The fractional industry has been feeling the pinch – actually, it’s more like a big kick in the backside – since the recession began in 2008. If you’re not quite up to speed on fractionals, don’t worry. Most people are still getting them confused with timeshare, and with good reason because of their similarities. But there are some differences.
Fractionals are basically upscale timeshares – larger rooms, more amenities, personal concierges, shelves stocked with groceries when you arrive, that type of thing. Fractional developers may like to distance themselves from the thought of being a timeshare, but essentially they are. If you buy an interest in a resort that you can only use for a portion of the year, then it’s timeshare no matter how you slice up the property.
Some fractionals, such as a winery in Tuscany in Italy, are different because of the unique nature of their location and property. And true fractionals began as a way to enjoy vacations in exclusive areas by dividing up the high cost of deeded vacation properties among various owners. This is one reason why fractionals have long been associated with upscale destinations such as ski locations. But, as with most vacation ownership products, the variety of fractionals grew to the point that even the industry itself has a hard time defining exactly what it is.
What caught my eye recently was that the same problems that caused the emergence of the resale industry in timeshare now seem to have caught up with the fractional industry.
Well, what do you know?
While reporting from the Ragatz Fractional conference in San Francisco, Perspective Magazine reported that resales was the only area of growth for fractionals in 2010. All other sales areas were in decline.
“Fractional resales activity was up 22% compared to 2009 levels, even though new closed sales were down 37%” according to the Perspective report.
Adding to the culture shock was that the per week price point for fractionals is $17,600 according to the report. This price point is about $3,000 less than the average per-week price for a new timeshare interval. The difference is that you can’t just buy one week at a fractional resort like you can at a timeshare, as fractionals are usually sold in minimum four-week increments.
Dr. Richard Ragatz was the host of the conference and is a leading analyst for the fractional industry. He added that 71% of resorts said sales were better or the same during the last half of 2010 compared to the first half of the year, showing a trend towards improvement heading into 2011. 66% of resorts said 2011 will be positive compared to last year.
This optimism from the fractional industry is nice, since developers presumably don’t want prices and sales to continue to fall. However, has anyone considered that maybe these prices and sales had to come down because they were artificially overpriced to begin with? There is a reason why fractional resales was up when other sales activity remained low – price.
Timeshare owners have known this for years, which is why the timeshare resale industry does so well for buyers looking for deals. We at BuyaTimeshare.com have some fractional inventory available on our website, such as the Ritz Carlton Club Aspen. And, as always, we have the best value of timeshare inventory anywhere on the internet, which you can see by clicking onto BuyaTimeshare.com.Disney, Marriott Timeshares , 1 comment so far
Well, that didn’t take long.
Following an outcry from industry groups, language in a bill in the Florida legislature which would have deregulated the timeshare industry has been removed from the bill just days after it was introduced in committee.
We blogged about the original story last week and, while I’d like to think we played a part in the change of heart in Tallahassee, something tells me it had more to do with the involvement of Disney and the media attention it received in Florida.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, language that would have eliminated state oversight of timeshare developers has been stripped from a revised version of HB 5005. The Sentinel reported that if the language had remained in the bill, government regulators would not have been able to provide oversight, such as review offering documents by timeshare builders to ensure they include adequate disclosures for consumers or in advertising materials to ensure they aren’t misleading.
The move comes after the timeshare industry balked at the proposal. They pointed out that state oversight was first imposed to weed out shady developers who gave the timeshare business a dubious reputation that big-name players such as Disney, Marriott and Starwood have spent years attempting to overcome.
Disney had come out in public opposition to the proposal, with Disney lobbyist Brian Bibeau quoted as saying “Florida has what some people would call a colorful history of land fraud that goes back 100 years. Others would call it a lurid history of land fraud. The division (of condominiums, time shares and mobile homes) was put together to force the bad actors out of these areas of activity. We think it’d be a terrible mistake for (the state) to deregulate those areas of the division. We strongly oppose it.”
Even with the regulations in place, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said state agencies ordered 137 operators to cease and desist their timeshare solicitation operations in 2010.
Now, it’s all a moot point as legislators have come to their senses. But is this really the way to govern the fourth most populated state in America? Just throw a bunch of crazy ideas into a bill and see if anyone is paying attention? I thought that type of “strategic leadership” was reserved for the U.S. Congress, not state government.
Now, developers can go back to the high pressure, arm-twisting tactics that they are known for when they sell timeshare to the traveling public. Aren’t you glad you know better and look for deals to buy timeshare on the resale market?
