What Exactly Is A Timeshare / Holiday Club?

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There a many different ways you can plan, book and enjoy a holiday break. One option, which thousands of Brits choose every year is to invest in a timeshare or holiday club, but what exactly are they?

A timeshare is essentially a property which has a number of joint owners. These owners invest in the property, which in return allows them to visit the property a couple of weeks per year for a holiday.

How They Work

If you have been on a traditional package holiday then there’s a good chance that a salesperson has approached you about a timeshare.

Essentially, you sign up to a timeshare, at which point you are required to pay a sizeable lump sum, much more than the fee for an average holiday.

This fee entitles you to a certain amount of weeks per year in the property. After this initial fee is paid, the only other money you need to commit to the timeshare is maintenance fees, which are generally an annual fee that contributes to the upkeep of the property.

The appeal of a timeshare really resonates with people who are both happy going to the same destination each summer, or people who are looking for a long term investment.

While you pay a decent chunk of cash upfront, in theory, over time your holidays will cost little more than your flights, making it much cheaper than a traditional holiday.

Holiday Clubs

The difference between a traditional timeshare and a holiday club is the ability to visit different properties. While a timeshare contract is essentially a stake in one particular property, a holiday club allows you to visit different resorts within the particular holiday club business. A great example would be Marriott’s Vacation Club.

This is better for people who perhaps might get fed up of the same location each summer.

Selling a Timeshare

Generally, people don’t buy into timeshares to make money, so when it comes to moving on to another, or deciding that timeshares aren’t for you, don’t expect to get your original investment back.

Much like new cars, once you have invested in a timeshare, the original price swiftly begins to depreciate. Essentially, what this means is, whenever you decide to sell your share on, you’ll sell it for a fraction of the price. To read more on this, see this article from Investor Junkie.

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Pros

So, to help you decide whether a timeshare or holiday club is right for you, here are the pros and cons:

  • Affordability: The longer you stick with the same timeshare, the better your initial investment tends to be.
  • Flexibility: You don’t necessarily have to go on holiday the same week every year if you don’t want to. You can chop and exchange weeks to shuffle around the timeshare/holiday club timetable. This way you can potentially go at times of the year when flights are cheaper or the resort is quieter, whatever suits you best.
  • Discounts: Some timeshare dealers or holiday clubs offer discounts for other resorts or attractions that they have ties with, this can make some holiday’s even cheaper if you plan it right.

Cons

  • Difficult Resale: Properties depreciate quickly. Timeshare companies also do their best to ensure you stay with them. This can come in the form of confusing clauses in contracts or offerings of extras to keep you in the timeshare.
  • Questionable Salespeople: Unfortunately, the industry of timeshares has had its fair share of bad press over the years, this is because of aggressive sales tactics and even a number of scams.
    Financial experts Timeshare Consumer Association told us “some of their tactics are so clinical, they often manipulate people into deals they neither want nor can afford. There’re also lots of cases of complex contracts which mea only death allows you to leave, essentially bankrupting elderly couples.”

For more information on dangerous contract dealings, see this great article from This is Money which has a number of examples.