TimeShare Wholesalers of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Timeshare History

The origin of timeshare can be traced back to 1960's Europe.

The 1960's were a time of considerable growth and development for the tourism industry worldwide because of the emergence of commercial air travel. Timeshare was created from this travel boom.

Two different companies in France and Switzerland debuted the first vacation ownership packages. The French company, The Société des Grands Travaux de Marseille, began offering its timeshare product between the years 1964-1968. The Swiss company also know for founding timeshare was called Hapimag (short for Hotel und Appartementhaus Immobilien Anlage AG), and was based in Baar, Switzerland.

Timesharing was first seen in America in Hawaii, beginning in 1969. Kauai Kailani on Kauai was the first destination in the United States to feature a timeshare program. The weeks available in Kauai were sold in 40 year increments on a leasehold basis by Vacation Internationale's founders Bob Burns and Bob Ringenburg.

The first points system was introduced through Vacation Internationale, allowing travelers more flexibility and gaining more exposure for timesharing in general. Florida then followed suit in the early 1970's, becoming the first state in the continental United States to embrace timeshare development.
Innisfree Companies of California is the original proprietor of deeded ownership timeshares in the US. In 1973, in a joint venture with Hyatt, Innisfree's first development was at Brockway Springs in Lake Tahoe, California. It was at this resort in Lake Tahoe that timeshare was first used to describe vacation time purchased from a resort.

A group of developers: Carl Berry, Greg Bright, Paul Grey, Dave Irmer, and Doug Murdock, are credited with coining the term "timeshare". The developers adopted the term from the pre-existing term "timeshare" that describes a way in which groups of people working with computers shared access to the mainframes. They felt that the term "timeshare" would help them get their point across to investors that the properties they wished to finance represented interval ownership among many parties, much like a shared computer mainframe.

Upon purchasing a timeshare week at a specific resort, one has the option of vacationing at your "home" resort during your "week" of ownership, or becoming a member of one of the exchange companies like RCI, II, etc., and exchanging your week with other timeshare owners to visit different resorts. There are many exchange agencies, the two largest are Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II). RCI based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the largest, and oldest. II, based in Miami, Florida, is the second largest. In 1975, RCI had 17 affiliated properties. Today, RCI and II have over 7,000 resorts.

Today, nearly 8 million people in the United States - about 7 percent of U.S. households - own a timeshare. The attractions to timeshares are numerous, and usually specific to the individual purchaser. These include the resort location, amenities, time of year, flexibility in exchanging with other locations, and of course, cost.

Since they were created in the 1960's timeshares did not have a down year until 2008, when sales dipped 8% to $9.7 billion. Sales plunged an additional 40% in 2009 to $6.3 billion. Even as sales fell 51%, their lowest point in the first nine months of 2009, $756 million in timeshares were sold by one company alone, Wyndham Worldwide. Marriott International saw timeshare sales fall 38% during this same period, reporting "only" $445 million in sales.

In 2010, sales remained flat, staying at the $6 billion mark. However, according to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), sales are picking up again. According to the latest AIF Financial Performance Pulse Survey, conducted for the Fourth Quarter of 2010 among timeshare developers in active sales, average net originated sales, including telesales, increased 3.4 percent from Q4 2009 to Q4 2010. In total, the 25 respondents that provided sales information reported approximately $1.2 billion in net originated timeshare sales including telesales in Q4 2010.

In 2010, the average price of a timeshare week, according to a 2010 study by Ernst & Young, one of the world's leading professional service organizations, was $16,431. Other highlights of this report show that 62 percent of new timeshare sales come from new owners.

New owners. Somebody has said that there are two things that are certain in life - death and taxes. Well, you can add vacationing to that. Timeshares have been around now for over fifty years, and even during the most difficult of economic times, folks are still acquiring them for their vacation needs.