfast and Dinner and get the accommodation free! Details on our website!
Lisa:What are the costs involved?
Roy: So, after the initial purchase, members pay an annual management fee relative to each point they own along with a membership fee which includes access to RCI. It’s great value. For example, after the initial purchase price of 80,000 points, if you just took the cost associated with using those 80,000 points on a yearly basis the accommodation on the round-the-world journey worked out less than $20 per person per night (based on two people sharing).
I think this is a terrific way to illustrate that if you really want to see the world, or just a portion of it, timeshare gives you the opportunity to do so. Think outside the box. Orlando is nice, but there are so many other places in Florida. Sure, Paris is a wonderful city, but France has much to offer.
Make 2014 the year you really use your timeshare and the benefits it provides. I may be headed to Azure Resort in Malta this year for International Timeshare Appreciation Day. Get out and see the world.
Thanks to eXpectations Holidays (http://www.expectationsholidays.co.uk) and Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket, Ltd. (http://www.timeshare-hypermarket.com) Shining examples of honest, caring, intelligent people in timeshare. My hat is off to both Roy and Phil!