As the timeshare industry has evolved over the last few decades, timeshare seasons have found a stable home in a majority of the name-brand hotel chains, such as Disney, Hilton, Marriott, and Wyndham. In this article, we will break down what timeshare seasons, mean for you as a prospective buyer or current owner. Using developer specific examples and other tools, we hope to shed light on what timeshare seasons are and how they work.
Resorts around the world often experience influxes and lulls of visitors. These tides of guests are referred to as seasons. These seasons are typically regional and/or location specific. It may, in some part, have to do with the weather but these seasons are directly aligned with the demand of a given week in the year. These levels of demand can continue for weeks, months or the entirety of the calendar year.
The number of visitors and owners of a particular week create the demand and in turn, dictate what season that week will fall under. High demand weeks experience a large amount of people that want to travel to a specific resort during a specific week. An example would be a ski resort in South Lake Tahoe. During the ski season from November through March, there is high demand for accommodations. The trading value, also known as trading power, of these ownerships is much higher during this season than during the summer months where demand is lower.
Developers designate these seasons with colors such as Platinum, Gold, Silver, Red, Blue as many other designations dependent on the developer in question. Each will use a different catalog of colors or names to distinguish between high, intermediate and low demand weeks. The demand for a particular week at a particular resort will not only affect the value of that week, but the ability to trade that week. Trading a week that nobody wants to go to, for a week that many people would like to go to hardly seems fair. So high demand weeks enjoy a higher trading value within their own resort collection, as well as trading with exchange companies.
Using Your Timeshare Season
Before you buy any timeshare ownership, it is important to understand how owning a certain season will affect how you will be able to use your timeshare ownership. As an example, Hilton Grand Vacation Club uses a points based system. Every owner is guaranteed the use of their purchased week, provided they book within the Home Week priority booking window, up to 12 months in advance of check-in. All of the points, they received to purchase that week, will be used to book their accommodations. If you refer to the Valdoro Mountain Points Chart, this week is Week 21 at Valdoro Mountain Resort, that week falls within the Gold Season. The demand for this week is lower, meaning owners can spend less Club Points for a week during Gold season than that of a Platinum Season.
For those owners who would like to use their points elsewhere within Hilton’s collection of resorts, they must wait until the Club Reservation Window, which is 9 months in advance. During this time, every resort and unit become available to the rest of HGVC’s members. As a member, you may make a reservation at any resort as long as there is availability and you have enough points to book. In addition to booking full weeks, partial weeks and weekend stays can be reserved as well. An owner may not have enough points to book a full week at Hilton’s Parc Soleil during week 7, but may be able to reserve a long weekend instead.
Trading power does not necessarily have to refer to using exchange companies. Owners with Platinum weeks (and more points, in the case of Hilton) can use their timeshare to visit other locations much easier than those with lower demand weeks. Owning a Platinum week doesn’t necessarily meant that you have a better ownership or that a week with lower demand is inferior. There are many ways to use timeshare ownerships and getting the most from our ownership(s) are based on what you want.
Many owners will never visit their home resort. A popular practice is to purchase a resort that may be less expensive than other comparable resorts and/or weeks and use their ability to trade and hop around to different resorts each year without paying the higher initial cost to buy the more desirable home resort. Another option is to purchase multiple ownerships and combine them to do one long trip, or to visit a resort with higher demand. The options are only bound by your creativity.
It may seem like there is a lot that goes into using your timeshare, so the more educated you can become, the better value you will get from your ownership. Our agents can assist you with any questions that you may have about how timeshares work, and help you find the best timeshare that would fit your vacation style.
Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.