Timesharing in Resorts
Holiday and a Vacation?
Summary of the Structure of the Industry
History of Hospitality 6 Hotels
Types of Hotels 7 Resorts
Types of Resorts 9 Timeshare 10 Beginning of Timeshare 12 Types of Timeshare 13 Timeshare developers 16 Demand/Season 17 Timeshare Stats 17 Advantages of Timesharing
Marketing of timeshare relates to Customer Satisfaction
Research Framework & Survey 22 Data collection 23 Data analysis 23 Findings 27 Reliability of the Survey 28 Demographic Profile of the Students 28 Interest of students in Lodging Operations 28 Perception of Timeshares 30 Relations and Comparison Between Variables
Analysis 32 Conclusion 34 Limitations 34 Problems and How to Deal with Them
Reliability of the survey 36 Demographic profile of the students 36 Interest of Students in Lodging Operations 37 Future Research Recommendations/Recommendations for Hospitality Schools
Appendix II 44
Holiday and a Vacation?
Dating at least from ancient Rome, the holiday was a time of public and communal celebration, a time to commemorate some event of civic or religious significance that all citizens participated in equally. The set of holidays observed by a given community was a way of defining that community. Each holiday, with its unique history and set of rituals, connected the members of a community to one another, and to the community’s collective past.
The holiday was fundamentally noneconomic in character. Everyone participated, independent of economic circumstances…. In contrast, the vacation is thoroughly private and economic. People negotiate for paid vacations with their employers. They decide whether to spend their money on vacations or on things, in a way that they never would with holidays. Imagine asking whether to buy a new car or celebrate Easter. The point of a vacation is not to join in celebration with other members of the community but to escape it — at least for a while. People take vacations for a change of scene, and they take them alone, or just with their families. (Schwartz, 1986)
The thought of combining a holiday and a vacation appears to be absurd to Barr Schwartz, as noted by the introductory quote. Some individuals, in a sense, consider the concept of combining a vacation with a timeshare to be illogical, as accounts of lawsuits from fraudulent sales strategies frequently make news. The case during 2006 illustrates one example. George McMaster, Columbia attorney, against Island Links, Coral Resorts LLC and R. Dwight Trew, alleged the company utilized fraudulent sales practices. “Those practices included misleading buyers on how often the points they accumulated would allow them to vacation and making promises that buyers could lease their weeks out for a profit, according to the lawsuits,” McMaster states in the newspaper article by Jim Faber (2006). In this particular case, McMaster had to quit accepting plaintiffs as the defendant did not have the capacity to pay all settlements. On the more positive side, however, more and more individuals are investing in timeshares in resorts. Nowadays, people appear to relax more and in their free time, many individuals go on holidays to all parts of the world. To accommodate these individuals, more timeshare complexes are being built. On August 7, 2006, Carol Park (2006) reports that “Marriott Vacation Club International, a division of Marriott International Inc. In Washington, D.C., is building its largest timeshare complex in the United States.” (Park, 2006) This particular project, expected to take until 2017 to be completed is located in Palm Desert. WTO (2005) reports the growth of tourism is expected to continue to grow approximately four percent a year. This gregarious global growth global shows trends to specific countries, regions and destinations. As some people prefer to return to the same destination each year as they build up a relationship with the destination and are happy with the familiarity, this can lead to problems for the customer if the resort is popular become unavailable due to being fully booked.
Timesharing or ownership sharing solves this particular problem. Timesharing enables customers to purchase a “room” (3 or 4 bedroom) or studios where large families can stay for one week or several weeks each year, depending on their contract. A valid timeshare contract gives customers the security that the room or studio will be available for their allotted time. This, albeit, may simultaneously present a myriad of advantages or disadvantages for customers, as well as the resorts.
From research conducted by experts in the hospitality field, this researcher contends the timesharing industry to be successful. Timesharing has already earned a total of $6 billion sales worldwide and in the last seven years, has grown every year by 16 or 18%. (Mill, 2001)
The growth of the timeshare industry has been nothing short of remarkable overt the past 15 to 20 years,” Bear, Stearns & Co. (1999), and Mill (2001) posit. Bear, Stearns & Co. (1999) also predict: “the confluence of a rapidly growing population of income-qualified households and increased utilization should result in collective revenues of $200 billion between 1995 and 2009.”
As timesharing comprises one of the most growing segments worldwide, this researcher seeks to identify vital facts of timeshares in this industry paper. This research effort determines how many students in the Swiss Hospitality School are aware of timeshares, the source of their awareness and their interest in timeshare education.
Summary of the Structure of the Industry Paper
The paper is divided into 5 chapters. The first chapter, the introduction to this study, presents a general overview of timesharing. It also introduces the reader to the timeshare program.
The second chapter, the literature review, is separated into subtitles. Firstly, it gives the reader a brief overview of the history of hospitality. Next, this chapter informs the reader about hotels in general and also denotes different types of hotels. After this, information about resorts in general and specific types of resorts are related. From this point, this paper jumps to the major topic of the paper: “Timesharing.”
The topic of “Timesharing” is divided again into subtopics. The first part of timesharing explains the topic and then informs the reader about the history and the types of timeshares. The literature review also informs the reader about the four largest timeshare developers, along with the advantages of timesharing. Lastly, this section shows the reader timesharing statistics, and additionally, due the fact the researcher is utilizing a survey, this paper also deals with the implementation of a questionnaire, including the questionnaire’s set up and design.
The third chapter, the methodology, proffers an explanation of how the research is carried out. The methodology also covers definitions of the sampling techniques and the research population.
Chapter four assesses results obtained from the survey. This chapter, divided into five subtopics, initially shows the reliability of the survey. Secondly, the demographic profiles of the students, followed by the students’ interests in lodging operations and the students’ perception of timeshares are presented. Lastly, this section identifies the relations and comparison between variables.
