There are a lot of unknowns regarding timeshares currently amid COVID-19. While resorts are gradually opening and stay-at-home ordinances are being lifted, travel may not return to normal for quite a while. And this spells bad news for timeshare resorts and their financial models. Unfortunately, when timeshare companies feel the pinch, so could timeshare owners.
As we know, travel has all but ceased in recent months, leading many timeshare owners to cancel their scheduled reservations. While some developers and resorts offered no-penalty cancellations through specific dates, others did not. Some resorts were great models of doing the right thing by automatically canceling reservations. Others, however, still required owners to call or cancel online.
As reported in USA Today, if you have a timeshare in Hawaii, there is an added dilemma of a mandatory 14-day quarantine when you arrive. As a result, many owners have canceled their planned Hawaiian vacations for 2020 and rescheduled to 2021.
Unfortunately, some timeshares used 2021 points, instead of debiting 2020 points, stating that 2020 points are restricted and could only be used to book within 120 days. That 120-day re-booking is not feasible given the continued pandemic and the popularity of Hawaii.
Regardless, resorts have now seen months with no guests. While some remained open, they were practically deserted with limited staff and the layoff of non-essential workers. While some resorts are now opening, they are betting on a late summer surge, but with projected new COVID-19 outbreaks and hot spots emerging, that seems unlikely.
So, what are the timeshare companies doing?
We have already seen many owners get billed with increased assessment fees, despite not being able to use their timeshare. These assessment fees are often applied to help resorts and developers make up for shortfalls in income to the property. Given the bleak travel outlook into next year, we anticipate more and more owners will see these increased assessments.
It will be interesting to see what happens to annual maintenance fees, especially since there would seemingly have been less need for maintenance. We know this could be the breaking point for many frustrated owners, especially if 2021 has similar COVID-related travel restrictions.
We hope that we can soon get back to a sense of normalcy that includes travel. And, if you are a timeshare owner, we hope that it provides you with an opportunity to use it again with any credits you deserve.
But, for those of you who are frustrated with the entire situation, we can help you get out of your timeshare permanently and legally. Give us a call and let one of our Expert Advisors take a look at your situation. The consultation is free, with no obligation whatsoever. Sign up now or call 1-888-GET-U-OUT (438-8688).