How To Avoid a Timeshare Trap at an All-Inclusive Resort
Pushy timeshare staff are unfortunately becoming more and more common at all-inclusive resorts.
Because of this, I feel like it's important for me to explain more about how to avoid getting sucked into a high-pressure sales presentation on your vacation.
What is a timeshare (a.k.a. vacation club)?
First, I just want to clarify what a timeshare is in case you’re not familiar. Basically, a timeshare is something you buy into to become a partial owner in a property (or set of properties). You are usually required to pay a certain amount up front plus annual fees and/or other ongoing costs.
How does a timeshare presentation work?
Each presentation is different, but most start with someone offering you some type of incentive or freebie for attending e.g. massage, candlelight dinner, etc.
Keep in mind that a timeshare presentation is often disguised as a "helpful" person inviting you to attend a “special event” like a breakfast or resort tour in order to learn more about the resort.
The first person you chat with during the presentation will usually be very friendly and charismatic; you’ll have a casual conversation with them where they’ll ask questions to get to know you and share information about the resort.
At this point in the process you might be thinking you made a great decision deciding to attend because you’re assuming the presentation is wrapping up and it’s been a pleasant enough experience so far.
But, this is usually the point where things change.
From here you are brought to the presentation room (if you’re not already there) where a series of sales people will try to close the deal using high-pressure tactics: bombarding you with information, creating a sense of urgency, making you feel guilty for not buying, arguing with you, keeping you longer than originally discussed and so on.
Timeshare staff are trained to say anything in order to get you to buy and are also known to intentionally omit important details e.g. terms of the commitment, usage limitations, increasing fees, etc.
I know some people go into a timeshare presentation with a plan to stick to 90 minutes or less no matter what and just say no. But, keep in mind that this approach doesn’t usually go as smoothly as planned.
When the end of your agreed upon time comes and you want to leave, they may become quite rude and not give you the discounts/gifts that were promised for attending – or at least make it very difficult to receive them.
How to avoid a timeshare presentation?
When it comes to timeshare presentations, I’ve found that it’s better to just avoid them altogether because if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
Most all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean have staff whose sole purpose is to sell timeshares. To avoid getting unknownly sucked into a sales pitch, be wary of any staff being too overly friendly during the check-in process or anytime throughout your stay.
Just a reminder that timeshare staff can be very sneaky about getting you to attend a presentation often disguising it as something like a welcome orientation or a VIP resort tour. They may even try telling you that you are required to attend a mandatory presentation in order to confirm your airport transfers, but this is not true; you are not obligated to attend any presentations.
The best way to avoid a timeshare presentation is to know what to expect ahead of time and be aware of how they try to lure you in. Then if/when you are approached, be prepared to say no - multiple times, if needed.
And, if timeshare staff continue to pester you even after you’ve firmly declined, you have my permission to tell them your “sister” is a travel agent – that usually does the trick in getting them to leave you alone : )
In all seriousness, timeshare staff at resorts are becoming more and more aggressive so if you are one of my clients and you are ever feeling hounded, you should make a note of the staff person’s name and let me know so I can report it.
Your vacation time is just too precious to waste!
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