Types of Ownership

Can You Sell Vacation Club and Travel Club Memberships?


Jason Connolly

October 06, 2023

Vacation clubs and travel club memberships have been a popular choice for vacationers looking for a more personalized and perhaps cost-effective travel experience. These clubs offer access to in-network resorts, discounted travel rates, and other perks that can make vacationing more enjoyable.

But what if you no longer want to be a part of the club or cannot make use of the membership? Can you sell your vacation club and travel club memberships? The short answer is yes, but with certain considerations.

Tactics to Sell Vacation Club and Travel Club Memberships

Understanding Vacation and Travel Club Memberships

Before getting into the details of selling these memberships, let’s first understand what they are. Vacation clubs are often tied to specific resort chains, such as Disney Vacation Club and Marriott Vacation Club.

By purchasing a membership, you're essentially buying points to use for future vacations at specific properties within their respective resort networks. Ownership is most often deeded to a specific resort, unless stated otherwise, which is a primary difference between vacation clubs and travel clubs.

Travel clubs, on the other hand, are more like membership-based travel agencies where members pay for exclusive access to buy discounted travel products. Members might receive discounts on flights, hotels, car rentals, or even excursions.

Vacation Club vs. Travel Club Memberships: Navigating the Differences

While Vacation Clubs and Travel Clubs might seem similar on the surface, they can operate very differently and cater to different vacation needs. Understanding these distinctions is essential to recognizing how to sell these ownership products.

Vacation Clubs: A Home Away from Home

Property-Centric: As mentioned earlier, Vacation clubs are often affiliated with specific resort chains like Hilton, Wyndham, Disney or Marriott. Owners most often buy a deeded ownership product in the form of points to access in-network properties on an annual basis.

Accommodation Style: One of the main advantages of vacation clubs is the consistency in accommodation standards. Owners can expect similar types of rooms, amenities, and services across different locations of the same club.

Ownership Model: Most vacation clubs operate on a timeshare-type model. This means members own a deeded interest in a specific resort or have rights to use it for a specified time each year. There are also point-based systems which are non-deeded, like WorldMark or Marriott’s pure points program, Marriott Vacation Club Destinations, but those points are owned without an expiration date.

Long-Term Commitment: Typically, vacation club ownership is more of a long-term commitment, often lasting for many years or even decades.

Resale Potential: As these points are often tied to hospitality brands or real estate interests, there is the option of selling or even bequeathing your points, depending on the club's terms.

Travel Clubs: The Broader Horizon

Product-Centric: Unlike vacation clubs that focus on a specific network of properties, travel clubs offer a wider array of services. These can include discounts on flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and even curated experiences or excursions.

Flexibility: Travel clubs tend to offer more flexibility as they aren’t tied to specific properties or locations. This means members can use their benefits for a diverse range of travel experiences.

Membership Model: Most travel clubs operate on a traditional annual membership or subscription model. Members pay an upfront fee to access the Club, then an annual fee to access the club's benefits for that year.

Short-Term Commitment: Given their subscription-based nature, travel clubs are normally a much shorter-term commitment compared to vacation clubs. This can be ideal for those who prefer not to be locked into long-term contracts.

No Real Estate Ties: Since travel clubs aren’t linked to any properties, there isn’t an aspect of real estate ownership. This means owners don’t actually sell a share of a property.

Factors to Consider When Selling Club Memberships

Contractual Obligations: Start by reviewing your membership contract. Some agreements may have clauses that restrict or dictate the terms of selling your membership. Ensure that you understand any transfer fees, processes, or restrictions before putting your membership on the market.

Resale Values: Just like a new car, the resale value of a vacation club or travel club membership can decrease over time. The resale value might be significantly less than the initial purchase price.

This is more pronounced with a Vacation Club due to the higher initial purchase price paid at the resort, often in the $20,000 - $25,000 range. By contrast, travel clubs generally sell in the $1,000 - $5,000 range.

With a vacation club, an average of 50-60 percent of the price paid at the resort goes to cover marketing costs and sales commissions paid to the sales staff. This is money you most likely won’t be able to recoup as a resale. Check our free market analysis calculator to get a start on determining an asking price for the resale market.

For travel clubs, see what the club is asking for as an initial buy-in cost to become a member of the club, then try undercutting that price. Realistically, you won’t be able to get back what you paid, but at least you can get something back for your membership.

Marketplace: Selling a club membership is akin to selling any other commodity. It requires a buyer and a seller to agree on the terms of the sale. Websites such as SellaTimeshare.com specialize in club memberships but be sure to use a company that does not charge an upfront fee to advertise your club ownership.

Transparency: It’s important to be honest and transparent when selling. Clearly lay out any remaining benefits, dues, and obligations associated with the membership. This helps potential buyers make informed decisions and can avoid disputes or issues later.

Transfer Process: Once you have a buyer in place, there's a transfer process to consider. This involves changing the ownership from you to the new owner. Again, this is where understanding your original contract is crucial, as there are generally fees or specific steps required by the club. This is where consulting with a licensed agent such as Timeshare Broker Associates can make a difference, as they can handle paperwork and sales contacts.

Ready to Sell Your Vacation Club or Travel Club Membership?

Selling your vacation club or travel club membership is indeed possible, but it's essential to approach the process informed and prepared. By understanding exactly what you own, your contractual obligations, and being transparent with potential buyers, you can make the best decision for your situation.

When you decide to sell, the most crucial point is to maximize the value of your ownership for you as well as the next potential owner. With the right approach, what was once a valuable asset for your vacations can become a wonderful asset for someone else's adventures.

Ready to Sell Your Club Membership with No Upfront Fees? Start the Process Here.

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