5 Reasons Why Timeshares Lost Their Popularity With Holidaymakers
Timesharing was first conceived back in the 1960s as a means of permitting those families who couldn’t otherwise afford to buy a holiday property abroad to do so. By the 1980s the popularity of the timeshare had risen to such as extent that it had become an industry in its own right.
Yet, and despite this, by the 1990s the popularity of the time share was already beginning to wane and the timeshare industry was beginning to look suspiciously murky. And, by the noughties, the time share bubble had burst completely, but why?
Here are five of the main reasons why timesharing has fallen so spectacularly from grace, and looks unlikely to ever recover itself.
The cost of travelling via air has consistently dropped year on year. The more people who travel via airlines the less it costs to provide people with airline travel. Couple this with technological advances and the discovery of cheaper and safer ways to transport people by air and you might be forgiven for thinking this would only mean that timeshares would become even more popular. After all, what is not included in the cost of a timeshare is of course your travel to and from a timeshare property.
In reality though, because it is in 2016 so cheap to travel by air this has actually resulted in a new breed of holiday maker and has changed holidaying fashions irrevocably; people, families, couples and even the elderly are too overwhelmed by the massive choice of countries they can get cheap flights to via budget airlines such as Easy Jet. Then, the fact that cheap flights mean people can afford the cost of accommodation once there (wherever there might be) and travel more widely has understandably and continues to lure millions every year; quite simply, it is more exciting than returning year upon year to the same location.
It is not only airfare that has dropped in price considerably though. With more destinations available to travel to than ever before and nowhere off limits anymore simply due to it being half way across the world, this has meant that people began travelling to countries which did not previously enjoy a strong tourist trade, but which were and in some cases continue to be cheap once there. That is, accommodation, food costs and the price of transport in some countries and regions which became suddenly available meant that people began developing more exotic holidaying tastes – and ones they could suddenly afford to satisfy.
In response to this, and to both capitalise on this changing travel culture and as well meet the new demand being made by holiday makers, the package holiday was thus created. As well as making it even easier for those who had already begun travelling to new and different locations annually, the package holiday further enabled and convinced those who were reluctant to do so as being able to pay a one off price for a package they could tailor to suit their specific needs and desires alleviated much of the anxiety, stress and confusion some felt about travelling abroad and to exotic, unknown regions of the world.
Therefore, as the package holiday began to grow in popularity, the timeshare industry began to suffer; not only were fewer and fewer people buying into timeshares, but many who were already timeshare owners began to sell off their timeshares to instead enjoy the more flexible and fashionable annual package holiday, which was first offered by travel agent Giants Thomas Cook back in 1994, as explored in the Guardian Newspaper article: A Brief History of the Package Holiday.
Scams, Cons, Fraud and Mis-selling
One of the major problems with any idea that involves ‘investing’ sizeable amounts of money into anything is that investing is essentially a type of gambling. That is, investing money into property, for example, might come with exceptionally high odds on turning a profit on your investment amount, but it is still not guaranteed. Further, to then invest in a scheme or concept that, unlike investing in property, has little to no history is to take a far bigger risk.
Then, whilst timesharing was not devised as a means of scamming or deceiving people, millions of timeshare owners today feels that is exactly what happened to them as timeshare have proven no to depreciate in value and provide their ‘investors with little to no actual investment value. Further, because the timeshare industry rose in popularity so quickly this also attracted many ‘scammers’ to capitalise on its success and exploit those wishing to join the millions buying timeshares, and has in turn helped to ensure that timeshare depreciate in value.
Meanwhile, a few decades on, the same scammers who have arguably helped to affect the demise of the timeshare industry and destroy its short lived reputation as the best way to afford an annual holiday abroad, continue to flourish despite this as they are now as likely to scam those desperate to sell their timeshare as they once did those desperate to buy one.
Annual fees or maintenance fees are annual costs which timeshare owners are legally required to pay annually to go toward maintaining the property and too the complex often where their timeshare is located. Annual fees are also something which many people when buying into a timeshare failed to account for, understand or think carefully enough about before signing on the dotted line.
Further, whilst both UK and European law put in place a new legal directive almost ten years ago to try and protect would-be timeshare buyers from ending up in this position, namely by enforcing a 14 day cooling off period in which those who have signed timeshare agreements can cancel at no cost, this being a fairly recent piece of legislation does little to help those who have owned a timeshare for years already and are now struggling to keep up, afford or manage the annual fees attached to owning a timeshare.
The fact that so many timeshare owners have spoken out about unfair annual fees and the law has had to be revised in an attempt to protect as many people today from falling victim to disproportionate fees or fees not being explicitly explained during the sale of a timeshare, has consequently (and at least) prevented a number of people from purchasing into timeshares and enabled the rest to make a more informed decision – which, suffice to say, in most cases has lead millions to make the decision not to ‘invest’ their time, effort, hopes or saving into timesharing.
The Problem of Resale
Given the reasons above why timesharing is no longer a popularly entered into means of holidaying, it is perhaps not as surprising as it might otherwise and superficially seem to many that re-selling a timeshare can prove not just difficult, but in fact, impossible.
This is not hyperbole either; there are currently thousands of timeshare owners who have all but given up on the reality of re-selling their timeshare and instead attempted to make the best of a bad situation by renting out their timeshare property via websites and organisations such as My Resort Network Online to at least afford the annual fees attached to owning a timeshare; a proportion of those who have resorted to renting out their timeshare property are not even doing so to try and offset and manage the cost of paying annual fees on a timeshare they can no longer afford or simply do not want to use, but as a last result having failed even gift back their timeshare and cut their losses entirely.
In summary, and in a world in which there are hundreds of timeshares advertised as for sale to every one person who desires to buy, the chance of re-selling a timeshare is slim; the chance of making a return on resale is all but non-existent, and the chance of gifting back a timeshare to escape paying out every year to own a timeshare whether you use it or not in 2016 is smaller than ever before. Hence, the timeshare is no longer a popular means on holidaying.