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What is Vacation Ownership?

Family walking into the living room and kitchen of a villa a Orange Lake Resort in Orlando, FLFamily walking into the living room and kitchen of a villa a Orange Lake Resort in Orlando, FL

What is vacation ownership?

Simply put: Vacation ownership helps you commit to vacationing more often with your family. You’re basically pre-paying for vacation accommodations for years to come, with the savings of locking in today’s rates.

Sometimes vacation ownership is also called “timeshare.” Here, we like to call it Holiday Inn Club Vacations.

Why do people like vacation ownership?

Savings: By locking in today’s rates, you save money over time. In 1952, staying at a Holiday Inn cost about $6 a night. Today, it averages $141 a night. Vacation ownership lets you pre-pay today’s accommodations costs for the lifetime of your membership. (Plus, it’s a fraction of the upfront and ongoing costs of purchasing a traditional vacation home.)

More Vacations, Less Planning: Planning family vacations can be stressful and time-consuming. Vacation ownership lets you create lots of memories and traditions with a trusted brand. That means no more hunting for the best places to stay (and the best deals) every time you leave home.

Prioritized Family Time: You want to vacation more often, but life “gets in the way.” Vacation ownership helps you plan and commit to quality family vacation time by guaranteeing a wide variety of accommodations to enjoy every year.

Flexibility: Return to your favorite destination over and over again. Or, take advantage of your vacation ownership network to see hundreds of new places. It’s kind of like getting to enjoy all the perks of owning a vacation home without being locked into visiting just one place.

How does vacation ownership work?

Owning a timeshare used to mean having a fixed week at one specific resort. Nowadays, vacation ownership is much more flexible with points-based programs. How do points work?

  • You purchase a real estate interest which provides you with annual points to apply to your vacations
  • How many points you’ll need for each adventure will depend on when and where you travel and in what type of accommodations you stay
An indoor pool at Williamsburg Resort

Rule of thumb:

Smaller accommodations, shorter trips and off-peak travel times = less points
Bigger accommodations, longer stays and peak holidays = more points

How you use your points is up to you:

  • Stockpile for a mega trip overseas or take a bunch of small getaways
  • Book a studio for a romantic weekend or a four-bedroom villa for a family reunion
  • Stay at your favorite resort every year or explore new destinations
Family sitting on lounge chairs around the pool at Orange Lake Resort in Orlando, FL

How is vacation ownership a different way to travel?

Sometimes it’s easier to understand vacation ownership pros and cons when you compare it to other travel options.

Timeshare vs Hotel

vs. Hotel

  • More Room: More rooms means getting to be more comfortable while vacationing with more of your friends and family. Multiple bathrooms means not waiting in line. And multiple bedrooms means you can stay up without waking the kids up.

  • Features from Home: Save money by cooking in the kitchen or filling the fridge instead of dining out for every meal and snack. Having access to a washer and dryer means not having to overpack or bring home dirty clothes.

  • Experiences: Fun extras like waterslides, lazy rivers, mini golf, seasonal events and counselor-led activities keep the kids busy while you get to relax.

  • Bottom Line: Once you experience resort-style, home-like accommodations, you won’t want to go back to “just a hotel room."

Timeshare vs Vacation Home Rentals

vs. Vacation Home Rentals

  • Trust: Stay at a secure, well-maintained property and feel safe with the promise of a familiar brand name instead of hoping for the best with a stranger’s part-time rental. Open the closet knowing you won’t find someone else’s clothes. Let the kids play without worrying they’ll break a family heirloom.

  • Assistance: If you need something during your vacation, there’s a front desk to call for help 24/7/365. Feel welcomed instead of guessing where and how to check-in when you arrive.

  • Extras: Stay in vacation mode when you step out your front door. From scheduled activities to poolside fun, our resorts offer more than just a place to sleep.

  • Costs: The spending power of your points never changes, but home rental rates are unpredictable and likely to increase each year (along with unexpected “service fees”).

Timeshare vs Vacation Home Purchase

vs. Vacation Home Purchase

  • Maintenance: Spend your vacation time relaxing instead of painting, mowing, shoveling, watering, planting, doing pool treatments, and renovating every 10–15 years.

  • Peace of Mind: Take comfort in knowing someone is watching over and protecting your vacation accommodations when you’re away.

  • Housekeeping: When it’s time to head home, leave the kitchen cleaning and bathroom scrubbing to someone else.

  • Costs: Pay for what you’ll actually use versus spending money on a mortgage, maintenance, cleaning, complicated tax laws, and insurance for a vacation home that sits empty 50 weeks a year.

  • Variety: Skip the pressure of picking just one fixed place to visit year after year. Instead, enjoy the freedom of vacationing at multiple resorts or exchanging points to visit hundreds of different destinations worldwide.

Is vacation ownership for you?

Are timeshares worth it? Are timeshares a scam? A quick Google search will show you that some people love vacation ownership and some…don’t.

Here are a few reasons people love vacation ownership:

  • Space, amenities and activities designed for families like yours
  • Familiar resorts with family-friendly features and access to a global hotel network when you want to mix things up
  • Trust that you’ll have a high-quality experience every time—especially when your membership is affiliated with a global hotel brand like IHG, Holiday Inn, Marriott and Hilton
  • The ability to commit to quality vacation time with the confidence of knowing what it’ll cost

And here are signs a vacation ownership is not for you:

  • You can’t afford to travel during your vacation time each year
  • …or you can afford to travel but prefer not to (some people like to stay home)
  • You don’t need any extra space because you always travel solo
  • You can’t responsibly afford our pricing and payment plan
  • You fear commitment and would rather spend more money over time to avoid it. (Even if the commitment you’re “avoiding” comes with over 13,000 destinations options.)

