2 Major Vacation Destinations Ruined by the Timeshare Industry.

2 Major Vacation Destinations Ruined by the Timeshare Industry.

In recent years, the travel industry has exploded with a number of options that provide an array of experiences across the globe. But even as younger generations have grown accustomed to variation travel, the timeshare industry has defended their dominance with major resorts in desired vacation destinations. In fact, some of the most prominent pieces of land are owned by timeshare companies and major resorts. Money and power has always provided them with an advantage.

Setting up shop in tourist-heavy locations helps them strategically leverage local attractions to promote “free” incentives to lose-spending travelers in exchange for attending a high pressure sales meeting. This extremely complex process misleads and captivates people that are already in a state of euphoria while on vacation. Generally, 1 out of every 3 people lured into a timeshare presentation end up going home with extra baggage.

Why Does VOC Care About the Timeshare Sale?

At the end of the day, people travel to prominent vacation destinations to relax and rejuvenate – not listen to a sales pitch. A $25k+ timeshare mortgage with limited usage can easily become a regretful souvenir. But because so many resorts own premier real estate in beautiful places, the enchanting snare will always be there. The goal of many is to make a lot of money – not matter the consumer cost. At VOC, we prefer to help travelers establish “good memories” and work hard to prioritize satisfaction over sales

Far too often, the timeshare purchase (and the vacation on which it was bought) become deeply remorseful experiences. Getting out of the timeshare trap is not only emotionally difficult but physically costly. This is why we’re so passionate about this topic. The avoidance of industry pitfalls is more important than understanding ownership itself. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the vacation destinations that have been completely ruined by the timeshare industry

Some of the Travel Destinations Ruined by Timesharing.

Although a majority of our content consists of educational material for timeshare prospects and owners, it’s always good to garner a further understanding of the industry as a whole. Each of the following destinations have seen quite a bit of change since the early days of travel. Whether they’re littered with mountains, golf courses, attractions or sandy beaches – some of the most beautiful places in America have been shaped by the timeshare industry.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

Just before the start of the 1830’s, America’s first commercial caravan forged a new route (now known as the Old Spanish Trail) from New Mexico to the California Gold Rush. The migrant’s arid journey, led by Antonio Armijo, eventually stumbled across a desert oasis about 100 miles southwest from camp during a routine search for water. As you can imagine, the beauty of the grasslands and abundance of fresh springwater captivated the group. One of Armijo’s scouts, Rafael Rivera, came up with the idea to call the region, “Las Vegas” – after the vastness of “the meadows.”

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Before Las Vegas became the entertainment capital of the world, it was primarily used as a rest stop for those looking to strike gold on the west coast. Early on, the town mainly consisted of Mormons and Latinos that lived in adobe huts and farmed the land. But once the San Pedro railroad decided to erect a Vegas train station in 1890, rapid change occured. By 1905, the town was jam packed with new lodging, shopping and saloons – thanks to business-men (like William A. Clark) and their ties to the railroad.

HOW, WHEN AND WHY LAS VEGAS STARTED TO EVOLVE.

The early 1900’s is really where Las Vegas started to transform into the “sin city” that it is today. In these times, the Wild West was pretty wild. The negligent sale and embezzlement of land by risk-taking entrepreneurs set a shaky foundation for the city. This was later taken advantage of by criminals that flocked to the autonomy of the desert frontier. Once national gambling bans were implemented in 1910, east coast mobs began to see Las Vegas as a city of opportunity. And boy were they right.

By the mid-1960’s, billionaires like Howard Hughes started running mob-owned hotels and casinos out of town. Once the 80’s arrived, entertainment and lodging started to be the primary focus. Wealthy developers like Steve Wynn improved on the ideas of smaller players by creating more of an “entertaining” experience through design. By the end of the century, 13 of the 20 (65%) biggest resorts in the world and nearly 90K rooms were available in Sin City.

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What was once considered a beautiful oasis full of natural life is now known as a unique human experience full of lights. The awe of the landscape isn’t so tranquil anymore. While suburbs and the city itself aren’t anything extraordinary, the strip is packed with advertisements, attractions, sales pitches and lust – making it one of the most entertaining vacation destinations in the world. It doesn’t take much to notice the dominating presence of timeshare developers and resorts at the crossroads of the west. What could have truly been a beautiful oasis retreat in the desert was turned upside down by money and entertainment.

2. Park City, Utah.

Similar to the Nevadan Oasis, Utah had its own little slice of heaven nestled in the pacific northwest. Park City, located east of Salt Lake City and the Twin Peaks, was originally discovered by American soldiers in 1868. After leaving their Salt Lake base and trekking through Big Cottonwood Canyon for silver, they stumbled across a plot of land worth settling on – and the rest is history. By 1870, the First Transcontinental Railroad had the region connected to a good portion of the country’s population. 