Chapter five, the conclusion of this research paper, discusses the conclusions gathered and determined from the research paper. Also, this chapter reveals the limitations of this research project, the problems this researcher encountered during the course of completing this industry paper and how he resolved these problems. Lastly, this paper offers recommendations for future research on this topic of timesharing, as well as makes recommendations for hospitality schools.
As this study examines concepts connected to “Timesharing in Resorts,” the following objectives are explored and expanded:
To critically analyse the academic theory as it relates to the concept of time share within product development and consumer buying behaviour.
To investigate the growth in time share in terms of customer satisfaction and perceived socio-cultural impacts.
To provide conclusions and recommendations as to the future direction of timeshare as a product within the tourism sector.
Statement of Problem:
This research is conducted to discover students’ awareness of students enrolled in their final term of a bachelor in hospitality management regarding the subject of “Timeshares.”
II. Literature Review
History of Hospitality
Hospitality is as old as civilization.” (Mayo, 2003)
As hunters, traders and others away from home during the beginning the 19th century needed a place to rest, hotels were built, Dr. Cynthia R. Mayo (2003) reports. Along with this beginning root of hospitality, complementary branches of travel and transportation systems began to bud. Nowadays, the hospitality industry constitutes one of the largest industries in the world, with hotels, as back in time, continuing to play a major role in hospitality.
Hotels hotel may be described as an establishment which provides accommodations on a short-term basis. A hotel often provides a number of additional services such as a restaurant, swimming pool, spa, etc.. Amenities, albeit, are often dependent on the hotel’s location. (Knowledgerush, 2003) Hotels, as well as motels, vary greatly in size and in the services they provide. Motels and hotels are known to provide more services than many other lodging places may offer. (Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2004) According to Ibisworld (2005), the hotels related to national chains have been growing rapidly. National corporations own many chains, even though several others are independently owned but affiliated with a chain through a franchise agreement.
Types of Hotels
The U.S. Department of Labour (2004) denotes five basic types of hotels:
Commercial – These hotels operate year round and are primarily located in cities or suburban places. The larger properties offer an assortment of services for their guests, such as coffee shops, restaurants, cocktail lounges, gift shops, newsstands, theatre, health spas, swimming pools, etc.. Even larger hotels offer banquet rooms, ballrooms to accommodate wedding receptions; business meetings. Convention and business meetings provide major sources of revenue for larger hotels
Resort – These hotels are primarily located in vacation destinations near mountains, the seashore, or other attractions. Nowadays, some resorts provide additional convention and conference facilities to stimulate their customers to combine business with pleasure. (U.S. Department of Labour, 2004)
Residential – These establishments provide a living quarter for permanent or semi-permanent residents. The customers have the comfort of living in an apartment, yet still receive the hotel services. Most have dining rooms and restaurants which are also open for the general public.
Extended stay hotels provide some home comforts for a customer away from home. Currently in North America, 27 extended-stay chains represent over 2000 properties. These hotels have self-serve laundry facilities and offer special rates for extended stays. They also have guest rooms with kitchens. Extended stay hotel are popular with business travellers or individuals needing temporary housing. (Higley, 2005) In addition to the fully equipped kitchenettes and laundry services, the extended-stay market offers guest amenities such as in-room access to the net and grocery shopping. (Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2004) To keep the costs to a minimum in this type of a hotel, the traditional hotel lobbies and 24-hour personnel are eliminated. Housekeeping is usually done only once a week. The suite facilities offer a living room and a bedroom. These accommodations are mainly for travellers who require lodging for extended stays, families with children and business people who need a small room to conduct meetings without the expense of renting an additional room. (Ibisworld, 2005)
Casino Hotels – These hotels offer short-term accommodations with a casino on the hotel where customers can play wagering games or engage in other gambling activities such as slot machines and sport betting. These kinds of facilities offer a high range of services such as food and beverage services, entertainment, valet parking, swimming pools and conference and convention facilities. (Ibisworld, 2005)
Resorts Resorts can be described as a place used for relaxation or recreation. (Dictionary.Com Unabridged v.1.0.1., 2006)
People nowadays travel more and more to resorts for holidays or vacations. A resort offers a large selection of activities and amenities, such as drinks, lodging, food, sports, shopping and entertainment. Most resorts are situated in towns and vacation centres. (U.S. Department of Labour, 2004)
Types of Resorts
According to R.C. Mill (2001), two types of resorts offer accommodations:
Destination resorts and nondestination resorts.” Due to the fact destination resorts are located further from the market, visitors tend to fly rather than drive to a destination resort, when they visit once a year for one to two weeks. Nondestination resorts are usually located close to the market. Visitors generally stay at these resorts for a shorter period of time, but visit the resorts more frequently.
Mill (2001) contends that visitors categorize five types of resorts by their locations and amenities:
Golf resorts – This facility provides one or several golf courses. The resort should also provide food, drinks and sleeping spaces.
Spa resorts – These type resorts provide the customer with therapeutic baths, mineral springs, sauna’s, whirlpool and more beauty and wellness services. (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004) According to the New York Times (2005), large resort spas should also offer also fitness facilities, wellness components (like yoga classes) and spa cuisine menu choices.
The larger the resort, the wider range of activities the resort will offer. These may include golf, swimming, tennis and sometimes water sports, horseback riding and skiing. Some resorts even offer kids’ camps with activities for children and youth, while the parents visit the spa. A resort spa is a good choice for people who have families with differing agendas and preferences, for example: He loves to play golf. She longs to relax and visit the spa. The kids want to play games, hang out with other kids and attend kid’s camp.
Ski resorts – A ski resort is equipped with skiing facilities. However, according to Mill (2001), ski resorts became four-season resorts due the fact the hotels are focussing more on their spa heritage and many resorts are using health as their theme.
