The timeshare industry has changed considerably over the 25 years in which I have been directly involved.
My first experience of timeshare was as an in-house solicitor of the bank which was heavily involved in lending on commercial property in the U.K. but had also ventured into timeshare developments within Europe, mainly Spain and Portugal.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s timeshare developers were still building apartments for timeshare and the bank lent not only for the building of apartments but also commercial areas and leisure facilities.
Part of the security taken by the bank (quite apart from mortgages for commercial areas) was a charge over the unsold timeshare weeks.
It soon became clear that the initial sales of a new timeshare would be encouraging as timeshare salesmen were disposing of the key weeks during the school holidays.
Once the flow of income from sales started to dry up, the payments to the bank also started to dry up and the bank was then left with security over the unpopular weeks. It soon became apparent that there was also an inherent weakness in the security arrangement.
The disposal of weeks outside the peak holiday periods is a continuing issue and has taxed the mind of not only many developers but also the committees of member-controlled clubs.
Various incentives have been offered over the years including reduced management fees and use of additional weeks at no or little cost.
Some clubs have considered simply closing the clubs down in the winter months but because of the employment protection legislation in Spain and Portugal this can create problems, as full time staff cannot easily be laid off.