I have written this book to help timeshare owners to be able to utilize their programs better, get the exchanges they want, and get a massive amount of value out of the vacation ownership/ membership they have purchased.
I want you to be able to get one to three weeks of vacation at the best five star resorts and actually be able to get the dates that you want.
If you listen to the end of my quick story, do what the owner of this exchange company told me, and listen to how the process works. You will go from an unhappy or uninformed timeshare owner to someone who can get a lot of value out of your purchase. Additionally, you will be able to stay at some of the best resorts in the world.
I have also compiled information that I have learned from over 15 years in the industry and mainly from other smart owners and other industry professionals.
When I was a little boy, I asked my single mother every year if we could go to Disneyland, as I heard so many kids talking about it. My mom’s answer was always the same, “We can’t afford that, Mijo, and what do you think I’m made of? Money?” As I grew up, I decided that I wanted to be rich so that I could go wherever I wanted.
After going to college, I tried out to get a football scholarship. I realized that the $5,000 I had saved from working since I was ten years old was not going to get me through the first two years of school. Also, since my mom could only afford $100 per year for books, I decided to just drop out and start working. I found out you don’t necessarily have to go to college to become wealthy.
When I returned home I was met with the gleeful smile of my stepfather, who couldn’t have been happier to see me fail. He had told me from the time I was ten years old that I would never amount to anything, nor would I ever be able to own my own house. As I saw him smirk, I decided right then and there to do whatever was necessary to become successful. Two months later, with a gift of an old 1969 Ford pickup truck with a racquetball-man hood ornament and $375, I took the eight hour drive on one of the worst and longest roads in Nevada with no cell phone to the big city of Las Vegas, where I didn’t know a soul. After a couple of months, I went on a job interview and the boss said we sell timeshares here and I said, “What is that?” He told me that most people can’t afford to go on vacation.I thought of my mom who had saved all of her money in a coin jar to take me on the one vacation of my life up to
the Oregon coast and I thought it was the greatest time of my life. He said you put a little money away every month into a savings account until it is paid off and then you can go on vacation every year and that sounded great. He also said most Americans work so hard that they have to force themselves to take vacations. He said when they buy a timeshare they end up taking vacations when they have a program like this and that made a lot of sense to me. Then he said that a lot of people travel and spend over $100 a night for a hotel room and that this is a less expensive way for them because after seven to ten years they only pay a fraction of the cost and they get to stay in this beautiful condo.
He said this as we stood in a two-bedroom villa on the top floor in the middle of the Strip. All of this made sense and so I started selling timeshares at the Polo Tower in Las Vegas on the Strip and I did very well from the beginning. In my first month, I made around $8,000 which seemed like a million bucks to me at the time!
Then one morning in the sales meeting they announced an employee purchase program was available. I asked my boss if it was a good idea even though I was only 21 years old. He told me if you own what you sell you will sell more, if you stay in this business you will make six figures
your entire life, and you can tell your step-dad to go to you-know-where.
That was all I needed so I bought a week at the Jockey Club for $7,000 and I was very excited
to use it. In my presentation, I was telling people that you just call up and go wherever you want when you want, and you can stay at the best resorts.
The reality was a lot different, though. Every time I would call and ask for something the units would never be available, especially since I was young and didn’t plan out more than two months in advance. I would call up Interval International and I would say, “Hi, I would like to stay in Sedona next month, Lake Tahoe for 4th of July, Marriott Newport Beach, or a week in Hawaii.” Every time I would ask for something I would get the same answer, “No, I am sorry we don’t have any of those available, Sir. How about this off the wall property in Palm Springs in June?”
After about four months of trying to get a vacation anywhere and not being able to get anything
that I actually wanted, I quit the business. I didn’t think that these timeshare things worked like we had said. I then went to work for a timeshare resale and rental company. After a few months I figured out they didn’t do anything, they just took people’s money. However, when I worked there I did speak with a lot of owners that actually did rent out their timeshares for a decent amount of money on holidays and I thought that was very interesting and a great idea. After that job, I started my own landscaping business in Arizona and then eventually moved back to Las Vegas.
To make extra money while I was starting my business, I bartended in the evenings and on.
Since I wanted to be good at my job and learn more, I went to a timeshare convention with my friend. While there, I met one of the executive directors of the San Francisco Exchange, which is a high-end exchange company like
Interval International or RCI that specializes in trades to five-star resorts only. As we were speaking, I asked him, “How come you can never trade these things and get where you want to go ever?” He looked at me, laughed, and said you can get where you want to go a majority of the time, you just have to do it the right way.
The director said that he bet I hadn’t read any of the instructions in the manuals on how to do it. I sheepishly said no. I thought you just called up and told them where you want to go and then they got it for you. Then he told me that is what most people think, that it is the worst way to do it, and that he was willing to bet I never get what I want doing trades like that. He explained to me that doing it like that and trying to make an exchange by just calling up is like trying to find something in the middle of the ocean.