Seaside resorts – Seaside resorts are located directly at the sea.
All- inclusive resorts – Along providing all of the common amenities of a resort, these resorts charge a fixed price that includes most or all items. Most inclusive resorts include unlimited food, drinks, sport activities and entertainment for one fixed price. Most all inclusive resorts, albeit, do not help the local economy as the guests may obtain what they need in the resort. One advantage, nevertheless, despite the fact these resorts draw a larger number of visitors to the country, visitors, even though all their needs are met, usually venture outside the resort.
The newest trend in resorts is timesharing. Timesharing is frequently described as a holiday concept where the purchasers buy a hotel room or studio in a resort for a period of time depending on the contract. (World Tourism Organization, 2005) According to Timeshare Beat (2005), timeshare means that people can share the purchase cost of a vacation accommodation for one week or more each year, which may be for a specified number of years or for lifetime.
According to Abbey (1998), timesharing may also be defined as “purchasing the title to a specific period of time at a unit at a particular property” and may also be called interval ownership or vacation ownership. Upchurch and Lashley (2006) state that timeshare is the “act of sharing vacation time at a luxurious resort facility in a geographical location of choice.” In her newspaper article, Park (2006) explains that “A timeshare unit, also known as a vacation ownership property, is a furnished unit similar to a condo or apartment that is sold in one-week intervals.” Along with a room, timeshare units provide other hotel amenities like a pool, maid and concierge service. Timeshares, unlike hotel condominiums, which are sold like second homes, are sold in weekly intervals. Owners are charged a maintenance fee, averages almost $500 a week of ownership, for every owned week.
Witherspoon (1999, p. 208) notes: “Timeshare owners essentially purchase access to the equivalent of a home or condominium at a vacation ownership resort, then have access to equivalent facilities through a global exchange network.” Ownership periods vary from a week or more and may be for a designated time every year or for a specific number of years. Chris Larsen, spokesman for the travel industry’s American Resort Development Association (ARDA), reports the fastest growing segment of the travel and tourism industry to be vacation ownership. During 1998, approximately $2.7 billion in timeshare sales, represented nearly 270,000 vacation weeks cost an average $10,000 each in the U.S. During this particular year, there were almost 2 million U.S. timeshare owners, out of nearly 5 million global timeshare owners. (Witherspoon, 1999, p. 208) timeshare owner may trade his/her unit for room nights at hotels in the same association or exchange for stays at another timeshare property, a flexibility that increases the demand for timeshare units.
In his article, “Investing in timeshares,” Roger Witherspoon (1999, p. 208) relates Willie and Elizabeth Hurd’s experience of enjoying a $4,000 vacation for.”.. The exchange fee of $75 through the Disney Vacation Club’s Concierge Collection and spent 20 of our 300 points.” Witherspoon then explains points; exchange fees; vacation dubs. He also relates pros, cons and considerations for individuals considering purchasing a time-share. The timeshare’s growth stems from the fact that numerous major resort companies and hotel chains have entered travel market segment, including Disney, Four Seasons, Marriott, Hyatt, Ramada and Travelodge.
Beginning of Timeshare
After World War I ended, Bully Butlin, born in South Africa in 1899, completed his service in the Canadian army.
For work during his passage across the Atlantic to Liverpool, he received Â£5. He then walked 160 miles back to Bristol, where he joined the Marshall Hill fair.
During 1935, opened his first holiday camp in Skegnes, a goal he set about a “rotten holiday on the Bristol Channel when he’d been thrown out of his lodgings by a seaside landlady who wouldn’t allow ‘guests’ to stay during the day.” Butlin’s philosophy was that along with providing lodging for guests, if amusements were also available, guests would flock to stay at the accommodations.
Time has proven Butlin to be right. (The Butlins…, 2006) Recently, the Butlin company joined Resort Condominiums International, RCI, the world’s largest timeshare exchange organization. Guests may now choose from thousands of luxury timeshare developments all over the world. Timeshare owners can swap Minehead for Miami or for other luxurious holiday locations.
Mike Crowther, Butlins’ spokesman, also the current leading for Butlin’s newest development, BlueSkies notes that because of the expenses accompanying second homes and holiday apartments, their company’s timeshare options provide families first rate holidays. (“Now You Can Buy,” 2006, p. 127) Ebony’s article, “What Vacation Time-Sharing Can Mean To You,” published in 2000, also relates some of the history regarding time-sharing, noting that “It started about 25 years ago and is still a relatively young product.” (“What Vacation Time-Sharing Can…,” 2000, p. 18) In her magazine article, “Time Out: Getting the Best Deal on a Vacation Time-Share,” Keisha-Gaye Anderson (2003, p. 115) reports the time-share concept originated in the French Alps during the late 1960s. According to Anderson, during the 1980s, this conception became a popular U.S. vacation option. Anderson notes that a time-share, also known as vacation ownership, offers owners lodging in furnished condominiums or resort units, usually three star or better, for a specific amount of time each year (usually a week). Upchurch & Lashley (2006) also report that timesharing, which currently has a market all over the world, started in the sixties in the French Alps. They note this occurred after a French engineer and his family grew tired of their vacation home, the engineer decided to search for other people who also owned a vacation home and asked them if he could buy their vacation home for a week. By 1978, states like Florida and Utah had created timeshare laws to protect customers from dishonest developers. In 1984, Upchurch & Lashley (2006) report, the first hotel chain, known as Marriott International, entered the business. Disney and Hilton followed this company’s lead eight years. Now, most major hotel chains dealing with timeshares. Hunter (2004) contends the timeshare industry is currently the fastest growing travel industry in the world.
Types of Timeshare
In the article “What Vacation Time-Sharing Can…,” (2000, p. 18), only two basic types of time-shares are identified:
Fee simple” – The buyer obtains title to a portion of the unit, and “right-to-use.”
