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Selling Your Caribbean Timeshare? This is How To Do It

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Posted on April 02, 2021

Caribbean timeshares are located in some of the most spectacular destinations in the world. Tropical weather, amazing beaches and great cultures – this is the region for a vacation! Vacationers dream of a Caribbean getaway, which is a built-in advantage for owners looking to sell a Caribbean timeshare. But what are the keys to selling?

In many ways, selling your Caribbean timeshare is the same as selling timeshares in other regions. Aspects of your ownership such as fixed week or points ownership, brand affiliations, seasons, etc. all play into the equation. Demand for the Caribbean is high, but not all Caribbean islands are the same, so there are differences that should be highlighted. Lets’ go through some of the steps.

Be Specific When Discussing Your Destination

As references above, not all Caribbean destinations are alike. Some are more remote or underdeveloped than others – which may be a good thing depending on what a buyer is looking for. Because you don’t know what a buyer is prioritizing, it is best to highlight the advantages of your destination and let them decide. Be authentic – no sugar coating is needed.

If you own timeshare on an island within the US Virgin Islands (St Thomas, St John or St Croix) there are advantages for Americans since they won’t need passports to visit or to take return COVID tests upon returning to the US. The same goes for Puerto Rico. As the owner, you know that this is considered an American territory and functions like traveling to another state. Highlight this as an advantage.

What about Storm Season?

Destinations in the southern Caribbean such as Aruba are located outside the Caribbean storm belt, so for Aruba timeshare owners you will want to highlight that as an advantage. The ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao fall into this area.

While much is made about the tropical storms and hurricanes that come through the Caribbean, the statistics show that the US mainland is actually more impacted by tropical activity than the Caribbean. If you had to guess the most likely place to get hit by a hurricane, you probably wouldn’t guess New Orleans, but The Big Easy has a 12.3% chance of being impacted by a hurricane compared to 2-3% for a Caribbean destination.   

When a hurricane hits in the Caribbean, it packs a punch but overall the chances are less likely than the US Atlantic or Gulf coasts. Within the Caribbean, the western Caribbean islands such as Grand Cayman or Jamaica are less impacted than their eastern brethren in places like Puerto Rico or the British Virgin Islands.

Storm season technically lasts from June 1 through November 30, but the real activity tends to take place in August and September.

Do Brands Make a Difference?

Generally, brands do make a difference so if you own in a branded program such as at Limetree Beach Resort by Club Wyndham or Marriott Aruba Surf Club then highlight the benefits that come with brand affiliation.

However, one of the advantages of selling a Caribbean timeshare is that the destination is known to trump brand affiliation if the location is a strong draw. Places such as St Maarten are known as fabulous timeshare destinations, and resorts like Simpson Bay Resort & Marina and Oyster Bay Beach Resort are known as fantastic vacation spots. With the availability of multiple exchange providers, you can leverage the strength of these destinations to highlight exchange value as well.  

Sometimes you can highlight the benefit of both. Case in point is Bluebeard’s Castle on St Thomas. This is a renowned St Thomas timeshare resort that stands on its own, yet many buyers may not know that it is affiliated with Capital Vacations – giving buyers the potential to explore Capital’s nearly 70 resort destinations. 

Points vs Fixed Weeks

Points-based programs are being promoted by all the major brands, so if you are affiliated with one then piggyback on some of the messaging they use to promote your timeshare. Find out what benefits transfer on the resale market, such as Hilton Honors benefits transferring for resale owners at Hilton Grand Vacations at The Crane in Barbados. Promote the flexibility of owning timeshare in a branded program and how that impacts an owner’s ability to vacation within the network.

For fixed week owners, you have the advantage of promoting a guaranteed week of timeshare in one of the best locations on the planet. One of the criticisms of points programs is the potential to not always be able to book at the most popular times of the year. Or in the high demand locations. Fixed week owners don’t have that problem.

Own a fixed week on St Thomas during Spring Break? How about a week during the Christmas holiday period for a Caribbean escape from the northern winter? Fixed week owners have the advantage of promoting a guaranteed week of timeshare during the year as well as matching the flexibility of points-based programs through exchange providers such as RCI, Interval International and 7Across.

