Additional Tourist Destinations That Timeshare Operations Have Taken Over – Part 3.

Additional Tourist Destinations That Timeshare Operations Have Taken Over – Part 3.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been covering some of the areas of our great country that have been taken over by timeshare operations. While many gleen in the idea of an economic boost, tourist destinations also present the community with a number of drawbacks. One of the things we’ve glossed over to this point the simple fact timeshare sales teams aren’t the most morally-driven citizens. In fact, many former timeshare employees recount a sense of having to “sell their soul” in order to find success in the industry.

Moreover, many are forced to lean heavily on misconduct to support the lavish lifestyles their commissions have granted them. Living in tourist destinations is not cheap. Sadly, the crafty, enabling culture and financial reward of selling timeshares changes many. Once some employees taste the greed-laced kool aid, profiting at the consumer’s expense becomes natural to them. While the goal of this article isn’t to prove crooked career paths trickle into societal issues, it is worth noting when analyzing the impact of timeshares in our local cities.

Have Timeshares Truly Boosted Local Economies?

A few years ago, David Segal (CEO and Founder of Westgate) boasted in a publication about the timeshare industry’s impact on the economy– specifically in Orlando. As one of the largest employers in Florida, he believes his business endeavors have been fruitful. According to FTN News, the timeshare industry stands at a $10.2 billion dollar industry with consecutive growth year over year for the last nine years. Understanding what and who has been impacted is key here as money can’t always be the only motive.

ARE TENURED RESIDENTS REALLY ON BOARD?

What about the residents that have been lured into timeshare contracts or morally altered by their sales job? How many buyers have gone through financial hardship from a timeshare purchase? What about the luring, carny-like salespeople that flood the streets of cities that were once known for true hospitality? One sales representative could affect 20 families every month. To put that in perspective, 1K sales reps could easily impact 20K people – 240,000 families annually.

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Much of today’s narrative is controlled by hearsay and money. As time passes, it’ll be easier to measure the true economic growth of tourist destinations. In the meantime, we can always assess some of the concrete facts surrounding some of the most beautiful places Americans travel to most. By looking at the history of these locations, we can easily understand how they evolved into tourist destinations that timeshare operations have taken over.

Two More Cities Eventually Taken Over By Tourism.

Many of America’s popular cities are lined with OPC (Off Premise Concierge) kiosks and incentivized contractors spewing information about special offers and “free” packages in exchange for tourist’s time. You have likely unknowingly passed one of these kiosks while on vacation, disguised as an “information” booth to attract tourists. Places like Las Vegas, Park City and Orlando immediately come to mind. But not all tourist destinations are jam-packed with corporate sales pitches as the cultural community often carries the slack. 

In other words, the livelihoods of locals in some tourist destinations count on the travel industry. Not every destination city was once a vast frontier, taken over by developers. Sometimes, hotels and resorts are the foundation of the economy and its ability to sustain. Islands often take on this purpose – unless owned and used for a specific purpose. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

5. Cancun, Mexico.

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Up until the 1960’s, Cancun is said to have been a deserted island for most of its existence. This is hard to imagine as it’s now one of the most popular beach destinations for tourists across the world. Although history is rather desolate, there are traces of the Mayan culture sprinkled throughout the island. But unlike other inhabited areas of land, there was no siege – at least not one recorded. 

If so, the Maya Civilization would have definitely put up a fight. According to historical documentation, the promontory city was somewhat of a fortress that overlooked the ocean while providing the community with high ground. Like many civilizations, disease and conflict is said to have wiped them out. But there is no scarcity of artifacts throughout the area as Cancun connects to a number of Mayan sites in the Yucatan Peninsula.

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A majority of these landmarks have been restored and maintained, limiting the expansion of tourist attractions. But this didn’t discourage developers from building resorts around the island’s remnants. In fact, the natural draw of Cancun is one of the main reasons it became one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world overnight. Once major developments were in place, travelers began exploring.

LODGING IN CANCUN, MEXICO HASN’T BEEN AROUND LONG.

The History of Cancun tells us most of its growth occurred in a short window of 10-15 years. Development was approved in 1969 and construction began the following year. Once roadways connected a small airfield and the nearest port city, Puerto Juarez (now the Marina Town Center), public interest started to grow. But because the site was across borders and little information was known, wealthy Americans hesitated to invest. In turn, the Mexican government funded the development of the island’s first hotels.

In 1974, the “Temptation Resort” (first hotel in Cancun) was completed and opened to the public. Later that year, the resort cut the ribbon on a brand new international airport. Along with establishing the FONATUR (National Foundation for the Promotion of Tourism), this proved to be one of the most iconic events in the history of Cancun, Mexico. By the 80’s, the word had spread of Cancun being one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the Gulf.

