Vacation ownership emerged simultaneously in various parts of the world.
In Great Britain in the early 1960’s, vacation home sharing, also known as holiday home sharing, evolved when four families would purchase a vacation cottage jointly, each having exclusive use of the property for one of the four seasons. They rotated seasons each year, so each family enjoyed the prime seasons equally.
In the 1960’s, there were two companies that concurrently were the first to offer timeshare. A French development company, The Societe des Grands Travaux de Marseille, began selling at SuperDevoluy, their ski resort in the French Alp. They are credited with developing the first ever timeshare slogan; "No need to rent the room; buy the hotel, its cheaper!". At the same time, a company called Hapimag in Baar Switzerland also offered the timeshare model. The owners of Hapimag began purchasing resort properties in Italy, Spain and Switzerland, thereby becoming the first to offer their members a choice of timeshare destinations.
The first hotel-condominium timeshare in America, the Hilton Hale Kaanapali, was started in 1965 on the island of Maui, Hawaii, within the 15,000 acre Pioneer Mill Plantation
The first non-hotel timeshare in the US was the Kaua`i Kailani, started in Kauai, Hawaii in 1969 by the people who later founded Vacation Internationale. They offered weeks that were sold on a leasehold basis. They also were the first to offer timeshares sold on a point system to give more options to timeshare owners.
In 1973, a joint venture by the Hyatt company and Innisfree companies offered the first "deeded ownership" timeshare program in the US. The resort was at Brockway Springs in Lake Tahoe, California.
Captran Resorts International developed the first successful purpose-built interval ownership resort in the United States in 1974. Florida’s Sanibel Beach Club, a 31-unit condominium project, sold out in only18 months.
In the mid-1970’s, fee simple ownership also spawned the concept of vacation exchanges. Vacation exchange was pioneered by RCI and shortly thereafter by Interval International. Today these two companies represent over 7,000 resorts worldwide.
Driven by the growth and popularity of the timeshare industry, resorts all over the world were converting to this model. Timeshare appealed to people of all economics and backgrounds for its ability to offer lavish vacations at affordable prices.
By 1990’s, major hotel companies including Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt, Hilton and others began to offer vacation ownership properties. Consumer acceptance and timeshare sales reached record highs.
Today the timeshare is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are nearly 5,000,000 timeshare owners world-wide, and 85.6% of those who responded to the most recent surveys indicated that they are satisfied with their vacation ownership. In fact, 32.4% have plans to purchase additional time and 18.6% will either upgrade or modify their existing timeshare plans. The vacation ownership industry boast a worldwide offering of about 5,400 resorts in over 100 countries.