View Timeshares as a Travel Aid, Not an Investment – Part III


The Sales Pitch

One criticism is that the sales presentations can involve high-pressure pitches, and often require prospective buyers to meet with two or three different people who will try to convince them to sign the papers that day.

Many who take tours at these resorts do so multiple times, often to help supplement vacations with the free theme park tickets, gift cards, meals and other incentives offered for sitting through an hour or 90- minute pitch. The incentives don’t stop there. If you indicate you are interested, you might be offered an upgrade on the type of unit you’re getting, or some other inducement.

Types of Deals

There are several different types of timeshare deals.

ARDA says about 67 percent of timeshare companies sell “intervals” — either specific weeks or “floating” weeks that can be used during certain parts of the year or sometimes every other year. Prime slots during holiday periods or at the height of a season— for instance ski season in Colorado or midwinter in the Caribbean — command higher prices.

The remaining third of developers use a points system or another flexible program that allows people to book vacations at different times, spending their points as they go — with more desirable locations and time slots and larger units costing more points.

All timeshares also require annual maintenance fees, which average $646 according to ARDA, and sometimes yearly membership fees as well.

With both intervals and points, owners can trade the time they have at their resort for locations elsewhere, typically by using an exchange company. There are two major exchange companies, RCI, a subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide Corp., and Interval International, a segment of Interval Leisure Group. Both require membership fees to use their services — starting at $89 a year.

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