Once the word of silver mining spread, hundreds of people eagerly left home for a chance to strike a fortune’s worth of silver. Some, like George Hearst, did just that – making more than $50 million from his Ontario Mine that was bought for $30K. But not everybody found success and fortune in Park City.

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TRAGEDY HINDERED THE TOWN’S GROWTH.

Although the town grew 5,000-7,500 residents from 1889 to 1898, a disastrous fire destroyed nearly everything. Roughly 15% of the population was left homeless. But residents were no stranger to adversity and they were able to rebuild and reinforce most structures and houses within two years. The sense of community and pride for what they’d been able to accomplish together echoed for generations.

Since the settlement was nestled in between peaks, most affordable, build-ready plots were taken by the early 1900’s. Because of this, a significant amount of money was required to buy land in Park City. By the time the 1930’s rolled around, the silver market was dwindling and skiing had become a local hit. Despite more than 1200 miners losing their jobs in a short period of time, the idea of a winter attraction gave the city hope for its economy. So in 1946, they built the first ski lift at Snow Park (now called Deer Valley). But it wasn’t that simple.

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SAVED BY GOVERNMENT FUNDING HOSPITALITY CHAINS.

5 years later, Park City was reeling and the population receded to 1,150 residents. After receiving federal funding, Treasure Mountain Resort was constructed and marketed across the country. People started moving back and the slopes began to garner high praises and media attention. Major hotel chains and timeshare developers began moving in once cultural events and other winter recreations expanded. By the 1990’s, most of the available land had been developed for people to come and stay.

The economy was thriving again and even hosted some of the 2002 Olympic Games. What was once a proud town of hard working miners, forging their living in the Utah mountains, is now a bustling city of tourists drinking hot cocoa. Any given ski day could see nearly 1 million people scattered across the Park City slopes. Billion dollar timeshare structures now cast shadows on the fire-proof brick buildings that pioneers built more than 100 years ago.

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Many Popular Vacation Destinations Have Reached Their Peak.

The United States is home to thousands of beautiful pockets of nature and wildlife. But most have now been overrun by the travel industry. Because of the ambitious and indulging nature of human beings, we’ll never know just how stunning these regions were in the early 1800’s. It’d be even more interesting to know just who might’ve lived there before. Depending on how you look at it, the current attractions in these places could be seen as an astonishment or a sight for sore eyes.

Either way, there’s nothing we can do about the current state of these vacation destinations. It was bound to happen as nearly every western traveler passed through one of these locations at some point in time. There are plenty of places to visit, explore and protect for the time being. Next week, we’ll talk more about a few Atlantic cities and wrap things up in the Gulf of Mexico and Hawaii.

Using a Timeshare in America During an Era of COVID-19, Social Distancing

Using a Timeshare in America During an Era of COVID-19, Social Distancing

Owning a timeshare during this COVID-19 outbreak can be a tough pill to swallow. Especially if you’ve yet to use your weekly interval. Aside from the closing of several resorts, travel restrictions are now in place. But for some, using the timeshare while they still can is a priority. You might even be in the middle of your vacation right now. 

Either way, we strongly encourage you to remain home until more information about the COVID-19 virus is made public. If you’re thinking about traveling regardless, we were hoping we could shine a better light on the realities you may encounter. Make no mistake about it, traveling during this time is extremely risky. 

Not only could you fall ill with the COVID-19 virus, but you could also find yourself in a destination with limited resources. It could be difficult to find comfort and relaxation at an uncommon abode away from home during a pandemic. What happens when local restrictions make you long for it to end? 

Should You Travel During a Pandemic?

Thinking this through is important right now. Sure, the cost of timeshare ownership should be upsetting well when you can’t use it. But is making a reservation really worth it when the potential of a grueling experience looms? If you do some research, you’ll find that some travelers are currently stuck abroad right now because they can’t book a commercial flight back into the United States. Chartering a private flight is really their only option. What they saw as an opportunity to get away during a trying time now has them facing some new life challenges.

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No matter how you look at it, predicting what can happen in the United States is a little difficult right now. Some countries have combated the spread of the COVID-19 virus effectively while others are still trying to slow it down. Without knowing how many people are really infected in certain areas of our country, it’s hard to know if it’s safe or if containment is even a possibility.

Is Traveling Right Now That Important?

