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?

7 replies on “Surviving a Timeshare Presentation”

Ha Ha, I’m laughing with you, not at you. I own 3 timeshares through a major hotel chain and have sat through many of those “low pressure” sales presentations. As much as I love my timeshares (they are very flexible), I do not love the sales people they employ. The first time I sat through one, I felt like I was buying a used car (or a new one, not sure there is a difference between car salesmen).

There must be a streak in me which likes chewing on tin foil though because I frequently take the vacation packages ($99 for three nights at the Elara, yes please; plus 10,000 loyalty points, yes please; plus a $200 credit towards a 1 night stay at any hotel in there brand family, yes please!).

I completely agree though, they are way too aggressive about closing a sale, any sale. I guess I am just… thrifty enough to suffer through the affair and get the rewards!

Thanks for your comments Joshua. Glad to hear that you’ve had better experiences. I’d love to hear more about the flexibility part. When I travel, I usually prefer the smaller boutique hotels in the heart of everything, rather than the larger chains/resorts – and I felt that those were missing as an option.

Istanbul is one of my favorite places, a city that I’ve visited on numerous occasions, so I decided to look up my options with this program. Unfortunately, they only had options for the large chains that are closer to the airport or on beaches, rather than the smaller quaint ones that are in the heart of the old city, which is where I want to be. Although resort vacationing is relaxing, I prefer to be part of the surrounding culture when I travel. Would your timeshare programs give me that kind of flexibility?

My wife and I were dreading such an experience last year on our honeymoon. We were given a time share stay in Hawaii for our wedding gift, and the presentation wasn’t required. Even then, seeing as we just went through a wedding, we were looking to get our free luau tickets. We even saw the tables with three chairs and serious conversations going on.

It actually ended up working out. Maybe it was our “no-faces” we had on, but the salesman appreciated our honesty and knew we were not really in the market at all. He had us watch the standard video, then showed us a price list. He said he had been selling for quite some time and was familiar with the just married situation. That was all it took.

I do have to admit, that afterward we had the brief moment of thinking we should get more information on one, probably because we didn’t feel like we got pressured enough. Either way, we held off.

I think you’re on to something Kyle – putting your best “no-face” on from the beginning is key! The thing is, we were genuinely interested in hearing about it at first, which is probably why the salesperson got more and more pushy every time we said no.

Joshua, it is funny how you compare the time-share presentation experience to shopping for a car, I think they are both just as terrible. At least one gets something out of a time-share presentation (a free dinner, free hotel stay, free shows, etc.), while a car dealership just makes you wish you could go to dinner/hotel/show….

I own two timeshares with two different major hotels chains. I really like the idea of the timeshare because in the long run it saves you money and you kids can inherit the properties. Too bad that you have to sit through the presentations even though you’re ready to buy. However, you do need shop. Not all timeshares are created equal.

Time share salespeople certainly have a reputation akin to car salesmen but judging by the comments above, it apparently doesn’t have to be the case at all times. Still, I have not been subject to such a salespitch yet!

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