Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Solution To The Status Quo

I don't like status quo. No, not the English band from the 70s and 80s. I mean I don't like when things are just left to stagnate. Particularly when there are positive changes to be made. This philosophy is true for lots of things, work, relationships, furniture placement, etc. But let's look at a solution for the status quo when it comes to timeshare.

The genesis of this idea (yet another English does this happen?) came from a phone call that I made to a senior level executive at RCI several years ago. I was calling to get some infomation and introduced myself as "The Timeshare Crusader" and the author of "Timeshare Vacations For Dummies." She informed me that she had found my book very educational and added almost as an afterthought; " know, I have a timeshare and I bought it at one of those really long timeshare presentations." I kid you not. Those were her exact words.

Which leads me to my solution: Have every high-ranking person at all of the major timeshare companies and organizations talk a walk down the Strip in Vegas or on 192 in Orlando or on the major tourist drag/beach in any timeshare heavy locale. See how the timeshare pitches are being presented. Hear what is being said. Listen in as OPCs "advise" consumers to lie about their income.

Then, take the timeshare presentation. Go ahead, show up at the resort at the appointed time and place. Listen to the sales pitch. Hear all about how "points are going to replace weeks next year" or "this is the best resort for trading" or "buy here because we have the lowest fees and then use it to trade to go to Hawaii for three weeks" or other such "gems."

Tour the timeshare itself. Be sure to ask to see not only the model, but an actual room. Notice the differences? Talk to the people at the pool. What do they have to say?

Now, talk price. How many price drops are you willing to endure? How many "if you don't buy today, the price goes up by $10,000 tomorrow" can you listen to without laughing? Ask about resales. Go ahead...ask why you should pay "sticker price" when you can find a similar product on the resale market for thousands less.

Ask if the salesperson or sales manager has a copy of the ARDA Code of Ethics with them. Ask if the resort manager has a copy of the ARDA Code of Ethics available. Ask who is licensed. Ask to see what the annual fees have been for the past five years.

The point of all of this is that the average timeshare executive has NO concept of what the average consumer has to go through in order to get sold a timeshare.

I trust that if they put themselves in the consumers' shoes for even a day, things might change.

By the way...a great time to test this out would be March 27-31 next year in Orlando when everyone is in town for the annual ARDA Covention and Exposition. See you at the Shoney's on 192!


  1. LOL too funny Lisa.. in most ways, very true! But funny too.. I have often said that in reality, the developer might have the best of intentions and believe that his wishes are being carried down the line but when you get to the bottomm, to the sales rep himself who was just yelled at for not making his numbers this week, he will say anything that needs to be said in order to keep his job and make a sale. The top should be more in tune with what truly is happening below, not just by sending down their wishes and interest. The only way I see that it could be changed is by not paying commissions.. instead paying straight salaries. Not sure how well that would go over though. I appreciate the true value of a "closer".. infact, I was one for years.. but I also know that as long as their are commissioned sales reps, it will be hard to control those pieces.. and yes, that includes the OPC before the sales rep is ever met!

  2. The problem with timeshares is the whole idea is pretty illogical.

    Why buy a $20,000 timeshare when resales are pretty hard to sell for $6,000?

    For $20,000 you get two weeks a year of time in a condo that might be worth a total of $120,000 on the real estate market, but you only get 1/26th of it for your $20,000. Where is the other $420,000?

    Buying is illogical. Selling, now that makes sense. The whole problem!

    The only way timeshares can be sold is with the hard sell, that's how it's always been done and unfortunately a lot of people are making a lot of money doing it just that way. I don't think it will ever change.

    It's the only way to get people to buy something that makes so little sense.

    Just do the math and see if buying makes any sense at all. Maybe, in the case of a resale at 80% off, if the maintenance isn't too ridiculous, and you carefully review the cost of not buying anything and just renting.

    A friend bought a timeshare for $7,000. His maintenance is over $900 and I can rent the same place from the developer for a little over $1000 a week without buying anything. I bet I could rent from an owner for less.

    Why would anyone want to buy a timeshare? I'm still waiting for anyone to successfully make the case to me. Using nuts and bolts. Real figures. If it ultimately makes sense to buy I will write a check. It hasn't happened yet.