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As investors found their way south of the border, further exploration and growth started to occur. Although the island endured a terrible hurricane (Gilbert in 1988) and the impact of the 9/11 attacks impacted tourism, they’ve been able to thrive. Not necessarily because of timeshare sales but because of the unique draw of the islands. But make no mistake about it, timeshare resorts have definitely taken over Cancun and benefited from the 500K people that now reside there. As the image above depicts, much has changed in the span of 50 years.

6. The U.S. Hawaiian Islands.

For more than 1500 years, the Polynesians have called Hawaii home. Before the luxurious resorts and private estates, it’s said they discovered the volcanic island, full of rare magnificence, by using the stars to navigate the Pacific Ocean. Although the inhabited landscape eventually invaded the traditions and lifestyles of the Polynesians, their culture is still much a part of the Hawaiian experience today. It’s one of the many reasons why (like the Mayan presence in Mexico) the 49th state of the union is now one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

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SETTLING WITH NATIVE HAWAIIANS WAS NO EASY TASK.

Despite the current peace on the islands, much conflict occurred throughout history. During the late 1700’s, warfare between island chiefs and native clans was widespread. None of the tribal kingdoms were able to establish dominance until a European Captain by the name of James Cook docked at the Waimea Bay on the island of Kauai in 1778. Cook and his crew initially met King Kamehameha I (a prophetic warrior, diplomat and leader) and immediately joined forces with him in an attempt to unite the islands.

Although Captain Cook was killed at Kealakekua Bay a year into the agreement, his advice and weaponry aided King Kamehameha I during intense battles at Nuuanu Pali on Oahu and Iao Valley. By 1810, a royal kingdom was established and the Kamehameha dynasty reigned in Hawaii until 1874. This is an important time in history because many natives believe the island would have eventually been torn apart by other ambitious westerners if unity wasn’t achieved.

PEACE IN HAWAII ALLOWED WESTERN INFLUENCE.

During this time of peace, missionaries migrated to preach, sugar agriculture exploded, the “King’s Band” was formed (still performs today as the Royal Hawaiian Band), Honolulu became the capital and Asians were recruited for hired hands. But one of the biggest missteps of Hawaiian development occurred when The Great Mahele Kamehameha III failed to educate his people on land ownership.

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Although ⅓ of the land was available to claim, they didn’t understand the concept or why they needed to make filings under the Kuleana Act. In the end only 1% was left in native hands out of what was originally available to them. This opened a door of opportunity for western influence and foreign expansion.

THE HAWAIIAN TRANSFER OF POWER.

From here, the government continued to garner more control over local decisions. In 1887 the last of the Hawaiian monarchy was stripped of most of their authority by force – leaving legislation in charge. By 1893 the deconstruction of the Kingdom of Hawaii began and the United States officially annexed the islands through the Newlands Resolution. Two years later, The Organic Act legitimized the Territory of Hawaii.

A HOTEL WAS BORN IN THE WAKE OF THE 20TH CENTURY.

Once the land was available and a government was in place to sell it, development could begin. The first wealthy landowner to take a chance in Hawaii was Walter Chamberlain Peacock. On March 11, 1901, he opened the first luxury hotel in a deserted area of Waikiki, Hawaii. The Moana Hotel was loaded with 75 rooms and a plethora of rare amenities (like an electric elevator).

Lodging like this especially appealed to upper class consumers. Because of this, tourism slowly became a major factor in the Hawaiian economy. The risks that Peacock took to build his hotel and the success that followed encouraged many others to follow suit. Since much of Hawaii’s land was undeveloped, it quickly became a new frontier with high rewards for wealthy investors.

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THE EXPANSION OF TROPICAL ISLAND RESORTS.

Over time, high bidders and travel partnerships started to transform the landscape of Hawaii into a money making vacation haven that benefited natives. It’s hard to tell if any of this would have occurred if nationals would have claimed their land or the original kingdom’s remained divided. Either way, it doesn’t take much research to see who reigns over the kingdom of Hawaii today. Lavish resorts, amenities and entertainment have taken over the warrior protected habitat for good.

Traveling To Island Resorts Via Timeshare Ownership.

Much of the natural beauty in these tourist destinations still remains, but the tranquility of both islands will never be the same. While hurricanes, the attack on Pearl Harbor and Kīlauea’s volcanic activity have delayed the economic growth – travel appeal was inevitable. At the same time, it would have been cool to see how the Polynesians or Mayans would have handled hospitality. We think it’s safe to assume that the experience – not the money – would have been a primary motive.

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Nonetheless, if you’ve bought a timeshare in these locations (or elsewhere) and are struggling to enjoy the experience, it doesn’t have to be a burden. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to understand these agreements which is why we offer free consultations for all vacation owners. We take pride in answering your questions or concerns so we can help you find an effective solution. Although we do specialize in legally canceling timeshare contracts, we know it’s not always the best option. Just keep in mind, a timeshare isn’t the only portal to paradise in Mexico or Hawaii.