He asked if I knew what the likelihood of the exact week I wanted to be available at the resort I wanted for the exact time-frame I was looking for it. He then said that it is almost next to impossible unless you are going off season. As I looked at him with confusion and stunned disbelief I asked, “Well then how do you do it properly?” The executive told me trading is like swapping baseball cards. You need to trade something good to get something good and you will almost never get it on the first phone call, especially if you want a good week and you need to know this going in. He said that if you want to do it right, you only need to do two steps and you can go almost anywhere, anytime within reason, year after year. The first step to exchanging, he told me, was that you need to have something good to trade and he used my week as an example since it was in Las Vegas.
He said you own a week in Las Vegas with 22,000 other people and you can book it any time of the year except maybe New Year’s unless you bought that specifically. What you need to do is go to the Travel Demand Index
under your Interval International account and see what is the best week you have access to and then book that one year in advance. Up until this point I thought that index, with the colored boxes, showed what was the best weather in that area when it is actually a ranking schedule on what are the best weeks to book.
He said you own in Las Vegas and if you book a week in the summer then that is the off-season. The only people that go to Las Vegas in the summer are teachers and people without a lot of money typically so they usually buy a timeshare in Branson or Orlando and places like Mexico.
While they are good places, only so many people want to trade for those and there is a lot of inventory and exchange companies that make money off of the exchange fees.
For example, if you had booked it for New Year’s, then someone would trade Hawaii, then someone would trade New York, then the Florida Keys and so on and so forth.
This would cause a chain of exchanges that would make the exchange company $6,000 to $10,000 off of a good exchange so they rank those weeks higher. Since you can only trade for a week that is worth the same or less than the one you gave up, it is almost impossible to trade a Branson, Missouri week in the winter to Hawaii at Christmas, you just won’t have enough trading power and they don’t tell you that, they just say it is not available.
You have to give up something good to get something good, as certain resorts will cause only a few exchanges and not that much revenue, so they don’t rank your week as well.
So your first step to exchanging properly no matter where you want to go is to figure out the best week you have access to, by using the Travel Demand index and book that week one year in advance for the biggest size unit
you can. Once you have that week you immediately call and deposit that or at least ten months in advance. That will give you your maximum trade value and get you just about anywhere you need to go in most time periods.
Then he said the next hardest part to trading and the most frustrating for people is the fact that you will almost never get your request by calling up on the phone or going online and asking for what you want and expect to get it for when you want on that phone call or search.
Nothing good is ever available right when you call and the likelihood of what you want when you want it to be available at the time you call in is highly unlikely. This is what most people do and that is the reason most people think they can never get the exchange they want. It is also the worst way to get an exchange especially since they usually don’t follow the first step which is the most important.
He said if you only booked your week two to four months in advance for an off-season week, you will never get what you want. The only way to get what you want, is to book that prime week and then when you want to go somewhere you will need to put in an Ongoing Search for the property or multiple locations that you want. While it is not ideal, as everyone would like to just call up and go where they want when they want, it doesn’t work like that.
However, the search does have a high success rate, such as Interval International’s 97% confirmation rate on ongoing searches. The thing is most people just don’t like to wait. They want to know immediately. The thing that they don’t realize is that most of the time, it’s within two weeks of when you asked to receive a confirmation number for your stay.
So, as long as you put in a good week to trade that has enough trading power to go where you want to go and then you put in an ongoing search, you have an exponentially larger chance of getting the week you want, where you want. Then you can increase your chances by doing the normal things like going off-season, picking multiple resorts or dates, and a few other factors that can get your trade faster.
Since he had taught me these ways on how to trade and I started doing more research, I found out that it actually is in the Interval International and RCI magazines on how to do it properly. I just realized that I had never really read them or I read them, but didn’t understand what they meant and how much of an impact each one thing could have on each other.
Ever since my wife and I have learned some of these tricks we’ve been able to trade for some of the best places like the Four Seasons, Marriott Newport Beach, and Marriott Timber Lodge. We’ve been able to get multiple weeks for one and we’ve gotten a lot of two bedrooms for our studio units. We have since gotten tons of value out of our timeshares and have been able to use them anytime we want to, two to four weeks a year, for the last six or seven years.
In addition to this, I’ve also done some research on how to trade, have read multiple books like the RCI and Interval International Exchange Bible, and learned from representatives at RCI and Interval International.
What I hope to do in this book is to break down the different components of what I learned in a systematic and easy to use format which once you master can help you to get the best vacations and get the maximum value out of your vacation ownership program.
My firm belief is that if I can help you get one to three weeks a year out of your one week of vacation, teach you how to offset
your maintenance cost with different strategies, and learn a little more about the system and the things you can do, I think you’ll be very happy with your vacation ownership program.
I decided to write this book to help out individuals who own timeshares and those who don’t know what to do with their timeshares once they have ceased their usefulness. This is also a how-to guide for how to best use your timeshare and get the most value out of it. I will give you ideas on everything from offsetting your maintenance fees, to trading your property to a five-star resort, to getting multiple weeks out of every one week you own.
I will teach you how to navigate through the resale world or make money with your property by renting it out when you are not using it. If you want to turn your timeshare into a business, you will learn the things the developers will never tell you.