So before you go out on the road or schedule your flight, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” Do you feel as though you have to use it because of the cost? Have you been looking forward to this vacation for such a long time that you just don’t want to let an outbreak ruin your fun? But what happens if you do get the COVID-19 virus? What if the weeklong vacation ends up being one of the worst decisions of your life?

While our intention isn’t to convict you of your hard-earned anticipation, we just want you to consider what could go wrong. If you have children traveling with you, try to think of how it may impact them down the road. It would be a shame if they came down with a vaccine-less disease when hospitals are full. Especially if your timeshare is in Mexico and you’re unable to get back into the United States right away.

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All of these things have to be seriously considered before you partake on a journey during this time. The COVID-19 disease isn’t being taken lightly and you’ll be required to jump through quite a few hoops to make it to your destination. Just know that you’ll want to have a plan if you were to come down with the disease. With testing already limited, you can easily spread the virus without even knowing you have it. Any type of symptom will probably be treated as a contamination.

Traveling By Air During the COVID-19 Outbreak.

If you do happen to get on an airplane, it’s important that you prepare for an extended trip. Layovers, checkpoints and other inspections are likely to occur. Some airports are even testing travelers before allowing them to get on a plane. While arrivals from some areas are being required to quarantine for at least two weeks. During this time, it’s important that you take the proper precautions to protect yourself. Whether you’re wearing a mask or full body jumpsuit, keeping your hands and belongings clean is key. 

No matter how many measures you take, you also have to realize that the health of other passengers can also detour your trip. One positive test, loaded sneeze or hospitalization can force flight officials to quarantine the plane or an area of the airport. This would quickly put a halt to your plans for the week. Understanding the different types of situations you might walk into during a flight could save you a lot of trouble.

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Traveling By Car During the COVID-19 Outbreak.

Like air traveling, getting into an enclosed environment with other people who haven’t been tested is risky. Timeshare owners may believe that bypassing public transportation allows them to avoid contamination. While this most certainly lessens their exposure, it won’t help them if someone in the vehicle has already been exposed to COVID-19.

Even if you’re able to keep the interior of the car clean, there are other things to consider. If you take the time to consider how many people use gas pumps, you’ll probably see where we’re going with this. Just because you avoid the airport doesn’t mean you can avoid people, or places they’ve been. Wiping down surfaces will definitely help but washing your hands in high traffic public restrooms can be costly. 

Restaurants and other stops along the way may also throw a curveball to your plans. Aside from being potential contamination sites, many food and drink establishments across the country have been forced to shut their doors. Unless you’re able to stock up at the grocery store before you leave home, how do you plan on eating along the way? 

If you’re going to take a roadtrip to your timeshare, it’s absolutely crucial that you investigate the route you plan on taking. Most recreational and public areas are currently off limits and Georgia has even begun turning state parks into COVID-19 isolation zones. At this point, you never know what you might run into that can hinder the trip.

Making sure you have ample routes mapped out, escape routes noted and contingency plans in place will increase your chances. But it won’t guarantee that you’re able to get where you’re headed. In other words, expecting the unexpected isn’t a bad idea. While getting to your timeshare may seem like you’ve accomplished a feat, there still may be more mountains to climb.

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How COVID-19 May Affect Your Timeshare Stay.

Say you were to arrive at your timeshare destination unscathed. What do you plan to do while you’re there? Do you know if the resort is allowing any guest activities? Will the bar and restaurant be open? Are there any local restaurants still serving food? What about the attractions and entertainment you’re used to seeing? What if the resort is nearly vacant and lacking any type of social interaction? 

What about transportation? Is there currently access to get around? Will you feel safe where you’re going and what are your plans if you don’t? Will closed beaches and grocery shopping still appeal to you after a few days? Like we said before, realizing that you might be better off at home is a tough pill to swallow. But the result of the COVID-19 virus is out of our control. If you find yourself forcing the vacation and nothing is working out then it might be best to let it go.

The COVID-19’s Impact on the Timeshare Industry.

The longer people expose themselves to this virus, the longer travel restrictions and limitations will be. In order to expedite bans and reopen borders, we all have to be willing to wait it out and hope for the best. At some point, timeshare companies will have to communicate some sort of plan to overcome the loss. While it may be difficult to expect any type of relief from an industry that ignores most complaints, avoiding further risks should outweigh your travel plans.

Even if you’re not afraid of the COVID-19 virus, your timeshare vacation could easily alter your life for the next month or two. In reality, if you haven’t been tested, you might even alter someone else’s. This is why lawmakers and health officials are now urging people to simply stay home. Anywhere you go at this point is increasing your exposure. Although a getaway is what most of America could use right now, a little self-control would go a long way.