Two More Travel Destinations Ruined by Timeshare Developers.

Two More Travel Destinations Ruined by Timeshare Developers.

In the United States alone, there are thousands of captivating landscapes that are easily accessible by timeshares and hotels. While some areas of the country (like the Grand Canyon) are fairly well preserved, nearly every corner of our country’s natural beauty has been exposed by the travel industry. But there was a time before tourism dominated port cities and mountain peaks. Like we pointed out in last week’s article, settling the land and sustaining a town was required before any real plans could be made. Even so, most travel destinations weren’t even founded on the concept of tourism. 

In the years of exploration, towns either thrived on their own or wealthy businessmen were needed to turn fortunes around. Failure in attractive places provided successful people with opportunities to shape the landscape into money-making havens. One could even say the foundation of hospitality was based on mistakes and others’ ability to capitalize on them. Turning the great outdoors into astonishing indoor attractions was the goal of many. Nonetheless, by the time vacation ownership was an option in the late 1960’s, many U.S. cities had already been primed for the product.

More History On Today’s Hot Travel Destinations.

We decided to cover this topic because we believe it provides consumers with a healthy amount of insight on the motives of the timeshare industry. Today, each of the following locations are known to be littered with timeshare companies vying for consumer attention. For the most part, this occurred because  prime real estate is usually always sold to the highest bidder with the best economic plan. By the time hospitality dominated the marketplace, there was no looking back.

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3. The Inland Peninsula of Orlando, Florida.

As one of America’s favorite travel destinations, Orlando, Florida, now boasts a magical kingdom and plethora of resorts made especially for kids and families. But it wasn’t always this pleasant and enjoyable. After taking over the land occupied by the Seminole Indians in 1838, American settlers leveraged the terrain to build a fortress (Fort Gatlin). This helped them better protect women and children while alleviating local attacks. As beautiful as Orlando is today, it’s hard to believe the region was once filled with conflict, fear and greed. 

Nonetheless, the battle for owners’ rights against Native Americans in the southeast peninsula was short lived. Technology, weaponry and brute force didn’t give them much of a chance to defend their territory. By the time the 1840’s rolled in, the dust began to settle and a small town named “Jernigan” (named after one of the first families) emerged. Within a decade, they began moving away from the walls of the fort and even established the community’s first post office. By 1875, nearly 100 people resided in the area and the name was changed to “Orlando.”

DISCOVERED PERKS IN THE CLIMATE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA.

Before Disney, Epcot, Universal Studios, swamp tours and parasailing, the city was flooded with opportunity and ambition. Over the next 20 years, Orlando’s population grew tremendously. Not only was it said to be one of the most peaceful places to live during The Civil War (not confirmed), but it was the perfect place to plant and harvest a bountiful citrus crop. To this day, Orlando is still atop this agricultural market and many families have lived well off the land. Even “The Great Freeze” of 1894-95 didn’t slow down production as it provided more opportunities for wealthy groups to thrive.

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RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT BEGINS.

In the 1920’s. the American economy began to take off and the city’s real estate prices roared. Like we mentioned before, this allowed Orlando to lean on some of the country’s premier developers to establish hospitable appeal in central Florida. Housing hit its peak and the famous San Juan Hotel was constructed during this time. Until tourism turned Orlando into a legitimate travel destination, most residents made a living at Kennedy Space Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or the orchards.

Shortly after the foundation of the city was stabilized, Walt Disney announced his plan to build a mega-theme park in the area – which led to a tsunami-like wave of timeshare resorts and other tourist attractions. Today, you can’t even walk around Orlando without being bombarded by sales pitches and deals. While Disney World and other resorts have allowed the city to make a lot of money for a long time, travelers will never find the peace, tranquility and lemonade that was once found in Jernigan.

4. South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.

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In comparison to some of the other popular travel destinations across the globe, this stretch of land is a lot more open and relaxed. While Myrtle Beach does have a strip for entertainment and food, most of the region is full of quiet, natural beaches and golf courses that let tourists unwind for a week or two. If you travel south on the 95 for a few hours to the Hilton Head, you’ll pass hundreds of restful areas worth taking in. 

Despite the zen appeal of today, the South Carolina coastline didn’t initially attract part time visitors. The land wasn’t exactly easy to live on and a number of factors made life difficult for early settlers. Marshes, Indians, Diseases and Pirates were all said to make the early years strenuous. In order to settle, a plan and level of dedication was required. The Waccamaw River, abundance of timber and ability to produce rice became a crucial element of success, giving the town a little momentum by the 1900’s.

HOW DID HOSPITALITY GET ITS START IN SOUTH CAROLINA?

