Looking back at over 20 years of timeshare holidays
When someone young is looking at timeshare as something to explore, he is perhaps looking forward to the kind of holidays he would expect in the years to come. At least 25 years, if not more.
This story of mine is from the other end of the spectrum – a story that takes me across two decades and more. It is a story that prospective customers and buyers of timeshare will find interesting and useful. Because it gives them a frame of reference. Especially when it comes to making the best out of your timeshare week, year after year.
When I first picked up a timeshare plan, the concept was still in its early years. There was early talk about exchange companies, and swapping your basic plan within India was still work in progress.
Even AIRDA was non-existent at that time, so you can imagine how early this concept was in the evolution curve. But I still recall the days fondly. We never missed a holiday and we used the resort location for all that it offered. A nice holiday setting, good food and other activities featured in the holiday framework at that time.
In the early years, our children were really young and eager to see new places. And timeshare was their first exposure to annual holidays actually charted on the calendar – thanks to my wife’s sense of good planning and follow through. It was a nice opportunity for them to discover new horizons and take in new experiences.
But as the children grew up, they winged their way to new destinations – enabled by their careers, or interests. And this meant that they were away from home, most of the time. But timeshare brought all of us together, every year. There were times when these reunions included uncles, aunts and cousins – an extended family that made things merrier and a lot more fun.
In 1998, a visionary group of resort developers and RCI inked a blueprint for an independent body – an association with a purpose and an agenda. This group laid the foundation and defined the framework for an industry support role that would also grow the industry - working hand-in-hand with both promoters and consumers.
The AIRDA umbrella is more than a listing of resort owners – today we have key member segments that include exchange companies, marketers and other participant stakeholders. Among the areas of synergy is the commitment to adopt and abide by a code of ethics that reflect fair practices - to protect that most important link in the value chain, our customers.
In addition to being the visible face of the vacation ownership industry, AIRDA also plays the role of an ombudsman - ensuring that the promoter-consumer relationship is ethical, fair and value-based.
Over the years, timeshare has evolved - to reach newer heights and widen its delivery spectrum to formats that made things exciting and memorable.
I must say that the evolution of this product is closely linked to the changing profile and expectations of the new-age customer. He looks for a wider palette in terms of food, he looks for higher standards in service, he looks for more in terms of activities. And he wants all of this to happen smoothly and seamlessly.
Looking back, we really have come a long, long way. Makes me wish I was 30 years old, all over again.
B. S. Rathor
Advisor & Member - Executive Committee
What does an AIRDA membership mean to resort owners and developers? AIRDA comes in as your industry partner, conscience keeper and business catalyst - with a wide portfolio of support services.
What does AIRDA mean to holiday seekers and prospective customers? AIRDA comes in to provide information and offer guidelines on making the right timeshare decisions.