Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I just read an article comparing the prices of various things in 1999 and now in 2009. Did you know that it cost $4.00 to go to the top of the Empire State Building in 1999 and now it is $20.00?

Anyway, it got me thinking about timeshares and hotels.

In 1998, the average price of a hotel room in the United States was just over $111. Now, as a former timeshare salesperson I can tell you that I used to "pitch" 5% annual hotel inflation which my clients generally agreed with.

If that was the case, then the average hotel price in 2008 would have been just over $182, not including hotel tax. So what was the average hotel price in 2008? About $130. Hmmm...

And the timeshare? In 1998 the average price for a timeshare was about $12,500. In 2008? you guessed it...$20,000.

Now my point is not to diminish timeshares...I am all for timeshares...I think that they provide people with "better" accommodations and an all-around "better" vacation.

Something does need to be done about the cost though.

The first company or individual that latches onto this concept and actually DOES something not only about the high cost but the huge discrepancy between a "new" timeshare and an "old" timeshare will, in my opinion be the clear winners in the next decade.

Pssst....I have the solution...e-mail me and we'll do the right thing!

Happy New Year

To all of our fans and our clients, our sincere wishes for a happy, prosperous, healthy and smart New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Website Up and Running

Check out the new

We're On Twitter

For breaking news, you'll be able to follow us on Twitter. Welcome.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good News From The Vermont Attorney General

Back in July, I did an undercover piece with WFTV here in Orlando revealing some of the nonsense that goes on at one of those despised "postcard company" presentations...the ones that lure unsuspecting timeshare owners in with promises to make "immediate offers" on their timeshare only to find out that it involves both giving up the fully-paid deed and a few thousand dollars.

A really, really, really bad thing for any consumer to do.

News came from the Vermont Attorney General's office that the company in question will have to pay over $64,000 to 15 consumers and $65,000 in penalties for their practices.

This is wonderful news for consumers and I hope that other states will follow suit. I'll be featured in January on a major network segment about this and other companies.

If you want details about the Vermont case, you can access the news at http://www.atg.state.vt/.us/news/timeshare-repurchaser-settles-with-attorney-general.php

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Timeshare and Emotional Branding

I'll admit it...I am an analytical person. Not the best quality for a timeshare salesperson and one although certainly not the only reason, I am left that profession.

I've been told for years that "selling is a transfer of emotions" and I used to have week long discussions with co-workers and management where I tried my best to refute that statement. I will also admit that in some ways, I acquiested when the discussion got around to why I was driving a Miata instead of a Kia.

Then, just last week I finished a wonderful, albeit slightly outdated, book entitled "Emotional Branding" by Marc Gobe. Although the book does not ever mention timeshare, I was taken aback by his "Ten Commandments of Emotional Branding" and how the timeshare industry, for all its talk about "vacation experiences", "priceless family time" and of course "selling is a transfer of emotions" doesn't really abide by these commandments.


1. From consumers to people. Consumers buy, people live
2. From product to experience. Products fulfill needs, experiences fulfill desires.
3. From honesty to trust. Honesty is expected. Trust is engaging and intimate. It needs
to be earned.
4. From quality to preference. Quality for the right price is a given today. Preference creates
the sale.
5. From notority to aspiration. Being known does not mean that you are also loved!
6. From identity to personality. Identity is recognition. Personality is about character and
7. From function to feel. The functionality of a product is about practical or superficial
qualities only. Sensorial design is about experiences.
8. From ubiquity to presence. Ubiquity is seen. Emotional presence is felt.
9. From communication to dialogue. Communication is telling. Dialogue is sharing.
10. From service to relationship. Service is selling. Relationship is acknowledgment.

Now, think back to your last timeshare sales presentation you either attended or gave. Not very high on the emotional branding scale was it?

It seems to me that the traditional timeshare industry has a vast array of brilliant mind that they could engage to turn the industry around. Heck, even paying attention to #5 above would do wonders for consumer perception. My sincere hope is that 2010 will bring the necessary changes.

On a personal note, this is my last blog for the year...I have some projects in the works that I need to devote some time to. In the next year I'll have a revamped webpage, a new book, new speaking engagements, more major media interviews and more alliances with likeminded companies and organizations.

Best wishes to all for a happy holiday season and may 2010 bring you all health, happiness, prosperity and peace.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RCI Shop and Save

Finally, some good news for everyone who has an RCI membership. Long overdue, but good news is good news.

RCI has partnered with Mall Networks in a program that earns members cash rewards for shopping online.

