We get the vacation time we want
Naturally, one of the most outspoken concerns for most potential 21-5 families is the question about vacation time availability in the Association. The question we most often are asked is: "Can we get the dates we want and how does the distribution of vacation weeks work?"
The contrast is of course a situation where you alone own your own property. Here you are in full control, and at all times you know that you can use it precisely when you want it. As a consequence, when you share vacation properties with other people, the flexibility is affected and your full control is decreased.
Back in the day, when we got the idea about 21-5, we thought that it would be important that a few weeks would be in excess each year. And why is that? Well, imagine a mathematical formula where our owners' vacation wishes for each year would just be matched that wouldn't be favorable. Everyone would be forced to book more in the low season periods - or you would simply reduce your use of the properties, and that was not the intent.
Since our first association was inaugurated in 2012, it is our experience that our families are enjoying more vacations after becoming 21-5'ers. There are probably several reasons for that, but the fact that it is so easy to book, might just be the most important one.
As a matter of fact, statistically after well over 10,000 bookings we know that our owners, on average, are booking 8.8 weeks annually, including letting family and close friends use the homes.
The booking calendar in an average 21-5 association therefore looks like this - AFTER 1 year has passed:
There are between 70 and 80 weeks on average per year which are never booked. It is easy to see in the calendar that even when 21 owners share 5 vacation homes, everyone can get their vacation wishes fulfilled.
If we had made formula 10-5 instead, there would be a lot of flexibility in the booking system, but then it would cost twice as much to participate. However, it would still be less costly compared to single owned property.
Theoretically, the calendar in a 10-5 association would look similar to the calendar below - AFTER 1 year has passed:
The properties in a theoretical 10-5 association would still be used more compared to owning one vacation homes by yourself.
Had we created a 30-5 association, the dollar amount to join would be lower, BUT then the annual booking calendar would not have sufficient weeks. As earlier mentioned, our families book on average 8.8 weeks each year. In other words, 30 owners would need 264 weeks to meet the demand, and with only 260 available that is just not a viable way. There would be zero flexibility, you wouldn't be able to get the travel dates you want, and the opportunity to go on spontaneous get-aways, would be almost impossible.
The booking calendar in a theoretical 30-5 association would not even have enough weeks to serve everybody (4 weeks unaccounted for):
It would be a struggle to get the most attractive dates, and families would feel pressure to travel at times where it really didn't suit them best. In reality, such inflexibility would lead to our owners booking fewer vacations for themselves and their families.
21-5 has proven to be the perfectly balanced formula
We are extremely pleased to be able to document that the 21-5 formula is the absolute sweet-spot, where you will find great flexibility as it relates to a reasonable investment for the owners. In general, our owners do get the vacation dates they want, and there are plenty of opportunities to travel spontanously.
On behalf of our many existing owners, we are pleased that our gut-feel from the beginning, when we invented 21-5, has proven itself in terms of the right number of owners in each association.
The booking system - distribution of dates and weeks
By and large, as described above, our 21-5 owners do get the vacation dates they want. It makes sense that such flexibility is further facilitated by achieving a diverse distribution of owners. It would limit the availability if all owner profiles were the exact same.
"We can get the vacation dates we want - or from time to time the second best"
The 21-5 booking system is designed in such a way that it provides our owners with a large degree of freedom to book the weeks which suit them best. The system is designed and supported by a set of rules which enables both long term and short term planning, including booking of spontaneous vacations - particularly outside the peak seasons.
Related to the booking system, and the ability to book the dates you desire, the feedback we generally get is: "We can get the dates we want - or second best!" If the most important dates for instance is a specific week end of July in one year on the Cape then you will get that week - or the second best, the week before or right after, or simply that week you want, but booked in one of the 4 other vacation homes.
The booking system is online 24 hours a day and is super user friendly - also for those of us who are not IT experts.
The composition of owners is also important
Related to a successfully working booking system is the right composition of owners in each association. If for instance, we had only 21 families with children there would be a lot of conflicts as this category tends to want to travel at the same time, typically when the schools are in recess. We like to ensure therefore that each association has a reasonable demographic spread between the 21 owners, in order to avoid a situation where everyone wants the same thing.
Most of us think: "Everybody probably wants the same dates as we do!" The statement would be correct, if all the owners in an association were seniors or exclusively families with children in a certain age. 21-5 ensures a balanced demographic in each association is obtained.
Our booking system is continuously updated. We are always surveying for potential improvements to ensure our owners' maximum utility of being part of 21-5.
Smart points system
Annually, every owner gets 770 point for bookings which can be converted to up to 17 weeks of bookings, depending on whether an owner books all low or peak seasonal dates. Typically an owner books a mix of peak and low season.
All the points are dedicated to a calendar year, and are lost should they not be fully used up within that year.
