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A History of Timeshare
The story told in the timeshare industry is that a hotel was going broke in the Swiss Alps. They put a sign on their marquee that said "Own your room instead of renting it". They adverted going bankrupt, the rooms quickly sold out and the concept of Timeshare was born.

The Europeans say they invented timeshare when 4 families got together and decided to buy a vacation home. The problem was at least two of the families would want to go during the same time.

One of the families would have children and the children would write on the walls, spill things on the floor and do what children do. When the other families would come to use their holiday home, it wasn’t in the same pristine condition it was when they purchased it. So what started out as a good idea turned into fights and bickering over who would pay for damage, who would use it when, etc.

A businessman who was very familiar with this concept of ownership came up with an idea. Instead of having 4 families each own 3 months, he would break it into the weeks of the year and allow families to buy only the weeks they would use.

What might be closer to the truth, albeit less glamorous, is that retirees were responsible for timeshares’ beginnings.
In 1946, the National Insurance act was introduced in Europe, making contributory state pensions available for everyone. In 1947, the Finance Act Limited the maximum amount of tax on pensions and allowed some pensions to be taken as a Lump sum.

The result of these new laws was felt In the 1950’s. The retired population now had expendable money. The pensions weren’t large enough to live a lavish lifestyle and vacations were still expensive. They did, however, have a desire to travel and that travel was now in reach. 

So a businessman had a great idea. If retired people didn’t have to go on vacation during peak season, he could sell them his off season which didn’t produce any income at the time.

He could sell it as a very affordable leasehold for the rest of their lives, and offer the types of activities pensioners would like to do. This was a wonderful way to sell the off season weeks and to allow the pensioners a way to go on vacation every year.

There’s no way to confirm if any of these are true or not.  There are many people on the internet today taking credit for coming up with the idea for timeshare. They claim they’re responsible for building the first resorts specifically for timeshare. So, no one can truly be sure of the origins of timeshare. Instead, all that can be offered are the facts claimed on the internet.

1950’s - Because of the new laws passed in the late 1940’s Europe claims they started timeshare. It was a win, win situation as it was a way for resorts to fill up their off season and a way for retired pensioners to go on vacation.

In exchange for paying their share of maintenance and up keep on the property every year, they could purchase a very affordable lease on one week a year for the rest of their lives.

1963 - 1968 - Timeshare starts with a French company (the Societe Des Grandes Travaux De Marseille company) and a Swiss company (HAPIMAG {hotel und appartementhaus immobilien Anlage} AG) that develop the concept of timeshare in the French Alps, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.
1966 - 1969 - There's much speculation about the first Timeshare resort built in the United States.The first account shows the first timeshare resort as the Kaanapali Beach Destination Resort on west Maui, started in 1966. Another account credits the Kauai Kailana on Kuai as the first, starting in 1969.

- John and Christel DeHaan start RCI, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Today they are the largest exchange company in the world.

**Authors note: Timeshare is known by many names including but not limited to timeshare, timesharing, vacation ownership, holiday ownership, interval ownership, vacation insurance, alternate ownership.
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Where it all began