A timeshare week is a block of seven days during which a timeshare owner can use a designated property. For example, if the details of a timeshare contract allow the owner to use a vacation property for the first week of July annually, the first week of July his timeshare week. There are different types of timeshare weeks, including floating, fixed and banked weeks.
Timeshares are discussed in terms of timeshare weeks because of the way the properties are owned. Instead of a typical situation in which a property has one owner, timeshare properties can have many owners. In order to make sure each owner has an opportunity to use the property, access is separated into weeks. If there are 52 owners, for example, each owner may get one week of access to the property per year. The details of ownership vary with each timeshare, and some may offer more than one yearly week per owner.
A fixed timeshare week is a week of timeshare use that happens at the same time each year. For example, if a timeshare owner has week two as a fixed annual timeshare week, he can use the property each year during the second week of January. If he cannot use his week or decides not to, he may rent his week out to a vacationer or trade it to another owner. The week remains his, however, even if he doesn’t show up to take advantage of it. No other owner or person can use it without his permission.
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When a timeshare owner has a floating week, he can spend seven days at the property at any time of the year. His use of the property is subject to availability, however. For example, the timeshare owner may notify the property's management that he wishes to reserve week 20 of that year. If no one else has reserved week 20, he can secure week 20 for himself. If another owner has reserved that week, he’ll typically need to make another access choice.
Some timeshare owners also make use of banked weeks. If an owner doesn’t plan to use his timeshare week, he may bank his week with an exchange company, a business that pools and manages banked weeks from multiple properties and resorts. Essentially, this means the timeshare owner gives up the right to use his week, allowing someone else to reserve it. He can then opt to exchange it for another week at the same property at a later date, perhaps even saving it to add an additional week of vacation access for the next year. He may also use his banked week at another property in some cases.