ORANJESTAD – On the occasion of the quarterly meeting among employees, Luigi Heredia, President of the Aruba Timeshare Association, addressed a gathering of hoteliers at La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino, presenting the latest developments regarding timeshare and vacation ownership.
According to Heredia, the timeshare industry has endured to create opportunities for owners to have access to popular destinations with international-level accommodations, a particularly significant proposition for Aruba, which boasts the best beaches in the Caribbean.
What members of ATSA understand in their hearts, and indeed it is so, is that vacation ownership is the best way to spend a vacation. Reports from ATA suggest a significant shift towards accommodations in the ‘other’ category, including vacation rentals, condos, and private homes. The ‘other’ category now represents 27.3% of the market. Timeshare continues to capture 27.3% of the market that comes to Aruba, with no change over the past five years as per the 2018 report. Timeshare claims 31.1% of the ‘nights’ market because our members stay much longer. This percentage is likely to decrease in the coming years as there are no new timeshare developments in Aruba, but there are many new condos, private vacation rentals, and hotels under development.
Today, timeshare owners are younger than ever, and they cherish timeshare. Timeshare is back, and it’s not just for the older generation.
What was once considered old is new again – and this applies to timeshares as well; they are back in a completely different and better package, with record-breaking numbers at this time.
A 2022 study by ARDA, the American Resort Development Association, shows that Gen Z and Millennials now constitute over half of timeshare owners, at 57%, and more than half of ‘new sale purchasers,’ at 53%.
I can personally say that at Costa Linda, we see many younger owners buying timeshares and staying for more than the traditional week. I’ve also learned from them that they choose timeshare because they’ve learned from the pandemic that timeshare destinations are much safer and provide a sense of home.
The timeshare industry has continued to grow significantly in recent decades to become an attractive vacation choice for younger customers, and the results speak for themselves. Today’s timeshare product offers flexibility. Customers clearly enjoy these options and continue to recognize the overall flexibility and exchange opportunity as their main reasons for purchasing timeshare.
The 2022 report reveals a satisfaction rate of 90%. Furthermore, 84% of owners will purchase another timeshare product – a significant increase from 77% in 2020. Additionally, 82% of all owners generally recommend timesharing. In Aruba, we also enjoy tremendous customer satisfaction and see the loyalty they have, even in challenging times and troublesome situations.
Much of the growth that this industry is experiencing can be attributed to its evolution to always meet the needs and desires of today’s traveler. A system like this [revamped points-based] allows travelers to adjust their travel plans, making timeshare an excellent choice for young people just starting their careers and needing this flexibility away from their home, around the world, a place where they can relax without worrying about all the demands of a traditional hotel stay or an unregulated vacation rental.
Certainly, the industry has its critics, some claim that the purchase and maintenance costs are daunting, especially for those on a slightly tighter budget. Additionally, while this is not the case for all timeshare properties, the idea of being tied to a specific property or location is not attractive to those who prefer the flexibility of a more traditional vacation rental. Fortunately for Aruba, we have several timeshare options. There is something for everyone.
A study by TUG, the Timeshare Users Group, showed that 79% of owners indicate they go on more vacations than they would have without timeshare. ARDA research shows that timeshare owners went on vacation an average of four times in 2021.
Our industry is well-positioned compared to other travel and hospitality providers, like timeshare, which offers large accommodations at a time when ‘working from anywhere’ has become the new norm.
We must continue to protect our timeshare industry in Aruba, as we refer to it as the backbone of this tourism industry in Aruba. We need to continue to monitor inflation despite the rising costs of doing business, taxes, and other labor challenges. Timeshare in Aruba is now in its 46th year, and this also presents challenges in terms of an aging workforce.
The timeshare industry has always been and will always be committed to meeting the needs, desires, and expectations of its owners and employees, taking care of its community – and it is very evident that we are making progress, surely there is a timeshare experience for everyone.