Special rules are applied for the ski season and destinations. These rules secure that everybody can get at least one week of ski vacation every year.
The 21-5 points are slowly released in two sequences annually which secure that all owners can book calmly and without any stress.
Change-over-days shift depending on the season
Our vast booking data shows us that most owners book entire weeks (Saturday to Saturday) during the high season, and that it is mostly during the low season that spontaneous trips and long weekends are booked. To integrate the dynamic into the system, we have created a "smart system" where the change-over-dates shift along with the seasons. This system has proven its worth to all of our associations and works really well.
The booking system is continuously being developed and updated
Our first 21-5 properties were released in the booking system by the end of 2012. A large number of bookings have since then traveled through our systems and accumulated a vast and unique data set from which we can analyze patterns and gain experience. Every day we are able to build on this foundation and continuously improve the system. The booking system is the sole propriety of 21-5 and fully managed and maintained by our own highly skilled IT department. This adds full integrity and agility to the system.
By far, the most essential source to improve the experience comes from our 21-5 owners who use it day-to-day. The key in the continued development of the booking system, is to ensure that our 21-5 owners' needs and wants are met in such a way that it is always possible to timely plan the most important vacations, and at the same time, enable booking of spontaneous vacation decisions made on short notice.
Marianne & Steen
”It is definitely a feel good sense we get each time we arrive at one of the homes. Quickly, we walk around the in and outside of the property to see that everything is as it usually is and if everything is OK.
If we have traveled on an early flight, and we haven't eaten for a long time, we simply reach out for a coke and some snacks from the refilled pantry. We settle in as quickly as possible so that we can start enjoying everything and take in all of the greatness around us.
It is essential for us to fill up the fridge😉, so we promptly go to the preferred supermarket, bakery, and fresh market. Usually we buy too much, just because there are so many temptations we need to try while we are there. If we are in Tuscany then we definitely must have something for the BBQ grill.
We don't juggle much with pots and pans on our vacations, so it is just wonderful to revisit our favorite restaurants and enjoy the meals we have been dreaming of since the last time we were there.
We cannot hide any longer that we are closing in on the "seniors" title and we are therefore completely independent from the high season and school vacations. We can choose the "less expensive" booking periods enabling us to do several weeks in a row in one of our amazing homes, and we also have the opportunity to go more often.
Often when we travel just the two of us we are not alone for long as it has become very attractive to our close friends to come by and see us! 😉. We can have several of our couple friends staying at the same time, and together we enjoy exploring the local area and the experiences we feel like. We have also left the property for a few days to do a vine tour and visit friends in their homes near by. Fortunately, our sons and their girlfriends are also joining us when we travel to our 21-5 homes.
Marianne & Steen, 21-5'ers
When we are just the two of us, we simply enjoy our alone time. We can spend hours just taking in everything and the spectacular views surrounding us. When in Provence and especially Tuscany, we also enjoy starting the car and drive out with no specific plan in mind, but to explore the area, and the beautiful hidden gems and the middle age towns we stumble into on the road.
To explore areas, to take small day trips, to visit local villages, or to go on longer trips to see friends is an absolutely wonderful way to mix and blend each visit along with all the other experiences we have. To us, this is the perfect way to own vacation properties.
This is how Marianne & Steen used their 21-5 properties in 2019. The online booking system clearly show dates next to week number.
Bente & Sven
"We are not obliged to travel over school vacations and we are therefore very flexible concerning when we would like to go. We prefer to have a couple of connected weeks at a time, so that is what we most often book. Usually, we are planning well ahead and select dates outside the busiest seasons which also allow us to get the most favorable flights. Since the owner profiles in our association are quite varied we, and they, always get our most important vacation wishes accommodated. When we have booked our own most important vacations, we leave the remaining points to our adult children who together with us, share the amazing joy of being part of a 21-5 association.”
Bente & Sven, 21-5'ers
This is how Bente & Sven used their 21-5 homes in 2019. The online booking system clearly show dates next to week number.
Trine & Johnni
”Our children are in school, and therefore we prioritize to use our 21-5 properties during the school vacations. We are both working full time which means that we do not have unlimited vacation time. We prefer to visit as many of our homes as possible during the year, so to us, it makes more sense to spread out the dates over time, versus taking several weeks in a row and each time on the same location.
So far, we have been able to get exactly the time slots we wanted, even in the high season. What we also love to do is taking long weekends in whatever home is available - either just us or together with friends and family.”
Trine & Johnni, a 21-5' family
This is how Trine & Johnni spent their time in the 21-5 homes in 2019.The online booking system clearly show dates next to week number.