The list of participating merchants is much too long to cover in this blog. Suffice it to say that it is quite comprehensive and is full of major retailers that you are familar with the probably already use on a regular basis.

Here's an example of how easy it is to earn rewards using this new Shop and Save Program:


1 Dozen Roses 1-800-FLOWERS $ 29.00 $ 3.59

1 Pair of Jeans Macys $ 39.99 $ 1.99

1 Scarf NY and Company $ 10.99 $ .65

1 Toaster Target $ 19.99 $ .59
1 Shelving Unit Target $ 49.99 $ 1.49

1 Sweater Express $ 19.50 $ .58

1 Throw Rug $ 29.00 $ 1.16

1 iPod Touch Apple $149.99 $ 2.99

TOTAL $13.10

OK, I know that $13.19 is not enough money to even make an RCI exchange, but it is $13.10 that you'd have in your pocket for doing nothing more than you would have done anyway, and that's the point.

Anytime you have at least $25.00 in your account in any given quarter, you'll get a check mailed to you.

I used products with fairly low price points in my example above. Let's say you purchase a Mac Pro computer for $2,'d earn $49.98 on that one purchase. Not bad at all.

I'm fairly certain that RCI and one of its affiliates, NorthCourse, is mining all of your purchase information in an attempt to send you information leading to even more purchases, but face facts, every time you use a frequent shopper card, that company is doing the exact same thing. We are smack in the midst of the information age whether we like it or not.

RCI might even use this information to actually begin some good target marketing for its affiliate resorts...could this be the start of a new age in timeshare "marketing?" Could RCI actually be starting to do what I've been writing about for years and years now? Could this be the start of some mutually beneficial marketing alliances being formed between a timeshare and a major retailer such as Target?

Naw, I doubt it...they haven't caught on that much yet. But money in your pocket for shopping? Get on board!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Did You Know We're On Facebook?

In this "social media plugged in network" we all live in, I thought I should let everyone know Timeshare Insights has a Facebook page.

Until we run out, we're giving away a complimentary ICE membership and 10,000 Platinium Reward points to everyone who becomes one of our "fans" on Facebook.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Information On Selling Your Timeshare

If you've been contacted by a company offering to sell or rent your timeshare, the Better Business Bureau advises using caution, especially if an "advance fee" is involved. While these companies claim to have ready buyers or renters, imply that they are representing foreign investores, or that corporations are interested; most are just offering to advertise your timeshare for sale.

Do NOT confuse the service of an advertising or marketing company with those of a real estate company. In most real estate transactions, it is the buyer who puts up a deposit and the real estate company gets its commission from the seller only after the deal closes.

Ask if the company's salespeople are licensed to sell real estate or whether they are selling an advertising program. If you are contacted by a marketing service, don't allow the caller into pressuring you into making a hurried decision. Request detailed written information about the company's services, find out where they currently advertise and visit other Internet listings the company may have.

Most company can not tel you whether a timeshare has rented or sod because these are generally "For Sale (or Rent) By Owner" advertisements. Fees for timeshare listing services can range from $295 to $600 or more with little guarantee that your timeshare will be sold or rented. Be sure to get all promises in writing, but remember that even then, those promises are only as good as the company that stands behind them.

For additional infomation on how to get out from a timeshare that you no longer need or want, e-mail me at and request MODULE 3. Remember, Timeshare Insights does NOT sell, rent, buy, broker or represent any timeshare or any type of timeshare. What you'll get is clear, concise, useful and above all, unbiased information on what to do.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And The Scams Continue

There seems to be a never-ending supply of greedy, shady companies out there. And with the difficult economic times that some timeshare owners find themselves in, these companies are raking in a fortune.

Recently, a timeshare owner contacted me wanting to know if they should pay a company $2,000 to list their timeshare for sale.

This presented a few “problems”:

· the owner in question lived in Florida---new Florida DBPR regulations expressly forbid the
collection of a “listing fee” for any timeshare owner residing in the state of Florida
· the timeshare in question was located in Florida---ditto on the Florida DPBP regulations
· how did the company in question obtain this owner’s information

I did some checking into the listings that this company had and was astonished…a rare thing for me!

The site had thirty-three (33) timeshares listed from this particular timeshare property, ranging in price from $5,500 for a 1-bedroom to $32,000 (!) for a 2-bedroom. What was even stranger was that the same listing had a 3-bedroom timeshare for “only” $26,000…a steal compared to the 2-bedroom at $32,000!