An Update on the Caleb Cook Benefit March 24, 2011Posted by John Stephens in : Timeshare Resource , add a comment
A few weeks ago, you may remember that we blogged about a young boy who is battling a rare form of cancer. 7-year old Caleb Cook of Rochester, New Hampshire, suffers from rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of childhood cancer that affects tissues of the body that would normally develop into skeletal muscles.
BuyaTimeshare.com was one of 10 companies who sponsored the Caleb Cook RMS Fund Benefit to raise money for the Cook family as their son fights against the disease.
We’re very happy to report that over $20,000 was raised from those members of the community who turned out for the event.
Caleb is receiving regular rounds of chemotherapy at the renowned Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass., but there is a significant cost involved, which is why organizers reached out to the businesses community to help put on the fundraiser.
To follow Caleb’s journey, you can follow on his Facebook Page by clicking here or by going to the website at http://www.ccrmsfund.bbnow.org/, which was set up for the Benefit. Donations are still being accepted and you can make a donation to help with Caleb’s medical costs by clicking here.
Stay strong, Caleb.
Disney Feels Effects of Tsunami in Japan March 23, 2011Posted by JConnolly in : Disney , add a comment
Disney may be a six letter word, but the institution goes way beyond such a simple name. Not only has Disney consistently lived up to its world renowned name, but it has also given back to the public as well. Disney has taken it upon themselves to close down the Tokyo Disneyland Theme Park until the park passes inspections. The park had been slated to reopen March 21, 2011. Also, Disney has closed the doors to 28 of 47 Disney Stores in Tokyo due to damage from the earthquake and it’s aftermath. Disney representatives also reported minimal damage to Disneyland and Disney Sea parks in Tokyo. Disney Cruise Lines have also suffered from the closure of the Port of Cabo due to the tragedy. Even though cast members at Tokyo’s Disney Parks are unable to work until the parks reopen, they have put together an effort to give back to the community and help those effected by the natural disasters. They have donated blankets, water and food to the guests still stranded at the resorts. Furthermore, Disney star Demi LaVato donated $1 million to help Japan relief efforts.
Disney has taken a huge drop in the stocks due to the tragedy in Japan. It is estimated that Japan’s Disney market supplies over 18% of the operating income for Disney Parks. The hit to Disney will set them back greatly, but will hopefully turn around once efforts are put in to pick up Japan’s economy after the tragedy.
Meanwhile, production in Hawaii on Disney’s newest resort Aulani is still underway! Aulani is Disney’s newest addition to the Disney Resorts Family. Aulani is set to open its doors in late August 2011. Aulani will offer many children programs as well as fun for the whole family! With a destination as popular as Hawaii and a name like Disney behind it, Aulani is sure to become one of the most visited Disney resorts year round!Disney, News & Events , 1 comment so far
Following the election of Florida Republican Rick Scott to the Governor’s office last November, state regulation has been targeted as enemy number one by the new administration.
Under the assumption that too much regulation strangles business growth, Gov. Scott is making good on his campaign promise to reduce the size of government in the Sunshine State with a series of bills now making their way through the state legislature.
One bill in particular is calling for the removal of state oversight of the timeshare industry and the measure is drawing the expected public outcry – but from an unexpected source.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney has come out in public opposition to the proposal, with Disney lobbyist Brian Bibeau quoted as saying “Florida has what some people would call a colorful history of land fraud that goes back 100 years. Others would call it a lurid history of land fraud. The division (of condominiums, time shares and mobile homes) was put together to force the bad actors out of these areas of activity. We think it’d be a terrible mistake for (the state) to deregulate those areas of the division. We strongly oppose it.”
If the bill becomes law, the Sentinel reports that government regulators would no longer be able to provide oversight, such as review offering documents by timeshare builders to ensure they include adequate disclosures for consumers or in advertising materials to ensure they aren’t misleading.
No wonder there is no mention of this bill in the legislative affairs section of the ARDA website. I’m sure many developers would love for this bill to quietly slither its way through the legislature and be enacted by the Governor with as little amount of publicity as possible.
But there is a reason that some regulations are in place, and Florida’s dubious history with the timeshare industry is the reason that regulations have been enacted in the first place. To be fair, it’s not just the timeshare industry, but land ownership in general, that has led to the laws on the books.
There is a reason people laugh at jokes about slick salesmen selling unsuspecting people swamp land in Florida. Because those jokes are rooted in truth.
The industry has spent years and big bucks to change the perception of timeshare from a questionable, Wild West mentality to the legitimate vacation option that it is today.
Disney is well aware of the power of perception, as no one has a better brand in the travel and entertainment industries. They spend enormous amounts of time and money to build and maintain that brand, including the Disney Vacation Club product that is one of the most successful options in the timeshare business. They don’t want anything to threaten this, especially the unintended consequences of removing industry regulations that have stood the test of time and resulted in a terrific product enjoyed by people from around the world.
