To help support our family and ministry Matt works with timeshare owners at "The Wilderness Club at Big Cedar", which is a part of Big Cedar Lodge, reserving rooms throughout the year and renting them out.
Crystal and I first learned about Big Cedar when we worked at Kanakuk Kamps during our college years. We had dinner there a few times when we were dating and just fell in love with it. We were married in Branson in May 2004 and spent the first night of our honeymoon in a cabin at Big Cedar, before heading out to Colorado the following day. About a week before our wedding day someone from Big Cedar called and asked if we would be interested in coming to a one hour presentation and receive our room for free. Crystal and I are both suckers for good deals and things that are free, so of course we said yes! What we found out was that 1/2 of the Big Cedar property was nightly rentals and 1/2 of it was part of a timeshare run by a company called Bluegreen. They gave us the sales pitch and being young and naive we decided it was a good idea to start our marriage off by going $12,000 into debt to own a timeshare!
The biggest selling point for us was the opportunity to come back to Big Cedar for years to come, which we've been able to do. Since 2004 we have taken 1-2 trips a year to Big Cedar, as well as taking many friends and having many retreats for our ministry over the years. Over the years I've found out there are many timeshare owners who have extra points they need to get rid of before they expire, so I've began connecting with these owners and reserving weeks to rent out, which helps them and helps us. Our heart in doing this isn't to make a ton of money, but to give people an affordable vacation at Big Cedar. We could have never paid for a week there at their normal rates and know many others are in the same boat. So that's how we get the rooms and why they are such a great deal!
There are some things you should know that would be helpful. When you stay in one of these rooms, when you check in you will be asked to go to a timeshare presentation. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO, but you can if you want. They will offer you around $150 Big Cedar bucks which can be used anywhere on Big Cedar property. Honestly I tell people even if you don't want a timeshare, go and get the Big Cedar Bucks and eat out on them a few times!
If you want to know how the timeshare works I encourage you to go, but be prepared to have a hard sales pitch thrown at you. They will do their best to make you timeshare owners before you leave that meeting, so be prepared. Many people ask if we recommend buying a timeshare. I would say they are good for certain people and not good for others. You can google "Bluegreen Ownership" and find some happy owners and some not so happy owners. I would not recommend going in debt to own one like we did and doing your research before you go to any meeting.
Also your timeshare will have very little resale value after you buy it, so the value is in you being able to use it to it's maximum potential for your family vacations. You have to either be flexible with your travel or reserve the popular weeks like summer, spring break, and holidays a year in advance to get the dates you want. With that being said you can also buy timeshares off EBAY and other resale companies for a fraction of the price. They don't have a lot of extra benefits that come with buying it straight from Bluegreen, but they are much cheaper. And on top of whatever price you pay for it there are yearly owner and maintenance fees that are extra and you will have to pay those each year regardless of how much you use it. I just want you to be as informed as you can before you get there.
For more info on the Wilderness Club at Big Cedar you can visit the links below for more into and some FAQs. Also I'm happy to answer any questions you have as well.