Survey points to strong US timeshare market

According to the newly released Future Timeshare
Buyers: Market Profile 2006, fully 14 percent of pleasure travelers familiar with
the concept of vacation ownership, or approximately 9.2 million U.S. households, are
interested in acquiring a timesharing interest during the next two years. “This is a significant, positive increase from the level we recorded in the National
Leisure Travel Monitor? last year, and clearly represents good news for the
timesharing/vacation ownership industry,” said Peter C. Yesawich, chairman and chief
executive officer of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, co-author of the annual
survey with Yankelovich, Inc.

The profile, conducted annually, is developed exclusively for Interval
International, a leading global vacation exchange company, and prepared from data
collected for the YPB&R/Yankelovich, Inc. 2006 National Leisure Travel MONITORSM, a
strategic marketing tool for travel and leisure industry product and service
suppliers. This widely acclaimed survey of pleasure travel habits and preferences is
in its fifteenth year.  The results were announced at the 8th annual Vacation
Ownership Investment Conference (formerly TRIC), held last week in Orlando, Florida.

Pleasure travelers interested in purchasing timeshare long to be in control of their
lives, are decidedly more experiential, and prefer things that are new and exciting.
They are much more inclined to spend their money on products and services that they
believe will enrich their lives, such as investing in their future vacations. 

“While the profile of the future buyer has remained consistent over the past several
years, we’re very encouraged by the high degree of interest among African-Americans
and both Generation Xers (aged 28 to 41 years old) and the echo-boomer generation
aged younger than 27 years,” noted Howard A. Bendell, director of market research
and analysis for Interval International.  “These demographic segments, along with
adult leisure travelers having annual household incomes between $30,000 and $50,000
and those residing in the Southern U.S., report future purchase interest at
significantly greater rates than their disinterested counterparts.  Timeshare resort
sellers and marketers who cater to these specific groups are better positioned to
capitalize on this growth opportunity.”

Prospective timeshare buyers are significantly more interested than those not
interested in staying at a condominium resort during the next two years (82 percent
vs. 56 percent) and focus on the same spaciousness that resort timesharing typically
provides. Nearly half of all pleasure travelers consider themselves to be
knowledgeable about the main features of timesharing and are more likely to report
an intention to stay at a vacation ownership resort in the future (61 percent vs. 28
percent).  In fact, more than one out of every four active leisure travelers
familiar with the concepts of timesharing or vacation ownership express interest in
attending a timeshare sales presentation or in accepting an offer for a two to
three-day mini vacation package.


Other study highlights include:
-      Pleasure travelers interested in purchasing timeshare report having taken
four pleasure trips of 75 miles or more away from home and requiring overnight
accommodations in the past 12 months;
-      More than eight in 10 (83 percent) of pleasure travelers interested in
purchasing timeshare drove a personal automobile to their vacation destination in
the last year;
-      More than three-quarters (76 percent) of pleasure travelers interested in
purchasing timeshare intend to take a cruise in the next two years;
-      Family oriented vacationing continues to be the most popular among
prospective timeshare purchasers, as nearly six in 10 (58 percent) of all pleasure
trips reported involved visiting friends or family in the last 12 months;
-      Prospective timeshare buyers express a continued interest in visiting
Florida (45 percent), California (36 percent), Hawaii (23 percent) and Nevada (17
-      Europe (57 percent) remains the preferred international destination of
choice among pleasure travelers interested in purchasing timeshare, followed by the
Caribbean (27 percent);
-      The Internet continues to represent a major part of the planning process-
used by nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of all prospective timeshare buyers to
obtain travel information and prices.

“The results of the 2006 survey reaffirm consumers’ growing interest in owning
vacation time and auger well for the continued growth of the industry in the years
ahead,” said Yesawich.