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Did Demand and Use Change for a Timeshare During COVID?

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Posted on March 31, 2023

How the Timeshare Industry Has Changed Following the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID brought significant short-term change to timeshare resorts, how they are managed and how companies interact with their owners. Improved cleanliness and hygiene policies, more online, virtual interaction and owner retention programs were thrust into the spotlight as resorts came to grips with managing resort and owner expectations through the pandemic. But did the use of timeshare during COVID change and, if so, in what way?

Adjusting Timeshare Covid-19 Expectations

front desk employy wearing mask at timeshare during Covid-19

It is no surprise that once the most difficult moments of the COVID pandemic waned, there was a huge desire for people to travel again. Because resort layoffs were commonplace during lockdowns, resorts saw employees move into new industries and the impact was felt as resorts reopened to handle the influx of pent-up vacation demand.

This staffing shortage impacted the vacation experience as services were reduced, such as eliminating onsite dining options and activity programs, but the resiliency of timeshare vacationers shone through as owners continued to return to taking vacations.

Hotels in the U.S. continue to have difficulty adding employees, and some timeshare resorts are only just now approaching pre-COVID staffing levels. But overall, the timeshare industry has done a remarkable job handling the impact of the pandemic thanks in large part to the pre-paid nature of timeshare vacations.

Timeshare During COVID Rebounded Quickly

couple wearing masks on ski slopes at timeshare during COVID

The timeshare industry was the first hospitality sector to begin recovering from COVID, largely because owners have a vested interest in taking vacations since their accommodation is already paid for through ownership and maintenance fees. Owners wanted to get out and vacation, and in many locations, timeshare resorts were forced to adjust policies and allow owners in because of the legality of deeded ownership rights to access the property.

Bookings at timeshare resorts lifted to pre-COVID levels quickly, with Diamond Resorts (now part of Hilton Grand Vacations) returning to pre-pandemic booking levels as soon as February 2021, less than a year after the lockdowns began. Wyndham (through its Travel + Leisure April 2021 investor call) announced a return to pre-COVID booking levels in March of 2021.

Timeshares have traditionally outperformed hotels in terms of occupancy rates. During the worst of the pandemic in the summer of 2020, Wyndham reported a 77 percent occupancy rate over Labor Day weekend and Bluegreen Resorts stated 60 percent occupancy from June. This level compares to a hotel occupancy rate of 47 percent in July during the typical peak of the summer vacation season.

For all of 2021, the average occupancy rate for timeshares increased 24 points to just over 73 percent according to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). Compared to the average hotel occupancy rate of 56.4 percent, according to Smith Travel Research, the Timeshare industry COVID-19 rebound was well underway.

So, Did Demand and Use Change for a Timeshare During COVID?

couple in resort lobby at timeshare during COVID

According to these numbers, demand for a timeshare during COVID not only returned quickly but outperformed every other form of hospitality accommodation. The rapid reaction from the timeshare industry, such as implementing hygiene programs like Hilton Grand Vacations’ CleanStay program, along with resort-friendly regulatory policies in timeshare-heavy states like Florida, allowed the industry to bounce back quicker than most expected.

This travel demand was also reflected in an upward buyer trend, as visitors turned into timeshare buyers as well. After timeshare sales at resorts bottomed out in 2020, sales lifted by 64 percent to just over $8 billion in 2021 according to ARDA. Quarterly reporting from publicly traded timeshare companies during 2022 supports the upward buyer trend, and these figures don’t even take timeshare resales into consideration – if they did, the numbers would be even higher.

In 2022, we saw more than $90 million worth of offers placed to buy timeshares through our data-protected system, so the timeshare resale marketplace is definitely healthy and has bounced back from the effects of the COVID lockdowns.

What Does This Bounce-Back Mean for Timeshare Sellers?

timeshare sellers happy about selling their timeshare

This surge of Timeshare Covid-19 activity as the pandemic declined is very good news for owners looking to sell their timeshare, since the resale market is established and demand continues to be created by the timeshare company marketing machines.

Consumers are now savvier than ever and, as they tour the resorts and listen to sales pitches, they check the internet to see how the resort prices compare to resale prices. The fact is – there is no comparison.

Resort prices are set to cover marketing costs and sales commissions as resorts and timeshare companies look for ways to recoup the discounted travel deals, free meals and commissions to pay the sales agents once the timeshare is sold. As these consumers look to the resale market, they see resale prices at 50-60 percent less than resort prices when removing these overhead costs.

Pricing timeshares for sale on the resale market is crucial to selling a timeshare, and using a licensed broker is the best way to price the timeshare to sell. Brokerage agents are professionals that live in the resale space every day, so they know the market trends and at which price a timeshare is likely to sell.

How Can Timeshare Broker Associates Help?

Because TBA agents work on commission, there are no upfront fees for sellers so a market value analysis  can be arranged at no cost. If a seller chooses to use an agent to sell their timeshare, a listing agreement is created, the timeshare is marketed, and the agent handles all the negotiation and paperwork to secure the sale.

Once a sale is agreed upon between the seller and buyer and the paperwork is signed, the agent takes a deposit from the new owner to be held in escrow and sends the agreement to a trusted closing company to close the sale. After closing, the seller receives the proceeds and the commission is paid to the agent.

Using a brokerage service like Timeshare Broker Associates is the safest and most convenient way to sell a timeshare on the resale market. Let our agents do the work for you and all you have to do is say yes and wait for the check to arrive.

No longer using your timeshare? Let Timeshare Broker Associates help you sell it.


Author Pic
Steve Luba
Chief Communications Officer

Steve manages the public relations and content creation efforts of the company. Previously the Chief Operating Officer for Perspective Magazine, he provided oversight and contributed articles for the five regional vacation ownership trade magazines under the Perspective Magazine banner. 

A contributor for industry publications such as Resort Trades and Developments Magazine, Steve Luba has 36 years of experience in various roles in radio and television, sales and marketing, public relations, media and government liaison initiatives. 

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