The History of Time Shares

Timeshares seem like they are a North American phenomenon but they really are not unique to this continent. The idea, where deeded ownership to a property for an interval at a hotel, resort condominium or any other type of vacation property originated in Europe in the 1960s.  It was stylish to own, not rent, a get-away in the poshest parts of the world. This trend towards time shares was the result of commercial aviation opening up new possibilities for holidaying abroad. Popular destinations for time-shares in the sixties were France and Switzerland where several families might share a single ski chalet.


One of the most popular first ever timeshares was in the French Alps and was a ski resort called SuperDevoluy. Another popular timeshare vacation resort company that is still successful today was Hapimag, which is in Baar, Switzerland.  The idea for this time share was conceived in 1964.


The first vacation spot in the United States that offered a time-sharing program was on Kauai Kailani on Kauai in 1969 and deeds for one-week stays were sold for a period of forty years. In the 1970s this idea of splitting Florida caught on in Florida where a boom in condo time-shares was begun. Soon they started popping up in Lake Tahoe and Sausalito California.  By 1976 proceeds from timeshare sales totaled over $50,000,000.00.


During the 1980s new resorts opened up all over the globe, but especially in Western Europe. By 1990 more than a million timeshare owners co-owned 2,300 timesharing facilities all over the world. In the 1990s this number expanded to include timeshares in Eastern Europe and Asia spearheaded by the Marriot Hotel chain, which got into the business to make millions.  Very soon scores of other big brand name hotels started offering time shares too including Four Seasons, Radisson, Sheraton, Hilton, Ramada and Disney.  In contemporary times Florida is a real hot spot for time shares with many of them intended for snowbirds from Canada and tourists from northern Europe looking for a little sunshine in the winter.


By the year 2000, timeshare was a booming multi-million dollar business and it is expanding every day. Today, timeshare resorts worldwide number about 5,400, which is an all time record high with a trend towards further expansion of time shares in Asia.  However time shares are not as popular as they used to be with the recession causing many people to try and sell them to free up available cash.  If you are buying time shares this is a good market in which to do so as many can be had for very cheap compared to about a decade ago.

Don’t Be Fooled By Fake Vacation Photos!

Buyer Beware!  Some sellers use fake photographs. For instance it is not at all that unusual for a photograph of a resort or hotel to be doctored in some way (as in the inlaying of a beach scene) or for a very old photograph to be posted (as in a photograph that was taken before the hurricane!)


To make things even more complicated not all sellers with bad photographs are out to get you. Sometimes you are just dealing with someone who cannot take a good photograph or who does not have access to a good photograph. The photo may be too dark or even altered in some way.


If you encounter a poor quality photograph, your best course of action is to try and find another photograph of the destination online. This is easily done by going to Google’s search engine and typing a search into its image database.


If the photo seems deliberately altered you can also read up on the latest news about the destination online. Almost always an altered photograph exists in a location where there has been bad weather or a natural disaster. In some extreme cases, it can also mean that the hotel has not even been built yet or that the photo of a better hotel has been substituted for the one you are looking at.


In any event if you suspect for one second that there is something false about the photograph you can email the seller and ask for a better photograph or more photographs. You can also email or phone the site and complain and ask to have better pictures forwarded to you by email and then make your evaluation of the whole deal from how the seller and the site responds to your request.


Of course one of the problems with buying anything online is the inability for you to inspect the product and this is especially true of vacations. One way for you to protect yourself if you do find yourself winning a bid from a seller with a bad vacation is to print out a copy of the photograph. If it does not at all resemble your destination then you have some hard evidence for your case when you ask the site for your money back for being duped.


So what to do? Before bidding on an item, be wary. First, look at the picture carefully and print a copy for future records in case you get something that doesn’t look like the picture at all. Second, read the description very carefully and try to objectively interpret what is being described as opposed to what you think the seller is trying to describe.  If the description doesn’t match the picture or vice versa then you might be bidding on a dud destination.