This is just one more reason to buy timeshare on the resale market. Dealing directly with an owner not only saves you money but allows you to know exactly what you’re getting for your money. It’s a straight forward transaction and the best values can be seen on the BuyaTimeshare.com website.
Are Timeshares Prepared For Natural Disasters? March 21, 2011Posted by JConnolly in : General , add a comment
Many question if the recent earthquake in Japan, which sparked a tsunami projected to hit Hawaii and parts of California will affect resorts located in these areas. Fortunately for the timeshare industry these resorts suffered minimal damages. Although massive flood and property damaged was expected, resort owners found that the tsunami only reached heights of 6 feet. What would of happen had the tsunami been 40 feet? Are there any preparation plans in case of another natural disaster? These questions linger in the minds of timeshare owners.
For the locals whom habitat the island of Hawaii know that it’s shared with one of the largest volcanoes in the world, Mauna Loa, nicknamed “Monarch of Mountains.” Not only is this volcano very active, it’s partnered by a second volcano, the most active volcano in the world, Kilaleau. These volcanoes are located on “The Big Island” which is the main island, or tourist portion of Hawaii. Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984, an eruption that threatened to destroy Hilo. While there is no lava flowing from here today, the volcano is closely monitored and threatens to erupt often.
Disaster preparation in select locations like Hawaii are key for resort and timeshare owners. Property damage could estimate if not to millions, billions not including population devastation. When purchasing a timeshare, do higher risk areas provide disaster preparation plans whenever you’re vacationing is what I ask. Due to the recent events and potentially hazardous future events, some timeshare owners are considering coming up from under their timeshare, which in turn is good for the secondary market.
Next time you are on a resort tour and thinking about purchasing a timeshare, be sure to ask about their policies and plans for a natural disaster.
RCI Releases Robust Mobile Application March 19, 2011Posted by JConnolly in : RCI , add a comment
RCI, the Global Leader in Vacation Exchanging has been in business for 37 years and is successfully providing tools for customers so they can enhance their vacation experience. Studies have shown that Americans now spend 25% of their time on social networks and blogs, and RCI is paying attention.
The most recent expansion of their business model is the launch of the RCI Mobile application that is offered through iTunes for the iPad, iPhone, and the iPod Touch. The RCI Mobile Application offers the ability to browse the RCI Resort Directory, watch RCI TV, and play with RCI Snapbook to help consumers find their vacations at the convenience of their cell phone.
The RCI Resort Directory gives users access to ALL RCI-Affiliated resorts worldwide. Users will be able to view a list of amenities, photos, and videos of these exotic resorts to enhance each member’s experience in choosing the resort that best suits their interests. There is even an option that allows you to compare multiple resorts.
RCI TV provides viewers with High- Definition videos of recommended place to eat, lodge, and attend some of the most popular attractions around the world. This feature also answers questions about the timeshare industry to those who are not familiar with timeshares.
The RCI Snapbook offers a new and fun way to stay connected with friends and family, which gives the user the ability to capture and upload their own photos, videos, etc. as well as making comments about their own vacation and sharing it with others. RCI understands that staying connected with your friends and family means sharing those special memories and moments. Using this feature gives you the opportunity to create personal online vacation scrapbooks on your iPhone or any Apple device. You are able to create and share those memories as they happen and anywhere in the world from your portable device.
RCI continues to keep up with the times by providing great innovative features for the new generations to come. To download the RCI Mobile Application, visit iTunes.
BuyATimeshare.com has amazing deals on RCI Timeshare Resorts!!
If you want to purchase resale or rent a timeshare from an existing owner, you will find a plethora of amazing deals on BuyATimeshare.com
Timeshare Industry Finally Gets “An App for That” March 18, 2011Posted by JConnolly in : Sunterra/Diamond Resorts , add a comment
Ever hear the saying “Yea, there’s an app. for that”? Well it’s a true statement. Diamond Resort International has recently taken charge and gotten themselves into the app. world by releasing their very own Diamond Resort application. (Who would have thought it would have taken this long to get there?) Being the first in the industry to do so, the app was released on March 9th of 2011 and was strategically named “Diamond Resort”. The application is available now to download in the iTunes App store as well as directly on your iPhone, iPod touch and even the iPad. The application is *FREE* of charge and will work on any Apple IOS operating system 3.2 and up. Not only will you be able to view the 177 Diamond and Diamond affiliated resorts in the 26 countries worldwide, you will have the power to access your Diamond Resort account on the go, be able to manage your points and even your book your reservations on the fly (literally)! This will surely revolutionize the way you set a timeshare reservation for vacation and one can only assume that more resort’s will be following suit in the very near future. With more updates to this application coming, you can only imagine what will be in store with future updates (nearby attractions, room layouts,amazing pictures and descriptions of each resort, and who knows maybe even the power to select certain rooms). This application makes it the perfect time to get your very own Diamond Resort International Membership and take advantage of this excellent opportunity in the app. world.
