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Call Your Company or Resort for Hurricane Updates and Reservation Cancellations

The horrendous hurricanes in Texas and Florida have taken a huge toll in human life and billions of damages in property losses across several Southern states and the Caribbean.  To help timeshare owners assess what is going on, RedWeek contacted several companies for updates on their resorts and how to handle cancellations, etc.   While the situations are continuing to unfold, here is a quick handle for timeshare owners to monitor the hurricanes and their aftermath.

1. Call your home resort or timeshare company, owner services, to get updates on damages, reservations, and cancellations.  Many independent resorts update their Facebook pages with their status faster than they can update their websites, so be sure to check. Most reputable companies are bending over backwards to help travelers rearrange their schedules or, in some cases, get refunds if applicable.  We also encourage owners to post their own messages, in the forums on your resort’s page on RedWeek, to help inform other owners.

2. Call your preferred airlines as well to determine their policies.  All airlines have posted updates about Harvey and Irma on their websites, usually referring people to hotlines for real-time information.

3. The devastation at many Caribbean resorts will probably require many months for reconstruction and resumption of anything close to “normal” vacationing.  Owners on St. Martin resorts, for example, may be unable to use their intervals for months, if not years.  Here are some examples of what companies are communicating to timeshare travelers.

4. The Vistana timeshare company (formerly Starwood) sent members an email urging owners at Florida’s Vistana Beach Club, Sheraton PGA Vacation Resort, Sheraton Vistana Resort, Sheraton Vistana Villages and Sheraton Broadway Plantation to seek updates on vistana.com.  Vistana’s crisis hotline reported that the Westin St. John on the US Virgin Islands would suspend all near-term incoming reservations until further notice — since the airport and all local ports are damaged and closed.

5. Marriott Vacation Club’s owner services department offers a crisis hotline that is updated every morning at 9 a.m. EST. The Sept. 11 update said Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove resort in St. Thomas was closed until further notice while damages are being assessed for “heavy” landscape losses and water intrusion. Marriott also reported no injuries or loss of life at the resort, and said the resort would reopen “as soon as possible.” Marriott posted a more positive outlook for the St. Kitt’s Beach Club, which is also closed. The resort suffered “no significant damage” and reported that guests are safe.  Marriott also urged travelers to contact their travel insurance companies and exchange companies, if applicable, to find out their options.

TimeSharing Today, the industry’s only independent site (other than RedWeek) for national timeshare news,  just released a number of hurricane-related stories that are worth review.

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US Timeshare Industry Posts 7th Straight Year of Sales Growth

Last month, in our Ask Redweek forum, we posted an article about positive trends in the resale market.  For the first half of 2017, resale closings tracked by RedWeek rose 46 percent compared to 2016.  As a follow-up to our feature on resales, we’ll now give you a snapshot of industry-wide stats just released by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the industry’s trade association and lobbying arm in Washington.

The Recession in Retail Sales is Officially Over

In a strong rebound from the Great Recession of 2008, the US timeshare industry continued to show steady sales growth in 2016, making it the seventh consecutive year of expansion for an industry that is still undergoing major changes, including mergers and consolidations, while adapting to new competitors who are using alternative business models to lure timeshare travelers to their programs.

In a report released June 29, ARDA said that sales volume increased 7 percent in 2016 while rental revenues rose 5 percent.  Overall sales increased from $8.6 billion in 2015 to $9.2 billion in 2016.  Rental income rose from $1.8 billion in 2015 to $1.9 billion last year.  Average timeshare occupancy was 79 percent, which compares very favorably to a 65.5 percent heads-in-beds rate for hotels.

“Seven straight years of growth is a testament to the strength of the vacation product we offer,” said Howard Nusbaum, ARDA’s president and CEO.  “Timeshare offers more space and privacy, tremendous use-value over time, and over 5,300 resorts worldwide to choose from.”

According to ARDA’s resort-count, there were 1,558 US timeshare resorts in 2016 (for 206,080 units). A whopping 70 percent of those units offered two bedrooms.  The average unit size, moreover, exceeded 1,000 square feet.  Florida continues to have the most timeshares, by a lot, while beach resorts command the most popularity.  Inland resorts, such as Colorado, still claim the highest occupancy rates.

ARDA’s survey of member companies also showed how timeshare and other hospitality companies are adapting to the explosion of new technologies to serve customers. At least 35 percent of all resorts now offer mobile applications (primarily cell phone) to owners for reservations, check-ins, concierge services and onsite communications.

Time for Everyone, Owners and Resorts, to Adopt Tech Solutions

The rush to go-mobile and embrace high-tech communications is no accident.  All brand-name timeshare companies are adopting customer-friendly tech programs as fast as possible — not only to assist customers, but to offset competition from start-up travel clubs and reservation companies that offer products never envisioned by the old-school timeshare companies.  Fast-growing travel agencies such as VRBO, AirBnB and others are the vanguard of a new travel industry that seeks to offer more travel options, more adventures, more cruises, instant reservations and, most importantly, more treasured experiences for consumers.  That latter idea, special experiences, used to be the preferred domain of timeshare operators at sales presentations.  No longer.

