Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust

Another timeshare fatality to report this seems that noted timeshare reseller Holiday Group ( has disappeared.

Rumors are sketchy at best about what caused their downfall.

I'll post details as I find them and if you find details, feel free to post.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Confusion Still Reigns Supreme

I was pleased to attend THETRADESHOW (Travel Retail and Destination Expo) a few weeks ago and meet travel journalists and professionals from all over the world.

One of the exhibitors dealt with timeshare...I won't reveal their name here...don't need any more bad blood, bad press, etc. This particular company was one of the ones that charges an advance listing fee, which I've covered in depth in previous posts. This listing fee was $1,000 for "lifetime" in their words and covered both sales and rentals.

Wanting to find out more, I politely asked, "OK, what happens if the consumer only wants to rent out their timeshare one year and only wants (or can obtain) $700 for the rental? Why would anyone pay $1,000 to get $700?"

Seemed a simple enough question and I was expecting some clarification on the $1,000. But no, I received a quizzical look as though the question had not been understood. So I repeated my question. And the answer was "That's a really good question, I've never heard that one before."

Before you think that the answer came from some low level employee, that confused person was no one less than the Director of Marketing.

Sigh...and this is STILL the face of "timeshare" that is put out there.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Using A Timeshare In Orlando? Check These Guys Out

Shopping for anything other than clothes, on sale is not my favorite thing to do. Grocery shopping is at the bottom of my list for "fun things to do" and even lower if that is possible, while I am on vacation.

If shopping for groceries at unfamilar places while on vacation isn't your idea of fun, check out Garden Grocer They'll do the work for you and deliver right to your room at your timeshare.

You can order just about anything you need or want on vacation and there is only a $40 minimum, which shouldn't be a problem. One of the best features is that for orders over $200, there is no delivery charge! Orders under $200 carry a nominal $12 delivery charge.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lots Of Things To Report Today

First things first...I've finally decided on both a title and a distribution method for the new book. I'm finalizing the chapters this week and will be soliciting input for several of them in an effort to make this book everything is can/should be. Stay tuned for updates.

There will be a meeting held right here in Orlando on Friday, October 15th dealing with real estate licensure, less than honest timeshare related companies and consumer protection. I'm excited about this as it will bring together people and organizations working for the common good, including the Department of Business and Professional Regulations, the Better Business Bureau and various media entities.

Thirdly, on Monday, October 4th, I'll be guest lecturing at the University of Central Florida-Rosen College of Hospitality Management. This will be a sales class and I'll be posting some of the questions that the college students ask during this class. It is always an enlightening experience..most college students catch on really quickly that in order to succeed with today's consumers, the timeshare industry must move away from selling and move towards letting consumers purchase.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Musings For A Thursday

Some things that have been running through my brain after spending some time at THETRADESHOW the past few days:

1) Why don't timeshares have a "loyalty program" whereby at some point, say after two visits to the same resort in a year they don't try to snag you for a timeshare presentation?

2) With all the timeshares that are facing financial difficulty and even filing bankruptcy, the public is more worried than ever before. These companies need to hire someone who can speak to the owners without sounding like a salesperson. Just saying.

3) I wonder if this ever happens to a hotel property---I attempted to send a Press Release to a Chicago area publication yesterday. It kept bouncing back. After speaking personally with the editor, I sent it from my personal e-mail address and it went through with no problem. The issue was NOT the Press Release, which was not spam, it was my e-mail address. The publication had a "spam filter" for anything coming with the word "timeshare" in the address. Says a lot, doesn't it?

4) The Midwest Chapter of the National Timeshare Owners Association had to cancel their planned meeting for this Sunday due to low attendance. Only eight (8) people had signed up! What is going on here? Even if every single timeshare owner was ridiculously pleased with their timeshare, don't you think that they would want to show up for a meeting where they could learn something? I mean, I am really happy with my new iPhone 4, but that doesn't stop me from showing up to a meeting where I can learn more. Timeshare owners, please weigh in on this one.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sorry About That

Thanks to Ben Reed from ( for pointing out that the settings on the blog were not set correctly to allow RSS feeds.

I believe the settings have been fixed and my apologies to everyone for the mixup.

As usual, I appreciate your reading and your comments.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

News About The New Book and This Blog

After weeks of considerinpthaions including speaking with timeshare organizations who wanted to be included in it and looking at the various publishing options and realizing that in all likeihood, the book would be out of date by the time it was published, I've decided to write an e-book which will be available as a .pdf download later on this year.

I have the title and the chapters already and I will still be looking for input.

On the subject of this blog, after talking with people far more knowledgable than me and asking consumers everywhere, I've decided to allow Google AdWords to appear on the blog.

Please understand that this does NOT mean that we've stopped being independent, outspoken and honest. It DOES mean that I put more thought into the "no ad" stance than anyone else and that no one really cares.

Keep reading and keep writing!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Timeshare and Real Estate

Yes, timeshare is real estate and should be treated as such. Here's a piece from Home Run Homes (thanks for the inclusion) that talks about this. Remember, you don't pay an upfront fee to sell your other real estate...stands to reason that if your timeshare is real estate based you shouldn't pay anything other than a commission.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Problem vs. Solution

Years ago, when I was a timeshare salesperson, I was trained to "uncover the problem" with the consumers' vacation experience and then voila! present the timeshare in question as the answer to that problem.

Usually, this worked quite well...after all...this was back in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Hotels were usually the basic "bed, bath and Bible", didn't include amenities such as a refrigerator and were consistently raising their prices. The timeshare in question almost always had more space, more amenities, more "luxuries", saved money in the long run and had the ownership aspect going for them..."isn't it better to own than rent?" argument worked well.

Flash forward to 2010 and things have changed considerably. Of course I'm not a salesperson anymore, but much more has changed. Hotels, now generally include more amenities (refrigerators being the least of them), prices have gone down and in many areas, the idea of owning a piece of land is a minus, not a plus.

So where does that leave timeshare? What to do when the problem and solution no longer match up? Not surprisingly, the only way to change is to market to a new target market. The people staying at the $59.99 a night hotel (now including breakfast, wi-fi, playgrounds, in-room coffee maker, etc.) really never were the ideal market for timeshare, the industry just talked so much and so loudly about it, that they fooled themselves.

Change the target market and you'll see that the problem vs. solution paradigm works perfectly.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Word of Warning

A word or two to potential timeshare owners about maintenance fees.

The average annual fees for a timeshare are in the $575 a year range. I've also advised people that if the fees are substantially higher or lower than the current average, that should be a red flag, or at the very least, a reason to start asking some hard hitting questions.

I want to take a minute to talk about substantially LOWER than average fees and this would fall into the "if it seems to good to be true, it is" catagory. If the annual fees for a timeshare are around $200...consumers had better be asking some pointed questions; starting with "why?" Granted, most salespeople won't know the answer to this, but someone had better have some answers.

I've actually heard salespeople say "our maintenance fees are lower than anyone else's in the area so that you can own here and NEVER stay here, use it for trading!" as if that were going to solve anything.

How is the HOA being funded if the fees are so low? What is covered and not covered by the maintenance fees? Have you seen a budget? Is there a history of special assessments? How are shortfalls made up? Is the developer responsible?

Unfortunately for everyone concerned, maintenance fees are yet another way to try to pull a fast one over on unsuspecting owners. Sure, the resort with the $1,500 a year fee gets a lot of criticism, but people had better start paying attention to the resort with the $200 a year fee.

The bottom line remains...ask questions and if you don't get adaquate answers, run away, and run away fast.