“Timeshare” is a term that was coined fifty years ago in the United Kingdom. It expanded on a vacation idea that was popular in Europe after World War II. For vacation or holiday home sharing, four European families would buy a vacation home together, and they would seasonally rotate occupancy.
Most holiday homes were owned by European families who were related to each other, since joint ownership involves an element of trust. However, few families vacationed for an entire season, so the original timeshare properties were often vacant for extended periods of time. It did not take long for enterprising Britons to consider a solution. Eventually, timeshares evolved into 1/50th ownerships, with two weeks a year set aside for maintenance and repairs.
The first United States timeshares emerged in the mid-1970s. They were owned by a corporation called Caribbean International Corporation (C.I.C), based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Rather than providing property ownership, it offered a “vacation license” that enabled license holders to alternate vacation weeks in the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas. The company maintained the accommodation for a small per diem charge and, if applicable, a switching fee. The license owners could rent or give away their week in any year.
The timeshare concept became popular with American vacationers and profitable for entrepreneurs. The concept attracted many prominent hoteliers and resort developers across the United States. According to recent documents, there were more than 1,600 timeshare resorts in the United States by 2006. The idea even spawned other occupancy concepts such as shared cars, planes, boats and luxury hotel units.
The timeshare industry is regulated in all countries where the resorts are located. European and national legislation regulate the industry in Europe. In Mexico, timeshare services recently underwent new standards. The industry has adopted a variety of structures including fixed week ownership, floating week ownership, rotating week ownership, vacation clubs and points programs.
Bluegreen Resorts Corporation is one of the most popular timeshare companies in the United States. Based in Boca Raton, Florida, it employs more than 4,500 workers according to Indeed.com. About 170,000 vacationers avail themselves of accommodations at Bluegreen hotels, resorts and various cruise options.
For companies like Bluegreen, marketing vacation ownership interests (VOIs) is the core business. Their job is to sell and maintain these interests. Their target market purchases vacation points that are backed by deeded real estate that is held in trust.
The number of points required to stay at a timeshare resort varies based on a points chart. Members can request fractional weeks, full weeks and extend stays. The points allow for accommodations based on factors like resort popularity, size and seasonal popularity.
In 2000, Bluegreen became one of the first timeshare companies to establish cross-industry marketing agreements, first with Bass Pro Inc. and recently with Choice Hotels. The company also develops land into residential and golf course communities.
Bluegreen also gives back to the communities they serve in a variety of ways. Two of the company’s philanthropic involvements include the American Red Cross and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).