Although the economy was still struggling through its infant stages, the first hotel (Seaside Inn) was built in 1901 by the Burroughs & Collins Company. Shortly after, the company also played a role in naming the city. The widow of of Franklin G. Burroughs came up with “Myrtle Beach” after the wealth of wax myrtle trees growing wild along the shoreline. Over the next 20 years, the community started to experience a large influx in development that started with the erection of an upscale resort called The Arcady

By the roaring 1920’s, the Grand Strands of beaches had its first golf resort, Pine Lakes International Country Club and Ocean Forrest Hotel. From this point on, nearly everything was constructed with tourism in mind. Waterways were stretched inland to create even more appeal while expanding guest possibilities. Improved commercial shipping gave new companies like Sports Illustrated an ability to thrive in Myrtle Beach. Once the city was incorporated in 1938, the pavilion, carousel, historic band organ and Air Force base popped up quickly. At this point, the city began its transformation into one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

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WHAT CHANGED SOUTH CAROLINA’S GROWTH TRAJECTORY?

In 1954, Hurricane Hazel changed everything. While Myrtle Beach didn’t exactly “fail” and it wasn’t totally destroyed, a “reset” button was necessary. This is where golf attractions began gaining traction. Ever since the 60’s, a golf course has been built almost every year in the area (There are about 115 available courses today). During the rejuvenation efforts of the 1970’s, improved amenities, attractions and retail centers took root. As the population tripled, more than $75 million was invested into new construction. 

Today, the Grand Strand from Myrtle Beach down to the Hilton Head welcomes more than 14 million tourists per year. Between 2016-2018, Myrtle Beach was the #2 fastest growing cities in the U.S. and continues to grow to this day. But how long can they sustain growth and preserve the relaxation? The Hilton Head is one of the most gorgeous places in the area and it’s littered with American corporations and timeshares. Is it only a matter of time before South Carolina is in the same boat as Florida? Let’s hope not.

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Travel Destinations Will Always Exist.

People that can’t afford to purchase a luxury home in a lavish location will always crave for an ability to visit one. No matter how you feel about the travel industry, there will always be money to be made. Developers will always be eager to build the next best resort in the most amazing and unthinkable of places. If you live in any of the travel destinations that we’ve discussed, then you’re probably fully aware of the local construction projects that never seem to end. Although it may be difficult to stomach the ongoing element of change, at least you’re not starting from scratch in the wilderness.

Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see which uninhabited area of land is developed next for tourist-driven revenue. With technology improving, there’s no telling how far timeshare corporations will go to retain their market share. As long as they’re able to present bigger and better promises, consumers will always be intrigued by the appeal of fractional ownership in new travel destinations – even if it jeopardizes the captivating, natural beauty of America’s landscape.

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.

How do Timeshares Get Away With Lying to Travel Enthusiasts?

How do Timeshares Get Away With Lying to Travel Enthusiasts?

For decades now, millions of consumers have been talked into spending tens of thousands of dollars on a weekly timeshare vacation. While some are content with a simple trip to a familiar destination, others become consumed by efforts to make the purchase worthwhile. Whether lust or disappointment drives the pursuit, the timeshare sales system is built to take advantage of both. Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked a lot about the sales process and how buyers are misled. But the way timeshares get away with lying is just as concerning. 

In order to understand this better, it’s important that we remain focused on the contract signing. Oftentimes disputes by a vacation owner stems from the initial presentation. This is because actual contract terms are rarely disclosed, causing many buyers to sign perpetual agreements under false pretenses. In other words, sales teams have been known to lie in order to place unsuspecting consumers under a legal obligation they don’t exactly understand. 

Lying About Timeshare Ownership is Getting Worse.

In the past, getting out of a timeshare agreement has often been viewed as an unattainable feat. This is due to the amount of money poured into the sale of the contract. But over the past few years, people have started noticing that timeshares get away with lying more often than not. In return, consumer protection and government agencies increased their efforts to expose misleading sales practices and crack down on unethical timeshare operations.

Soon after, companies like ours began publishing industry truth to combat the deceit. Because of this, many major timeshare resorts have focused their efforts on additional ways to get away with lying. When you think about it, providing proper disclosure and an adequate follow through would solve a majority of their problems. But apparently, they’re more concerned with protecting themselves from backlash right now – while keeping owners under contract.

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“License to Lie” Clause Created to Protect Timeshares.

In last week’s article, we briefly covered a clause that is commonly being used in timeshare contracts today. Visible on most written agreements, this “license to lie” purportedly gives timeshare companies the “right” to disqualify any “verbal promises” made by a timeshare salesperson during the sale. These clauses are written in a way to protect the timeshare from any type of legal complaint regarding the presentation. 

