“Remember, we are just here for the free gift,” I told Husband again, just before entering the timeshare presentation. “Get your NO face on. Don’t smile too much. No matter what, we are NOT going to buy!” “Right!” he said, “we can’t even afford it anyway. There is NO WAY we are buying ANYTHING today.” I wonder how many people have that EXACT same conversation? Oh, just an hour an a half for free show tickets/cash gift cards/discounted or free excursions/restaurant gift certificates/amusement park tickets /free amazon kindle/free hotel stays/a free 7 day vacation? We can do that, no problem. We can say NO, easy peasy. We’re not those gullible people that fall for stuff like that. We’re smart! We’re united! We’re strong! We can do this!
Three vacation ownerships later, here we are. I’m not going to tell you not to buy. Honestly, timeshare ownership has been one of the best, most enriching purchases of our lives. We have been on so many vacations, staying in amazing resort quality comfort and luxury. We’ve taken friends and family on trips and they are always amazed at how nice our accommodations are. We usually have a full kitchen and washer and dryer in our unit. My kids get their own bedroom most of the time #spoiledbrats. Sometimes we even get upgraded to presidential suites for free. We’ve been to amazing destinations that we may not have been able to afford, if not for our timeshare. I love and appreciate our ownership, but, timeshare ownership is not for everyone.
Why am I even writing this? Because I wish I knew before, what I’m about to tell you! Do we regret our purchases? No. Would we have done it different if we could do it all over again? 100% Yes! Can you “work the system” to your benefit? Absolutely, positively! I’m going to outline some steps to follow and things to think about before you go into the presentation. Even if you are IN THE LOBBY right now, waiting for a presentation to start, read this. This may seem silly at first, but trust me. I’ve been to dozens of these and I have learned a LOT. I don’t mean to brag, but the last timeshare meeting we went to- we ate our free (cooked to order) breakfast, sat with the salesperson for 5 minutes, and our family was out the door with a $100 cash card in hand, and our bellies full. BEST half hour ever. Let’s start with the basics.
1.) Prioritize your time and consider the value. The first step, is to decide if you want to spend time on your vacation in one of these presentations at all.
- Do you only have a weekend to spend? You might not want to give a large chunk of time to a salesperson. They will promise you that it only takes 90/120 minutes, but remember these people are good at what they do. They make it seem fun, and time can certainly run away from you. If the answer is a solid NO and you don’t want any gifts, say, “We have a very full itinerary and we don’t have time for a presentation. Please give us our parking pass, so we can continue on our vacation.” Please note that even if you get away with the NO, the first time, they may call you on your hotel phone (you can easily disconnect that puppy) or slip notes under your door, or try and wrangle you in every time you walk by. The person at the desk will always have a rebuttal ready (see step 2). If your answer is still no, simply repeat the above sentence verbatim, with a very large smile on your face.
- On the other hand, maybe the others in your party are late risers, and you’re early birds. You might be waiting around for them anyways- so a free breakfast and a gift card might be worth your morning. Or maybe that free gift is so enticing, because you didn’t think you could afford to do that thing on this vacation, and a few hours is a small price to pay. If you decide to attend, read on.
- Figure out the best day to do this. They’re going to want to get you in, early on in your vacation (tomorrow morning?). This is because they’d like you to marinate and fantasize about ownership the whole time you are there. Do what works for your time schedule, not theirs. If it doesn’t work, SAY NO. You did not come on vacation to see a timeshare presentation, you came to enjoy yourself and your loved ones.Say, “That day and time just doesn’t work for us. We are here for vacation and simply can’t squeeze it in.” Most of the time, they will have several days and times to choose from (they don’t tell you this up front because they want you to think that these presentations are extremely limited). If you decide to see a presentation, try and schedule it near the middle or end of your stay. You can change your mind and decide not to go. Even if there is a deposit (most companies are now doing a $20 deposit)- spending valuable time with loved ones is worth losing that $20. If there is a deposit, always pay it in cash if you have it. If you do find the time and want to play on, read step 2.
2.) Ask for more. The lady/gentleman at the Activities Desk/Parking Pass Desk/Concierge Desk is so nice and so friendly, and said it would be a personal favor to them if you went. It’s their job, and they might even get reprimanded if you don’t go. Why wouldn’t you go, you don’t even have to buy? And free breakfast! Here, she’ll even give you extra toiletries and goody bags…
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