What Happens in a Timeshare Presentation?

Timeshare_SalesmanWondering how that timeshare presentation you signed up for will play out? There’s a reason resorts offer such enticing prizes for attendance. While each presentation is different, there are a few things you can expect to plan for. Being aware of these things in advance can help you spot these patterns and, perhaps, remind you of your original goal: get in and get out.

Expect to make a new best friend. During timeshare presentations, things start out real chummy.  The salesman is your best friend. He or she will do everything to set an easy tone and make you feel as comfortable as possible. They’ll likely ply your favor (and your judgment) with food and drinks, and when you’re pleasantly satiated they’ll begin by asking you some questions to determine your vacation lifestyle and budget. When they find an in, they’ll begin their pitch.

Expect a High Pressure Situation. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Timeshare salesmen are notoriously aggressive. While there is less of a chance for an excessively hard-sell with major resort brands like Marriott Vacation Club, Hilton Grand Vacations Club or Hyatt, all timeshare presentations are designed to get you to act; right now.

Expect to Meet a Few Different Characters. In many cases, once you refuse the offer placed by your new best friend (ie. the first timeshare salesman) enough times, you’ll be handed off to their manager. He or she will likely drastically reduce the sale price (sometimes by as much as $20,000) on the condition that you sign today. If you still say no, it’s time to meet The Closer. The Closer will sit down with you for one final pitch; attempting to win you over with a free or discounted vacation at the resort.

Expect Time to Run Over. While most timeshare presentations are sold as either 90 or 120 minutes; most will run far over that limit. Timeshare salesmen will do everything in their power to keep you from walking out that door – including keeping you in the room for several hours. That’s why most timeshare presentations offer child-care (generally consisting of a supervised game or TV room) – even your children aren’t an excuse to leave.

These certainly aren’t all the scenarios you might see play out in a timeshare presentation; and it wouldn’t be fair to say that the above situations speak to the motives and practices of all timeshare salesmen. The best thing you can do before walking in to a vacation ownership presentation is to prepare ahead of time. Here are a few simple things you can do to help reduce your risk of getting suckered.

  • Practice Saying “No” – it sounds so simple, but for many people, issuing a firm and confident “No” isn’t as easy as it sounds.
  • Negotiate Prizes or Rewards Beforehand – You will be spending between 2-4 hours at a high pressure sales event so make sure you’re getting something valuable in return. Go for items of real value like cash, free (or heavily discounted) vacations and/or tickets to theme parks.
  • Don’t Fall Victim to Emotional Manipulation – Don’t let a salesman make you feel guilty for not buying, no matter how much time you’ve spent with him or her.
  • Don’t ask Questions – Unless you’re genuinely considering a purchase, don’t engage too much. The more you talk, the longer your presentation is going to be.
  • Leave your Wallet at Home ­ – If you don’t have it, you can’t use it.

The truth is many people attend timeshare presentations for the prizes, with no intention of purchasing. If, however, you are genuinely interested in learning more about timeshares – skip the high pressure sales presentations. Go online and do some research, then contact a licensed timeshare broker who’ll work on your behalf to find you the perfect resale timeshare for your lifestyle and budget, without the high pressure sales pitch and without an upfront fee.