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Indians opt for time-share holiday option

September 22, 2005 12:54 IST
In wake of the rising average room rates in the country, the Indian travellers are opting for time-sharing or vacation ownership.

Average room rates in places such as Goa and Bangalore are rising at an annual rate of 20 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.

The pre-booking of holidays through vacation ownership enables the traveller to keep the average room rates at a fixed level for a period of around 25 years.

In the bargain he also saves 60-80 per cent of the accommodation expenses in the hotels and resorts. The organised time-sharing industry is valued at Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) in the country with two lakh members.

Club Mahindra Holidays has about 50,000 members. Over 80,000 members are enrolled with Sterling Holidays.

The balance is cornered by players like RGBC, and Avalon Holidays. All four players have resorts and hotels across well-known hill stations and beach resorts of the country.

To avail huge discounts thrown out of time-sharing, holiday freaks are shifting their preferences to this option. As a result, time-sharing market for upmarket hotels and resorts is growing at a healthy rate of 25 per cent annually.

"A traveller can book his vacation with Club Mahindra Holidays for 25 years and every year he can spend a week with his family in the company's resorts. Depending on the type of properties he chooses, he can spend as low as Rs 80,000 in some cases to as high as Rs 4.5 lakh for the 25 years. He can make payments in installments ranging from six months to 36 months," said Ramesh Ramanathan, managing director, Club Mahindra Holidays. 

"On an average, a Sterling member, on payment of Rs 1 lakh (for 25 years) can get accommodation in a resort for just Rs 3,000 for a week instead of Rs 18,000, he would have paid otherwise for an equivalent resort," said Ramesh Ramachandran, vice president, Sterling Resorts.

According to Ramanathan, vacation ownership caters to only 1-2 per cent of the total hospitality industry in the country by volume and 4-5 per cent of it by value.

Time-sharing is also catching the moods of corporates. A corporate, who has to shuttle between Mumbai and Bangalore 10 to 15 times a year finds time sharing more affordable.

To cater to this segment hotel chains in India like Mariott and Orchid have entered time-sharing across hotels in Mumbai and Bangalore, said sources. 

To tap the growth in upmarket vacation ownership, all major players have lined up clear-cut expansion plans.  The number of properties to be offered for time-share is expected to double to 120 from the current sixty in the next 2-3 years, said a leading hotel consultant in the country.

"Time sharing is catered to only two lakh members and there is a potential to tap 4-5 crore (Rs billion) travellers. We have clear cut expansion plans in the segment and will be adding new properties and resorts as per the market demand," said R Subramaniam, chairman, Sterling Holidays and Resorts.

"The scope for vacation ownership is tremendous and Mahindra Holidays has plans to grow at an annual rate of 70 per cent," said Club Mahindra's Ramesh Ramanathan.

The members can also enjoy the benefits of time sharing at international destinations as players like Club Mahindra and Sterling Holidays have tied up with RCI, a major player in global time sharing with more than 5,000 affiliated resorts in more than 90 countries. 

Sterling, with its product Sterling Smart, also caters to time sharing in the three star and below three star segment.

Sunny Days

  • The organised time-sharing industry is valued at Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion).
  • Major players are Club Mahindra Holidays, Sterling Holidays, RGBC, and Avalon Holidays.
  • Time sharing market growing at a healthy rate of 25% annually. 
  • The number of properties to be offered for time share is expected to double in 2-3 years.
  • Club Mahindra and Sterling Holidays have tied up with RCI, a major player in global time sharing with more than 5,000 affiliated resorts in more than 90 countries.
Prabodh Chandrasekhar in Mumbai
Source: source
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