It may be a shock to learn that timesharing, first invented in the 1960s and embraced by Boomers, is, well, booming. And it’s millennials driving its growth, multi-billion dollars in annual sales, and ushering in a new era of timeshare traveling typically associated with people’s grandparents.
Millennials are Flocking To Timesharing
Decades ago, when boomers purchased a timeshare, their pre-paid getaways were for a set, repeating week at a single resort. Fast-forward 60 years, millennials are buying a very different type of timeshare in record numbers.
Long gone is a vacation to the same place every year. Instead, timesharing today means traveling to various destinations around the world. Owners can take their pick from thousands of upscale resorts from global chains such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Westin, and even Disney.
Boomer’s Timeshare Version
Timeshares grew in the 1970s along with the desire to escape cities and urban sprawl and get away to the seashore or the mountains. After the passing of the Florida Timeshare Act in 1983 and the establishment of timeshare industry regulation, numerous hotel brands joined this part of the travel market. This trend continued for decades, further attracting buyers to timeshare ownership and ultimately shaping today’s offerings.
Millennials Now Make Up More Than Half of All Timeshare Owners In America
According to The American Resort Development Association(ARDA), in 2008, Boomers represented 55% of timeshare owners in America. Fast forward just eight years to 2016, and the percentage of millennial timeshare owners increased significantly to become the majority.
Why is that?
Today’s Timeshare Spoke to Millennials, and They Joined The Club
As the decades, generations, and travel preferences changed, so did timeshare ownership types. Millennials prefer to spend money on new experiences rather than material possessions and travel more than any other generation.
The timeshare industry saw the future and limitations of the original timeshare model and responded with a flexible timeshare ownership type: points. And it’s been rewarded with ten straight years of increased timeshare sales, pre-pandemic.
Timesharing is Now a Points Model
Now the most common type of timeshare, owners receive a set amount of points a year to use as currency for resort reservations. Owners can use these points for weekend, weekday, or week-long stays at their brand’s portfolio of resorts. Or, for even more flexibility, they can deposit these points with an exchange company, such as leaders Interval International or RCI, to access over 4,000 affiliated resorts across the globe.
“To continue to appeal to younger travelers, the timeshare industry has made it a priority to innovate and evolve to ensure it is meeting ever-changing consumer lifestyle needs and vacation preferences,” said Jason Gamel, President, and CEO, of ARDA. “The results clearly speak for themselves as younger generations find timeshare to be the perfect fit for their vacation needs.”
And They are Purchasing More Than One
“My husband and I have owned a Worldmark timeshare since 2000. Initially, he had points equivalent to one week in a one-bedroom condo. Later, we purchased additional points to book multiple units for large family vacations,” said Jennifer Do, Founder of Jennifer’s Path. “We have enjoyed the flexibility of the points-based system and also trade into other resorts using our RCI membership.
Because A Timeshare Is Actually Flexible
“We visit family in Madeira, Portugal, every year, but not always during the same week. We purchased a points-based Pestana ownership ten years ago because it gave us a consistent yet flexible home base while visiting family,” said Anne Abreu, Founder of ShePacksLite. “It also allows us to choose different Pestana properties in Madeira based on our family’s changing accommodation needs and resort room availability.”
America’s Largest Generation is Now the Largest Portion of Timeshare Owners
Before millennials entered the workforce in the 1980s and 1990s, most timeshare owners were Boomers. However, today’s 10 million timeshare owners have an average age of 39, a reflection of a 16-year-long trend of younger members.
According to ARDA’s U.S. Shared Vacation Ownership Owners Report: 2022 Edition, younger travelers now account for more than half of all timeshare owners (57%), more than half of new sale purchasers (53%), and nearly two-thirds of resale purchasers (65%).
Millennials are Using Timeshares To Travel The World
One of these millennial owners is Brittanie Harbick, co-host of the Travel Squad Podcast. Her boomer Aunt and Uncle gifted her a Carlsbad, California, timeshare as a wedding gift in 2015 that they’ve used to travel to different destinations.
“Over the years, we’ve enjoyed the timeshare but have yet to stay at our home location. Instead, we’ve chosen to use the timeshare exchange program RCI, which converts our week into points. So, for example, we were able to book a one-week stay in Kauai, which saved us a ton of money on accommodations compared to booking an equivalent hotel,” Harbick said.
Turns Out Boomers Were On to Something
Millennials vacation an average of 35 days a year, often combining business travel with leisure or family trips. Millennials and their growing families were one driving factor in the rise of Airbnb as it provided more space and home-like conveniences in their accommodations.
However, studies show that millennials started shifting away from home-booking sites like Airbnb in 2018 in favor of traditional hotels that offer on-site activities and amenities and a no-cleaning required check-out policy.
Now, A Timeshare Is a Condo Unit Inside a Resort
So perhaps it’s no surprise that millennials are flocking to timeshares that combine the two accommodation types. Some 68% of timeshare units are fully stocked 2-bedroom condos with kitchens, living rooms, and multiple bathrooms inside global chain resorts.
How Renting a Timeshare From An Owner Saves Travelers Thousands of Dollars
According to a Bankrate survey, 70% of U.S. adults are changing their summer vacation plans due to increasing prices across the board, and almost half are canceling plans because they flat out can’t afford them.
If you’re one of those people, before you write off a vacation completely, look at the hotel deals available with timeshare rentals. You can save significant money when you rent a resort room from a timeshare owner. As these individuals set their own rental price, independent of the standard rack room rates of hotels and popular travel booking sites, you can save 50% or more on vacation accommodations at the exact same resorts.
Are Timeshares a Scam? Here’s The Surprising Answer
John Oliver recently roasted timeshares calling them a scam. His segment is consistent with a recent survey where in a word-association exercise, 62% of survey participants think “scam” or “rip-off” as the first thing that comes to mind about timeshares.
60% of people recently surveyed had little to no knowledge of timeshares, yet 77% would not consider owning a timeshare. Why is that?
How To Buy a Timeshare for 75 to 99% Off the Resort Direct Price
When buying timeshares, the path to a savvy purchase starts by getting a timeshare resale from an existing owner who is looking for a timeshare exit. According to Timeshare Users Group (TUG), the oldest and largest timeshare owners group and advocacy organization, timeshare resorts spend between 40% – 60% of the purchase price on marketing campaigns to sell timeshare properties.
Meaning, if you buy a vacation property directly from a timeshare resort you’ll be paying much more than its market value.
Here’s How I Saved $7,000 On Our Summer Family Vacation To Hawaii
With its unique aloha spirit, volcanic mountain terrain, tropical rainforests, national parks, fantastic food, and the best beaches in the world, it’s not a surprise that Hawaii is a top destination on people’s vacation wish lists.
If you think it’s out of reach for your family to visit the Aloha state, here’s how I saved $7,000 on our trip with just two booking strategies.
Dave Ramsey’s Terrible Advice Sparks $150 Million Lawsuit from Disgruntled Listeners
For years, Dave Ramsey touted, endorsed, and advertised Timeshare Exit Team’s services as a trusted company that his followers could turn to when they no longer wanted their vacation ownership. These listeners didn’t know that he was being paid approximately $30 million to recommend this company’s services.
This article was produced by Planner at Heart.