The concept of timeshare as we know it today can be traced back to the early 1960’s when families in America and the UK would share vacation homes with other families. 4 families would share ownership of a vacation home, with each family occupying it for one season a year.
Two European companies are crediting with monetizing this idea of joint vacation home ownership in the late 1960’s. The Societe des Grands Travaux de Marseille began selling vacation ownership at their resort in the French Alps at the same time the owners of Hapimag in Baar Switzerland began selling timeshare at their property. This was a massive success, and Hapimag began buying resort properties all over Europe to expand this new venture now called Timeshare.
The first Timeshare properties in the U.S. were in Hawaii, including the first non-hotel timeshare which offered weeks which were sold on a leasehold basis. This company, which later founded Vacation Internationale, was also the first to offer timeshares sold on a point system, which has been widely adopted by most of the Timeshare industry today.
Most timeshares sold today are “deeded ownerships” which were first sold in 1973 on Lake Tahoe in a joint venture by the Hyatt company and Innisfree company.
InnSeason Resort’s exchange partner RCI was the first company to develop and offer vacation exchanges in the mid-1970’s, where timeshare owners can exchange their weeks or points for vacations to the hottest travel destinations around the world.
In the 1990’s, the world’s largest hotel companies including Wyndham, Marriot, and Hilton began offering vacation ownership at their properties, and timeshare sales reached a record high. Today there are over 5,000,000 timeshare owners world-wide that own at resorts in over 100 counties.
Over 85% of owners surveyed recently by ARDA (American Resort Development Association) were satisfied with their vacation ownership experience.