VIEWS AND INTERVIEWS
Q&A: Talking to five enthusiastic vacation seekers about timeshare features and benefits
This time we talk to five different vacation seekers about timeshare benefits and features. We also share the tips they offer on planning your vacation, splitting your week into shorter getaways, upgrading your allotted facility to a higher plan or accommodation, booking early to avoid disappointment, and the one thing that adds the icing on the cake during a holiday - FOOD.
Over to our guests of the month, on our Q&A session
Q: We asked Martin Victor, a real estate professional, about booking early to ensure easy availability
A: Three years ago, we didn’t plan early enough and we didn’t get a slot for the period we had in mind – so no holiday that year. Really frustrating, because I had paid my maintenance fees for that year. With smaller resorts in the unorganized sector, this could happen when the promoter adds members without keeping in mind rooms available against estimated traffic. A responsible promoter will always add to the facility to keep pace with growing numbers - but irrespective of this, it always helps to plan early and book early. And like most things in life, a little planning goes a long way.
Q: We asked Mohan Surya from the banking industry about renting, or gifting timeshare
A: When I checked with my resort about renting, or gifting my time-share plan, they said it was possible at a fairly nominal cost. On my plan I could rent or gift a week, or even choose to transfer at a prescribed charge. Now this is really convenient and reasonable in terms of charges, but you would need to check with your resort on what’s possible – better to do this before you sign on the dotted line.
If you’re buying a timeshare plan midway, you must assess the remaining tenure on the time-share plan and a fair market value considering the first user has already used a portion of his allotment. You might need advice from a professional on this, to arrive at a fair cost.
Q: We asked Lakshmi Vedant, a bank officer about upgrading to a higher plan on a holiday
A: Last year we tried something different that turned out to be quite enjoyable. We upgraded from our smaller apartment in the off-season, to accommodation in a higher category – this usually happens only if the desired option is free and available. We were also told that on upgrades our one week allotment would be reduced by a day or two. My suggestion to timeshare users is to check about upgrade possibilities and see if your request can be placed in a queue – just in case something frees up in time.
Q: We asked Bhanu Prajapathy, an advertising professional about food at his timeshare resort
A: You can talk about location, tourist spots and resort features endlessly, but sooner or later you’re going to be talking about the food. Food can be one of the key highlights at a resort. We’ve had a timeshare plan for many years and I must say that the quality and range of offerings has really improved over the years. There’s always a well-planned buffet at our resort that proves to be a big hit with our unusually large family. Not too long ago, my wife liked to cook when we went on holiday and that was because it was possible and the food plans were not too exciting. These days my wife says she too deserves a total break, which is possible with the excellent fare that’s on offer.
Q: We asked Vikram Salura, a software programmer about shorter vacations, and splitting your week
A: Since my timeshare resort allows me to split my allotted week, I usually don’t use all my seven days at one stretch. I find it easier for instance to go on a quick weekend holiday rather than a longer spell – my wife and I are both extremely busy professionals, so this works for us. Another advantage that my resort gives me is the convenience of accumulating unused days and tagging it with next year’s allotment – but do check on the conditions linked to this. You may be allowed only to bunch two weeks at a stretch. Another thing to keep in mind is your annual maintenance fee, which you have to pay in any case.
Please note: Names changed to protect the identities of the people interviewed.