Whatever your ownership, look at your advantages and promote them.  

Exchange Value – Is It Important?

We touched on this earlier, but the Caribbean is such a strong international destination that it carries high exchange value – something that sellers can highlight when selling their timeshare. Resorts such as WorldMark Elysian Beach Resort carry a red season designation throughout the year with RCI, as do resorts such as Atrium Beach Resort in St Maarten and Morritt's Tortuga Club on Grand Cayman.

Even lesser-known resorts like Beachcomber Club in Jamaica carry the RCI red season banner, so check with RCI and highlight the strength of your exchange value. Remember, most of the timeshare resorts in the US are not affiliated with a major hospitality brand, so the ability to exchange with strong exchange value can offset the flexibility advantages of the larger branded timeshare networks.

Get Your Facts Together

You would be shocked at how many sellers we talk to that just do not fully know what they own in their timeshare ownership. When preparing to sell, find out exactly what you own either by referring to your deed or sale documents or by contacting your resort. Especially when selling a Caribbean timeshare, prospective buyers will want to know things like whether your unit is oceanfront or is even on the beach. What the unit amenities are such as air conditioning, or even little things like whether you need to climb stairs to get to your unit.

Knowing what you own gives you the ability to describe your unit or ownership in the same way the salesperson did when you originally bought your timeshare. Tell your story and promote the reasons why you bought it in the first place. Family memories – what the kids loved about your timeshare vacations. It all helps.

Photos Matter

Try selling a house without good photos. Or even renting vacation accommodation. The same principles apply when selling Caribbean timeshare. Use photos that are authentic and try avoiding the same type of glossy, marketing-type photos that may not always depict the day-to-day experience. Now, don’t go the other way and show photos of unmade beds, fast food wrappers on the dinner table or suitcases and clothes lying around on the floor. Again – we’ve seen it all.

If you have an amazing view of the ocean, show it. Great golf course photo – use it. Family having a blast in the lazy river, upload it. And don’t forget photos of activities in the surrounding region or township. These activities are why people take a vacation in the first place.

Get the Price Right

Above all, the price can ultimately be what makes or breaks a Caribbean timeshare deal. Like any other product, a timeshare is only worth what a potential buyer is willing to pay for it. Keep in mind that resale prices are discounted 50-60 percent from the resort retail prices by removing the sales and marketing costs that are part of the original purchase price.

Understand the reasons why you want to sell and don’t be offended if the resale market thinks the price is less than you do. Do not expect to make a profit on the deal, since a timeshare is essentially pre-paid holiday accommodation and not an appreciating asset. Think of what it would cost you to vacation in a hotel for a week each year over the next 30 years. That is basically what you’ve done by buying a timeshare. The big difference is that you wouldn’t be able to get any of that money back from the hotel stay, whereas you can get back some of that money by selling your timeshare.

Get Help

Think you may need some help in selling your timeshare? After going through all of this information, you may need to talk it over with a professional who understands the Caribbean timeshare market. Pros such as licensed timeshare resale agents are the only ones who can legally price a timeshare on the secondary market – apart from the owner and the resort. This is an area that often trips up an owner looking to sell, and agents can manage expectations and guide owners through the process.

Consultations are free and agents work on commission, so they don’t get paid until after a timeshare sells. Even when discussion ways to promote your timeshare, an agent can give you tips and has a network of brokerage agents they work with to gauge the market.

If you need help or just want someone to talk to in order to get the market value of your timeshare, give our agents a call on 877-624-6889 or click here to send us a message.

Author

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Steve Luba
Chief Communications Officer
Steve manages the public relations, social media and content creation efforts of the company. Previously the Chief Operating Officer for Perspective International, Steve provided oversight and contributed articles for the five regional vacation ownership trade magazines under the Perspective Magazine banner. With 34 years’ experience in various roles in radio and television, sales and marketing, public relations, media and government liaison initiatives, he brings a well-rounded outlook to our industry.
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