Posted on September 18, 2020
An item than can be lost on many new timeshare buyers is the timeshare calendar, especially in these days of club-style points programs that have become so prevalent in today’s vacation ownership marketplace. A timeshare calendar such as the one we have on our website is an essential item for planning timeshare vacations, but they can be confusing to a new entrant looking to buy a timeshare.
As we all know, our standard calendar that we use in the US is fluid, with the dates changing in relation to the day of the week and an additional day inserted during a Leap Year every four years. During one year, Christmas may fall on a Thursday and in another year it may fall on a Saturday. However, the number of weeks in a year remains 52, so the timeshare industry created a calendar that uses a numbering system to identify each week of the year and attempt to bring more consistency to the process.
A timeshare calendar is a crucial component of fixed week timeshare ownership, as owners would buy a week of timeshare at a specific resort and vacation at that resort during the same week every year. For areas of the country that are dependent on specific seasons for tourism, such as summer on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, an owner buying a timeshare during week 26 would have the assurance that they could vacation on Cape Cod every year at the end of June, which is prime time on the coast.
When resorts introduced the concept of floating or flex week ownership, the use of a timeshare calendar for those resorts also included seasons or specific times of the year when the week could be used. The intention was to give the owner some flexibility in the use of their week. For instance, they could buy a floating week of ownership at a ski resort in Breckenridge during the winter and book their week at a time that suits their needs sometime during the winter, but based on availability.
In this case, an owner looking to book their usage would refer to the calendar and see what weeks could be available, for example, in the month of February. In 2021, that would be weeks 6-10 which, if looking for a Saturday start day for a vacation, would be a choice between February 6, 13, 20 or 27.
Exchange companies such as RCI and II created color-coded seasons based on demand - allowing for owners to bank their week into their exchange system for use at another resort in their network. When points programs were introduced, the brands used a similar method by taking the timeshare calendar and creating seasons, while combining the use of weeks to establish specific times of the year that an owner could use their points to reserve a week at a given resort.
To illustrate, Hilton Grand Vacations Club created a system of seasons using terminology Platinum, Gold and Silver, and designated specific weeks to those seasons based on the value of those weeks. This combination of using the timeshare calendar with their season designations created a usage chart such as the one below for Hilton Grand Vacations Club at SeaWorld in Orlando:
These point values are for the 2019 use year but you’ll see how Hilton has integrated their seasons with specific weeks to create a chart for those weeks – with assigned point amounts based on the values Hilton has designated for those seasons and weeks. Platinum weeks are obviously the high value, followed by Gold and Silver. Weeks at different resorts can be assigned different values, with some resorts such as Hilton Grand Vacations Club on the Boulevard only offering Platinum and Gold seasons.
So ownership is very dependent on understanding how a timeshare calendar works. Otherwise, you won’t realize why that week 2 timeshare in Ocean City is being offered at such a low price. Maybe because very few people would want to vacation there in January? Just sayin’.
So now the question becomes - how to use a timeshare calendar to buy or sell a timeshare? From the buyer’s perspective, the resale market is one that buyers tend to be familiar with and understand that there are bargains to be found. Agents such as ours know that as well and our agents use specific week numbers and seasonal values every day to find these bargains for our buyer clients.
Buyers tend to start their search for specific timeshares or brands based on the destination, resort, week number/season and unit configuration. This provides a framework for them to assess whether the price is one they are willing to agree to or at least use to begin a negotiation with the seller.
Using the Hilton example above, if a buyer is looking for a Hilton timeshare near SeaWorld and with access to the primary theme parks in the Orlando area, they would be drawn to Hilton Grand Vacations Club at SeaWorld. Then, based on the time of the year they are most likely to vacation, they would have week numbers in mind as well as a size of unit they need for their family. If they need a summer week around school vacation then they would check the calendar and perhaps narrow down their search to a season with weeks 23-34 depending on the school year where they live.
Presuming a need for a two-bedroom unit, the buyer would search online or have one of our agents search for them and research the available inventory and prices matching that criteria.
Sellers need to understand this process as well since they won’t be able to sell unless they provide the specific information necessary to attract the buyer. Many times the seller will only provide information such as a season or that they own a floating week, but they should also provide details about what weeks are available at their resort.
For instance, if they own a Gold week at Hilton Grand Vacations Club on the Boulevard then they should state the potential available weeks 1–8, 21–36, 44–50. This could create a selling point for someone who lives in the north and wants to go to Las Vegas during the winter when the weather in Vegas is milder than, say, New York or Chicago.
Please check out our timeshare calendar to see when the weeks and dates line up with your favorite time of the year and contact our licensed agents if you have any questions. Our number is 877-624-6889 and we’d be happy to answer any of your questions.