Hotel Meets Home
ARDA Guest Writer: Mike Kennedy
Mike Kennedy is the CEO & Cofounder of KOALA, an online marketplace that helps timeshare owners easily rent to anyone in the world. KOALA’s mission is to empower timeshare owners with better technology while introducing families to the thrills of vacationing in a timeshare resort. Mike has spent 15 years in the vacation ownership industry and joined ARDA in 2019 to advance timeshare’s secondary market.
There’s a new trend where travelers are choosing hotels over Airbnbs (because who wants to do chores on vacation?). That means the core value propositions for timeshare ownership – and the accommodations they offer access to – have never been more relevant.
Sure, spacious vacation rentals can provide an immersive family vacation experience and having access to hotel services and amenities can be wonderful. But, pound-for-pound nothing delivers the best of both like a good ol’ timeshare.
Without timeshare resorts, vacationing families are forced to choose between two flawed options: cramped hotel rooms with no shared space to hang or Airbnbs where excessive cleaning fees and a chore-list can put a damper on an otherwise relaxing stay. No thanks!
What makes these timeshare resorts so special?
- They’re managed by trusted brands like Marriott, Hilton and Disney. That means, generally speaking, you know what you’re going to get. There is a level of certainty, comfort, and consistency that only professional hospitality brands can deliver.
- They combine the best parts of Hotel + Home. There has been a lot of capital poured into creating vacation rental hybrids that elevate the experience by offering more hotel-like features. Well guess what? Timeshare resorts have been doing this organically for decades (oh, hello there 👋). They offer space for the whole family, multiple bedrooms, baths & kitchens with resort amenities, check-in desks and professionally cleaned and maintained premises.
- They’re purpose-built for family vacations. Vacations should be fun. Booking a bad rental can create more headaches than respite and cramming a family into a single hotel room is fun for literally no one. Timeshare resorts were purpose-built for fun vacations and trained staff are on-site to ensure it. Timeshare resorts offer everything from check-in desks & concierge services, pools, lazy rivers, spas, onsite restaurants, kids clubs, and more. Fun fact(!), more than 80% of timeshare units have at least 2 bedrooms. So, say goodbye to the “cram-n-fam” of yesteryear – and stay in a timeshare this year.
- They’re cost-effective. Whether you own a timeshare or prefer to rent one, timeshare resorts offer a ton of value at an affordable price. Purchasing one can be a great way to hedge inflation and guarantee quality vacations for years to come while renting one (especially from another owner) can offer one-time access at a great value.
So why aren’t timeshares more mainstream in today’s travel vernacular? It’s a fact that only 7% of American households own timeshare when, it seems, almost everyone would love them. The reality is, many families are simply unfamiliar with the concept or quite possibly relegate the “T word” to something negative. But what we industry insiders know is how truly wonderful these resort accommodations are, and that they consistently deliver high quality vacations for those who know. And for everyone else, #IYDKNYK.
As a proud member of ARDA, we are continuing to better illuminate and demystify these resorts - and even the membership constructs to which they adhere. I believe the beauty and convenience of the product is what will prevail every time. It continues to impress those who stay in one while also raising the standards of vacations for so many that own them. They stand the test of time.
So what’s next for timeshare? Developers are continuing to rethink traditional timeshare destinations, programs are evolving to be even more flexible and new technology places modern optionality in these owners’ hands. This revolution is encouraging newer generations to become more familiar with timeshare and these incredible resorts. The future of the industry is bright…and only getting brighter.