EUROPE HOTEL REVIEW Uncategorized

Holiday Ownership: Changing Perceptions

Los Amigos Beach Club Sophies Suitcase 2

Holiday Ownership, also known as Timeshare, has been around for decades but what does it mean to you? It often connotes a bad feeling in many and initially the traveller in me said, “why would you go to the same place every year?” but things have changed and the traditional timeshare is no longer. Step in: holiday ownership.

When I stayed at Los Amigos Beach Club (part of the Diamond Resorts International®) in September I was introduced to the new way of holiday’ing and a modern way of buying in to travel.

The facts

• Timeshare has evolved since it first became popular in the 1980s.
• Modern timeshare is flexible and offers its members a choice of worldwide destinations.
• Modern timeshare companies work within a highly regulated environment, which provides security and peace of mind for the members.
• Modern timeshare offers its members a competitively priced family holiday experience.

Los Amigos Beach Club Sophies Suitcase 4

The Evolution of Timeshare

Historically, timeshare has suffered a bad reputation, due in no small part to the poor business practices of a number of disreputable operators. During the boom of the ’80s and early ’90s (prior to the implementation of the Timeshare Act 1992), timeshare was sold to tourists without a right of withdrawal (cooling off period) and with onerous contractual provisions hidden in the small print. As a consequence, a number of timeshare owners unwittingly signed documents that locked them into unfair contracts with draconian rules. If the owner was unable to holiday at the allocated time, they lost that year’s usage rights. This reputation is no longer in line with modern holiday ownership, and timeshare has come a long way since the ‘same week, same location’ system, providing a more flexible model.

Diamond Resorts International® has a network of more than 330 holiday destinations located in 34 countries throughout the United States, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Central America, Europe, Australasia and Africa, providing guests with the choice and flexibility to enable them to create their dream holiday. They offer a flexible ‘points system’, which allows their members to use their points to book accommodation at a location and time that suits them. They then offer their members based on their points to stay at a different resort every time they go on holiday. Some do end up going back to the same resort year after year, but for those that once looked upon holiday ownership for those that were content with same, it now opens up a whole new world. The more points the customer purchases, the more holidays they are able to enjoy.

Los Amigos Beach Club

The costs

It has been claimed that the controversy around timeshare surrounds the annual maintenance fees. The annual maintenance fee on a 14,345 point membership with Diamond Resorts International® costs £1,570. This amount of points has been specifically selected because it is the average (across all of our European resorts) that would be required to book two weeks holiday a year peak season such as July and August in a two bedroomed accommodation (which sleeps up to six) booking as far as 13 months in advance. That may sound expensive, but it actually equates to just £28.03 per person per night based on four sharing. Pretty good huh?

Comparatively, if you were looking to rent a two-bedroom accommodation in 4 or 5 star hotel in Benalmádena (Málaga, Spain), for example, you could expect to pay between £4,000 (4 star hotel, source Laterooms.com 29/6/15) and £8,000 (5 Star hotel, source Booking.com 29/6/15) for two weeks in July/August.

Late booker? If you are able to book 59 days out or less using our late availability point saver programme, the number of points you will need to make your reservation is halved (representing even better value for money).

Los Amigos Beach Club Sophies Suitcase 1

Value for Money

To get the best value from holiday ownership, it is imperative that the product suits the client’s current and future needs and that they understand how to get the best use out of their membership.

Instead of owning a property and living in it for holiday purposes for a few weeks a year, a timeshare programme allows you to pay for what you use. At the same time, you can enjoy that home from home feeling, with exceptional customer service and the pleasure of being welcomed back to one of your favourite resorts by staff that remember you. And of no less importance, it encourages you to take yearly vacations with your family and friends.

Timeshare is a roomier alternative to hotels for families with children and those who travel with friends and family. Timeshare accommodations have one, two or three bedrooms, each with a living room and fully equipped kitchen which (if you wish to cook) significantly reduces the cost of eating out. The layout of the apartments is also really helpful if family members wake up at different times and gives you a base where all the guests can sit together and relax. Today’s consumer is certainly savvy in seeking out the best value-for-money holiday deals and in this regard, the entry cost for timeshare is lower than it used to be.

Diamond Resorts International® also offers The Discover Diamond package, which is a trial product for potential members and enables consumers to stay at Diamond resorts to see if it meets up to their expectations over three years with no obligation to become a full member.

Los Amigos Beach Club

So what do you think? I am won over – the idea of buying in to travel and getting to see the world is a win-win. Have you had any bad experiences? Or for that matter good? Comment below to let me know!

You can also read about my stay at Los Amigos Beach Club here.

*This is a sponsored post written following my stay at a Diamond Resorts International hotel in Malaga, Spain.