Growth of Urban Timeshare
When I began covering timeshare, most resorts were no closer than 2-3 hours from major metropolitan areas. There were very few properties located in cities. San Francisco was one of the pioneers in that area, with a half dozen or so; New Orleans also had a several properties. In both cases, the accommodations tended to be smaller than traditional resort timeshares, often very hotel like. Las Vegas and the Orlando area were also well represented, but their main purpose for existence was as a vacation destination.
Today, there is, or soon will be, significant timeshare destinations in Seattle, Boston, Washington DC and Chicago, among others. And the holy grail of urban timeshare, New York City has several timeshare and fractionals, including Hilton, St. Regis, The Manhattan Club and The Phillips Club.
This is taking place for a number of reasons. Better software has made it more practical to allow owners to use their timeshare in increments less than a week; this is particularly important based on the way urban destinations are used by their owners. It’s even more complicated because some urban locations see demand increase during mid-week, some during weekends, and for some it varies throughout the year.
Another reason for the urban growth is zoning, time and money. Their has been resistance to the growth of timeshare by many communities; in part to preserve the tax revenue built into almost all hotel reservations, in part due to the reputation timeshare had earned in the early days. As the major hospitality companies have come to dominate the industry, as the foibles of the past have faded into memory, with being repeated, more cities have been open to the concept. Often, compromises have been struck to retain revenue to the municipality.
The passage of time comes into play, if only because municipal zoning takes longer, so as the calendar has turned enough pages, the developers have been able to negotiate the municipal hurdles.
Finally, its an issue of saturation. As more and more resorts are developed in the traditional locations such as Hawaii, Orlando and Tahoe, as well as the regional locations (2-4 hours from major metropolitan areas), the vacuum in the cities becomes all the more glaring.
This series has not been scientific, nor was it intended to be comprehensive. It merely represents one reviewers impression. I welcome your opinions
Come back this week for my views on some issues that still require attention in order for the industry to maintain its upward trend, both in quality of product, and public perception.