Local timeshare biz steady despite national scares
Timeshare companies are feeling a hit from the slowing economy. Park City though, may be immune, according to local timeshare companies.
Orlando, Florida-based Westgate Resorts, which operates a property at The Canyons, announced major lay-offs recently, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Mark Waltrip, a spokesman for Westgate at the corporate headquarters, said he believes news reports have been exaggerated and refused to confirm or deny them.
The Sentinel on Sept. 27 reported that the company president announced the lay-off of "hundreds" of people and the closing of sales offices in 28 resorts in the U.S.
Timeshares Daily, an industry publication, reported that 106 people were laid-off from a Houston Westgate office.
Local timeshare properties are not expected to be affected.
Kelly Marshall with Premier Timeshare Resale on Main Street, said she hasn’t seen any changes in the resale market. This year’s sales numbers are only two-thirds of last year’s, but her company is only three years old, she explained, and doesn’t believe that’s evidence of a trend.
One observable impact is that companies sometimes reserve the right to buy-back property before an owner puts it on the open market. She said she’s seeing fewer companies opt to buy-back right now, but that’s it.
David Fishlock, general manager for the local Westgate, said everything is status quo. He said sales are normal and they’re looking forward to ski season which is a busy time for the resort as well as the sales team.
Waltrip, the corporate spokesman, said that’s because Park City is a vibrant market and the company is doing well here. He doesn’t anticipate any changes in the company affecting Park City at all.
He said the Westgate resort is mostly sold out and predicts it to be fully sold soon.
There are two Marriott timeshare properties in the area, Summit Watch and MountainSide, and they are sold-out.
Ed Kinney, vice president of corporate affairs for Marriott Vacation Club International, said there’s only a small sales team in Park City to handle re-sales and to sell other locations. He said impacts on the timeshare industry nationally will have a "minimal" effect locally.
He said sold-out timeshares are great for tourism towns like Park City because even if the economy is bad, people still vacation to timeshares because they pre-paid for them.
"We saw that after Sept. 11, 2001. The timeshare business stays solid and constant," Kinney said.
He said over-all, his company is doing well because they self-finance. Inter-bank lending freezes don’t affect its ability to complete a sale.
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Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson has decried what she called a lenient sentence in a child sex abuse case in which a 20-year-old reportedly attempted to impregnate a 12-year-old. The perpetrator was sentenced to 20 days in jail and 10 years of probation.