Although this is currently in play, we’re not sure how they plan on enforcing it. Many prospects aren’t even allowed to view the contract until the sale is final. So if the purchase is based on a lie, then how can a buyer’s obligation be binding? The simple fact that prominent resorts are trying to legally protect themselves from being held accountable for false promises made by their own sales teams is absurd! Even more important, how can timeshares get away with lying when they’ve already been busted for singing the same tune?

Lying About Timeshare Contracts is Nothing New.

There’s a reason why timeshare companies use highly aggressive sales teams. Anyone with sense can see the intent here is to maximize their bottom line at the consumer’s expense. Extra effort has always been made to blame buyers for their ownership experience. Timeshares have their hands deep in lobbyist’s pockets to ensure lawmakers enforce short rescission periods and uncapped annual fees. The state of Florida recently increased the cap for special assessments. Even customer service teams are trained to make buyers feel responsible for the inconvenience of the purchase.

The never ending sales process, that’s jam packed with excuses, helps timeshares get away with lying and deflect any wrongdoing. The thing is, the problem still remains. The more owners they lie to, the more problems they have. Contractually forcing them to pay is not the answer. If anything, the license-to-lie clause will only make matters worse for resorts and their timeshare programs. Refusing to revise sales strategies and show empathy to a number of wronged customers is not a good look.

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Timeshares Find A Way to Keep Owners at Bay.

Government officials are either oblivious to the timeshare industry’s deceitful schemes or they’re benefitting from them. What makes this “license to lie” situation interesting is the California Attorney General recently sued a well-known timeshare group for it. But after the operation settled with the AG and removed the disclaimer from their contracts, they simply repositioned themselves under a successor company. 

Doing so allowed them to create new contracts with the exact same clause – and it’s being leveraged still to this day. Powerful hotel chains know that government agencies just don’t have the funds or manpower to continue fighting the same battles. Since the first settlement took years to execute, they apparently feel it’s worth the risk to do it again. It’s almost as if beating the system makes them feel accomplished.

The current use of the disclaimer against new owners gives the resort enough ammunition to quietly continue selling contracts and collecting payments. The losses from COVID-19 have added even further urgency and aggression to their sales tactics. And like we mentioned before, timeshares get away with lying because a majority of the general population isn’t aware of the actualities of the purchase – or what to watch out for during the sale.

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Are Travel Enthusiasts At a Disadvantage?

Rarely are people ever prepared or even motivated to properly document a timeshare presentation in order to protect themselves from sales fraud. Oftentimes, many feel as though they’ve stumbled across an opportunity of a lifetime. The charisma of the sale can be captivating. This is why all aspiring vacation owners should always have an attorney review the terms before signing anything.

Even a simple mention of this during the presentation can work in the buyer’s favor. But it’s hard for most to think this way. Many want the salesperson’s spiel to be true. Instead of challenging any and every promise before committing to the deal, they believe in the pitch. Little do they know that timeshare offers should be viewed with skepticism. Questioning the purchase could be one of the best decisions they ever make.

Timeshares Want Owners to Believe All Sales Are Final.

Travel enthusiasts will continue making ignorant timeshare mistakes until they fully understand the pitfalls of the industry. As buyers progress in ownership, they often have a number of questions about their contract. But once the rescission period is over (usually 5 days) and the agreement is binding, it’s awfully difficult for them to do much about it. As they discover more truth, remorse usually sets in quickly. Timeshare companies know this but many simply don’t care. They know they have leverage. 

As long as owners don’t turn to cancellation services or formulate a strong class action lawsuit, resorts know they can milk a vacation owner for tens of thousands of dollars before they even know what hit them. This is why a majority of their news releases and industry updates discuss exit scams. If they can create fear around an owner’s timeshare contract exit resource, they can make a lot of money off of one buyer.

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Will Timeshares Get Away With Lying Much Longer?

While the whole concept of lying is disheartening, it tells us that timeshare companies are becoming more desperate than ever before. The simple fact that they’re using old, failed tricks proves they’re running out of options. Society just doesn’t value an annual vacation like once before. Even though many have enjoyed their purchase in the past, the greed of the industry continues to rear its ugly head.

Buyers that were once able to travel effortlessly are now experiencing limitations. Mergers and new laws have added inconveniences to the overall fractional ownership experience. Points programs haven’t exactly been fruitful. Now that the travel industry is extremely competitive, some believe it makes more sense to simply cancel the timeshare. While we’re not quite ready to put a fork in the industry, the future most certainly looks bleak. 

When timeshares get away with lying because they’re avoiding the truth, it’s only a matter of time before it bites them. If you feel as though you’ve been misled during a timeshare presentation and want to learn more about our qualifying process, you can always schedule a free consultation. At VOC, we’re committed to understanding your current situation so we can point you in the right direction. Thanks for stopping by.

