In honor of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Timeshare Industry in Aruba, a report was commissioned by the Aruba Timeshare Association, ATSA, to provide an overview of the island’s timeshare landscape from data collected in 2017. The report was commissioned in collaboration with Aruba Tourism Authority, ATA, and prepared by the University of Aruba, UA.
The following is the fifth article in a series of six, summarizing the report.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
The results of the study conducted in order to compile the report show that the timeshare visitor to Aruba is overall very satisfied with the product of the timeshare and with Aruba as a destination. In general, the respondents were older Americans that were split between male and female. The large majority of respondents were considered Baby Boomers (more than 90%), and approximately 70% of them earn more than $90,000.
The majority of timeshare respondents owned their timeshare (77.8%) and the majority of people purchased their timeshare before 2003 (46.1%) and had visited the island of Aruba more than 10 times (68.1%). These respondents typically had one week of timeshare (46.5%), and the majority paid less than $15,000 for that week. The maintenance fees for one week of timeshare ownership averaged $1,000 and there were additional fees for the majority of timeshare respondents that averaged $753 over two years.
Most people did not trade or exchange their timeshare from Aruba and the primary reasons that they bought in Aruba were that they believed Aruba was a quality destination, the overall resort experience was outstanding, and the resort environment and atmosphere were great. The commitment that the respondents had for their timeshare resort was very notable. The large majority of the timeshare respondents were extremely (56.2%) and very satisfied (33.4%) with their most recent timeshare purchase.
An interesting finding was that in terms of the importance of sales and marketing factors in the final decision to purchase timeshare in Aruba, the highest rated items were previous hotel visits on Aruba and direct contact with the resort representatives, but the lowest rated items were travel agents, television ads, and previous cruise visits to Aruba. One suggestion could be to target cruise passengers with a tour/activity package when they leave the cruise ship to show them the value of the timeshare resort on the beautiful island of Aruba. Since cruise passengers get such little time in Aruba, creating a unique adventure for them could encourage them to purchase or trade to Aruba.
With regard to satisfaction with their most recent purchase of timeshare, more than 75% of respondents are extremely or very satisfied. Less than 1% of the respondents were very or extremely dissatisfied with their timeshare purchase.
Spending and economic impact are two positive factors related to the timeshare industry as revealed in the current study. The overall timeshare group spending (average of 3.25 people) for the entire trip on average was $3,723.56 without any maintenance or other timeshare fees included, it is $4,723.56 per group with maintenance fees in the total spend. The largest areas of spend from the respondents was in food and beverage, as the combined food and beverage expenses (inside and outside the resort) was $399.46 per person or $1,298.25 per group, per trip to Aruba. The amount spent on gambling was $217.26 per person, and shopping was $124.13 per person per trip. Overall, the spend by the average individual staying in a timeshare on Aruba from the current study was more than $1,422 each. In comparing 2008 to 2017, there was approximately $4,419 spent per group per vacation in 2008, and $4,724 in 2017. (Not included in the study – lodging, Aruban goods and products, jewelry and high brand name products)
The economic impact from the timeshare owners to the island of Aruba was very good. The gross economic value of the Aruban timeshare industry in 2017 is conservatively projected at an estimated US$ 530 million. This is equivalent to an estimated one-third of gross tourism earnings, and almost 20 percent of nominal GDP projected for 2017; the equivalent of one-fifth of the Aruban gross domestic production.
It was however noted that the timeshare industry product needs to be updated to adequately deal with the current younger global timeshare owner. The product has successfully existed in Aruba for more than 40 years and looking forward, it should focus on maintaining the annual fees as they are while improving value for the money.
Overall, respondents were very satisfied with their most recent timeshare usage showing that more than 86% of respondents were extremely or very satisfied with their most recent visit. Most of their expectations were met with climate, warmth and kindness of people, and quality of beaches as rated the highest in terms of exceeding expectations of quality. The lowest items were land and sea activities, transport and traffic, sightseeing tours, and nightlife and entertainment which could be reflective of the age of the respondents.
In relation to demographics in the study and the differences found, the results show that older respondents have stronger return intentions, but their overall satisfaction and the perception of the timeshare experience is lower than younger respondents. This may be due to how often that they have been to Aruba and the possible boredom or monotony that they may have with the options provided to them once they have reached a certain age.
Higher income respondents have more positive feelings about Aruba and the timeshare experience, but this may be because they are able to afford new and exciting experiences. For example, new restaurants, more gambling and shopping.
Regarding spending data, males spend more money than females in all categories except for gambling where there are no significant differences. Younger respondents spend more money on watersports, which could be related to their ability to participate in these activities more readily, and overall, higher income respondents spent more money than respondents with lower income, which should be expected.
Researchers found similar overall results in surveys of primarily U.S. timeshare owners, Venezuelans, and people from other locations such as Canada and the UK. The studies were anonymous and did not reveal the name of the timeshare Resort where respondents were staying.