At recent industry conferences, CEO’s of the biggest brand-name timeshare developer companies debated the impact of these new players in travel.  The newbies include those who offer one-night-at-a-time, sleep-on-a-couch-in-Manhattan stays to entities that offer extended travel excursions to Europe, Africa and China. But there was no agreement among the majors on how to adapt timeshare-in-perpetuity models to millennium-aged travelers who reject long-term commitments and seek shorter, immediate reservations.

One thing all execs conceded, readily.  They are hiring millennial-aged marketers (ages 25-40, roughly) as fast as possible to catch up with a travel generation that appears, already, to be way beyond the traditional lifetime contract timeshare era.  They are also refocusing sales presentations on the benefits of vacation experiences, rather than vacation cost-savings, to appeal to the potential next generation of timeshare buyers.  They are also confident, perhaps as a wish fulfillment, that millennial travelers will eventually switch to timeshares when their lifestyles dictate that a two-bedroom, two-bath, full kitchen condo is much better than a one-bedroom hotel studio for four.


ARDA’s PR and marketing teams recognized this probable shift a couple years ago.  That’s when they started promoting industry-wide statistics which showed that timeshare owners have more sex on vacations than “regular” travelers who stay in hotels.  Tough if not impossible to argue with that.

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Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Ecuador

Taking a break from volunteering on an eco-farm in the Finca Verde region of Ecuador. Submitted by Marlayna P of Gunnison, CO.
At a latitude of 2 degrees N, Ecuador lies almost right on the Equator. The name literally translates to “Republic of the Equator.” In 2000 Ecuador changed its coinage from the sucre to the US Dollar.
The Galapagos Islands are owned by Ecuador.
Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

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Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – For the Fourth!

For the Fourth of July – Fireworks in Silverton, CO, in the San Juan Mountains where “behind the fireworks the stars are as big as goose eggs.” Submitted by Malcolm P of Colorado.

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

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Water Safety at your Timeshare Resort

When your family is vacationing in a timeshare rental, no matter the time of year odds are that the resort has swimming pools. Well, that’s half the fun of staying at a resort, especially for your kids. And many of the resorts have waterpark features or are near waterpark theme parks. Dr. Steven Dowshing, chief medical editor of kidshealth.org, offers these tips for keeping your children safe while still letting them enjoy playing in the water.

First and foremost, make sure your children learn to swim as early in their lives as you can possibly manage it.

  • Swimming Pools
    Remember that pools are made of concrete, which is rough, hard, and can certainly cause injury. Teach your children that they can jump off the sides of the pool, but the only place they can dive is off a diving board. Also point out to them the numbers that are painted on the sides of the pool to indicate depth, and give them instruction on which numbers they are allowed to play by, based on their age, size and swimming abilities.
    If the pool is posted with a “No Lifeguard on Duty” sign, make sure an adult who knows how to swim is with the children at all times. Do not allow the children to push or jump on others, which could cause accidental injury. Flotation toys are just that – toys – fun to play with, but don’t fall into a false sense of security that they can save a life. Make sure your kids do not chew gum or eat while in the pool as they could easily choke.
  • Water Parks
    Check out what each attraction is like before allowing your children to participate. Make sure your children wear life jackets if they don’t know how to swim or are not strong swimmers. Read all of the signs for each attraction, making sure that your child is tall enough, old enough, and doesn’t have any of the medical conditions that are listed. Questions? Ask a lifeguard or attendant.
    Instruct your children to always go to down a waterslide face up and feet first, and to allow the person ahead of them to pass a safe point before getting on the ride. If a lifeguard is on duty, remind your children to listen to the instructions. And caution your kids that because it’s slippery they are not to run from ride to ride.

Following these simple but important tips you’ll ensure that the safety of your family, while having lots of great times in the water, is of paramount importance, and your timeshare vacation will be the highlight it’s meant to be.

(Photo of Notchville Water Park near the Smugglers Notch Timeshare Resort)

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Share Your Love of Timeshares on Your Web Site

RedWeek.com, the largest online marketplace for timeshare rentals, resales and exchanges has just created two great widgets that will allow you to share your love of timeshares on your web site or blog.

Widgets look like web banners and are little bits of code that you can easily grab and put on your own website. Not only is it a portable way for you to show your interest and support of timeshares, it makes finding a timeshare to rent, buy, sell, or exchange a snap!

We have two interactive versions of the RedWeek.com widget. One allows someone to search by location (such as Orlando or Maui) and the other that makes it easy to find a resort by searching on its name (this one will even auto fill your answer and provide options based on what you’ve typed to help guide you). Both widgets will direct the person back to RedWeek.com with the results found.

So, add our widget to your web site for a quick and easy way to search for a vacation! You might even find that you are the one using it the most.

