What to Expect at a Timeshare Presentation
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 Trip Advisor. 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 as well as some resources on how to get out of a timeshare.
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. Time Share
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 time out of a precious vacation day.
Hilton Head S.C. Time Share
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 literally just 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?
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. 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.
Resources for Leaving A Timeshare
Getting out of a timeshare can be rather difficult for some folks.
- Coalition for Responsible Exit
- Dave Ramsey: How To Get Rid of A Timeshare
- 3 Proven Ways To Get Out of A Timeshare AARP
- Timeshare Users Group
- Consumer Guide to Timeshare Exit
Family Travel Ideas
Christmas At Dollywood. If you are wondering if you would enjoy a holiday trip to Dollywood, read this and see the pictures.
Mayors Mansion Inn Bed & Breakfast at Chattanooga. Our stay in pictures and our honest review including an answer to the question, would we go back.
Our Visit To the Epcot Flower Show. Pictures and our review of this Epcot experience.
Cabin Review of Dakota Lodge in Pigeon Forge. Did we enjoy the cabin, I’m telling you the truth about our stay.
5 Reasons To Visit Desoto Caverns in Alabama
7 Reasons To Visit ICON Park in Orlando Florida. It’s more than you think.
8 Historic North Carolina Lighthouses You Can Visit. You can actually go inside most of these.
I’m So happy you wrote about this! My mom and I were just talking about purchasing a time share so that we could easily go to our beach every summer to the same place and not a new house EVERY year (new area, etc.) Super helpful!
Thanks for stopping by Madaline. I’d definitely purchase a Timeshare if the circumstances and deal were right! Have fun in the process!
These are our areas of expertise! They should see CHEAP written on my forehead the minute I walk in! We went to look at some ‘land’ on Mother’s Day one year.. came home with some really nice golf clubs.. EBAYED those suckers and got $400. Looked at more land and I forget.. maybe more golf clubs. Almost fell into the Disney Vacation Club.. literally signed up for it and then backed out when we got home.. thank goodness.. If we were younger it would have been a good move. Left that one with some Fast Passes… Also went to a timeshare and got some sort of Visa card… It is draining and I hate it!
Aimee, you crack me up 🙂 It is draining and I hate it too! We will kick ourselves if we do it again 🙂
We had the absolute worst experience while visiting the hilton grand vacations presentation, at the Parc Soleil, in Orlando. It left such a bad taste in our mouths that we haven’t returned to the hotel, even with the free offer we received after our ordeal. It is a shame as it is definitely a beautiful property, and was one we’d initially planned to visit often.
How the sales group treats the customers will not only affect their initial sales results, but guarantee free advertising. I am happy with the vacation club that we purchased instead, and I tell all of my friends about the benefits.
I agree with others that it is best to pay for it in full, and you can possibly find quite the steal from individual sellers.
Excellent advice Jenae! Thanks for taking the time to comment. You are right, a good experience would mean word of mouth free advertising! We have seen some pretty good deals from individual sellers!
The idea of a timeshare seems really interesting to me, but to be honest, the whole process is very intimidating! Reading this definitely helped! I still don’t know if I’d actually ever get one or not….
The process is intimidating but not until you have to sit down with the finance guy. They are pretty vicious folks, generally not very friendly. Up until then, it is sort of fun.
Such an interesting look inside the process. I think some folks can come out of these with a good deal but I am not good enough with numbers and thinking on my feet to risk it.
Thanks for stopping by Skye. They definitely try to make you think on your feet. They demand a decision right on the spot. No next day decisions allowed. We would prefer to hear the numbers, sleep on it, talk about it and then decide.
My husband and I attended a time share presentation. We had a similar experience, the first and second presenters were kind and the last one was rude. In fact, this particular time share had 4 presenters!! They kept us there for over 2 hours! It was pretty painful.
Those last few presenters are the finance folks, each one seems to be a little bit more rude than the last one. Those folks make it painful. Thanks for sharing your experience Dana 🙂
Wow! This post is awesome. I appreciate the in depth experiences you have shared. My husband and I do not own a timeshare and haven’t been to a presentation. We went to Las Vegas for our honeymoon and that was the first time we were literally harassed about time shares. Around every corner was a salesperson! I would consider it for a place I really enjoy yearly like the beach. I appreciate you sharing what to expect!
Fab, that is what happened to us at Myrtle Beach, we were flagged down to attend a Timeshare presentation. We got free tickets to the aquarium but didn’t think it was worth it. That timeshare wasn’t even on the beach!
Well, Shirley, my parents have a timeshare with Marriott. They bought it when my sister and I were younger and we’ve been all over as a family with it. We’ve really loved it! In fact, my husband and I used it for our honeymoon in Aruba – it was so awesome! While we were in Aruba, we actually did Marriott’s timeshare presentation there, too, because we liked the idea of a timeshare. My parents prepped us for it, though LOL We didn’t purchase but we did get our Ruth Chris steakhouse gift cards and ate the free dinner on our honeymoon, too LOL I honestly wouldn’t want to do a timeshare with anyone other than Marriott. My parents have always liked them, and they take care of their guests. I’ve heard great things about the Hilton one, too…but I had no idea it was so expensive! Whew!!!
Yes, the Hilton timeshare is pretty expensive. We enjoy staying at the Hilton brand but would never pay that much for a timeshare. It wouldn’t be worth it for us. We do not travel that much. The Marriott sounds nice. It is those ‘incentives’ which get people to those presentations. The Ruth’s Cris gift cards sound great!
We decided not to go to timeshare presentation. However, it is good to know more about it. Will pin it to my ‘good to know’ pinterest board! Thank you!
Thanks for the Pin Anna. I appreciate it.
We are beach lovers and we’ve owned a timeshare (paid in full) at North Myrtle Beach for over 18 years and our family has made precious memories and we’ve really enjoyed all the getaways through Interval International. It allows us to travel all over the world for a lot less.
Having said that, my husband and I have a rule to just say no to future timeshare presentations because we are very happy with the one we currently own and, like you mentioned, some time share presenters are just downright rude and then when you turn them down, they can get ugly really fast and call in the big guns. I’ve seen the good guy/bad guy routine before, too.
Also, the thing I learned very early with ownership of a timeshare is that you have to learn the ropes including the early bird gets the worm. I know the exact date my points expire (in case I need to bank them) and the exact date that I can reserve my next vacation at Myrtle Beach. Our entire family will be going on our annual trip to Myrtle this summer and the hubs and I will be going to St. Lucia for our annual “us only” trip. Can you tell I love my timeshare? PS – Our penthouse condo is ocean front. If I’m not ON the beach, I’m not AT the beach is my motto. 🙂
Alli, I agree with you about being ocean front! If we ever come across a deal we can’t refuse, we will go for it. I’m glad y’all have had a good experience. It is my understanding that the best way to purchase a timeshare is really from someone trying to get rid of theirs. Resale is supposed to have better pricing. I do believe a timeshare is worthwhile if the price is right. The presenters at the presentation can be pretty bad for newbies though.