Owner does not possess an ownership interest.
Right-to-use” – The purchaser can use the unit for a particular period, but does not possess any ownership interest.
According to an Alberta government (2004) research on timeshares, however, three different kinds of timeshare exist:
Right to Use – Right to Use constitutes a long-term agreement which give the owner the right to use a room or studio for a specific period of time every year, normally between 15 and 50 years.
Fee Simple – In a Fee Simple contract, a lifetime ownership of a specific week in a room or studio is secured. The owner may sell, lease, lend or exchange his/her specific week.
Vacation Club Membership – Vacation Club Membership represents a membership where the customer buys a block of membership points he can trade for usage any time, for varying lengths depending on the season. This agreement sometimes has time limits, as in the right to use agreement.
As Vacation Club Membership timesharing became successful (Timeshare Resales Worldwide, 2004), the Resort Condominium International (RCI) organization entered the arena with it’s RCI Points exchange. RCI, founded in 1974 as an exchange service for condominium owners, provides products and services to the travel and leisure industry all over the world. RCI, at the front position of vacation ownership, has more than 3 million timeshare owners worldwide and utilizes 3,700 resorts in 101 countries. (RCI, 2004)
Jafar Jafari’ book, Encyclopedia of Tourism serves as a reference and/or guide basic definitions, concepts, perspectives, issues, themes, methods, and institutions that tourism embraces. Timeshare systems differ and implement varying philosophies. They also operate under various affiliation and performance standards. Resort Condominiums International continues to be the world’s lead exchange company. Whippy, Interval International, and Club Mediterranean are several other leading companies. Residential Development Association and The American Resort in the United States, as well as Timeshare Council in UK are additional leading associates. Due to potential impact and problems that might ensue from the continuing timeshare growth, along with application of timesharing, numerous countries currently enforce regulations to manage this industry. (Jafari, 2000, p. 582) RCI currently has a one-week timeshare exchange called RCI Weeks, with a point system known as RCI Points. Owners, who own interest in a RCI resort offering RCI points, can pay a fee to RCI and upgrade their ownership to an RCI points ownership. Other types of timeshare, according to RCI, include:
Deeded agreements – QCK, the UK’s leading finance and business directory, reports that deeded agreement (a contract) states the buyer owns a timeshare at a specific time every year. (QCK, 2006)
Fixed weeks – In a fixed agreement, the contract allows the use of the property for the same time period each year.
Floating weeks – When a timeshare stipulates a floating week agreement, the buyer does not reserve specific dates every year. In this case, times are generally reserved more reserved by season, with reservations usually confirmed on a first-com, first-serve basis. (Crimes of persuasion, 2000),
Fractional ownership – Fractional ownership timeshares involved the selling of multiple-week packages. Usually more than one week is owned by customer, but less then a whole ownership. (La Vista Resort, 2005)
According to Timeshare Resales Worldwide (2004), two primary reasons contribute to timeshares’ point system success rates. Points, usually associated with larger timeshare developers, may be used not only in the home resorts, but also in many places in the developer’s entire system. The owners have more flexibility in choosing the time, for example, one week may be split into 2 or 3 increments. The point system the Marriott Vacation Club utilizes is a bit different than most “normal” point systems. In this system, the timeshare owner may give the timeshare period back to Marriott, and in return, obtain points to spend for things other than timeshare, such as airline tickets, car rental, Marriott Hotels, Merchandise, etc. (Marriott Vacation Club, 2005) Hilton Grand Vacations Club (HGVC) offers almost the same service as Marriott. At the vacation club in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, a 15% discount on accommodations, meals and beverages is offered. (HGVC)
Fairfield, WorldMark, Sunterra, and Marriott are known as the four largest timeshares developers. Fairfield Resorts is known in the United States as the largest vacation ownership company (TRW, 2004). Sunterra, currently called Club Sunterra, owns more than 90 resorts worldwide.(Sunterra, 2005) Sunterra purchased the oldest point-based developer of timeshare in the U.S.A., formerly Vacation International. WorldMark owns the largest number of point resorts concentrated in the Western United States. Most WorldMark Resorts are RCI gold crown. (TRW, 2004)
Demand / Season
Resorts divide the year into three seasons, with costs and value of the seasons differing accordingly (Alberta, 2004):
Red season or high demand
Yellow season or moderate demand
Green season or low demand.
In the United States, 72.9% of timeshare owners earn incomes of more than $50,000. Seventy-five percent are 45-year or older and 57.4% have a bachelor’s degree. The average income of a timeshare owner is $68,000 and the average age is 54-year. (Timeshare Resales Worldwide, 2004) According to Hilton International Grand Vacations Company (HIGV), 12 million people enjoy a timeshare every year, while more than 5,270 time shares resorts exist throughout the world in over ninety different countries. In the UK, 1.25 million time ownerships are secured by residents, with this number increasing by more than 10% a year. More UK residents have timesharing holidays than travel on skiing trips or take cruises. (HIGV, 2005) According to World Tourism Organization, there are 5,791 timeshare resorts and just over 1,700 are located in North America. Europe hosts 25%, with Spain offering over 500 timeshare resorts. Latin America includes another 16% of the global total, led by Mexico with approximately 40% of the resorts in the regions. Upcoming Asia offers 14%. All in all, these resorts provide about 325,000 accommodation units worldwide. More than 40% are in the United States, where timeshare resorts tend to be largest; averaging more than 80 units each.
Globally, there are about 60 timeshare units per resort. The American resort Development Association (ARDA), a professional association representing vacation ownership and resort development industries (established in 1969), currently has almost 1 000 corporate members. According to Upchurch and Lashley (2006), ARDA is the only international trade association that represents all facets of the vacation ownership resort industry. ARDA reports a “double-digit growth” over the past twenty years and 6.7 million owners.