BuyATimeshare.com has great deals on Diamond Timeshares! Browse our advertisements up to 50% below developer pricing!News & Events, silverleaf , add a comment
Interval International announced last week that they have created a new level of membership called the Interval Platinum level. Billed as its most prestigious membership level, II claims that “the program is designed for discerning vacation owners who desire higher-end travel experiences and personal attention at every step of the planning process.”
My question to II is – what does that make the Standard and Gold level members, vacation owners who are not as discerning or looking for a lower-end travel experience?
I would hope that for the $200 plus it costs members just to join and make a domestic exchange that they would at least get some personal attention if they needed it. Or is that too much to ask?
Let’s be real. There is a reason the company introduced a new level above the others and said that “members enrolled in Interval standard and gold programs are able to upgrade to Interval Platinum at any time”.
It’s all about the coin.
To be fair, timeshare companies have been pushing existing members and owners for years to upgrade from their existing benefit level to the “new and improved” model. Even more so due to the effects of the recent economic downturn as companies slashed their sales teams when the new sales levels took a nosedive.
Any recent growth, or lack thereof, for timeshare companies has come on the backs of existing owners and members.
Silverleaf Resorts admitted it in their earnings report for 2010 when they reported that vacation interval sales were $206.3 million in 2010 compared to $241.0 million in 2009.
The reason they gave for the loss was that “the decrease in Vacation Interval sales is primarily attributable to a reduction in marketing to existing customers which resulted in lower sales of upgrade intervals.” So now they are blaming their lack of marketing to existing customers as a reason for losing money.
Why they decided to do this wasn’t mentioned, but upgrades have been the 800 pound gorilla in the timeshare sales office for years. So it’s no real surprise that Interval would go down this path and tell its members that if they want service, they’re going to have to upgrade for it.
Oh, and by the way, Silverleaf also reported that their sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of vacation interval sales were 55%, just in case you were wondering why the cost of a new timeshare from the resort was so expensive. Take away that 55% off the cost of a new timeshare and you realize why there are so many great deals on the timeshare resale market. The BuyaTimeshare.com website is loaded with these deals for just about any kind of timeshare imaginable to meet your vacation needs.
I get the argument that developers counter with when they say they are the ones taking the risk to build the timeshare, get it off the ground, etc., so that’s how they can recoup their investment. But 55% for sales and marketing?
C’mon, man.New Features, News & Events , add a comment
It’s no secret that blogs are a great way for a company to interact with customers and anyone else looking for information. For the timeshare industry, it is essential for reputable companies to provide such information in light of the misinformation that often exists on the web. You’re reading this so you understand, but did you also know that we have extended our online outreach to other social media platforms?
The social media revolution has come to BuyaTimeshare.com in a big way as we’ve created a new outreach program to share industry information and deals through corporate accounts. We’ve been testing these accounts to measure their effectiveness and have decided to grow the accounts to meet the information needs of our customers.
“We’ve been tracking the progress and adoption of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for a while, but the effectiveness of these channels for our industry has been in question until recently,” said Wesley Kogelman, president and CEO, BuyaTimeshare.com. “We believe that the adoption of these programs by consumers has grown to the point that, based on our testing, we are confident in investing into these programs to expand our outreach beyond our own website.”
Our company’s Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/rentatimeshare, has already grown to more than 350 “likes” and we will be using it to post weekly rental deals and industry information as well as a way for consumers to interact with the company.
The corporate Twitter account, at www.twitter.com/selltimeshares, will be used to provide deals on high demand properties and to share industry information to consumers to provide a more balanced view of the timeshare industry beyond the sensational headlines that are often unbalanced in their reporting of industry events.
As a matter of fact, we’ve integrated all three accounts so you can visit our Facebook page and access our Twitter account and this blog from that page as well. It’s a one-stop information shop for the company.
“It’s no secret that social media is the present as well as the future of online outreach,” said Kogelman. “Facebook now has 153 million subscribers in the U.S. and with its incorporation of Bing as its internal search engine, more people are going to use their Facebook account for all of their online searching and sharing needs. We want to be able to meet those needs by providing great value and information for those looking for deals on timeshare.”
Even with the great ways that social media can influence our lives, there is still only one place that you can go to find the best timeshare resale deals from people looking to sell timeshare and buy timeshare, and that’s our website at BuyaTimeshare.com.