If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard a story or two about a disastrous timeshare presentation experience someone’s had. You yourself might have had one and are now stuck in a timeshare that you do not want.
When we think about it logically, why would we agree to a multi-thousand-dollar purchase after a few hours of talking to a salesperson we barely know? It seems like the worst possible investment to make on a vacation, yet millions of people have fallen victim to it. What about timeshare presentations gets people to sign away their lives?
The timeshare presentation process is a science. It’s meant to fool you and prevent you from logical trains of thought. Developers like Hilton Grand Vacations, Wyndham, and Marriott Vacation Club do an excellent job at training their salespeople to wine and dine you. They don’t just give you a sales pitch; they give you a fantasy. Their job is to paint a picture of how luxurious, convenient, and affordable owning a timeshare can be and how it’s simply not an option to say no to this deal.
But as you already know, these presentations are manipulative. They tell you everything you want to hear and disregard any information that might make you hesitant about purchasing a timeshare. They wear you down with exhaustingly long presentations that you can’t escape, making you more likely to comply just to put an end to the presentation. They won’t tell you about the hassles of owning a timeshare — they’ll leave it up to you to discover these things once it’s too late to cancel. Let’s break down the timeshare presentation process and all the tactics that developers use to get you to hand over your credit card and sign their contract.
Whether you are purchasing a timeshare in Mexico, New York, or Hawaii, most timeshare companies use the same formula for getting people to come to their sales pitch. They’ll offer attractive perks like fancy breakfasts, free hotel stays, or Visa gift cards in exchange for attending their sales presentation. Developers know that many people attending are not necessarily interested in purchasing a timeshare yet, so they’ll place emphasis on these freebies rather than the timeshare presentation itself. Once they get you into the sales presentation, here are some of the tactics they’ll use to get you to sign on the dotted line.
The initial tone of a timeshare sales pitch is always low pressure and casual. After all, timeshare companies want you to feel relaxed and trust that they have your best interest in mind. They’ll send over a friendly, engaging salesperson to get to know you and ask you about your trip. By learning what you look for in a vacation, they’re forming a plan on how to pitch the idea of timeshare ownership to you.
Once you’ve built up a rapport with your salesperson, you’ll probably be sent to a group presentation with other prospective buyers. A charismatic sales lead will then guide you through a timeshare presentation slideshow or speech. They usually start off by sharing an anecdote on how expensive hotel costs, limited vacation time, and the perception of travel as an inaccessible luxury often stops people from vacationing as much as they’d like to.
Then, the salesperson will engage with prospective buyers by asking them about their ideal vacation getaway. They’ll follow this up by asking the audience whether they think this dream could be a reality or not. Once they’ve got the audience thinking about all the limitations that prevent them from traveling, they’ll present them with a solution: timeshares.
At this point, the tone of the timeshare presentation will switch to making your vacation dreams a reality. The salesperson will try to make you believe that vacation ownership will make it possible for you to travel wherever you want for extremely low costs. They’ll highlight all the benefits of the timeshare plan they are promoting.
If this particular timeshare company works on a points exchange program, they’ll emphasize how flexible this system is for people who want to change when and where they vacation every year. If the timeshare company works on a fixed- or floating-week system, the salesperson will probably emphasize how convenient it is to have a reliable location to come back to every year. Once they have their audience hopeful, they’ll start showing them the type of luxury units they could potentially own.
Once the timeshare company has convinced you that ownership is possible, it’s time for a tour. If they’re trying to sell you on the timeshare resort where the tour is taking place, they’ll most certainly show you the nicest rooms on the property. They want prospective buyers to visualize the life they could be living if they were to invest in a timeshare. For example, they’ll paint the picture that you could stop renting cramped hotel rooms and have a spacious, upscale unit to enjoy an entire week of vacationing in.
The catch with tours is that if you are looking to buy a timeshare at a different location, there’s no guarantee that the units will look anything like the ones they are showing you. And if the resort you’re touring is where they want you to purchase, the units they are showing you may not even be in your budget or up for sale at all. They want to show you the best that the resort can offer, even if it’s not what the actual unit will look like once it’s sold to you.
Now you’ve come to the part of the pitch where the salesperson starts tackling the financials of owning a timeshare. At this point, they hope spending hours of your time showing you all the amazing perks of owning a timeshare will lessen the blow of how much they really cost.
This part can be tricky to navigate without scaring away customers, so they tread carefully. They’ll name the upfront cost of the timeshare, which for brand-name developers can average around $25,000 to $60,000. If you start resisting their offer, the timeshare salesperson will put pressure on you and even bring in a closer to try to convince you that this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal that you cannot pass up.
Bringing in a closer is one of the most manipulative tactics timeshare companies use to convince people to buy. These closers are gifted salespeople who make you question your judgement by asking you to justify why you aren’t interested in purchasing a timeshare. They are trained to make you seem irrational for refusing such an amazing deal.
If they still can’t pressure you to sign the contract, the closer will start presenting you with one-time incentives like lower-than-usual rates on timeshare properties and free vacation packages. To put added pressure on you, the closer will reiterate that these deals are only available today and will go away should you choose to exit the presentation without signing a contract.
Timeshare salespeople know how to develop a friendly rapport with you, sell you on making your vacation dreams a reality, give you a captivating tour of their timeshare resort, and talk you into making a huge financial decision on the spot. But no matter what salespeople tell you, great deals within the timeshare and vacation industry are not going away. There will always be more affordable lodging options than a timeshare with a hefty upfront cost and pricey annual fees.
Unfortunately some people learn this lesson too late. They attend a timeshare presentation, get a free breakfast, see some luxurious timeshare units, and are convinced to sign their contract right away. Not until their rescission period ends do they realize what a huge financial mistake they’ve made.
If you’ve found yourself a victim of a scam timeshare presentation, reach out to Centerstone Group. Our team of experienced timeshare experts may be able to find you a solution for escaping your timeshare contract. Contact Centerstone Group for your free consultation.