Many consumers say they understand timesharing, but very few profess an interest in purchasing a unit of vacation ownership. The good news for the industry is that tomorrow's prospects — those currently in the 18-to-41-year-old age range — are more likely to consider a purchase than are their Baby Boomer counterparts. These are two findings in the most recent edition of the National Leisure Travel Monitor study.

While just six percent of those surveyed say they're interested in purchasing a timeshare this year, the percentage jumps to nine percent for Echo Boomers (ages 18-27) and 10 percent for Gen Xers (ages 28-41). Only five percent of those over age 41 want to buy this year. In terms of ethnicity, Hispanics have the greatest purchasing interest (10 percent), followed by all non-whites, (nine percent), African Americans (eight percent) and whites (six percent).

While consumers are more aware of the term “timeshare” than they are “vacation ownership,” they've become more comfortable with both concepts in recent years. In 2000, 68 percent were familiar with timesharing and 39 percent said they understood vacation ownership. Last year the numbers were 91 percent, timesharing and 65 percent, vacation ownership.

Demographic gaps exist in who understands and has interest in timesharing, according to the study:

  • Eight of ten travelers with household incomes above $100,000 are aware of vacation ownership; about half of travelers in households with incomes below $50,000 understand the concept.

  • Two-third of white leisure travelers are aware of vacation ownership, a significantly higher proportion than non-whites, including African-Americans and Hispanics.

While many consumers understand timesharing, not everyone is willing to embrace the idea. Less than 20 percent of those who say they understand the concept have a positive opinion of it, and 60 percent say they're unlikely to stay at a timeshare or vacation ownership resort.

Ypartnership (forwmerly Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell), an Orlando-based marketing firm, and Yankelovich Partners conduct the annual survey.

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