Membership of holiday clubs is increasing to the detriment of conventional timeshare sales. These ‘holiday clubs’ have the accommodation. However, when taking into account how much you pay for membership, prices are rarely good value. It appears that only a small percentage of the purchase price goes to delivering the service.
The general view of holiday clubs is that they are in place specifically to circumvent timeshare laws. They do this by offering membership periods of less than three years. Products such as these are not subject to the usual timeshare laws. These laws prohibit a deposit being taken and require a cooling-off period.
There are approximately 100 holiday clubs in Europe with over 250,000 members. Less than 50% are able to take the holidays because clubs don’t have enough inventory to serve all members.
Holiday Clubs: Types of Product
RDO believes that the following holiday products are currently on sale. This is mainly in Spain, but also in the UK and elsewhere in Europe:
- Schemes set up for a duration of less than 3 years (usually 35 months)
- Schemes set up involving intervals of less than 7 days (usually 6 days)
- Renewable purchase packs. These schemes are initially for a period of less than 3 years. However, customers can then extend it by means of renewal options, often up to 50 or more years
- Points packages without sufficient inventory to support the points issued
- Exit packages which are sold according to legal requirements
- Exit packages which are sold by some marketers in contravention of the Timeshare Directive requirements
Timeshare Holiday Packages
Holiday packages usually sell for a duration of less than 36 months. These are outside the provisions of the Timeshare Directive and of the various national laws, especially the Spanish Law. In other cases, they direct circumvent these laws.
However, RDO believes that holiday packages should only sell if sufficient inventory to support them is under the control of the seller. This should preferably be through ownership rights or other financial mechanisms in place to secure the accommodation originally represented. Regrettably, not many holiday packages fit this category.
Financially, the high cost of a holiday package for a three year duration does not justify the uncertainty of the product. Some clubs entitled you to take two or four weeks in a year, others do not limit the number of weeks. Figures vary between £100 to £500 or more per holiday booking.
If the purpose of purchasing a holiday club package is to “taste the product,” why not rent or purchase a resale week? This will save you money and be yours for a larger number of years. Meanwhile, using the exchange network, your holiday choices will stretch to thousands of resorts rather than only a few.