Summer Bay Orlando Completes Expansion of the Activities Center Pavilion

Exploria Resorts has continued to add amenities to the Summer Bay Orlando property, and in June completed a major renovation and improvement to the onsite activities building. The expansion increased the size of the facility from an 850 square feet  room to a dedicated Recreation Pavilion encompassing more than 10,000 square feet. The pavilion is the home to a full time activities staff, the primary activities center, billiards tables, an arcade, a movie theater, fitness center and an owners lounge. This renovation adds another benefit to timeshare owners, and complements the existing Buccaneer Bay Adventure Park.

Follows is an excerpt from the press release:

....Resort guests may also checkout recreational equipment through the resort’s Recreation Team who is based in the Recreation Pavilion. Resort sports court experiences located around the 400+ acre campus include basketball, bocce ball, ping-pong, horseshoes, tennis and volleyball. The 50-seat indoor movie theatre will feature daily, recently released blockbuster hits with popcorn, sodas and candy available for purchase. The theatre space, along with other dedicated spaces, is available for private group movie screenings and gatherings as families celebrate milestone occasions while on vacation together. The new Resort Lounge features a library, coffee station, luxury seating and computers and printers for exclusive use of registered guests. The Arcade features electronic game stations at which guests can earn points to redeem for prizes at the adjoining prize redemption center. A Game Room features gaming consoles with video game checkouts along with large flat screen televisions, a billiards table, and board games. An expansive Fitness Center loaded with state of the art equipment and a multi-purpose Activities Room are the two largest spaces of the Recreation Pavilion, providing round-the-clock opportunities for fitness, fun, and making family vacation memories.....

Read the full release by clicking HERE

Dictionary of Timeshare Terms

Timeshare Dictionary:

Annual uage Rights to the usage of a timeshare reservation or points every year.

Banking a timeshare – Depositing a timeshare reservation or points into a third party exchange system or an internal inventory pool, to extend the possible usage rights and allow for a future stay.

Biennial – Use of a timeshare week every other year.  Owners are often referred to as either “odd” or “even” year owners. There are also Triennial and Quadrennial timeshare programs.

Exchange Company – The system that allows timeshare owners to trade the accommodations they own for comparable accommodations or travel-related services.  Most resort companies are affiliated with an exchange company. RCI and Interval International are the two largest exchange systems. Many resort companies also offer an internal exchange mechanism that allows owners to exchange to other destinations within their timeshare developer's portfolio of resorts.

Fixed week – A type of timeshare ownership in which usage rights attach to a specific week of the year each year in perpetuity. This usage can be for a fixed unit, in which case the timeshare owner stays in the same specific condo, or a floating unit, in which case the actual unit assignment is determined by the front desk at the time of check in.

Floating week – A type of timeshare ownership where the usage rights are limited to a specific season purchased (platinum, prime, summer, etc) or sometimes throughout the year. 

Fractional Ownership – Leisure real estate sold in intervals of more than one week and less than whole ownership.  Fractionals are usually associated with the luxury segment of vacation ownership, offering greater services and amenities.

Home Owners Association (HOA) – Just like a traditional condominium or deed-controlled neighborhood, a timeshare is governed by a recorded set of rules and a governing body called a home owners association. This group is made up of individual owners or resort developer employees that administer the rules and regulations of a resort.  Creation of an HOA is required by state laws.

Home resort – The resort location where a new purchaser owns his or her week or designated as the home resort in a club or points-based program.  Ownership is usually tied to this home resort and generally involves priority reservation rights in that location.

Interval or weekly interval – Vacation ownership as measured by a set number of days and nights of annual use, usually one week.

Lock-off – A type of timeshare unit consisting of multiple living and sleeping quarters designed to function as two discrete units for purposes of occupancy and exchange.  The unit can be combined to form one large unit or can be split or “locked-off” into two or more separate unites, allowing the owner to split the vacation into multiple stays or bank all or a portion for exchange purposes.

Maintenance fee – A fee that timeshare owners are required to pay, usually on an annual basis, to cover the costs of running the resort, including daily management, upkeep, and improvements.

Points – A timeshare “currency” that represents ownership and is used to establish value for seasons, unit sizes, and resort locations.  Points are used by some developers for both internal and external exchange. A points program offers tremendous flexibility, but competition among owners to secure holiday and high demand periods may be extremely high and availability for those periods may be very limited.

Rescission period– Sometimes called a “cancellation” or “cooling off” period.  A period of time during which a consumer has the right to cancel a purchase contract and obtain a full refund of his/her deposit with no penalty.  Dictated by state statute and company policy, rescission periods vary from state to state, but range on average from 5 to 7 days.  This is another example of the strong consumer protections built into the timeshare sales.

Resale – A vacation ownership interest that is sold on the secondary market by the original purchaser to a third party. Resale purchases can reduce the cost of acquiring a timeshare by thousands of dollars, but in some cases there are restrictions placed on the future usage. It is always a wise decision to research the secondary resale market if you have an interest in owning a timeshare.

Right to use – A type of leasehold ownership in which the timeshare owner’s right to occupy a unit at a resort is limited to a specified number of years. Often, this type of ownership type does not have a real estate interest conveyed. Disney Vacation Club timeshares are sold as deeded leaseholds.

Timesharing – A term used to describe a method of use and/or shared ownership of vacation real estate where purchasers acquire a period of time (often one week) in a condominium, apartment or other type of vacation accommodation.  Timeshare is also known as “vacation ownership.”