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Visit Disney’s Beach Club Villas Timeshare Resort for an Unforgettable Christmas Holiday

A sun-splashed beach vacation and Christmas at the same time? Why not! Rent a timeshare at Disney’s Beach Club Villas in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and you’re just steps away from an unforgettable Christmas holiday celebration at Disney’s Epcot.

The Disney’s Beach Club Villas are decorated in the pastel colors and wood accents of beach architecture typical of the eastern seaboard, and range from a studio size, which has a kitchenette (includes microwave and small refrigerator) to 1 and 2-bedroom units that include a fully-equipped, full-size kitchen, and in-room washers and dryers.

All guests have full access to the amenities of the resort. These include Stormalong Bay, a massive 3-acre water park with exciting water slides and delightful sand bottom swimming pools, and restful pontoon boating at Bayside Marina. For more relaxation soak up the sun out on the beautiful white sand beach, or even enjoy some lazy fishing.

Epcot is within easy walking distance of the Villas. From November 27, 2009 through December 30, 2009 Epcot presents “Holidays Around the World.” You and your family will thrill to experience the holidays at the pavilions of 11 different nations as if you had actually traveled to those countries for Christmas.

Your children will be thrilled to share cookies and cocoa with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus at American Adventure. And then they’ll also get to meet “Santa Claus” in his other international forms, such as England’s Father Christmas, France’s Pere Noel and Italy’s La Befana.

The most popular holiday presentation at Epcot is the Candlelight Processional. Held at the outdoor America Gardens Theater at three different times each evening, this is a spectacular musical performance of the Christmas Story. Backed by a mass choir and a 50-piece orchestra celebrity narrators retell the story of Christmas. This is a serious and moving experience so your children will see no Disney Characters included in the performance, but most children are enthralled with the pageantry.

Just a reminder, evenings in Florida during November and December can be cool, so be sure to bring warm clothes and jackets if you plan to attend the outdoor Candlelight Processional performance. Learn more about Disney’s Beach Club Villas. See all Orlando timeshare resorts.

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Starwood Opens 150th Hotel in Asia Pacific

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. recently opened its 150th hotel in Asia Pacific – the ITC Royal Gardenia, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Bengaluru. The opening of the 292-room hotel in India is part of Starwood’s long-term strategic growth plans in the Asia Pacific region. Prior to this new hotel, Starwood also opened seven others earlier this year and still have seven more slated to open before the end of 2009.

“Reaching our 150th hotel in Asia Pacific is an important next step for Starwood as we progress on the journey to open our 1,000th hotel and resort worldwide,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood. “The growth opportunities in Asia Pacific are unsurpassed perhaps anywhere in the world. And we are working with our best-in-class partners to further extend our position as the region’s largest upper-upscale and luxury hotel company, while strengthening our place as the industry innovator in the select service segment.”

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 966 properties in more than 100 countries. Starwood brands include: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality timeshare resorts.

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Timeshare Usage is Up

As reported by StarBulletin.com timeshare occupancy in Hawaii grew the first six months of 2009, even though the challenges in the economy showed an overall decline in visitors to the state. The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported that the number of visitors who spent their entire vacation in a timeshare was up by 5.8 percent over the previous year.

“The data proves that even in difficult times, timeshare owners and guests are committed to Hawaii and will come year in and year out,” said Daniel Dinell, Vice President of Hilton Grand Vacation Club.

Last month over 67,000 visitors indicated that they planned to spend part of their vacation in a timeshare for their next vacation. This number represents a 5.1 percent increase in timeshare usage.

The most dramatic increase in timeshare usage was seen by Japanese visitors. Last month, Japanese visitors who planned to spend part of their vacation in a timeshare increased by 56.8 percent over the same time last year.

See all timeshares for rent.
See all Hawaii timeshares.

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RedWeek Exchange Summer Sale

Don’t put away that suitcase just yet! RedWeek.com has a fantastic Exchange Summer Sale going on right now! Save 30% to 80% on these timeshare weeks with dates starting Sept 6th, running through November, 2009. These incredible deals at fantastic destinations won’t last long, so, book your end-of-summer vacation right now and save 30% to 80%!

Here’s a sneak peak at just a hand full of the destinations available for sun or surf, family or outdoor travel and even city and metro locations:

  • Paniolo Greens, Hawaii Located in the hilltop setting of Waikoloa, the quiet resort of Paniolo Greens offers spacious accommodations, panoramic vistas, and rolling ranch lands.
  • Hacienda del Mar Resort, Mexico
    The Hacienda del Mar Resort is located in the mystical desert landscape of Baja. Endless beauty surrounds the resort in addition to challenging golf courses and the breathtaking view of the peninsula.
  • Marriott’s Grand Chateau, Las Vegas, Nevada
    At the center of the legendary Las Vegas Strip, Marriott’s Grand Chateau provides casual elegance with a flair reminiscent of the timeless mansions of Southern France.

But, don’t wait! These deals are going fast! Book your exchange with RedWeek.com today and save.

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