Why People Purchase Timeshares & How They’re Lured to Presentations.

Why People Purchase Timeshares & How They’re Lured to Presentations.

Our world is stuck in a time of despair. Since the wake of the Coronavirus, people’s livelihoods have been turned upside down. Local shops and businesses have been forced to close their doors and millions of Americans are living on pennies. Casualties have become eager to voice injustice. Deep societal issues deservedly dominate our nation’s headlines. Most consumers are probably making payments on something they can’t even use. Costly inconveniences are steadily becoming more and more of a problem. So what are corporations doing about it? 

Over the past several months, we’ve been studying the responses of timeshare companies during the pandemic. Not once have we come across a strategy to relieve the industry’s highest paying customers during the pandemic. By April, many decided to begin layoffs and point vacation owners to government and financial institutions instead of lessening their burdens. But this shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise. So why do people purchase timeshares even though resorts have been taking advantage of owners for decades?

Why Buying Timeshares May Be Appealing Today.

When consumers first come across a timeshare presentation, many believe it’s truly an opportunity of a lifetime. It’s safe to say a majority of buyers have never even looked into the purchase before. Even if they did, major hotel chains do a great job of squashing negativity about their brands. Once they’re able to convince potential buyers that bad press stems from exit scams, most people overlook the red flags.

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We tell you this because a great number of people will be looking to travel in the near future. Society has been shut in for months. While the goal of many will be to recover from the financial crisis that has ensued, some will immediately look for a way to escape. You might even be looking for a vacation right now. What’s important to understand is, timeshare companies are going to be looking to capitalize on this desire.

When People Purchase Timeshares Out of Impulse.

When you’re unprepared for a timeshare presentation or unaware of what the purchase entails, salespeople tend to be rather convincing. In other words, people purchase timeshares because they’re uninformed. Anyone that takes the time to truly investigate the expensive product will clearly see it’s not worth it. Something that may seem like a much needed getaway for an affordable price can easily turn into a costly burden during an inconvenient time. 

People that have recently bought timeshares are currently troubled by this decision. Many won’t even be able to use it this year. The problem is, the low monthly cost that was advertised isn’t their only obligation. Interest, taxes, and other annual fees often catch buyers off guard because they’re not mentioned in the sale. Perpetual agreements enforce obligations during crises and assessment fees help resorts cover reparations.

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So as you venture into public in a post-pandemic world, you have to be willing to inspect what appeals to you. No matter how good a timeshare may sound, you have to check the facts. Greedy operations have probably been scheming for months now. Resorts have lost a lot of money. Aside from overbooking their resorts, selling timeshare agreements is the fastest way for them to replenish revenues. 

So what can we expect from an industry already known for aggressive methods? 

Filling Up Timeshare Presentations is Key.

Getting people to sit down for a timeshare sales pitch is no easy task. This is why the industry hires charismatic, convincing people to position the product. Whether you’re approached in person or over the phone, the initial goal is to get you to believe you’ve been selected for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There are many ways the sales team makes random targets feel special.

Timeshares Lure Consumers With “Free” Incentives.

Giving away physical items or experiences typically gets people’s attention. But these types of incentives aren’t always what they seem. Timeshare companies have been using misleading gifts to lure consumers to timeshare presentations for decades now. “Free” activities or attractions offered are usually nothing more than certificates or premiums that need to be redeemed. But people purchase timeshares not knowing this.

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Redemption programs have always been extremely difficult to process. Oftentimes, there are several steps that need to be completed perfectly in a certain time frame in order to receive the perk. Many buyers never follow through and forget. It becomes so difficult for others that they just give up. How many times have you purchased a new item (such as a cell phone) with promised savings only to find out the rebate was limited or it became void because you missed a step? 

Plenty of people are leveraged to purchase timeshares just to cash in on the gifts. Accepting concert tickets and a two night stay in Miami seems worth the risk – especially when they’re already on vacation and loosely spending. Many believe they can just cancel the contract when they get home. 

Sadly, a majority of people that purchase timeshares for the gifts don’t know they have to cancel within the rescission period (usually 5 days) in order to void the transaction. What’s worse is some buyers don’t even receive the gifts they were promised. This leaves them stuck in a binding, unwanted gift that keeps on giving. Just remember, nothing in life is free. Even if you think you’ve struck gold, don’t make an impulse decision. Short term potential is not worth an extended burden. Don’t play their game.

Gifts Can Be Leveraged Against Vacation Owners.

While incentives can be used to generate appeal, they’re also used to establish further revenue. Oftentimes, timeshare companies will make the deal with a new owner, then offer to buy back some of the gifts they’ve given out – before the buyer realizes they’re not worth it. What ends up happening is, people purchase timeshare to get a free gift, then exchange the gift for an upgraded timeshare package. While some vouchers can be redeemed, many are used as a ploy.