Timeshare Sales (Upchurch and Lashley, 2006, p.21)
From this table, it can be seen that the amount of sales in the last twenty years increased
Significantly, which confirms reports the timesharing market is on the rise.
Park (2006) reports that:
Marriott leads the timeshare industry with 52 resorts and 10,475 units, according to a Merrill Lynch research report published July 27 (2006).
Hilton Hotels Corp. In Beverly Hills owns 40 properties and 4,272 timeshare units, almost half of which are located in Florida.
Starwood Vacation Ownership, a division of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in White Plains, N.Y., owns 3,546 timeshare units worldwide and plans to add more than 1,600 new units by the end of the year.
According to the Merrill Lynch report, the timeshare industry grew 16% in the past 12 years. Sales reached $8 billion in 2004 up from $5.5 billion in 2003. Approximately 4 million U.S. households own timeshares. (Park, 2006) study in 2006, produced by Ernst & Young for the ARDA International Foundation, reports Sales for the timeshare segment rose nine percent last year to $8.6 billion. This particular study also shows increases in the number of new owners, unit prices and occupancy rates. “Timeshare grows…,” 2006) Highlights from this 2006 study include:
1,604 timeshare resorts currently operate in the U.S., with 4.1 million households owning one or more weekly intervals or points equivalents.
On the average, 26.5 individuals own each timeshare unit.
Approximately 22,000 units opened last year.
The timeshare industry census numbers 154,439 units; an average of 96 units per resort.
Florida has 378 properties, three times as many timeshare resorts as any other state.
Nearly one third of timeshare properties are located seaside or on an ocean location. “Regional resorts account for 14% of properties, following by golf resorts (10.2%), ski properties (9.3%), lake or river resorts (9.0%) and urban timeshares (6.0%).” (“Timeshare grows…,” 2006)
Advantages of Timesharing
The La Vista Resort (2005) contends timesharing offers customers some major advantages. Timeshare owners can stay in luxury resort accommodations, but only for a portion of the cost of a full condominium ownership. A second advantage is that timeshare owners don’t have to worry about taking care of their unit. Another advantage La vista resort presents is that the owners are members of an exchange company such as RCI, they have the opportunity to trade their timeshare allotment for a comparable timeshare at another resort.
According to Timeshares Resales Worldwide (2004), four million owners think timeshares make sense. Their reasons include: A timeshare owner can stay in a unit without paying. That means they don’t need to pay anything when the owner checks out due to the fact the unit is their own accommodation.
Another reason is that the owner can save more than $100 a day in eating out in restaurant costs because most condos have their own kitchen and fridge. A third reason is that the owner can rent-out his unit if he does not want to or cannot utilize his scheduled time in the resort. Additionally, the owner does not have to pay extra if more people stay than usual. Lastly, the owner may give away his time in the luxury resort, which may be one of the most appreciated gifts he/she gives to someone. According to a study Timeshare User groups completed, they found more than 4 out of 5 owners of a timeshare are satisfied with their resort-timeshare purchases.(1998) Seventy-three percent of this study’s respondents stated they enjoy their holidays more with timesharing. Seventy-eight percent agree resort timesharing has made a positive impact in their looking forward to their holidays. Ninety-eight percent of respondents reported that the possibility to exchange resorts was very important in their making a decision to purchase a timeshare. Lastly, 98% insist that resort timesharing is a good value for the money. Nowadays, despite its popularity in the U.S., timeshare is still not that well-known in some parts of the world. In Japan, for example, the purchase of timesharing by the Japanese is much smaller than by Americans. (Knowledge Capital, 2005) This is believed to stem from the lack of knowledge of timeshare. A second reason, the language barrier for the Japanese buyer, constitutes a vital reason for their lower incidences of purchasing timeshares.
Marketing of timeshare relates to Customer Satisfaction
One major challenge for customer satisfaction relates to scenarios such as the following:
Brit Couple Killed as Timeshare Turf War Erupts in Tenerife; Husband and Wife worked for Midland Conman (John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer),” headlines a newspaper article published in the Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England) on January 15, 2006. (“Brit Couple Killed as,”
2006, p. 3) At the time John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer was jailed in 2001 for defrauding 17,000 holidaymakers in a pounds 30 million scam, he ranked.”.. 105th in The Sunday Times Rich List with pounds 300 million, alongside the Queen, Michael Heseltine and the Duke of Devonshire.” (“Brit Couple Killed as,” 2006, p. 3). The Robinsons, who were bludgeoned to death had worked for Palmer for several years and were still running a timeshare company linked to him, Global World Travel. Concern was expressed in this article that the mafia is infiltrating timeshare businesses.
Research Framework & Survey
The design of a research questionnaire may differ, according to how it is administered and especially how much contact a researcher has with the respondents. (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 1997)
As this researcher handed out the surveys in class and picked them up directly afterwards, the survey may be called a delivery and collection questionnaire. The advantage of a delivery and collection questionnaire is that this researcher, at time of collection, may confirm who answered the questions. (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 1997)
The survey is designed with all closed questions due the fact that is quicker and easier to answer. The responses are also easier to compare as they have been planned before. In total there are six types of closed questions (Youngman, 1986):
List – List questions provide the respondent a choice of responses from which to choose.
Category – Category questions are designed in a way that each respondent’s answer can fit in only one category.
Ranking – Ranking questions ask the respondent to place particular items in order.
Scale or rating – Rating or scale questions are primarily used to collect opinion data.
Quantity and grid – Quantity questions give responses in a number format. Grid questions authorize the respondent to record responses to two or more similar questions at the same time.
After the questionnaire is designed, it should be pilot tested. The purpose of a pilot test is to clarify the questionnaire so that the respondent will have no problems in answering, and to help ensure no problems will be encountered in recording. According to Bell (1999), this researcher should give the questionnaire a trial run, because without a trial run, there is no way to be sure a questionnaire will succeed.
