I Sat Through a Time Share Presentation, Said “NO,” and escaped with my life (and wallet).
Wyndham Time Share Presentation —Background: One day I had a flooring guy come to the house, one of those you see on TV who say “free estimate” and “installed tomorrow.”
I liked the products he showed me, but I didn’t like him or his aggressive manner, “sales technique.” The one thing interesting about the experience was that each time I said “no,” the price came down. He’d strip away some imaginary service (“professional visual inspection of underlayment”) and boom! Five hundred off the price. (This is the opposite of a car salesperson, isn’t it? Where every time they have to go check something with their ‘manager’ they come back and the price has gone up! LOL ).
Back to the subject at hand. I was attending a big travel expo, where they have representatives from a country’s tourism office, tour companies, ancillary services. Curiously, no airlines were represented.
Of course several companies were offering “show only specials” – and I listened to two full pitches, walked away from one, and watched my friend get snookered by another. The downside of that latter experience was I had to participate.
The pitch was from Wyndham Vacation Clubs (“it’s not time share it’s a vacation ownership, dammit!”). For $xxxx amount of money, you buy a certain number of “points” per year, that you can redeem for hotel rooms at 4,000 + locations around the world. The locations include those of RCI, which Wyndham now owns.
The pitch at the show was for a mere $75, one could have a night in this fun resort, listen to a “short presentation” and enjoy all the amenities for a couple days. I knew the property, and to pay cash for a room there would run you $200 +, more with the “amenities.” Of course there would also be the “free gift.”
So we went. Registered at the Club Wyndham desk, got introduced to our “representative” – led down the hall to another desk where we would receive our “free gift” – which turned out to be a slip of paper promising a free seven night vacation, somewhere, details to be discovered at some future day.
A short meeting with our rep, during which, with skillful questioning that we weren’t supposed to notice the purpose of, he was able to determine if we were real prospects and if so, what our drop-dead price point would be for participating. He also wanted to know about our idea of dream vacations and such.
Led into a larger room for a short “slide presentation.” If one desired, the could stop at a kiosk on the way in for a coffee, tea, apple juice and a cookie. Rep: “these are the kind they serve on airplanes but they only give you one, so grab a handful!” Acknowledged. Complied.
The hoe-down started at 11:30, why not sammiches? LOL.
So we were turned over to the presenter for the slide show, a giant of a man, who had been schooled in and was a strong believer of the “raise your hand if…” type of presentation.
“How many of you would like to never pay for a vacation again?” “How many of you would prefer to stay in much nicer accommodations that you generally do?” (This question was a result of hearing answers from the audience of how much they / we generally spend per night at a hotel, and most everybody stated lowball rates). “How many of you would like to see me stroke out and keel over right here?”
This part of the presentation was absolute agony. It wasn’t informative and it was entirely too long. There was no Q/A at the end, but rather our rep led us out for a few more words before embarking on a “tour of the property” (which actually was just seeing two rooms). Admittedly they were nice, full kitchens, private baths and bedrooms and quality furnishings. Of course, they were the model rooms, never to be used by guests. (I’m not sure why a full kitchen is a plus, I don’t know anybody who goes on vacation to cook and wash dishes).
Tour completed, back to a table for more apple juice and cookies and the trial close.
They’ve dropped a couple of the points that formerly were most common to these types of presentations, the ones that were deliberate lies: 1) you’re making an investment that will increase in value, and 2) your maintenance fees will never go up.
They fessed up on both of those when pressed.
So here’s the lowdown. Pay a one-time price for a set number of points, use those points at the hotels and resorts worldwide. Most of the hotels have four different “rate seasons” so the number of points to be used for your stay can vary widely from the “season that sucks and nobody wants to be there – to the season of yes I’d like the entire family there for two weeks at Christmas.”
The lowest price we were offered was $80,000 for a goodly amount of points, plus the lowest maintenance fee we saw was $110 per month for the rest of your life. (Plus increases and a pro-rata share of any catastrophic event at one of the locations. “We just lost seven resorts to Hurricane Jose, your share to rebuild them is $XXXXX).”
Of course, easy peasy financing, low down payment at a mere 19.99 % per annum. They’ll even finance the down payment for you, got a letter about that a few days ahead of time.
They claim the number of points charged at any hotel will never go up.
And your kids aren’t stuck with it forever if you or they don’t want. You can sacrifice your “investment” and Wyndham will just take it back to re-sell. They claimed.
Oops, they shouldn’t have mentioned that last part, as I had just balked bigly, when LIGHTBULB! “So how would I buy one of those returns.”
“Oh, I don’t think you can directly, but let me check with my manager.”
Tick tock tick tock.
He reappears. “Well, I didn’t know this was an option!”
And he handed us two pieces of paper. Same offers, same points, same perks, EXCEPT, they were 25% of the original price he had quoted earlier. Lawdy.
“So I’ll think about it, while I am enjoying the amenities of your fine resort today.”
“Oh, you’re staying?”
“Yes, that’s what we were offered as an incentive.”
“I don’t think so, I’ve never heard of that, let me check.”
Tick tock tick tock.
“Would you like some more apple juice? I’m afraid you misunderstood about the free room. What I believe they said is you could use your free vacation certificate for a room, somewhere, sometime, but not here today.
“Huh. Think I’ll just grab a box of those airplane cookies on the way out.”
“Wait, wait, how about this deal? You know these deals are TODAY ONLY, if you come back tomorrow, we can’t offer it to you on the same basis!”
I passed, of course.
There are some improvements in this type of program IF they are true and that’s a big IF.
But to me, the downsides still outnumber the pluses.
The “pressure sale” isn’t gone, it’s just evolved to a more sophisticated, subtle method of selling. Reps claim they are paid hourly, not on commission.
And it’s apparent that the closers, here, have no idea what the pitch people in the field are offering, either because they are not informed, or it’s an intentional misdirect.
Bottom line: Paid $75 to listen to a sales pitch for a product I would never buy. My dad used to tell me the true test of advertising was to get people to overpay for a product they didn’t need.
Do I need to remind you of the age-old definition of idiocy?
Wyndham Time Share Presentation
Wyndham Time Share Presentation