Timeshare companies sell consumers shared ownership in vacation properties. Consumers who purchase these offerings gain the right to use their share of a property at a specific time. For example, a timeshare company may sell a consumer a share in a popular island resort. That consumer would then be able to visit the resort and stay in a specificunit during a particular week every year. If he wanted to stay at that same resort at a different time, he would probably have to ask another timeshare owner to either trade weeks with him or sell an alternate week to him.
When many people think of timeshare companies, they think of shares in resorts or condominium vacation property. However, timeshare companies also offer interest in other types of property. For example, some timeshare companies sell timeshares of recreational vehicles and campgrounds. Some sell them for cruises too. Additionally, other companies offer options that allow consumers to travel to a vacation spot many different times of the year.
Often, timeshare companies have each timeshare owner pay for his unit. Owners are usually responsible for a share of the property’s maintenance and management fees as well. Besides allowing them the use of a particular unit, the timeshare fees often include access to common areas, such as swimming pools, Jacuzzis, basketball and tennis courts, and recreation rooms. Each timeshare property may have different amenities.
Some timeshare companies offer only fixed timeshares. This means the purchaser would own a share in a specific property or unit, with rights to stay in the unit for a specific period each year. Other companies offer owners floating time agreements, providing flexible dates for owners to stay in their units. Typically, however, the units are available on a first-come reservations basis.
There are some companies that operate similarly to timeshare companies but allow consumers to buy into vacation programs and receive a certain amount of vacation weeks each year. These weeks can be used to travel to many different resorts that are part of the vacation program. Often, travel options span an entire country, and some offer international accommodations.
Timeshare companies may have gotten their start in the 1960s. Around this time, many Europeans desired vacation property but couldn’t afford the cost of a full vacation home. Eventually, companies came up with the idea of shared ownership, allowing many different people to buy shares in a property and keep costs low for each buyer.