The number of pilot tests the researcher conducts depends on the research questions, objectives, the size of the research project, the time and money resources a researcher has and how well a researcher designed the questionnaire. Smaller questionnaires are unlikely to allocate enough time resources for such testing, however, it still vital that a researcher pilot test the questionnaire. (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 1997)
In pursuing the purpose of this research, to determine how many students in the Swiss Hospitality Schools are aware of timeshares, the source of their awareness, and their interests in timeshare education, the researcher distributed a survey to students graduating in December 2005 from the Bachelor in International Business in Tourism and Hospitality, as well as to students graduating from the Washington State University program with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management, a total of 39 students. This researcher attempted to survey as many students as possible, as recommended by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2003) knowing that insuring a greater number of participants increases the reliability of the survey.. Another consideration: the categories this researcher could choose were dependent on the type of questionnaire.
When this researcher began designing the questionnaire, he considered several pertinent questions, including:
What type of Questionnaire will be best to utilize?
What is the best choice for a questionnaire in this study?
Which design questionnaire will best achieve results?
As stated in the literature review, this researcher previously planned to utilize a delivery and collection questionnaire, due the fact this way of handing out the questionnaire is reliable and the researcher is reassured the survey will be filled in. Another reason for choosing this type questionnaire is that the researcher has the opportunity to check to see who answers the questions at the time of collection. Since this researcher is not yet an expert in designing questionnaires, the supervisor of this researcher was present to help and direct the design of the questionnaire. For every question the researcher asked in the questionnaire, double spacing was allocated. Double spacing presents a more professional appearing survey, as well as, insures the respondents have a better overview of the questionnaire.
After several meetings with the supervisor, this researcher integrated three types of data variables into the survey:
For the Opinion variable, this researcher integrated the questions: “Please indicate below your interest in learning about managing the following types of operations.” The respondents have the choice to answer: “No Interest; Low Interest; Some Interest; High Interest. The researcher integrated this question so that each respondent’s answer can fit only one category. This question proves useful when the researcher wants to assess the respondent’s opinion. Also, this question is a rating question, due the fact this researcher wants to collect opinion data.
As noted from the question, this researcher integrated positive and negative statements to ensure the respondent read each question carefully and thought about which box to tick. For the second question: “Do you think UCCR should provide a lecture on timesharing?,” the respondent can only answer “Yes” or “No.”
For the behavior attribute, the researcher integrated the question: “Would you ever consider using timeshare?.” For the data variable, this researcher integrated questions such as to identify the respondent’s gender, nationality and age.
The first draft, designed in the 1st week of November, was planned to be pre-tested. After this researcher met with the supervisor, however, it became clear the questionnaire was not properly designed and that the questions were not accurate. During the following two weeks, this researcher met several more times with his supervisor.
The purpose for the meetings with the supervisor was to develop focused questions and make the questions easier to understand so the sample would not have problems answering the questions. In the fourth week of November, the questionnaire was pilot tested by students and ready to be handed out to the students who are completing the Bachelor in International business in Hospitality and Tourism Management, as well as to the students enrolled in a Washington State University Bachelor in Hospitality and Tourism Management program. Both classes are situated at the University Center Cesar Ritz and working toward graduating. The researcher chose two particular classes as he is enrolled at this school, which contributes to easier accessibility to these classes. This also helps guarantee the data will be collected “on time,” as well as enabling this researcher to deal with possible upcoming problems directly, as this researcher is a representative of the present and predicted student group. After the survey is completed by the students, this researcher will determine how many students are aware of timesharing, along with the source of their awareness. The survey will inform this researcher if the hospitality schools should implement lectures about timesharing in the UCCR curriculum. The questionnaire was distributed in school during November 26th – 30th. When all the questionnaires were completed, this researcher processed the data, using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). SPSS is known as the world’s leading provider of predictive analytics software and solutions. The company, founded in 1968, currently serves more than 250,000 customers worldwide and employs more than 1200 individuals in 40 countries. SPSS customers work in telecommunication, higher education, government, retail, consumer packaged goods and market research. With SPSS, a researcher can predict analytics’ solutions, organizations are able to direct, optimize, and automate specific decision processes to meet organizational goals.
The software examines data on past circumstances, present events, and projected future actions using advanced analytics, and afterwards, delivers recommended action for effective actions. During the process of analytics, the data was coded and analyzed to reveal if a variable relates to another variable. According to the book, Research Methods for Business Students, (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2003), this type research is known as the statistical significance helps rule out the possibility results could be due to random variation in the sample.
The method of significance testing can be compared to answering a series of questions, depending on the data type. Examples of pertinent questions include:
Is the association significant?
Are the differences statistically significant?
What are the strengths of the relationships?
A correlation coefficient enables the researcher to quantify the strength of the relationship between two quantifiable variables. When conducting a research project, it is extremely unusual to obtain perfect correlations. A perfect correlation means the value is 100% dependent on the other variable. When both values contain quantifiable data, this researcher utilized Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient (PMCC) to asses the strength of the relationship.
When one of the researcher variables contained a rank data, it became necessary for this researcher to rank the other variable and use Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. After completing the analysis, this researcher began recording the results. (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2003)
Basically, this section of the project, the methodology, denotes the process of creating the questionnaire and relates how it was designed to attempt to obtain the best possible outcome. The major part of this project involved gathering adequate and sufficient data to record in the industry project.
To fulfill the objectives and purpose of this study, this researcher implemented a statistical analysis. Firstly, the reliability of the survey is analyzed. Secondly, the demographic profile of the students in the BIB program and the WSU program is presented. The interest of students in lodging operations is then presented. Following this, the perception of timesharing is analyzed, which additionally shows the percentage of students who believe UCCR should provide a lecture on timesharing. Lastly, this study shows the relations and comparisons between the variables.