Trading power – A term used for the value assigned for exchange purposes to a member’s deposited vacation time with a third party exchange system (rci, interval international, sfx, etc).

Trial membership – A product offered after the initial sales tour consisting of travel-related products and services packaged with an opportunity to experience the resort developer’s primary vacation ownership product within a defined period.  Sometimes called a “sampler” program. These programs normally have strict limitations and are usually non-transferable. I NEVER recommend that a consumer purchase these exit offers.

Vacation Club A term used to describe various types of timesharing and usually involving use or access to more than one resort location and other vacation and travel services.  However, the term is used for many different purposes, including “travel clubs” which may have nothing to do with timesharing.

Vacation ownership – A term often used to describe resort timesharing.

Maui Government Continues to Target Timeshare Ownership with Increased Taxation Rates

The sad story continues.......

Hawaii governments have a long history of aggressively targeting timeshare owners with high tax rates. Back in 2014, I penned an article about this subject
and documented how the city council of Kauai was promoting legislature to allow for increased tax rates on timeshares without raising those taxes paid by hotels and other businesses. It appeared to be a money grab by government officials, targeting a demographic that can neither vote in local elections nor easily attend council meetings to speak out again the action.  I just read a letter to the editor posted in the Maui News which shows the continued targeting by Hawaii government leaders, this time in Maui.. The letter reads as follows:

I recently received notification from the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Vacation Owners Association that I will be receiving a bill for a special assessment. This is to pay for a retroactive increased real property tax on my time share for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008!
Taxes for these years had been paid in full in the respective tax years. The County of Maui retroactively changed their assessment methodology and sent my association a bill for $6.9 million! The bill was issued two weeks ago and required payment June 24!
It must seem to Maui County council members that time-share owners are easy pickings for additional tax revenues. What, after all, can we do to protest? We can't vote against the council members or come to council meetings to demand fair treatment. I am sure we are viewed as easy prey just to be exploited.
I have been bringing my family to Maui annually since 1981. We have always loved Maui, its natural beauty and warm people.
So what can I do? We have always eaten every dinner and some lunches in local restaurants. Our favorites have included: Mama's, Paia Fish Market, Da Kitchen, Aloha Mixed Plate, Pacific O, Merriman's, Duke's and Hula Grill.
This September we will not eat in any restaurants. We will enjoy our home-cooked meals beachfront at our time share. And no golf at Kapalua or Wailea. That will save me well over $1,500, which will pay my special assessment several times. How shortsighted of the council.
Charles Roby
Santa Ana, Calif.
ARDA-ROC continues to battle these shortsighted government officials in court, but unfortunately that far too often is a losing battle for timeshare owners. Perhaps boycotts such as Mr. Roby is undertaking are the only real action timeshare owners can take themselves to send a strong message to the entire state of Hawaii. Increased taxation will only result in decreased spending by your most loyal and consistent visitor, the individual timeshare owner! 

Timeshare management group for Festiva's Cabins at Green Mountain make a costly mistake

 A report in the Branson Tri-Lakes News states that the county commission voted to deny a property value reassessment requested by the Cabins at Green Mountain timeshare regime. The reassessment would have lowered the valuation by almost $4.5 million, providing timeshare owners with a substantial savings for 2015 as well as future billings.

Because the condominium letter requesting the decrease was not submitted by the deadline, Assessor Pennel stated it now required approval by the county commission. However, when he brought the request to the board, it met with stiff resistance and was denied. One commissioner even appeared to question the validity of any timeshare regime being assessed differently than a traditional hotel.

Follows is an excerpt from the article:

"....Tensions were high during Monday morning’s Taney County Commission meeting when Assessor Chuck Pennel brought up court orders concerning an alleged erroneous assessment of a timeshare rental property. According to Pennel, Cabins at Grand Mountain, a timeshare company, failed to turn in a condominium letter before the deadline. Had it done so, the company might have paid thousands less in property taxes.  The condominium letters notify the county of the commercial or residential status of condominiums. Because the letter was turned in late, the timeshare property was assumed to be “predominately available to transient/nightly rental,” as stated in the letter.

The property was assessed and taxed as a fully commercial property for the 2015 tax year.
Cabins at Grand Mountain reported the error in April and asked for a reassessment and possible refund according to the information on their passed due condominium paper, which claimed a certain percentage of the property was used as residential. This reassessment would result in a $4,443,283 decrease in property value for 2015. Pennel said he was going to apply the reassessment to 2016, but he could not change assessments from the previous year without approval of the county commission...."

You can read the full article by clicking HERE

"Timeshare Sales Rely on Fuzzy Math".... Great article that is worth another look!

If you have ever been on a timeshare sales presentation, you'll undoubtedly be familiar with the smoke and mirrors mathematics that is often deployed to ensnare consumers into a lifetime of timeshare ownership.  Timeshare developers have always relied on creating a sales environment that leads to an emotional purchase- and yet, somehow, that famous "fuzzy" math always makes it's way  into the discussion.

I just saw a blog entry from a respected member of the timeshare community that made me remember an article I'd read years ago from CBS Moneywatch. It was a great article, and one of the first I can remember coming from a major media organization that really attacked timeshare developers for the blatant disregard for truth that far too often is the tactic used to sell timeshares across the United States.

If you have a moment, take a short trip back in time to read the article by Kathy Kristof.  It begins with,

"....The first time I attended a timeshare presentation, my daughter, who is wise beyond her years, wouldn't let me take my checkbook. If I had, I would be the owner of an annual Hawaiian vacation. But I would have bought it based on fuzzy math....."

You can read her full article by clicking the link below: