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.
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?
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.
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.
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.