While the terms Timeshare, Vacation Club, and Vacation ownership may seem synonymous with Fractional ownership, you might be surprised to read that there are some key differences. Broadly speaking, the first three refer to different models of the same concept, whereas Fractional Ownership has similar characteristics but key differences that make it more akin to real estate than timeshare. Read on to find out more:
Timeshare is the original name for the first format of “vacation club” that became popular in the 1980’s. It refers to a system by which people buy set weeks in a set location and property to use yearly; this format suited many in the 1980’s as the average family could count on having the same two weeks away each year.
Generally speaking this meant that the value of the unit or property was split over 52 weekly portions (some weeks were more expensive if thee fell into “peak times” like school vacations), and sold individually for use over a 25 or 30 year term. The idea, of course, was that you were buying a share of the available time in the resort. Hence the name “Timeshare”.
Vacation ownership and membership
As the world began to change and flexibility became more and more important to the average consumer the timeshare model was updated. This is where floating weeks came to take precedence over the old “fixed week” model. This format allowed people to move their “time” across a season for convenience. It allowed a little more flexibility, but maintained some of the original structure; this was dubbed Vacation Ownership.
This was eventually replaced by the Membership style model which is most common today; instead of a set number of weeks people would buy points which could be used to “buy” better accommodation for less time, more time in economy units, or even saved when a vacation was not plausible in a certain year.
So as you can see, these three terms have much in common, and the change in name really reflects a lean towards greater flexibility rather than a changing of the base idea itself.
The term Vacation Club is the umbrella under which these terms fall; it describes a number of timeshare-style products which offer a range of benefits and services to their customers. The kinds of benefits on offer depend upon the company you deal with and your specific membership. Some simply offer discounted vacations while others will also offer cruises, travel agency services, discounted flights, and international exchange capabilities.
There is so much to choose from in this industry, now, that it really is possible to tailor make a membership for yourself and your family!
Fractional Ownership has much in common with the Vacation Club model; it does entail the purchase of a specific amount of time in a property, but unlike timeshare owners and members a fractional owner has deeded ownership of their fraction. That means it is their in perpetuity, they can benefit from accrued value, and they do not need to make a reservation during their allotted time. Likewise, the fractions tend to be much longer period of time; usually such purchases come in months or seasons as opposed to weeks. This makes it much more suitable for snowbirds and those looking to spend prolonged periods away from home. Most often, fractional ownership is sold by real estate agents.