A Timeshare Presentation: Caution circling sharks ahead..
So, this afternoon we are hanging out by the pool going over the totally wack timeshare presentation we engaged in today. Robb and I consider ourselves professional timeshare tourists ( the timeshare people call it professional mooch) and we love to preview properties especially if the incentives are good. Gifts for touring can include cash, restaurant vouchers, show tickets and additional stays. Who doesn’t like free stuff for 90 minutes of time and an education. We have toured over 30 properties with just about every company out there including the resale market. At one point, we were even blackballed from the Wyndham group.
Now, please understand we had no intention of buying and frankly we did not want to take the tour. The gifts were crappy and we really didn’t want to be bothered. We already knew that we didn’t want to be part of this program even though this is a highly desirable property. We tried to cancel, but the deposit is only refundable after the presentation.
To be clear, we do own and we trade, buy extra weeks and make our investment work for us. Our yearly maintenance fee is small, compared to most and we bought on the resale market for a highly discounted price. We love the condo feel and have stayed in resorts all over the country. In fact, we even stayed here at this resort several years ago.
We thought it would be fun to share some of the conversation:
Salesman who I will refer to as “Gio” picks us up he asks: Well how are you enjoying your accommodations?
I had to say, they were less than desirable. I have a studio (which is fine) …but our room is an inside atrium room with a view of the stairwell. Robb calls it a cave in the basement and it has very limited cell service.
Salesman eludes to the fact that if we were élite members, we would have had a better room. We schooled him with the fact that we have been Spire Elite for several years (the highest program award). Ugh, can you hear the back pedal.
He proceeds to now ask, how do I like the resort? My answer in short: I really don’t care for this place: it’s too big, too stressful and WAY too many kids. Now I get it, I am in Orlando at the most highly sought after resort. He asked, so I told him. Normally, I would be a little more politically correct, but I didn’t want to be there, and they wouldn’t give me my deposit until we completed the presentation.
We get into the tour and the Gio, is trying his best. It’s funny though, no matter what he asked, how we responded, he continued down his pre-rehearsed conversation, hitting every bullet point precisely. As we muddled through the motions of the pitch, Gio was really trying to get us to say YES to something. Now we have been in sales for a long time, and understand that it takes an average of 7 No’s before you get a Yes. He was bound and determined to find his “in”.
Here are some of the funny statements Gio used:
Gio: How can you see this benefiting you
Us: We can’t see how the extra cost and a higher maintenance fee can possibly benefit us.
Gio: Well you will automatically have a gold élite status.
Us: We have Spire élite it is higher status.
Gio: Well you have access to this other affiliate group.
Us. We already have that with our Timeshare.
Gio: Well you will have 1st priority at all our 26 resorts
Us: We don’t want to go to any of them. They are not anywhere we care to visit or we have already visited the one’s we like.
Gio: You can transfer your points to the hotel affiliate so you can use your points there…
Us: We already have that program, and the conversion doesn’t make sense. You still must pay $59 for each reservation and your points. An average hotel reward stay is 15000 points. Resorts and upscale hotels can run up to 40,000 points a night. How does transferring your club points benefit us?
The bottom line is Gio tried to sell us a package that makes no financial sense, except for him and the resort. 200,000 Club points which are specific to the Brand (Holiday Inn, Wyndham, Disney, Marriott and others). These points can be used to pay for your spectacular vacations to anywhere within their brand for a small reservation fee and points.
Word of caution: The sales rep will tell you that you can go anywhere and he will show you highly discounted vacations. Ask him specifically, how many points will it cost me to go to X resort on such a date. You will be surprised that the dream vacation to Hawaii is probably going to be about 150,000 points for 1 week stay in a studio, not the 4-bedroom penthouse that they showed you on the tour.
Here is a quick breakdown and one way to measure the true cost of a timeshare to you. This is an example of the package we were offered. It may differ from yours and may not include every costs. In our opinion it is still enough to tell you to RUN, take the gift and really evaluate your vacation needs.
Tell the sales rep you need a few minutes and calculate this:
Total Cost of Timeshare $42,000
Down Payment $8,400
Closing Costs $1,400
Payments $833 @ 16.49% for 5 years (Everybody gets credit)
Maintenance and other Yearly Fees $1,000
Exchange Fees if you don’t want to stay at your resort all the time. $180 to $720 per year plus some cleaning fees.
First Year Cash outlay $19,396 minimum.
Assuming you use 3 weeks of resort stay this first year, you have paid only $6,465 a week OR $923 a day for your accommodations, not travel, food, excursions anything, and it’s not all included at the resort. They may have a pool and hot tub, beyond that most things cost extra like lazy river, golf, etc…
Well Ok that is just year 1, you own it for life and know that it is an investment, so how does that translate? After 10 years of ownership you are all paid off except for the ongoing maintenance fees, and costs of exchange and cleaning. That must be where the real savings set in. Well it does drop your daily rate to $317 a day, again just for accommodations.
Now let’s go to 20 years, assuming everything stays the same and the fees don’t increase, Your daily rate drops to $198.52. I don’t know about you , but I rarely pay $198 for a hotel room.
Yes, there are all types of ways to change this. Just ask your sales rep and he will present 7 more scenarios, different and cheaper ways that you can do this. Oh, but it’s not by just reducing the cost it also reduces that amenities and the amount of time you can use it.
These sales people are sharks and they know it. They feed on your emotions and your need for fantasy. They will insult you and even bully you into buying. Good salespeople will make you feel like their best friend and that you are special. Don’t believe it people, don’t fall into emotional buying.
Do your homework, look at the resale market. You think a vehicle loses money… check out the timeshare resale market. Do your research and decide what works for you. Timeshare can be a great way to vacation if you are informed, have time to travel and know the real of what you are buying and what you are really going to get in return and what you are actually going to use.
We have been Timeshare owners for over 10 years and traveled to some awesome destinations in great accommodations. We average 3 weeks per year and our average weekly cost over 10 years is $249 a week or $35.57 a day including maintenance, trading and exchange fees. Our program doesn’t have cleaning fees.
Contrary to what you may think, we are not against timeshare ownership. With the addition of the GrandBuddy we are researching options to increase our portfolio. What we would like you to be aware of is emotional buying and buying the sizzle. Do your homework, ask questions to forums or even your friends. Be informed! We aren’t consultants or trying to sell anything if you need a sounding board drop us a line or ring us up.
Friends, we are all for a wise investment of money, time and resources. What we cringe at is the emotional side of the sale. Salesman gets paid on what they sell you, not necessarily what you want or need. All we are hoping to bring is awareness. Be informed, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
So on our way back to our “cave”, we apologized to Gio for wasting his time (as we did at the start). Gio says in his sales rep monotone, oh no worries, not everyone we see is qualified to be an owner here. Robb and I had a great laugh over our Moscow mules. I guess it’s all how you view your encounter.