The timeshare industry suffers from a tarnished reputation, a wound largely self-inflicted due to overblown marketing campaigns, opaque pricing structures and hidden costs. These practices have soured the concept for many buyers. But it doesn’t have to be this way, says W.H. Campbell in his helpful book, The Business of Timeshares.
While highly critical of many of the industry’s business practices, the author remains the proud and mostly satisfied owner of several timeshare properties. He wrote this book to salvage what he thinks is still a viable real estate option when marketed and operated with the smart business practices used in other industries.
His book is part memoir and part textbook. The beginning chapter explains how the industry has evolved from its inception with Swiss-based Hapimag company, which sold right-to-use shares to vacationers. It subsequently discusses such real estate concepts as fractional ownership, private residence clubs, destination and point clubs — all versions of the overarching timeshare concept.
Early on, readers learn why the author, a financial advisor, chose to invest in such timeshares as the New York City-based Old Guard and his mixed bag of experiences. The book’s latter parts are devoted to the results of his extensive research about what frustrates many buyers, such as the industry’s pricing structures, questionable business practices and confusing vernacular. Further appendices round out the chapters, explaining industry acronyms and how its management is structured.
While Campbell succeeds in offering a balanced view of the industry, his views tilt more towards consumer protection. Several helpful appendices suggest questions potential investors should ask when evaluating timeshare properties and others they can use to size up their emotional priorities. Timeshares, he notes, are as much a lifestyle investment as a financial proposition.
Those with a desire to better understand their current timeshare investment or who have a genuine interest in investing will find this a highly readable and informative book.