For specific information on your particular situation or for anything I have not covered in this book please look for revised additions, and new books. In order to make this a book that people will actually read, I have tried to condense the information and cover the questions most owners ask.
If you have any questions or specific situations, which is very
likely, again, feel free to go to my website to see if there are other books or guides that may pertain to your situation.
Visit us at www.Mytimesharefordummies.com. There are three major things I would like to cover in this book:
3. Offsetting your maintenance
I believe that as a timeshare owner you should do your best to offset your maintenance costs, get multiple weeks out of one, and stay at five-star resorts whenever possible.
If you can do these things consistently, a timeshare is a great investment that cuts your costs to lower than they would be if you bought vacations online, no matter what the discount.
Timeshares have provided millions of people with above average family vacation experiences they might not have otherwise been able to accomplish. I have seen owners create memories with their families that most people could only dream of. The entire purpose of timeshare is to allow people the ability to stay at high quality resorts without paying hundreds of dollars per night, but a vacation
ownership package is not the least expensive way to go unless you know how to use it. The majority of people, in my estimation, do not use their programs effectively or don’t use them at all.
Vacation ownership allows people who might not normally afford to take a high quality vacation a chance to live like they’re rich when they do travel. The timeshare industry was started in the 1960’s in the French Alps for Europeans who took holidays. A standard holiday in Europe is when you take an entire month off of work to spend with your family.
In fact, in some places in Europe you are disqualified from some insurance if you do not take at least three weeks of vacation. Continuously working without taking a break can lead to high stress levels that increase your odds of heart disease, cancer, divorce and general unhappiness.
Vacation ownership is a way to prepay your vacations for a lifetime with a one-time purchase price. After that, your cost is only an annual maintenance fee, and you can go on frequent vacations at high quality resorts.
As I write this, I am sitting at my desk in a nearly full resort in the middle of the worst economic time since the Great Depression.
Even people who are on unemployment are still traveling because their vacations have been prepaid.
When people are already paying for something, they tend to use it more to justify spending their money.
Timeshares have evolved over the last few decades to meet the needs of a wide variety of people. Currently, there are over five million people who own some sort of vacation ownership package from some of the biggest companies in the world. Most timeshare resorts are located in popular destination areas with nearly every major developer now involved. Every major hotel company– including Four Seasons, Hilton, Wyndham, Disney, Berkley group, Marriott, Westin and many others–has a timeshare program to offer. These companies have developed programs to allow you to do everything from staying at campgrounds to staying on private catamarans in the Bahamas. You can enjoy cruises, all-inclusive resorts, and vacation houses all with your program. Some companies have even started buying property on the moon for their owners to use, eventually.
With timeshares, you are not just staying in a hotel room; you are staying in a fully furnished condo typically twice the size of an average hotel room with all of the amenities of home. One of the cost-saving features is the kitchen because it allows you to eat meals in your room. The rooms also provide you a homier feel because of the living rooms and extra bedrooms which provide extra comfort. Some people say they just use the room to sleep in, but I can guarantee they have never stayed at a Westin Presidential Unit in Hawaii for a small $18 exchange fee.
No matter where you own, you have the option of using any of several exchange companies to trade to thousands of resorts on every continent in any desirable location on the planet. If you utilize your timeshare correctly, you can stay at a five-star resort where people pay thousands of dollars per week for pennies on the dollar.
The key is to know how to use your timeshare effectively and have ways to offset your maintenance costs. I have written this book as an informative guide on how to use your program no matter which company you own with or what you want to do with it. When you own a vacation program, you have many options. In addition to staying at high-end properties, you can use it as a rental to make money, contribute it as a charitable donation, or leave it as a legacy to your family. In life, families can change with having children or getting divorced. Unexpected things like loss of income can also occur. When those things happen, a lot of individuals do not know what to
do with their timeshares. This book will give you options on what you can do with a timeshare for any type of situation. Neither the developers nor the sales agents are there to help you past the sale. That is where this book
and I come in.
I wanted to write this book as a learning guide to teach you the basic knowledge most people don’t get when they purchase, on how to really use it for maximum benefit and enjoyment. It seems everyone out there has a hidden agenda to try and sell you what they want you to buy not exactly what you need. I have written this book to assist owners while navigating through these sometimes complex topics. Of course I charge for my book, but I have no affiliations or loyalties to any particular company.
The reason I wrote the first addition to this book under a surname is because I was still in the industry and I doubt they would be thrilled with me revealing a lot of the alternative options you have in this industry to buy, sell, rent or trade. Now that I am not in the industry except for renting out my own timeshares as well as other owners of certain points developers I can use my own name.
My mission with this book is not to make everyone rich, but to give advice you can count on without the fear that someone is taking advantage of you. The price of my book is very little for safe and sound advice and we believe we will be rewarded for our efforts. I am in the process of writing other books on specific topics to break each process down to specific actionable steps, however I will go over them in each chapter as well.
Finally, you get the knowledge you need and the help you want!