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This should show you just how conniving and misleading timeshare sales teams can be. Normally when this happens, upgrades are positioned as “price drops” that recently just became available. In other words, another, better limited opportunity. Truth be told, this sales pitch never stops. Once you’ve signed the agreement, timeshare sales teams will always look for ways to get you to spend more. In reality, you could have simply picked up an interval on eBay for $1 and avoided a year of maintenance fees. People are that eager to get out of timeshare contracts. 

The face value of most incentives given to timeshare owners are under $100. If you’re walking down the strip in Vegas and someone offers you $80 show tickets in exchange for 90 minutes of your time – just keep walking. It’s best to just pay for the tickets yourself. Doing so could help you avoid a completely devastating experience with double digit financial hardship.

What Vacation Owners Could Expect in the Aftermath of a Pandemic.

What Vacation Owners Could Expect in the Aftermath of a Pandemic.

Today, our world is nearly at a standstill as the aftermath of a pandemic looms. But most Americans can’t think about potential outcomes right now as they’re forced to focus on the here and now. No matter the precautions that have been put into place, every city seems to be caught off guard by the virus. Now that the unexpected has impacted thousands, U.S. citizens are beginning to safeguard their lives. With travel restrictions and local ordinances in place, we don’t have much of a choice. Whether you believe this is tip-toeing on Marshall Law or wish more people would stay home, each of us will be affected by the aftermath of a pandemic differently.

Unfortunately for those of you with timeshares (like we mentioned in our past few articles), this may not be the best time to be an owner. Just prepare yourself for that. It’s going to be awfully difficult to accommodate millions of travelers once limitations are lifted. If you’re already frustrated with the reservation system, then it’s safe to say your pain will more than likely resume. While we hope that timeshare companies will start putting their buyer’s needs first, it’s hard to know if this will ever be a reality. 

The Financial Impact of a Pandemic is Real.

No matter how many times the industry stubs their toe, they insist on continuing down the same path – in a rather aggressive manner. Their ability to keep timeshare owners under contract has secured them multi-billion-dollar profits every year for a long time now. Nothing about their sales presentations tells us they care about a fair deal. Now that our country is on the verge of a post-pandemic era, this becomes even more concerning. Fair or not, there will be buyers that won’t be able to afford their timeshare anymore. You might even be realizing this right now.

The Coronavirus pandemic has really wreaked havoc on our economy. Business closings, due to finances or a non-essential distinction, have altered a lot of lives. Industries that were thriving have been totally shut down. School closings have forced millions of families to find care for their children. Those that are still working may face difficulties getting to work – if they rely on public transportation. Job loss or an inability to find an income really urges people to take a long look at their spending habits.

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Budget cuts are going to have to be made for most people and businesses. But what happens when timeshare owners can’t escape the costly burden of their purchase? Will resorts really follow through with collection attempts, judgements and foreclosures? Do they really think owners will pay for a weekly interval they can’t use – in the middle of a financial crisis? While it’s easy to assume timeshares will care more about the loss they incur, there is always room for optimism. It’s been said that Hilton recently offered buy-backs, but we’ve yet to analyze the terms.

What to Expect After it’s All Said and Done.

Although it may be difficult to make a timeshare payment right now, facing reality can help you avoid a number of devastating outcomes. At some point, the resort has to acknowledge the aftermath of a pandemic. Staying in communication with them is the best thing you can do – even if making payments isn’t an option. This at least shows the effort was there

As our nation aims to get a handle on the outbreak, we have to understand that damage will be done. Being proactive and preparing for setbacks not only helps you act wisely but understand your options. Many of you have been ready for something like this and others have not. Either way, how you respond to this can determine how the next few years of your life goes. Truth be told, timeshares should be thinking the same way. With that being said, here’s what we see happening in the timeshare industry in the aftermath of a pandemic like this.

1. Timeshares Labeled Non-Essential.

As we walk into an unknown time of recession, how many buyers will simply stop paying for their timeshare? Like we mentioned before, you’d think it’d be an easy decision if it had to be made. The problem is, a decision to walk away doesn’t just affect them. While the timeshare company may come after the breaching owner for contractual obligations, annual maintenance and assessment fees still need to be paid. This falls squarely on the remaining owners group. 

The thing is, others might be facing similar financial hardships themselves. So the snowball effect can be rather burdensome. Even if resorts are able to find new buyers (which is extremely costly for them by the way), the loss from cancellations and contract infringement is hard to ignore. If the industry is desperate for new owners now, there’s no telling what they’ll do in the aftermath of a pandemic.

If history repeats itself, timeshare companies will surely remarket their users with enticing upgrades to increase profits. Sadly, this tends to negatively impact senior citizens the most. If a drastic decline in payments occurs because timeshare owners view the purchase as non-essential, then further financial consequences can be expected for those who remain loyal. Are you prepared to carry this burden?