Reliability of the Survey
The analysis of the reliability of the survey is conducted by this researcher with the statistical program SPSS. In this case, the reliability proves to be100% due to the fact that no answer was missing. All surveys were returned to this researcher.
Demographic Profile of the Students
When we examine the distribution of the respondents by gender, males and females are basically balanced: 51.3% were male and 48.7% were female. The majority of the respondents originate from Europe (51.3%) and Asia (33.3%). 10.3% were American and 5.1% were from other parts of the world such as Africa and South America. When this researcher analyzed the age of the respondents, he determined that 25.6% is between 18 and 22 years old, 56.4% is between 22 and 24 years old and lastly, 17.9% is 25 years or older.
Interest of Students in Lodging Operations
Students’ interest in lodging operations varied greatly. Most students expressed some interest (48.7%) or high interest (51.3%) in resorts. When this researcher examined the bed and breakfast accommodations, the statistics showed that the majority of the students had no interest (43.6%) or a low interest (30.8%) in this type of lodging operations. Only 23.1% of the respondents possessed some interest and 2.6% had a high interest.
Following this determination, this researcher looked at the boutique hotels, with decidedly different determinations. From all the students, 35.9% have a high interest and 28.2% have some interest. However, there were 25.6% with a low interest and 10.3% with no interest at all. One major question was: What is the interest of the students in timeshare? Surprisingly, only 10.3% have a high interest and 35.9% have some interest, while 53.9% had no or a low interest in timeshares.
As chain hotels represent a major part of the hospitality industry, and due the fact the respondents study hotel management, it should be clear the interest in this should be high. The survey supports this expectation as the researcher could see that more than half of the respondents (84.4%) have some or high interest, and only 15.4% have no or low interest in this type of lodging operation.
The survey showed that 30.8% of the respondents have a high interest in family hotels and 25.6% have some interest. The other 43.6% have no or a low interest. None of the respondents have a high interest in motels and the majority (97.4%) has no or low interest. Only 2.6% have some interest in this type of lodging operation. Lastly, the interest in family hotels is really poor (82% no or low interest); only 18% are interested.
Perception of Timeshares
As the “Problem Statement” for this study posits: This research is conducted to discover students’ awareness of students enrolled in their final term of a bachelor in hospitality management regarding the subject of “Timeshares.” In conducting research to resolve this statement, Question number 5 proves ideal to determine the students’ knowledge on timesharing:
Which of the following is a definition of timesharing?”
Please circle the most appropriate.)
Spend time together with your family in fully furnished vacation accommodations.
Gives people the opportunity to buy time at fully furnished vacation accommodations usual increments and that for a fraction of the cost of a full vacation home ownership.
Gives the people the opportunity to rent a room for a couple of weeks in a resort.
None of the above When analyzing this question this researcher determined that only 59% or respondents know exactly what timesharing is and 51.3% thinks he/she will consider the use of a timeshare. When the researcher analyzed question six, it revealed that 61.5% of respondents were interested in having a lecture on timeshares.
Do you think UCCR should provide a lecture on timesharing?
Relations and Comparison between Variables
When this researcher sought to assess relations between variables, the best statistical tool to use, he discovered, is cross tabulation. The survey identifies the relationship between the student nationality and the awareness of timesharing. When reviewing the respondents’ answers, the cross tabulation method showed that all Americans are aware of timesharing. Also, well 65% of the Europeans were informed about timeshares. Half the students who originated from South America or Africa and only 38.5% of the Asians are informed regarding this kind of lodging operation. This researcher additionally compared the students with a high interest and their knowledge of timeshares. After analyzing the questionnaires’ results, this researcher found that only 75% of students with a high interest know exactly what timesharing means. Surprisingly, 55% who have no interest in timeshares are aware of timeshares. From the students with some interest, 64.3% and half of the students with a low interest possess a knowledge of timeshares. The researcher sought to discover if a difference between gender exists in questionnaire results. The research shows no significant difference exists between the awareness of females (57.9%) and males (60%). When conducting another test of the awareness of timeshares, this researcher chose between the age groups: 18 to 22-year, 22-24-year and 25-year or older. In the first age group (18-22), 60% is aware of timeshares. When analyzing the second group (22-24 years) and the third group (25 years or older), the researcher identified that in the second group, 63.6% comprehend timeshares, however in the last group, only 42.9%. When identifying whether there lecture on timeshare at UCCR should be implemented, this researcher also made a comparison between genders. The results showed that 57.9% of all females and 65% of all males think there should be a lecture. For a second choice, the researcher compared opinions with the people who currently possess a knowledge of timeshares. Out of the individuals who are aware of timeshares, 65.2% contend it is a good idea to implement a lecture.
As a last comparison, this researcher compared questionnaires’ results with the interest of the students. Of the students with a high interest, 75% posit it should be implemented. Out of the students with no interest, 66.7% contend there should be a lecture at the UCCR campus. This researcher wanted to discover the reason for the awareness of the students. To identify this factor, this researcher compared the students who are aware of timesharing and whether the students know someone who has used or owns a timeshare. Only 47% of those students know someone who owns or has used a timeshare.
Lastly, this researcher wanted to identify whether students plan to use a timeshare. For this, he again compared again the students who are aware of timesharing. From those students, 52.2% plan to use a timeshare. The analysis of the results will be explained in the next chapter.
In this chapter, conclusions are made regarding the purpose of this study: to determine how many students in the Swiss Hospitality Schools are aware of timeshares, the source of their awareness and their interest in timeshare education. Limitations encountered during the research are also disclosed, as well as recommendations as to how the research could be improved. Recommendations to Swiss Hospitality Schools, according to the findings of the research and some future topics for the research, are noted in the final chapter of this study.
