New ARDA Report shows Rise in US Timeshare Sales

A new report on US timeshare reveals a rise in sales, steady occupancy rates and a healthy outlook overall – all good news for the industry.

The State of the US Vacation Timeshare Industry Study which was conducted by Ernst & Young shows that vacation ownership, which tends to be more resilient than hotel occupancy rates during economic downturns, is faring well, with over half of buyers reported as being “new owners”.

The Study reports a rise in sales, stable occupancy levels and promising trends which include more flexible and innovative products as well as increasing interest from younger buyers.

The United States Study 2012 Edition confirms that sales of vacation products have increased slightly compared to last year. Nearly 80 percent of owners have continued to travel to their timeshare destination and it’s a figure which yet again outpaces traditional hotel occupancy at 60 percent in 2011 according to Smith Travel Research December 2011 report.

“Our 8 million owners continue to value the proposition of vacationing better with timeshare as the products offer flexibility and rejuvenating amenities for the whole family,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA).

ARDA noted that some of the reasons timeshare remains stable during the current economy include factors such as spacious apartments and full self-catering facilities. Timeshare owners don’t have to spend extra money dining out during their holidays as they probably would if they were to stay in a traditional hotel instead.

The State of the US Vacation Timeshare Industry report also highlighted the findings that 58 percent of timeshare sales are “new owners” and almost three-quarters of resorts (72 per cent) have at least half of their sales from new owners.

Timeshare products have come a long waysince the fixed weeks of the sixties and products are becoming more flexible and innovative as the industry is keen to attract younger consumers to experience the advantages of the timeshare lifestyle. Flexibility is key, with points-based programmes gaining popularity because of the freedom they offer.

Points owners can choose when they want to holiday, and how long for, whether it’s a long weekend battery-charging break between seasons or being able to use their points to extend their holiday weeks, upgrade to a larger unit, or even spend a few nights in a city hotel en route to long haul destinations.

Another option in today’s timeshare market is biennial products which allow owners to use intervals every other year instead of yearly. Out of those surveyed, about 72 per cent said they owned weekly intervals, while some 67 percent have some form of points-based products and approximately 42 percent of respondents own biennial products.

Overall, the survey indicates a promising and positive outlook for the industry, with healthy consumer demand for expanded product offerings, steady occupancy rates, and continued success of rental programs.

The report was commissioned by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) International Foundation and conducted by Ernst & Young.

About ARDA: The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based trade association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries (timeshares). ARDA has almost 1,000 corporate members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded corporations with extensive experience in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, industry vendors, suppliers, and consultants; as well as owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

For more information on ARDA, including consumer buying guides, its philanthropic and community service awards and the latest shared ownership industry news and reports, please visit http://www.arda.org/arda/home.aspx

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