According to industry research conducted by Interval International and Resort Condominiums International (major exchange companies), one of the more predominant factors or reasons for purchasing a timeshare is the possibility of exchanging the purchased interval on a local, regional, national, or international level. However, it must be understood that this exchange process is typically done on an equivalency basis, meaning that unit weeks (i.e. intervals) are assigned a value based on demand, quality, pricing, etc. In short, this means that an individual owning an interval of lesser value will not be able to exchange outright for an interval of higher value without purchasing an equivalent unit week. The basic premise underlying the exchange process is that a collection of timeshare resorts (either single site or multisite) enter into an agreement with an exchange company to offer their owners the option of exchanging their interval (commonly a week) with another member that is seeking to swap their interval. It is this agreement between the timeshare developer and the exchange company that is known as an affiliation agreement. The affiliation agreement simply means that the developer has the right, at the point of sale, to offer the exchange company's services to this new owner as an additional service. Therefore, the owner makes a voluntary decision to buy into the exchange process by paying an annual fee to this exchange company for their services.
American Resort Development Association (2002). 'The Timeshare Industry Resource Manual', ARDA, Washington, DC.
JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY, AUSTRALIA