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?