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2. New Hospitality Health Standards.

In the aftermath of a pandemic like the Coronavirus, one can’t help but assume the hospitality industry will improve health and wellness standards. There’s no way we’ll ever know how many people contracted the virus from a hotel stay or their timeshare vacation. At this point in time, health standards for hotels, condos and even vacation rentals are basically self regulated. While there are rules, regulations and inspections in place for every state, it’s nowhere near where it needs to be. 

Improved health regulations will be a big win for all, but it’ll be rather costly for timeshare owners. Most travelers won’t care about paying a few extra dollars per night when they know it’s going towards overall cleanliness. The peace of mind is usually worth it. But when millions of dollars is poured into a resort for maintenance and wellness improvements, the annual fees for vacation owners can increase significantly.

There are also a few other items worth considering. If new health standards are implemented for the hospitality industry, are you prepared to pay for a special assessment? Have you ever heard of this or know what it means? This could be extremely costly if there is a surge in legal timeshare cancellations. 

Will all of this force timeshare companies to start assisting aging owners that develop disabilities, health conditions or an inability to make decisions? All of these things need to be considered before assuming a healthier environment actually bodes well for you – financially.

3. Heirs Will Be Opportunistic.

When it’s all said and done, I think we can all agree that the COVID-19 virus has impacted the elderly population the most. As we’ll find out, some of those that have lost their life were timeshare owners. This means, heirs will have to eventually decide what to do with the weekly interval. Some of which aren’t even notified until a mass amount of fees have racked up due to deceased payments. Even when a life is lost, the timeshare industry shows little regard. 

When it comes to inheriting something like this, most people are pretty eager to use it. Those that aren’t privy to the product tend to be extremely vulnerable – and timeshare companies know it. They’ll be more than happy to lower your parent’s (or original owner’s) penalties if you upgrade. While a majority of people will see this as opportunistic, salesmen only see them as an opportunity to make more money.

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In the aftermath of a pandemic, where we lose thousands of seniors, many heirs will find themselves in this predicament. A good part of deeded ownership is outdated because timeshares now prefer selling points. While aged contracts are pretty straightforward (specific week and unit at specific property), most point contracts work a strategic legal plan to deed the points through trusts with perpetual beneficiaries. If you inherit an aged timeshare contract, then you can expect to be pressured on a points program that better suits the resort.

4. A Severe Bottleneck for Traveling.

One of the main concerns for all timeshare owners right now should be availability. While a good number of travelers have had their timeshare vacations canceled over the past few weeks, plenty of people are waiting to see if their reservations will stand. Over time, this creates quite the queue. Who gets to go first? How will their allotted travel time be affected if the resort has to continue upending reservations? Will the resort be willing to halt retail bookings until vacation owners get what they’ve already paid for? 

Due to the screeching halt of the travel industry, we should all be expecting a drastic bottleneck to occur. Who knows how long it will last but the longer travel restrictions remain, the more difficult it’ll be for timeshare companies to win. Even if they make up a lot of lost money with maintenance and assessment fees

5. Vacation Resorts Will Suffer Loss.

Once timeshare companies start suffering tremendous losses, internal hits are inevitable. Long time employees and key staff members will be forced to pack their bags – at least for the time being. Hospitality chains simply can’t survive when tourists aren’t bustling and travelers aren’t filling their rooms. The lack of job security or fear of contracting the virus might even cause some employees to quit or look for other work. All of these things weaken hotel chains.

The problem with firing timeshare employees is the simple fact most former sales reps launch fraudulent exit programs in an effort to sustain their lavish lifestyle. In a time like this where we’re nearing the aftermath of a pandemic, timeshare owners are going to be more desperate than ever. During the financial crash a decade ago, a number of former sales reps launched illegal transfer schemes where they’d let Shell corps dissolve and leave the owners with the financial burden years later. If sales teams lose their jobs, it’s not a reach to say history could repeat itself.

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Say the hospitality industry is affected by this for a long time, how are timeshare owners impacted? Will resorts continue to rely on them to burden the cost while they pocket billions of dollars? Will they ask for more? Will it force them to finally find a way to offer an affordable vacation – even if they can only make $500 million? Only time will tell. But in the aftermath of a pandemic like the Coronavirus outbreak, it’s hard to know what to expect.

Vacation Ownership Consultants.

While there’s nothing more that we want than for timeshare owners to enjoy their vacations, we understand this can be a tough time for you. Sometimes, you just need to know how to exhaust all of your options with the resort. At VOC, our goal isn’t to close you on our cancellation service. We’d rather help you find the best path to a logical solution. You can schedule a FREE consultation anytime or proceed with our qualification form below.

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