Let us know if we can help you mull things over.

There’s a reason why 85% of timeshare owners say they are “very satisfied” with their ownership experience.* We’d love to help you figure out what’s right for you and your family. Vacation ownership just happens to be our favorite thing to talk about...

Member Testimonials

We love our (membership) so far! Owned for 3 years now….stay twice a year for 2 weeks each. Only have stayed at Orange Lake so far but plan on trying other places. It is what you make of it.

Travis W.

My wife and I first came to the West Village with our children through an exchange company in 1993 and have been to many of the resorts and I would say that is what we love about it. We have many different quality places to travel if we don't want to go back to Orlando each year.

Chris F.

We are owners in the Holiday Inn Club Vacations. We love our time share. It has truly made us go on vacation and they offer so many locations to go to.

Suzanne H.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a timeshare?

Timeshare is liking having an ownership interest in a vacation home without having to pay for and maintain the entire house. In its most basic form, a timeshare –also known as vacation ownership– allows you to pre-pay for years of vacation accommodations at today’s rates.

How do timeshares work?

Way back when timeshares first became a “thing,” owners would buy one specific week at one specific resort to stay every year. This is commonly referred to as “fixed” vacation ownership. Nowadays, points-based programs offer more flexibility. Points are purchased to apply to a variety of vacations without having to stick to the same week and resort year after year.

How many points are needed for any given vacation varies by dates, accommodation size, length of stay and resort location?

With most programs, points can also be exchanged via partner networks or even for other vacation expenses like airfare, cruises or special events.

Are timeshares worth it?

They can be. By locking in today’s rates, you can save money over time. You also get the assurance of knowing your accommodation costs upfront for every stay and the ease of planning vacations via a dedicated program. For those who value vacationing consistently, timeshares offer a variety of resort-style, quality experiences to choose from. This is especially true with timeshares affiliated with trusted hotel companies like Holiday Inn, Marriott and Hilton.

What are the pros and cons of timeshare ownership?

Timeshare means you’ll stay in larger accommodations that are more like condominium vacation homes than hotel rooms. This extra space–along with full kitchens and in-villa or onsite laundry–is great for traveling families. Most timeshares also offer resort amenities, family activities, events as well as 24/7 security, front desk staff and consistent maintenance and resort refreshes as opposed to what you might get at a traditional hotel, vacation home rental or by purchasing a vacation home. For timeshares affiliated with global hotel brands, you can trust a quality experience with every visit. These affiliates also provide access to additional destinations around the world via partner hotel networks to add variety to your lifetime of vacations.

Timeshare may not be the best option for you if:

  • You frequently travel alone and don’t need the extra space.
  • You can’t commit to using your vacation time–or you can’t travel far from home–most years.
  • You cannot responsibly afford the upfront cost and/or loan payments or maintenance fees.
  • You don’t want to be locked into one vacation ownership program, even if it offers over 29 domestic US resorts and over 13,000 partner network hotel options.

What is the difference between points and fixed week?

“Old-school” timeshare changed a lot when points were introduced. Points-based programs provide much more flexibility to choose when, where and for how long you want to stay. For timeshares affiliated with larger hotel companies, you can also exchange your points for stays in their partner hotels.

This is completely different than older, “fixed week” timeshares. Those typically provided accommodations for only one specific week at just one specific resort, oftentimes locking in even the same villa number. This meant your vacation options had very limited flexibility when it came to locations, weather and calendar conflicts.

Why buy a timeshare?

Most people would agree that it’s important to take some vacation time every year. But the cost of hotel rooms, vacation home rentals and even vacation home real estate increases every year, too. Buying a timeshare pre-pays for your vacation accommodations at today’s prices. This saves you money over time. And committing to a vacation ownership program guarantees you access to a wide variety of quality resorts with built-in amenities, activities and service. And that means: No more hunting for the best places, or the best deals, every time you want to take a family vacation.

What are the steps to buying a timeshare?

This can vary from company to company but typically, it all starts with a visit to a resort and a timeshare tour. For some timeshare companies, you can rent a unit to get a feel for the product. Most have special getaway deals at deep savings to visit and tour the resort, though oftentimes you will be staying at a nearby hotel instead of at the timeshare resort itself. And you can always simply book a tour if you’re traveling to the area on your own.

A team member will host a personal tour of the resort. This usually lasts about two hours, based on your level of interest. Our tour team member will chat with you to learn more about your vacation needs. You’ll be shown choices to consider and your costs and financing options. If you decide to buy, another team member will walk you through the closing process and required paperwork.

Timeshares have a rescission period (in other words, a cancellation window) if you change your mind. It varies by state and is explained to you at the time of purchase. Once this period passes, your ownership becomes effective.

How do timeshare points work?

Your timeshare points have spending power. You apply them toward your annual vacations. This might mean one big trip or several smaller getaways. Peak season, larger villas, and long length-of-stays will typically need more points. Traveling during off-peak times, staying in smaller one-bedroom villas and weekend trips will typically require less points. How much you buy depends on how you like to vacation. Consider where and when you prefer to travel and what kind of accommodations you like to stay in. The more points you own, the more options you’ll have.

How you use your points is completely up to you. You can customize your stays by number of days and accommodation size. And with many membership programs, you gain a host of additional benefits and flexibility via partner hotel networks depending on the timeshare company’s offerings.

*ARDA stands for the American Resort Development Association. “US Owners Report: Shared Vacation Ownership Consolidated Report 2018 Edition.” ARDA, May 2019, https://www.arda.org/timeshare-owner-satisfaction-rate