People often have questions about the differences between a vacation club and a timeshare. The confusion is understandable, as even vacation clubs and timeshare companies sometimes use the words interchangeably.
In a recent publication by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), “Understanding Vacation Ownership," ARDA defines vacation club by saying that it is, “…a term used to describe various types of timesharing and usually involving use or access to more than one resort location and other vacation and travel services. However, the term is also used for many different purposes, including "clubs" which may have nothing to do with timesharing.”
Hospitality Brands and Clubs
Many of the larger branded hospitality providers call their vacation product a vacation club. They market their clubs as being more flexible than the customary model of timesharing. Using the name “vacation club” helps them set their resorts apart from traditional timeshares, travel clubs, or fractional ownership resorts.
Disney Vacation Club, Marriott Vacation Club, Occidental Vacation Club, Hilton Grand Vacations Club, and Shell Vacations Club are all examples of vacation ownership companies that have incorporated the words into their brand message. Other vacation ownership companies may not use the words in their name, but include a branded vacation club or a travel club as a benefit for their owners or a level of ownership. (Note: While a travel club may be a feature offered by a vacation club, it may also be used by membership clubs that offer discounted travel values or travel planning.)
Vacation Clubs, Where the Currency May be Points or Intervals
Vacation clubs may be built on the concept of a points-based membership rather than the ownership of a fixed interest in resort real estate. The number of points you own defines the scope of your club membership. More points mean more opportunities for vacationing, larger condos and villas, or the privilege to schedule time in high-demand seasons at the most popular resorts.
Timeshare ownership frequently represents real property ownership of an interval of timeshare real estate. When you buy timeshares or timeshare resales, you may hold an actual real estate deed to your percentage of a specific resort property. Not all timeshares use interval ownership or deeded real estate ownership. Timeshare ownership, just like clubs, also can be based on the number of timeshare points owned.
Although most clubs issue points, which function like currency, some brands then link the equity of the points ownership to actual resorts. Disney is one example of club membership based on points, which then is represented by real estate equity. When you buy Disney points and become a DVC Member (by purchasing either directly from Disney or buying value-priced Disney resales), the Disney points you acquire represent your real estate interest in the Disney resort you have chosen as your home property.
Vacation Clubs, Travel Clubs, and Timeshare: One Size Does Not Fit All
As a traveler and vacationer, you know what works for you and the loved ones or friends with whom you vacation. You recognize what types of travel experiences inspire you with moments to savor and memories to cherish.
Be aware that many different types of holiday and travel services and products may call themselves a vacation club or travel club, but have nothing to do with timeshare and shared ownership. As a smart consumer, you want to do your research. Understand what you are buying and how it will benefit you in the short and the long-term. One of the many advantages in buying vacation products on the resale market, such as through BuyaTimeshare.com, is that no one puts you on the spot. You have time to compare, contrast, and reflect on the purchase you are about to make.
At BuyaTimeshare.com we recognize that no matter the savings, no vacation deal is a good deal unless it’s right for you, your family, and your budget.