So why my astonishment? As my regular readers know, I used to be a timeshare salesperson and I used to work for this particular timeshare resort. They are currently selling 2-bedroom timeshare (or the points equivalent) for $17,900. And this resale company had one listed at $32,000!

There is one of two scenarios that happened here…neither was particularly appealing:

1) the company in question got their hands on some owners’ listing and convinced some poor
unsuspecting owner that for “only” $2,000, they would be able to sell their timeshare for
them and get $32,000.
2) the company in question is in fact making up their listings as they go…there is no timeshare
“for sale”, much less one for $32,000

Why is the timeshare resale world even less regulated than the primary timeshare market? There is nothing at all to stop these companies from “listing” fictitious timeshare properties. And nothing to stop them from listing them under various “umbrella” companies. Oftentimes one company will be doing business under various aliases, all listing the same properties.

It is more important than ever for consumers to be wary of these companies which prey on tough times and ignorance. There are legitimate places that consumers can turn to if they are looking to sell their timeshare. And if consumers are in the market to purchase a timeshare on the resale market, don’t make a costly error. Work with a company that has full transparency, that offers a recession period, that has competitive prices, that has a good rating with the Better Business Bureau and that offers a guarantee of a clean title.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cable News Thinking and Traditional Timeshare Thinking

I subscribe to Seth Godin's blog...and highly encourage you to. Today's blog concerned "The Problem With Cable News Thinking" and by way of illustrating, listed these 12 elements:

* Focus on the urgent instead of the important
* Vivid emotions and the visuals that go with them as a selector for what's important
* Emphasis on noise over thoughtful analysis
* Unwillingness to reverse course and change one's mind
* Xenophobic and jingoistic recations
* Defense of the status quo encouraged by an audience self-selected to be uniform
* Things become important merely because others have decided that they are important
* Top down messaging encourages and echo chamber (agree or change the channel)
* Ill-informed about history and a particular issue
* Confusing opinions with the truth
* Revising facts to fit a point
* Unwillingness to review past mistakes in light of history and use those to do better next time

Seth concludes by stating, "If I wanted to hobble an organization or even a country, I'd wish these twelve traits on them..."

"Hobble" is an interesting choice of words...for I believe that these 12 traits are evident in the way the traditional timeshare sales and marketing machine operates. Re-read the list with your mindset on a timeshare sales presentation, regardless if you are a consumer or a timeshare salesperson.

Scary, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Did You Know We're Also On Facebook?

In this ever expanding social-networking frenzy that everyone finds themselves in lately, Timeshare Insights has a Facebook page. If you become a "Fan" you will receive a free ICE Gallery Membership.

A Self-Serving Blog Entry

It just dawned on me that some of my readers aren't all that familiar with just to let them (or you) know, I am the author of three (3) books..."Surviving A Timeshare Presentation...Confessions From The Sales Table," "Timeshare Vacations For Dummies" and "Timeshare Management-The Key Issues For Hospitality Managers."

If you'd like to order any of these books, just e-mail me at

Commercial over!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Marriott Halts Timeshare and Luxury Project Developments

In a sign of the difficult economic times that have hit the timeshare industry, Marriott International recently reported that they will stop developing new timeshare as well as luxury residential projects.

They site "weakening demand, falling prices and difficultly securitizing loans for consumers" for the change in plans.

Stay tuned to hear developments from Wyndham and Starwood.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Have You Joined Yet?

If you are a timeshare owner, you should be a member of the National Timeshare Owners Association.

I try very hard to remain independent and is what got me this far. However, I don't think I am being biased when I say that timeshare owners need to band together to exchange information and more importantly have a voice to speak with against a very large and sometimes very unresponsive industry.

The National Timeshare Owners Association can be reached at or at 401.536.0064.

There are several meetings coming month in Anaheim, California and next January in Orlando, Florida.

Get your questions answered and join the group!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Your Thoughts Please

If you're a timeshare owner, I'd appreciate your thoughts on this...

When you check into a timeshare property and are bribed by the In-House Department to sit through another timeshare pitch...what are your thoughts?

Do you? Don't you? Does it depend on the gifts they offer? Would would you like to see as a gift?

