What is a timeshare? Well, first of all, "it" changed our lives forever, and "it" is the best way I've found to enjoy a first class dirt cheap vacation every year for the rest of your life!
Everybody has heard that developers came up with timeshare to make money. Developers didn't come up with timeshare at all! Families like yours and mine did.
What is a timeshare? It all started in the 1960s, when the average salary, at least in the States, was $4,743, and the cost of living was only 30% of per capita income (today it is 50% of household income!) It was a relatively prosperous time.
A family in France who loved to ski wanted to purchase a vacation chalet in the French Alps. But even then, chalets were for the rich and the price reflected that!
So this family came up with the brilliant idea of talking to their extended family and friends about splitting up the calendar between them and all buying shares of the chalet. They also divied up the ongoing taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs into a maintenance fee that each family paid.
That way, each family could enjoy a vacation at the chalet for a fraction of the cost to purchase the chalet as a vacation home themselves, and still own a deeded share.
Waaa Laaaa! A first class dirt cheap vacation was born!
I kind of like history and knowing where things come from. I found an article written by Ian Parker that details what happened from there.
After these families in France invented timeshare, two development companies began offering timeshare as a product to the public.
According to Parker, between 1964-1968, The Societe des Grands Travaux de Marseille, debuted the first timeshare resort, SuperDevoluy, a ski resort based in the French Alps.
The companies' Paul Doumier reportedly christened the timeshare industry with the advertising slogan, "No need to rent the room; buy the hotel, it's cheaper!"
The other company, Hapimag, was founded September 23, 1963 in Baar, Switzerland. The owners, Alexander Nette and Guido Fenngli bought up resort properties in Italy, Spain and Switzerland, then sold a membership.
Hapimag's members could choose their vacation destination on a right-to-use-basis rather than deeded ownership. Hapimag is still successful today.
The first timeshare in the US was Kauai Kailani on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai created in 1969. Weeks were sold in 40-year increments on a leasehold basis by Vacation Internationale's Bob Burns and Bob Ringenburg, so these were not deeded either.
What is a timeshare today? The timeshare industry has come a long way since then, as you will see here. Today there are many variations on the concept.
The basic idea remains true, though, to those French families who started it all -- share the cost, share the time -- and enjoy a lifetime of first class dirt cheap vacations! It's that simple! Look at this rubric's cube and pretend it's that French chalet.
Each block represents one families' share of time to use the chalet. All together they bought the chalet, so they all share in a 100% deeded interest.
I hope I've answered What is a Timeshare for you! While I will touch on the various flavors of timeshare throughout this site (usually telling you to stay away or be very careful with most of them), I will be cutting to the chaste and recommending the very best and telling you why.
It is the measuring stick for the timeshare industry (unless someone comes up with something better -- then I'll be telling you about that instead!)