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Precautions for Recent Timeshare Travelers.

If you’ve recently visited your timeshare and are worried about your exposure to COVID-19 then the best thing you can do is eat healthy and get plenty of rest. Worrying about the disease only weakens your immune system. If you have the ability to get tested, then do so. Especially if you’re feeling sick. At this point, it’s hard to tell just how available this is in every city. 

Nonetheless, keeping your distance from public areas and social gatherings is an important step to getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control. If you don’t have to go anywhere, then don’t. Until health officials are able to locate sources and contamination zones, we won’t be sure what to avoid. If you’ve returned from outside of the country or in a city that’s heavily impacted, then quarantining yourself should be a priority. If you weigh the possibilities, waiting a few weeks could pay dividends.

The COVID-19 Impact on Timeshare Owners.

If the COVID-19 outbreak has caused you to reevaluate your timeshare commitment, the best thing for you to do is reach out to your resort. Even though some owners are looking to legally cancel their contracts right now (to eliminate the expense), there’s always a chance that your timeshare offers a fair exchange. At the end of the day, all we want is for vacation owners to enjoy their travels.

If you need help navigating this discussion we’d be more than happy to help. If you haven’t enjoyed your timeshare for a while now, then a travel ban only makes matters worse. While cancellation may be your best option, who you hire is important. Far too many owners are scammed trying to sell, transfer or “legally” get out of a timeshare contract

If the COVID-19 virus has devastated your finances, then adding more costs on top of your timeshare expense is not ideal. If you’d like to know more about our attorney based process, you can schedule a FREE consultation or proceed with our qualification form below.

Are Christmas Timeshare Gifts a Good Idea?

Are Christmas Timeshare Gifts a Good Idea?

As Christmas steadily approaches, millions of people are looking for the perfect gift that shows their friends and family just how much they appreciate them. While some simply enjoy spending a lot of money without limitations, for the most part, the generosity of the holiday season is pretty contagious. Unless you’re a Scrooge that enjoys watching The Grinch by yourself after too much eggnog, you can’t help but acknowledge what the presence of Christmas brings. Last week, we talked about the intrigue of timeshares to holiday shoppers. This week, it’s only fitting that we discuss whether or not Christmas timeshare gifts are a good idea.

But before we analyze this form of gifting, we wanted to remind you that the best Christmas gifts aren’t always the most expensive ones. If you’re really looking to show someone that you care about them, then time – not a timeshare – is normally a great gesture. Although it may appeal to you to gift the entire family with a “discounted” trip you stumbled across, try to consider how the experience could play out. 

Every year, thousands of consumers plan on attending a getaway vacation that never transpires. Whether the cause is flight delays, family cancellations or an inability to book a timeshare during desired dates – the result can create quite a bit of bitterness for those anticipating the trip. While making unforgettable memories might have been on the docket, the only thing people might remember is your inaptitude of vacation-planning. Even though availability may not be your fault, the idea was. 

So, if you’re considering a big splash purchase that’ll “wow” family and friends this holiday season, we suggest you invest in something a little more safe. There are plenty of things you can buy with the money it would cost to purchase a timeshare travel package. While a crafty, overhyped timeshare presentation may grab your attention, there’s usually more than what meets the eye. Like we mentioned last week, the overall burden of fractional ownership can leave you with Christmas timeshare gifts that keep on giving you a bad taste in your mouth.

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Why Owners Give Timeshares as Christmas Gifts.

When a timeshare purchase turns out to be nothing like it was advertised, it still gives some buyers a unique opportunity to share the time (or interval) they purchased from the resort. For many, it’s tough to get everyone together during Christmas. So giving away an unusable timeshare week may be the best way to bless those you’re unable to see during the holidays. Especially when the purchase hasn’t exactly been advantageous. You might as well share it. 

You see, far too many timeshare owners were told they’d be able to use the condo during the holiday season, only to find out they can’t. They simply assume the dates they discussed during the presentation would be available. Little did they know that booking far in advance is a critical step in guaranteeing usage. But even then, the condo isn’t always available. Truth be told, most resorts prioritize booking retail customers because the profits are higher. In turn, timeshare owners are given the leftover dates to choose from. 

As you can imagine, this leaves a lot of buyers furious. The problem is, it’s extremely difficult to escape the perpetual agreement they signed up for. Because of this, a majority of owners spend a lot of time and money trying to create the experience they anticipated when they bought it. Whether they upgrade packages, invest in empty resale markets or even try to donate the timeshare, rarely are any of their efforts fruitful. This results in buyers doing what they can to make the most of the purchase – which is where Christmas timeshare gifts come into play.

