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TIMESHARE TRENDS
Timeshare Study Uncovers Satisfaction Trends

A New Arda Study Looked Into How People Who Purchase A Timeshare Feel About The Space Where They Live During A Vacation

Glenn Haussman
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C., -- A new study conducted by Ragatz Associates of timeshare buyers has learned that people buying into timeshare overwhelmingly believe that their decision to buy accentuates the vacation experience.

The study, which was released by The American Resort Development Association International Foundation (AIF), polled existing timeshare buyers and found that 75.7 percent said owning a timeshare makes them more excited about their vacations. Additionally, 68.4 percent said owning a timeshare increased the amount of time spent vacationing a year. These results were released in the survey: Resort Timeshare Consumers: Who They Are, Why They Buy.

Howard C. Nusbaum, ARDA’s president and CEO said he is not surprised by the high level of satisfaction because the typical timeshare offers considerably more space and amenities than a hotel room. By having multiple bedrooms and a full kitchen in a timeshare, the entire vacationing paradigm is changed and therefore affects the buyer’s perception of the experience.

“We are finding out that going on vacation is about rejuvenation with families and bonding. Sitting at a table in the kitchen [in a timeshare] is bonding, whereas everyone eating out of a pizza box on a hotel bed is not,“ said Nusbaum. “Timeshare reflects the way we live.”

Dave Matheson, VP Corporate Communications with Starwood Vacation Ownership, is also a father of four kids ranging in ages from preschool to high school. With such a large brood, and the need to recharge his batteries while on vacation, he said staying a hotel is just not a practical possibility.

“If we all go away and stay in a hotel it is not a relaxing experience for me or my wife,” said Matheson. “With a timeshare my older kids can sleep in while we get up with the younger ones and make breakfast.”

According to Nusbaum, other reasons that play into the high level of excitement surrounding the timeshare vacation are timeshares provide a better way to enjoy downtime and that timeshares offers higher control for owner’s over their lives. Since timeshare vacations are an annual or more frequent experience, Nusbaum said people look forward to that getaway throughout remainder of the year. “Families know they have vacation currency and that anticipation of the next trip carries the vacation throughout the year,” said Nusbaum.

Additionally, the study noted the average timeshare visitor spends 8.6 nights per vacation in the resort area where their timeshare is located. The average timeshare visitor party spends $1,334 per timeshare vacation—an increase of 10.7 percent since 2002 the survey found. The average size of timeshare visitor parties is 3.8 persons.

Matheson believes more of this money is staying on site at resorts that utilize a mixed use model; that is, resorts that have both a hotel and timeshare component. “When we build a vacation ownership resort next to an existing Starwood property we have found it increases the value of the vacation to our owners,” said Matheson. “Our hotel owners benefit from having the hotel in that package next to it.” The hotel usually has additional added amenities such as golf courses, more restaurants, spas and retail outlets. Together, Matheson said the varied components all play into adding to a more multi-dimensional getaway.

Of all owners, 35.8 percent personally used their own timeshare purchase during the past 12 months, while 47.4 percent exchanged or space banked it, 4.4 percent rented it out, and 2.9 percent gave it away. Nine and a half percent of time owned by all owners went unused during the last 12 months.

The study investigated the usage of vacation ownership based on surveys of 938 recent timeshare buyers and 1,547 owners who purchased prior to 2005.

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