Since 1976, Interval International has been a leader in the vacation ownership industry, providing resort developer clients with outstanding sales, marketing, and operations-support services, as well as compelling product enhancements that augment ongoing owner satisfaction. The company operates an unparalleled exchange network of quality resorts, with more than 3,200 properties located in over 80 countries, offering vacation flexibility to members. Global Member-Services Centers provide personal assistance to the approximately 2 million families who are enrolled in various membership programs.
“According to the results of our most recent member survey, the Caribbean continues to be the preferred international travel destination for U.S.– resident members,” said Neil Kolton, Interval’s director of business development for the Caribbean and Southeast U.S. “Demand for condominium-style accommodations exceeds supply throughout most of the region, which demonstrates the potential for more vacation ownership development in the market.”
Vacation ownership, also known as timeshare, began decades ago with consumers purchasing a one-week stay during a particular time of year at a specific resort. This concept has evolved into many variations, allowing consumers tremendous flexibility in how they use their vacation time. Interval members, for example, can trade their weeks or points for time at a resort in Interval’s global resort network, and upgraded members can trade toward the purchase of a cruise, hotel, tour, golf, or spa vacation, as well as experiential travel.
Incorporating a vacation ownership component into an existing hotel or resort property provides the developer or operator with several advantages: more stable and predictable year-round occupancy rates, cost amortization of amenities and other public facilities, incremental revenue for the resort since each unit can be sold in weekly or point-based increments, and ongoing management fee opportunities. Moreover, industry research shows that consumers who have purchased a vacation ownership interest often travel in large parties that include extended family and friends, and tend to spend more money in the destination than the average vacationer because they have already paid for their accommodations.
Aside from Aruba and St. Maarten, which represent the majority of vacation ownership resorts in the Caribbean, there are few islands that provide sufficient timeshare accommodations to meet demand. “From my perspective, hoteliers who are not providing some form of vacation ownership are missing out on a meaningful business opportunity,” said Kolton. “Vacation ownership is appealing to a broad demographic, which can help increase sales velocity. Additionally, since many consumers finance their purchase, it provides the developer with a lucrative profit center, as well as an opportunity to further diversify the business model.”
Destinations supporting a healthy mix of vacation ownership also reap the rewards. Aruba is one of the best examples of a Caribbean market that has been very successful in attracting a steady stream of vacationers and keeping the numbers high each year. “This is partially due to the diversified nature of the hospitality sector on the island, where nearly half of the rooms are devoted to the vacation ownership market,” noted Kolton.
In underserved markets, developers can capitalize on offering vacation ownership. One such example is Bay Gardens Beach Resort on St. Lucia, a family-owned and -operated property with a deep history in the region. “The biggest benefit has been the stabilization of occupancy as timeshare owners now account for 10 to15 percent of our occupancy, and provide incremental cash flow,” said Sanovnik Destang, executive director of Bay Gardens Beach Resort.
When asked what he would say to other hoteliers throughout the Caribbean about his experience, Destang said: “If your property already has the features that timeshare owners want, such as larger units with kitchens and living rooms, then it makes perfect sense to look into the feasibility. I would also say it’s important to partner with an expert such as Interval, because if it were not for the advice, networking opportunities, and encouragement from Interval, we would not have gone down this road. And our recent $US1 million renovation would not have been financed completely from cash flow generated internally from the vacation club operation. This has benefitted all aspects of the business, since our rates and ADR have increased.”
Kolton added, “We’re so pleased to work with Sanovnik and to be a part of the Bay Gardens success story. We are here to serve as a resource for hoteliers interested in getting into the business and to offer our expertise in all aspects of vacation ownership.”
For more information, contact Neil Kolton at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 954-790-0520.
Submitted by Interval International – June 27, 2019