May 31, 2012
In these challenging times, an increasing number of hotel groups worldwide are incorporating an element of holiday shared ownership – timeshare or fractional units – into their business model. This is because the shared holiday ownership or timeshare industry, as it is known, has proven itself to be resilient across several economic recessions, retaining an average 86 per cent plus occupancy.
Barnsdale Hall Hotel in Rutland, England’s smallest county, is a case in point. Russell Waters, general manager, explained that the timeshare operation has helped to stave off the negative impacts of both economic recession and seasonality by maintaining year-round occupancy levels. He said: “Our average hotel occupancy dipped below 70 per cent during 2011, while our timeshare occupancy remained at over 90 per cent.”
And the good news for hoteliers with UK-based operations is that destinations in England, Scotland and Ireland are much in demand with timeshare buyers and owners, both resident in the UK and coming from overseas. UK hotels incorporating a mixed-use hotel/timeshare resort hospitality model are thriving.
Andrew Miln, RCI’s regional director for the UK, told ARDA’s Developments magazine that the 150 timeshare and fractional hospitality property offerings across the UK continue to enjoy high occupancies, with many now considering expansion programmes.
Miln pointed out that the majority of shared holiday ownership resorts are presently clustered in a few very popular holiday locations, such as the Lake District, the Scottish Highlands, the Cotswolds, Devon and Cornwall.
Miln said: “There is a strong demand for these locations and, despite there being a concentration of RCI-affiliated timeshare resorts in these areas, each one of them remains very busy throughout the year.”
Why the UK
Andrew Miln highlighted several factors contributing to timeshare performing well across the UK regions. He said the UK has:
- A well-established and well-regulated business model with proven stability
- The largest market of existing timeshare owners in Europe, who understand the value in purchasing timeshare domestically
- Continued high demand for holiday space, particularly proven within the RCI exchange system, which drives among the highest occupancy rates in Europe.
Miln said: “Timeshare in the UK represents a great opportunity for developers and timeshare owners alike.
“While the UK industry has a great diversity of different resorts and experiences compared to other markets, there are also many major hospitality brands offering mixed-use resort experiences here that include timeshare, such as Hilton Grand Vacations and Macdonald Hotels & Resorts.
“They have recognised the value of a mixed-use model, coupling brand credibility with exceptional quality and leveraging the hotel as a hub for holiday ownership sales and marketing.”
Resort developers agree the UK is a great base for timeshare and mixed-use resorts. Vic Faulkner, group MD, Royal Resorts, said the region provides ‘enormous opportunities’ for the holiday ownership industry. He added: “We recognise the unique attraction of the UK as a tourist destination and for developers like ourselves based in Asia, it offers a multitude of benefits, not least its attractiveness to our members who regard the United Kingdom as the ultimate destination for enjoying culture, history, countryside, shopping and visiting family and friends.”
For your own copy of Case Studies 2011: New Industry Entrants and Mixed-Use Developments, and to make the first enquiries about bringing timeshare into your hotel operation, contact RCI’s Susan Duncombe at Susan.Duncombe@RCI.com.
RCIVentures.com – the timeshare industry website, produced by RCI Ventures Magazine.
bha.org.uk link – http://www.bha.org.uk/2011/11/25/case-study-mixed-blessings/
RDO.org – the website of the Resort Development Organisation (RDO), the trade body representing European timeshare
RCI.com – the RCI website enabling millions of timeshare owners to exchange their ownership worldwide every year
VacationBetter.org – the consumer site showcasing the magic of timeshare, produced in conjunction with the American Resort Development Association (ARDA).