Anne Mette & Knud
”Often we drive to our properties in our own vehicle to avoid transit to and from the airports, and to have the opportunity to drive around in the vacation areas and to go shopping.We like to book several weeks at a time. This way we have plenty of time to completely wind down from an otherwise hectic everyday at home, which even at our age is full of things and tasks to attend to. 😊. Sometimes we spend a few extra days to see and explore something along the drive to or from our homes. However, our travel to Mallorca and Barcelona is usually by plane. In the event we do not succeed getting two weeks in the same home, we have truly enjoyed combining two destinations. For instance, one week skiing in Chamonix late in the season, followed by a week in the early spring in either Tuscany or Southern France. A combined trip, first flying to Barcelona to stay for a week, and then a short flight to Mallorca for a week, is absolutely a trip we can recommend. It doesn't matter to combine, because when we arrive or leave a property, 21-5 takes care of everything. It is super easy and convenient”
Anne Mette & Knud, 21-5'ers
This is how Anne Mette & Knud used their 21-5 homes in 2019. The online booking system clearly show dates next to week number.
Birgit & Jens
"Our use of 21-5 homes?
Our co-ownership of 5 homes in Europe has given us a completely new way of vacationing. We enjoy traveling over the main vacations - preferably with several connected weeks, where we combine several destinations. Sometimes we just go for long weekends.
It is a wonderful joy to come back to our homes - it's like coming home, and everyone just finds a great sense of calm. We like to invite others to come along and together with them, enjoy the incredible escape gems 21-5 has created for us.
The family conversation very often turns into the subject of where and when we are going next time.
Our points rarely sit untouched in our account."
Birgit & Jens, 21-5'ers
This is how Birgit & Jens used their 21-5 homes in 2019. The online booking system clearly show dates next to week number.
Britt & Kasper
”We are a family of 4 with new travel patterns as we have never traveled as much as we do after we joined 21-5.
During the summer vacation we typically book 3 weeks where we manage to stay in two of the properties. It is convenient as some of the properties are not more than a few hours apart, traveling by car, ferry, or plane.
After that we got the ski apartment we have learned to ski, and thereby started a brand new family tradition - the annual ski-vacation.
A new perspective has also emerged by traveling "off season" which has given us several wonderful memories. For instance, Christmas in France and Spain, from which we have learned about holiday celebrations in other parts of the world.
From time to time we use the apartment in Barcelona for a long week-end, where we go without our kids, but bringing a set of good friends which enable us ample time to use the city in a different way.
21-5 gives us so many wonderful vacations in the best possible surroundings which are much more personal compared to for instance hotels or vacation rentals.”
Britt, Kasper & their daughters, a 21-5 family
This is how Britt & Kasper used their 21-5 homes in 2019. The online booking system clearly show dates next to week number.
Elisabeth & Kurt
”Since 2013 we have been a part of 21-5 as co-owners of 21-5 DK2, through which we've enjoyed so many wonderful vacations with our family and close friends. Almost every year we have booked 9-10 weeks, and we have never had any challenges getting our wishes met in terms of when and where we wanted to go. Often we have had 2-3 connected weeks, and sometimes even 4, over the summer in Tuscany. Even then, we find a surplus of points to book a spontaneous week-end trip when we get the urge.
Fortunately, we are not dependent on traveling on specific dates, and we really enjoy experiencing the properties and the locations in the different seasons. For instance, March in Tuscany where the road side ditches are full of blossoming Spanish marguerittes, October in Southern France where the sun still is warm and our entire village celebrates Halloween. Our children love to have the apartment in amazing Chamonix 1 week in the ski season, where we prefer to do hiking and play golf in the other seasons. Paris is exciting year-round and is definitely a preferred spot for the perfect "girls' trip," where both mom, daughter and girlfriends come along to take advantage of all the cafés and cultural opportunities. Not to forget beautiful Mallorca, where our largest property is located. Probably, that is the property most popular among the owners, as you can practically enjoy the outside life year-round. Despite of the popularity, we have booked 2 weeks in May and 2 weeks in the fall of 2020, where our family and friends are looking forward to join us.
Elisabeth & Kurt, 21-5'ers
This is how Elisabeth & Kurt have booked their homes in 2020. The online booking system clearly show dates next to week number.
Lillian & Henrik
”We were sitting looking at vacation home adds one very rainy summer. Our criteria were a beautiful view, close to the ocean or a pool, and big enough to comfortably house our children and grandchildren, and us. Further, we didn't want too much maintenance, exterior garden work or interior work. Needless to say, it wasn't easy to find, until we ran into an add by 21-5. Here we could get all of that. 5 houses with "sunshine guarantee" most of the year. The houses are still our own, although we do share them with 20 other families. We have always been able to get the dates we want. So far, next year we have booked 9 weeks of vacation 😉. Our children and grandchildren have some weeks, and other times we go all of us together. Besides that, we travel alone or with friends where we play golf and enjoy the many great and local restaurants.”
Lillian & Henrik, 21-5'ers
The online booking system clearly show dates next to week number.
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