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Who Usually Accepts Christmas Timeshare Gifts?

Family members (especially those with large families) absolutely love it when they receive free accommodations during the holidays. Although limited availability is normally the cause, some buyers have excess weeks or a surplus of timeshare points that need to be used. This forces them to hand out intervals at the end of the year. While gifting a week may not be as big of a gesture as buying someone a timeshare for Christmas, nearly anyone would accept a travel package during the busy holiday season.

Sharing a timeshare is actually a pretty common gesture in today’s society. Recipients are given access to other people’s condos all the time. But it’s not just a communal opportunity for families. Well performing employees are sometimes rewarded with a timeshare stay for their hard work or successful role within the company. Newlyweds are often gifted intervals for their honeymoon. Even when timeshares become a burden, giving other people a chance to stay at a resort for free helps ease the pain a little.

How Gifted Timeshare Weeks Can Backfire on Owners.

While the idea of giving a free get-away can make a buyer feel better about a remorseful purchase, you have to understand what can go wrong. The last thing owners should want is for their guests to have a bad time. But sometimes, the timeshare gift is more overwhelming than enjoyable. At the end of the day, most resorts view all consumers as a potential sale. When they have an opportunity to sell them something, they do. So before you go handing out free intervals to everyone you care about for Christmas, you need to consider some situations that may arise.

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In most cases, the resort methodically plans to welcome timeshare guests with a large helping of limited time offers. Upon arrival, many are given a tour and offered a number of upgrades to make the experience even more enjoyable. Free breakfasts or drinks are usually offered to establish some sort of trust or expectation that cost is not an issue. In some cases, first time users are taken immediately to a timeshare sales presentation and not allowed to leave until things get a little uncomfortable. 

At the end of the day, their effort to persuade your guest to invest in something misleadingly explained as an asset is relentless. Thousands of people end up saying “yes” just to escape the harassment. They assume they’ll be able to cancel the purchase once they get home but they really don’t understand the depths of timeshare travel. Sadly, we speak to hundreds of people every year that become stuck in these types of situations. But the sale doesn’t end after the first impression.

While the first wave of aggression is normally noticeable, some of the additional tactics can be a little more subtle. Nonetheless, none are beneficial to recipients of Christmas timeshare gifts. Once other sales representatives find out there’s fresh meat on the premises, they begin circling like vultures. The check in process may even get drug out just to inconvenience the guest while the plot thickens. Before handing over the keys to your timeshare interval as a gift, make sure recipients understand they could experience quite a few high pressure sales that they don’t need. While it may seem like the resort is being helpful, in most cases, they only want their money.

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What to Expect From Timeshare Gifts After Check In.

If they’re able to avoid the timeshare presentation, they’re not quite in the clear. For the most part, people visiting someone else’s timeshare need to practice a firm “No.” Letting salesman know you’re not interested – no matter what they tell you – will get them off your back. While this may cause them to retaliate and hinder the experience, it’s far better than dealing with phony customer service with bad intentions. There are plenty of ways to get this point across.

When guests are unable to communicate a firm “No,” they’re known to receive routine courtesy calls that offer further incentives, free accommodations and even forced to attend presentations. Mandated “owners update meetings” are a common way the resort attempts to gain control of the visit. Although this is normally presented upon arrival, some places have been known to harass visitors throughout their stay, even making threats if they don’t attend one of the meetings.

Even when guests are able to escape the hotel lobby and avoid relentless phone calls, most destination cities are riddled with timeshare offers. Off premise concierges (OPC) are one of the ways timeshare developers attract tourists. These are usually in places that are the most popular for travelers. Whether guests go to the beach, walk the strip, or attend an event – you can almost guarantee someone is looking to close them on something. While most tourist-focused businesses are overpriced, the cost of a timeshare can be devastating.

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If you’re going to give a timeshare as a Christmas gift, you have to acknowledge the possibilities. Although it may seem like a nice gesture, the main beneficiary is going to be the resort. While not all timeshare experiences are bad, most resorts are greedy. Preparing guests by educating yourself on expectations can go a long way. You never know, it could save someone receiving a Christmas timeshare gift a lot of money and a whole lot of heartache. 

If you’re frustrated with your timeshare or you know someone that is, we’d be more than happy to help. All of our consultants have been trained to avoid haggling and stick with the facts. We understand a majority of timeshare owners have been put through the ringer and the last thing we want is to be categorized with the deceit. At the end of the day, we know how to get out of timeshare contracts and take pride in delivering on our promises. To learn more about our attorney based process, you’re more than welcome to schedule a free consultation or proceed with the qualification form below.

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