Let me know!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lessons To Be Learned

In reading the gory details of any one of a number of recent bankruptcy filing, I am struck by the similarities to the situation that many timeshare resorts find themselves in. These recent bankrupt retail executives were quick to blame their financial collapse on just about everything other than what it was… poor marketing management. However, I would bet that if any of these retailers were a timeshare, the executives would have written a memo to all of their employees and blamed the debacle on them.See if this ficticious memo doesn't sound familiar to those of you in timeshare sales…

To: All Employees
From: The Big Boss
Re: The End

We will be filing for bankruptcy today. That means that all of you will be out of a job. You are free of course to go to another store to see if things will be any better there. You will find however, that things are just the same, the customers are exactly the same. The reason for your being out of a job is simple… you, the stockers did not keep the right merchandise in stock. You, the cashiers did not meet your sales quota. Simply put, you didn't sell enough.

Remember that we in upper management did our part by bringing you the customers. It was your job to sell them merchandise. You didn't do your job. It is never, ever the fault of the customer. It is always your fault. Perhaps if you had a better attitude and didn't prejudge all of the customers that we pay top dollar to bring to you, you would not all find yourself in this bind.

By the way, you will not be getting your last paycheck. Those paychecks will be used to refund all of those purchases that will be coming back. It was all of your responsibility to follow up with each and every one of your sales to find out if they were satisfied with their vacuum cleaners, towels and oil filters.
Of course, these poor retailers are in their nasty situation because of poor marketing, not because of inept cashiers or stockers. Need another similarity? The entire decision to bring in Martha Stewart was incredibly poor marketing. K-Mart shoppers ON THE WHOLE, don't know or care who Martha Stewart is. The people who do know and buy Martha Stewart wouldn't be caught dead at K-Mart. Still muddy? Let me clarify. ON THE WHOLE… the customers that most timeshares pay so-called marketing companies money for don't want to know about timeshare, don't care about timeshare, and don't have the money to afford timeshare.

But the people who do care about timeshare, do want to know about timeshare and can afford timeshare aren't being reached at all. Because the so-called marketing companies are in fact, not doing ANYTHING that resembles what the rest of the world considers marketing. It is time for Project Directors, Directors of Sales and other non-"marketing" personnel to say "ENOUGH" and demand more. It is time that timeshare companies come down out of their ivory tower and recognize that this vacation product has the potential to be so much more. Timeshares are sold to the public by the salesperson on an emotional basis (and thanks to everyone who finally convinced me of that). Where is the emotion behind any of the so-called marketing and advertising that the resorts do? There is none at all.

Allow yourself to ponder how wonderful of an industry this would be if we would stop doing things the hard way. The writing is on the wall… either do effective marketing and advertising or your resort may be "a blue light special".

Monday, August 31, 2009

How Does Seth Know So Much About The Timeshare Industry?

Many of you that read blogs probably already read Seth Godin's...if you don't I highly recommend it.

My post today is really a condensed version of his blog today...with some added comments from me about how it all relates to the timeshare industry and the continuing antiquated methods it still employs under the heading of "Marketing."

When George Washington was a teenager, did he really, really, really want a car?


In order to want something, you probably need to know it exists. (Is anyone in the timeshare industry listening?) But my guess is that it surely helps if you've been marketed to.

One definition of happiness is wanting the things you're likely to get (or, conversely, not wanting the unattainable.) (People who agree to go on a timeshare presentation, want the gift, NOT the timeshare pitch.) One definition of marketing is persuading the world it wants what you have, regardless if they can afford it or not.

We don't hesitate to motivate employees by marketing them the benefits of being promoted, even if they can't all possibly get this. We don't hesitate to tease kids by marketing every conceivable unattainable Christmas gift at them, relentlessly. (And yet, I have still to see a compelling advertisement, PSA or PR campaign about the benefits of timeshare.)

Teenage girls are taught what to want by magazines and peers. (And consumers who take advantage of the offers that the industry puts out there, are taught that there is no end to the number of presentations that they can attend to get various gifts.)

And so, once again, it seems to come down to a personal decision. If you decide what you want (instead of letting someone else decide for you) perhaps you could choose the things that would actually bring you and your loved ones the satisfaction you can live with. (Sorry, but "the things that actually bring you and your loved ones the satisfaction you can live with" sounds like the benefits of a great vacation...and isn't that what the timeshare industry offers?)

So, why doesn't the industry stop all the bribing, all the gifting and all the BS and just concentrate on selling a great vacation? I challenge the industry...just tell people what it is and they WILL come running. Expedia, Orbitz,, etc. are clear examples of the fact that people are looking for a great deal on a great vacation.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome To The New Blog

Welcome to the new blog! I'll be posting both old and new articles here as well as important updates and information about timeshare, consumer protection, groups and publications I recommend and other things that make a difference.

Feel free to ask questions, comment and recommend the blog to others.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for a new entry later this week.