When evaluating the results of the implemented questionnaire, the researcher arrived at the following conclusions:
Last year, students at the University Center Cesar Ritz, Brig Switzerland related a high interest in chain hotels (84%), and surprisingly the majority of the students have a low or no interest in timeshares. Only a small amount of the students have a high interest (10%).
Most of the Americans are aware of timeshares, which may be due to the fact timesharing is a major industry in the United States. The U.S., as noted in researched data in the literature review, has the most timeshare properties as more than 40% of all timeshare resorts are situated in the United States.
Sixty-five percent of all Europeans are aware of timeshare, due the fact that timesharing in Europe has been growing during the last 10 years.
As this researcher mentioned in the previous chapter, only 38% of Asians surveyed are aware of timeshare. This may be due to the fact that timeshare is new in the Asian market. Currently, Asians only host 14% of worldwide timeshares.
As stated in the previous chapter, there is no difference between the awareness of male and female.
Only 47% of students know someone who owns or who has used a timeshare.
Half of the students surveyed plan to use a timeshare in the future. This percentage is low due the fact only 59% of all students know the exact definition of a timeshare.
The findings in the previous chapter suggest a lecture on timesharing should be conducted, due the fact 62% of the respondents who are aware of timeshares and 75% out of the people with a high interest, as well as, 66% with no interest, think there should be a lecture presentation.
This researcher encountered numerous difficulties regarding limitations. From those difficulties, this researcher is able to offer several recommendations for future research efforts.
In order to conduct a better research effort on timesharing, the researcher needs more time allocated. More time, will give the researcher several advantages.
Problems and How to Deal with Them Firstly, having more time would permit the researcher to survey students from different schools. For this additional effort, it would be appropriate if the researcher traveled to each participating schools to handout and collect the surveys. As stated in the literature review, this type survey affords the researcher the opportunity to check who answered the questions at collection. When surveying more students, the reliability of the results will increase.
Secondly, the researcher could attempt to contact more timeshare resorts in order to collect more data. The more data the researcher obtains, the more accurate his/her research paper will be.
The researcher could additionally attempt learn more about several timeshare programs. This would give the researcher the opportunity to compare the programs and determine which program is better.
Research regarding the awareness of timeshares and the source of the students’ awareness in timeshare education could be more comprehensively executed. Future researcher could ask more questions such as: “When did you first hear about timeshares? Where?”
Research about the students’ interests could be done differently. For this work, the researcher could ask the students when they initially became interested in timeshares and the reason they became interested. When receiving those answers from students, the researcher could analyze the results more clearly and identify the major reasons why students are interested in timeshares.
What are these?” (Witherspoon, 1999, p. 208)
This final chapter describes the findings of this study. In order to meet the objectives and purpose of the study, a statistical analysis was conducted. Firstly, the reliability of the survey was analyzed. Secondly, consequently due to the analysis, the demographic profile of the students in the BIB program and the WSU program are presented. Next, the interest of students in lodging operations is presented. After this, the perception of timesharing is analyzed to show the percentage of students who believe UCCR should provide a lecture on timesharing. Lastly, this chapter reveals the relations and comparisons between the variables.
Reliability of the survey
In this case, the analysis of the reliability of the survey conducted by this researcher with the statistical program SPSS is 100%, due to the fact that no answer was missing and all surveys came back to the researcher.
Demographic profile of the students
When the distribution of the respondents by gender is assessed, it was almost balanced between male and female. 51.3% were male and 48.7% were female. The majority of the respondents originate from Europe (51.3%) and Asia (33.3%). 10.3% were American and 5.1% were from other parts of the world such as Africa and South America. When the researcher analyzed the age of the respondents he evaluated that 25.6% is between 18 and 22 years old, 56.4% is between 22 and 24-year-old and lastly 17.9% is 25 years or older.
Interest of Students in Lodging Operations
The interest of students in lodging operations varied greatly. Most students expressed some interest (48.7%) or high interest (51.3%) in resorts. When the researcher reviewed the bed and breakfast accommodations, the statistics showed that the majority of the students had no interest (43.6%) or a low interest (30.8%) in this type of lodging operations. Only 23.1% of the respondents displayed some interest and 2.6% had a high interest. After this researcher looked at the boutique hotels, however, results were different. From all the students, 35.9% have a high interest and 28.2% expressed some interest. Still, however, 25.6% expressed a low interest and 10.3% expressed no interest at all. One of the major questions was to determine the interest of the students in timeshare. As a surprise only 10.3% have a high interest and 35.9% have some interest. 53.9% had no or a low interest in timeshares. Chain hotels are a major part of the hospitality industry. Due the fact the respondents study hotel management, it should be clear interest in this area should be high. The survey confirms this as the researcher could see that more than half of the respondents (84.4%) have some or high interest and only 15.4% have no or low interest in this type of lodging operation. The survey showed that 30.8% of the respondents have a high interest in family hotels and 25.6% have some interest. The other 43.6% have no or a low interest. No one from the respondents has a high interest in motels and the majority (97.4%) has no or low interest. Only 2.6% have some interest in this type of lodging operation. Lastly, the interest in family hotels is extremely poor (82% no or low interest), as only 18% expressed interest.
Future Research Recommendations/Recommendations for Hospitality Schools
One primary reason for conducting this research is to determine if hospitality schools should implement a lecture on timeshares in their academic program. When analyzing the results of the survey, this researcher determined that the majority of the students think implementing a lecture constitutes a good idea. In addition, due the fact that timesharing is a major section in the hospitality industry, there should be a lecture in hospitality schools about this topic. Schools should not only consider implementing a lecture, but also perhaps create a whole course about this vital subject.
As many opportunities for persons who are interested in “serving” and “being of service,” to exceed guest expectations exist for graduates, if the students graduating from their programs comprehend the way timeshares work, these graduates will have a major advantage when they apply for jobs in the hospitality industry.
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Timesharing in Resorts
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