Timeshare presentations are generally considered to be a negative experience. Do you believe it is possible to survive a timeshare experience relatively unscathed? That would depend on what you expect to have happen and your reaction to those actions. While researching online about timeshare experiences, I found a thread of conversations on tripadvisor. Most comments were negative, some were horror stories. My husband and I have had 3 timeshare experiences which I am sharing with you here. At the end of this post you will find a bulleted list I have created about What to expect at a timeshare presentation.
Why go to a timeshare presentation?
That is a great question. The opinions contained here are mine. With that in mind, my opinion is the incentives aka bribes, are so attractive. We have had 3 such experiences. We have also decided not to have anymore.
Myrtle Beach S.C.
Myrtle Beach has been a favorite vacation spot for my family since I was a child. I have a lot of fond family memories born at Myrtle Beach. More than 10 years ago, we were enjoying one of those vacations in Myrtle Beach S.C. While walking through a shopping center, we were accosted by a timeshare sales person. This was our first experience with the timeshare situation. The bribe that day was free tickets to the Aquarium. We were planning on going to the Aquarium anyway. The timeshare presentation is supposed to only last 2 hours. Why not? Yep, we went. It wasn’t bad. They were nice, no real pressure. They accepted no for an answer fairly easily. The condo was not beach front. We are beach front folks so they accepted that and we got our free tickets. We actually did consider it thoughtfully for a few minutes. It was not a bad experience, it just took up too much of a precious vacation day.
Hilton Head S.C.
Flash forward to 2013. The phone rings one evening. (How do they get your home number anyway?) This time share sales pitch is for Hilton Head S.C.. We have never been there but have heard great things about it. The bribe was 3 free nights at a local resort. As the sales representative continued to talk on the phone, she threw in a 4th free night! Come on now, you have to admit that for 4 FREE nights at resort, you would consider going to a 2 hour timeshare presentation. We sure did.
Because we had never been to Hilton Head, listening to the sales rep say all of the great things about Hilton Head was not boring in the beginning. Our sales rep at the presentation was a zealous retired gentleman in love with Hilton Head. Because we told him this was our first visit to Hilton Head, he focused on selling the area to us. We don’t play golf or tennis, so it would have been a hard sell. We had to sit through a total of 3 different salesmen trying to convince us that we did want to buy their timeshare. The price started up around $14 thousand with the original sales rep. The second rep or sales manager, came down more than half off on the price. This made my husband suspicious. Why couldn’t they have told us that price in the beginning? (The price is connected to the point system. More about that later) They start out trying to sell you the top of the line, most points at the highest price. The third and final sales rep we were forced to listen to brought the price down to around $2,000.00. This is when my husband became upset. He boldly asked the man, “Why weren’t we given this price in the beginning?” The response didn’t sit well with my husband. This conversation is now over folks!
Three hours after we arrived, we were instructed to go back to the first building we went into to receive the vouchers for the ‘bribe.’ These folks have you arrive at one building, then escort you to another one. After going on a ride with the sale rep to view the property, we returned to the second building. After saying no to the astronomical pricing, we are instructed to the go into the third building where we will “be told how to receive our vouchers.” Instead of vouchers, there is yet another sales manager with their bottom dollar price! You can see how being sent to three different buildings and being told 3 different prices would make you feel aggravated and a little suspicious of the process. When you are discussing buying a piece of vacation property for a large sum of money to own for a lifetime, we need to do this in an honest and forthright manner. The manner of dragging you from building to building and listening to various people with different prices and sales pitches just seems shady or desperate in some way. It was the process which turned us off. The third and final sales guy was actually rude, very rude. This is apparently common in the world of timeshare presentations.
This is a true story. I would not make this up. The very same day that we returned home from Hilton Head, we got a call from a sales rep for Orlando. They talk fast on the phone y’all! The call was about Hilton Grand Vacations. The bribe was a discounted price on a 3 night stay at a Hilton Grand in Orlando, PLUS 10,000 points on your Hilton Honors account, PLUS a $200 reimbursement for a one night stay at a Hilton brand hotel anywhere! Yep, we did it!
Allow me to share a little back story here. My husband and I will be married 17 years in July. We went to Disney World on our honeymoon but have never been back. If you have ever been to Disney you know that time gets away from you and you leave talking about what you didn’t get to do. We didn’t get very far at all inside of Epcot 17 years ago because we spent so much time in the Future World at the entrance. Driving home from a trip is usually when we talk about our next trip. We both still wanted to go back to Epcot. We literallyjust had that conversation driving back from Hilton Head. Then we got home and the phone rang. So, why not do this timeshare presentation and go to Epcot? Why not? I’ll tell you why not! Those timeshare presentations, that’s why not!
The timeshare presentation is supposed to be about 2 hours long. This one was just about exactly that. The original sale rep was very personable and friendly. The second rep was also friendly and not pushy at all. The last guy was not friendly. He was in fact down right rude. We get the picture now, the last guy is going to be rude to you because you are not going to buy from them. He actually said to us, “You never intended to buy.” If it had been too good of a deal to pass up, we would have considered it. We have 7 grandchildren. There is lots and lots to do in Orlando for families. Let me say this, the condo was really beautiful. We could totally see ourselves enjoying that timeshare.
The Price $$$$$
The price for the Hilton timeshare started (are you sitting down?) at $48 thousand. The last offer made to us by the rude guy was around $2,400. To be fair, I should say there is this whole point system attached to the amount of financial investment you are willing to make. The more points you have, the more often and longer you can stay each time. They are called RCI points. You can read more about the points system here. I am in no way affiliated with nor am I promoting RCI. My purpose is simply informational.
Why purchase a timeshare?
The pricing may make sense if you vacation often. Another reason would be if you like to travel all over the world. The points can be used anywhere in the world that participates in the RCI program.
What to Expect at a Timeshare Presentation
- You will be offered some sort of incentive (aka bribe) to get you there.
- You will NOT receive the voucher for your incentive if you leave early for any reason. You must listen to the entire presentation.
- They will offer you a beverage and some sort of snack which is generally located in a self serve bar area.
- You will be escorted to the resort property being sold for a viewing. This is the most pleasant part of the presentation.
- Your presentation will begin in a large room filled with tables occupied by nice folks just like you.
- There will be at least 3 different sales people speaking to you.
- The third sales person will probably be rude. Hang in there, it is almost over!
- You can and should use your calculator to crunch the numbers for yourself.
- There will be personal questions about your vacationing habits such as how often and where do you vacation.
- This will take at least 2 hours.
- Be honest about your interest in the purchase.
I would LOVE to hear about your timeshare presentation experiences! Please do tell!