Global Marketing

Surviving a Timeshare Presentation

Have you ever been sucked into a timeshare or resort package presentation? You know, the one where you have to give up 90 minutes (a.k.a. half a day) of your vacation time to listen to a high-pressure sales pitch, usually in return for a gift in exchange for said time? I recently had my first, and presumably my last, such experience.

Upon checking in at a resort in Cancun, Mexico this past December, my husband and I were immediately approached by a Legendary Preferred Destinations representative. Diana, a petite woman with a sweet demeanor and a kind smile, seemed innocuous enough, but that’s how it starts. Before you know it, with promises of a no-pressure, no-obligation presentation, which included family tickets to a nearby adventure recreation park that was already on our vacation itinerary (saving us $300), we were signed up for a 90-minute information session to take place the next morning.

An alarm bell should have sounded when we were told to make sure to bring a credit card and driver’s license, as well as that my husband and I both had to be there for the presentation; they don’t want the excuse of “I need to discuss this with my wife/husband,” only to leave and never return. Well, you know how alarm bells are – there’s always a snooze button.

When I heard “presentation,” I imagined a room with chairs set up for a large group of people and a speaker going through power point slides about all the great things that their program has to offer. It wasn’t like that at all; we had our very own presenter. Over breakfast, he started off by asking us questions about our travel destinations, expenditures, habits, etc. He then gave us a tour of the resort’s deluxe rooms, members-only private pools, and informed us of all the great amenities that are for exclusive use to members. We definitely felt the wow factor, which he could tell by the glazed looks that were starting to show on our faces.

He then took us into another room, one that was filled with small round tables, with three chairs to every table. They were mostly filled with other couples and a program representative. He led us to an empty table, and we sat down to talk about the numbers. This is where the relentless, high-pressure, sell really kicks in. We were already past the 90 minutes, and I started getting anxious about the kids and what they were doing – did they have breakfast, are they looking for us, do they want to know our plans for the day, etc.

Admittedly, he was a very good salesman, with all the right marketing material, and the offer was a great value; however, it wasn’t flexible enough for the type of travel my husband and I prefer to do. The representative just wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, always coming back with a better offer. We tried it all, “No thank you,” “No, that won’t work for us,” “NO!” “NO, NO, NO!”


We finally walked out without signing on the dotted line. Side note, the kids were just fine; it turns out that teenagers in an all-inclusive Cancun resort don’t really notice that their parents are gone.

Have you had a timeshare experience? Positive? Negative?

Global Marketing

YouTube’s Successful Millennial Capture

My teenagers may not have a clue who Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, or Benedict Cumberbatch are – all nominees for 2015 Oscars in a leading role – but give them a name like Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, and watch their eyes light up. Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, aka online persona PewDiePie, is a Swedish online gamer who has the highest level of subscribers of any YouTube channel ever. With over 34 million subscribers and over 7.9 billion video views, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg is a YouTube celebrity! This is the changing world of Millennials.

Millennials, also known as the Millennial Generation, are born between the early 1980s to the late 1990s, generally making their age range today to be between 16 to 35 years.

I recently had the pleasure of having lunch with Rania Succar, Head of North America Brand Solutions at Google, leading the market strategy and product commercialization for YouTube in North America. Rania spoke about Millennials and how they are the main drivers of change in media consumption. “This is a generation of content creators – which is precisely why YouTube is so successful in capturing this audience.” YouTube’s ease of use, large database of video content, and free price tag for usage are key success factors for drawing in Millennials. They feel that it is empowering to have a tool at their fingertips that they can use to broadcast a message, influence people, or just make people laugh.

For Millennials, YouTube is currently the dominant video platform; 98% of this age group reported watching videos on their mobile phone on a daily basis. This is an astounding 42% higher than on computers and 17% higher than on TV. This ranges from cat videos, to news and entertainment, to just about anything you can search for. Among the Millennial Generation, YouTube is also becoming more and more interactive; 9% share or comment on videos each month. As one Millennial put it, “It makes for a better entertainment experience.”

All of this points to a marketer’s dream! It’s no surprise that Millennials rely on YouTube for purchasing decisions – it has become their top destination for learning about products and services. Here are just two examples:

  • 66% of beauty product purchasers say that YouTube influenced their purchases by helping them “visualize how products fit into their lives.”
  • 62% of smart phone purchasers indicated that YouTube influenced their purchase with reviews and how-to videos.

I personally tend to skip online videos and go straight for the text – which is a good indication that I’m way past the 16-35 age group demographics. Hmmm, perhaps I should review the next anti-aging product on YouTube.