With the Asian market and new technology, the timeshare industry is experiencing stronger growth than ever after the economy was hit by a crisis. But looking back at its history, the timeshare industry began with a little idea from a French hotelier named Paul Doumier. Mr Doumier ran a hotel in the French Alps until one day he was inspired to market with the slogan, 'No need to rent the room, buy the hotel - it's cheaper!' In recent years, this industry has experienced a rebirth that has taken it to an unprecedented size in terms of members and affiliates, and is now also dominated by well-known operators such as Disney.
With established providers known as timeshare's Big Three: Resort Condominiums International (RCI), Interval International and Trading Places International, this industry is growing into Asia and other regions such as the Middle East and South Africa.
According to Geoff Ballotti, president and chief executive officer of RCI, the world's largest timeshare network, timeshare owners are always looking for new experiences, especially overseas, and there are ever-increasing opportunities in places in Asia such as China, Indonesia and India. It has also links to more than 4,000 properties in nearly 100 countries with 3.8 million members and also owns a luxury arm called The Registry Collection.
There are also other reasons for the timeshare industry's success, such as the multitude of big brands that have come on board. This industry is now also dominated by well-known operators such as Hilton, Marriott, Disney and Starwood. Moreover, the timeshare's durable business model which held steady in 2009 amid the worst recession since timesharing was introduced, has proven to be a key draw factor for property developers and owners.
For the last two years, this industry has been challenged by the economic downturn. Some companies shut down their operations and the number of owners trying to get out of their timeshares increased dramatically. But this year, this industry shows it resiliency as most companies are already recovering. We can also see that this industry is moving forward as a sustainable business with both an interesting and attractive growth formula in the travel and tourism industries.