ARDA Tells Nation State of the U.S. Vacation Timeshare Industry Study Shows Steady Progress in Sales and Occupancy

Earlier this week, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) produced another press release in its series aimed at changing the perceptions of timeshare among potential buyers and renters. The bulletin announced that an Ernst & Young study found the “sales of vacation products held steady with a slight increase from the previous year, while nearly 80 percent of owners continued to travel to their timeshare destination.” The report from the State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry United States Study 2011 Edition added that ten percent of the timeshare occupancy rate was comprised of renters as more timeshare developers expanded their rental program offerings to reach consumers unfamiliar with vacation products.

Among the points made by the news release were the following:

•    Timeshare products remain appealing to approximately 8 million owners because people are making budget-conscious decisions when it comes to vacationing. ARDA points out that in a timeshare unit, vacationers have the option to prepare meals “at home,” rather than dining out for every meal as with a traditional hotel stay, for example.

•    The study found that the concept of flexibility was important to buyers. Developers who are offering points, for instance, enable owners to customize their vacation needs. They can break up or extend vacation weeks, travel during various times of the year, and/or stay in various unit types at a range of locations. 

•    The news release points out that some developers also offer biennial products that allow owners to use intervals every other year, instead of each year.  About 73 percent of survey respondents have intervals of the traditional weekly variety; about 55 percent have some form of points-based products; and, 36 percent of respondents have biennials.

•    The growth in the rental market is another indicator of the industry’s vitality.  Renters comprised ten percent of timeshare stays last year, or 7.9 million nights rented, of the 79 percent total occupancy. 

•    Other study highlights show that 55 percent of new timeshare sales come from new owners, while 45 percent of timeshare sales are from those who already own a timeshare with that developer. This demonstrates high satisfaction with the product through repeat buyers. In addition, the sales costs associated with repeat sales are lower than for first time buyers.

ARDA’s broadcast was distributed to media outlets nationwide and in Canada, with an appeal for readers to visit the association’s consumer-oriented web site, www.VacationBetter.org. The details of the study will be posted on ARDA’s business site, www.ARDA.org, shortly.

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