Two years ago, American Resort Development Association (ARDA) released a new research that offered insight into the international shared vacation ownership industry which showcased several optimistic signs for the timeshare business. The study surveyed owners in 24 different countries and found that nearly two percent of households (20 million owner households) own at least one timeshare product, and that 81 percent of owners vacationed in the past year. In fact, the global occupancy rate remained strong through the recession and on average outpacing the worldwide hotel industry occupancy rate. ARDA also had a three-year analysis of the market that revealed impressive stability through a global financial crisis. For example, after a 27% drop in 2009, sales in 2010 held steady. Another example is that in some region particularly Asia, Central and South America, sales volume actually increased from 2008-2010.
Domestically, the timeshare business, largely based in Central Florida, is slowly improving. The industry fell from a high of more than $10 billion in sales in 2007 to $6.3 billion in 2009. Sales for 2010 was on par with or slightly higher than those of the previous year. “As an industry, we’re back in a growth mode,” said Don Harrill, the association’s incoming chairman and the president and chief executive officer of Kissimmee-based Holiday Inn Club Vacations.