Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An Excellent Article By Jayson DeMers

I've written at length about how I feel the entire timeshare industry could benefit from a long, hard look at how Apple does things.

I'm obviously not the only fan of Apple out there.  In this article by Jayson DeMers, he talks about Apple's "simple but brilliantly not so simple" approach, including this quote;

"According to research done by CEB, the most effective way to reach consumers isn’t through elaborate and complex websites, ads or sales copy, but rather through simplifying the decision making process: in other words, presenting exactly what consumers need to know, while leaving out the rest. In fact, they found that companies who simplified and streamlined the decision making process for their customers were 86% more likely to make a sale."

So very true and this statement has big implications for timeshare.

You can read the rest of Jayson's article here:

What are your thoughts on timeshare marketing?

If you're on Twitter, you can follow Jayson at @jaysondemers and I'm at @timeshareauthor

New Interview On Dick Goldberg's Insights Program

I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by Dick Goldberg for his "Insights" podcast.

We discussed all things timeshare related.

Here's the link to the podcast, enjoy:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Consumer Advisory

Timeshare Insights has been made aware of a number of consumers who have been scammed by, in-room food delivery services of all things.

While not limited to timeshare properties, consumers who are staying in timeshare properties are strongly urged to NOT order food for delivery from flyers that are left on car windshields, under room doors or on room door knobs.

Unsuspecting travelers have been scammed for hundreds of dollars or more in fraudulent credit card transactions by some of these food delivery services.

If you are going to order food for in-room delivery while at a hotel or timeshare, you should check with the Front Desk or General Manager to see if they work with a local establishment that is trusted.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Guest Blogger Steve Burton Reviews Canal Boats!

I have just returned from a week spent on a timeshare canal boat which is based at Anderton marina in Cheshire and I would like to write a review for Timeshare Insights.  There are nine timeshare boats based at Anderton  marina. There are five two bedroom sleep six boats and four one bedroom sleep four boats.

I believe that before you even collect the boat its important to decide what type of boating holiday you are seeking to have as it could be that you are wishing to spend most of the day cruising the canals in which case it is just about possible in one week to complete the Cheshire ring which will see you cruising numerous canals covering ninety seven miles and ninety two locks. I decided that this was too much cruising for my personal taste as I wanted to have a leisurely vacation rather than a trip which would give me little time to explore the towns and villages on my route. I decided therefore to travel from the marina at Anderton to Timperley in part so I could spend a day with my elderly mother. The route took me from the Trent and Mersey canal to the Bridgewater canal which by the way was the first canal to be built in England.

I found the Trent and Mersey canal to be challenging in parts because the canal boat has to be taken through three dark and narrow tunnels these are Preston Brook which is 1239 yards in length, Saltersford  is 424 yards and Barnton is 572 yards in length. At the Preston Brook and Saltersford tunnels boats can only enter at certain times of the day so to avoid meeting an oncoming boat in the middle of the tunnel. Having said that I was speaking to a man yesterday who had actually swum through these tunnels for a bet. This was not the greatest idea in my humble opinion as what would have happened if he had met an oncoming boat!!!!!!!!!!! Not only are these tunnels dark, damp and narrow neither are they straight which adds to the challenge of navigating through them without banging the side of the canal boat against the walls of the tunnels. In addition to that I found parts of the Trent and Mersey to be narrow especially if you meet an oncoming boat. I intend to get all of the negatives out of the way before I tell readers the positives regarding my week on a canal boat in Cheshire. I was talking to an experienced boatman while waiting to enter Preston Brook tunnel and he told me that canal boats are difficult to control if it is windy and he also reminded me that it was not much fun steering a canal boat if it is raining due to the fact that the boat is steered by somebody at the stern which by design is outside the cabin.

I think that this is enough of the negatives so please let me tell you that if you get good weather as we did then arranging an RCI exchange to a canal boat is one of the best timeshare vacations that you can ever confirm. I still remember with great fondness two weeks spent in the mid 1980's on Swan Cruisers on the river Thames. Sadly this timeshare is no longer in existence but there are plenty of other timeshare boating opportunities available in England through RCI. As many RCI members know all too well availability in the summer months is very limited hence I believe that RCI members would do well to consider a boating holiday in England.

I left the Trent and Mersey canal near Preston Brook where there is a small lock and then I joined the Bridgewater canal. I found cruising on that canal very enjoyable as it is much wider than the Trent and Mersey canal hence it was no problem if I met an oncoming boat other than if it was when I was about to travel under a bridge where the canal invariably narrows. At several places on my route from Anderton to Timperley there were pubs and grocery shops. My favourite village was Lymm so we moored near the village one night and explored that lovely location.

A positive feature of this type of vacation is the fact that you can go where you want at your own pace. As an example you can visit the famous Anderton lift which is located just a few hundred yards from the marina. If you wish you can take purchase tickets to see how the Anderton lift works and also take a boat trip down the Weaver navigation. It is also possible to take you canal boat down the Anderton lift to the Weaver navigation providing this is not the first time that you have been on a canal boat holiday. Strangely enough it appears to me that due to its width navigation on the Weaver is far easier than navigating parts of the Trent and Mersey canal.

I believe that I should mention that because of the nature of the holiday that at least two able bodied people are required in order to be able to operate the boat safely. This is a requirement of the Canal boat club which I agree with though I did see several experienced boatmen managing to operate their boats on their own. I should also mention that unlike the vast majority of timeshare opportunities in the UK up to two dogs are allowed on the boats but there is a charge of thirty pounds per dog for each week. There is also a utility charge as is common in timeshares in the UK but not in the USA for some reason plus a charge for the cost of the fuel used during your trip. There is also a fifty pound optional insurance charge to cover most but not all potential damage to the boat.

I am well aware that most readers of Timeshare Insights are Americans who find it very difficult to get RCI exchanges to timeshare resorts in my country so in my humble opinion you should give serious consideration to having a different type of summer vacation on a canal boat in England.

This sounds like an incredible holiday opportunity!  Thanks, Steve.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why Reputation Management Worries Me

I'm worried.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how easy it is to "tip the social media scales."  Shortly afterwards, a new "reputation management" company started creating some buzz in timeshareland.

Last week I saw this posting on one of the LinkedIn groups I regularly participate in:

Hi Everyone,

Does anyone here have any recommendations on companies to look into that handle reputation management online? i am looking for someone who has experience in the Timeshare space. The outcome is to help our organization suppress negative feedback online (Yelp, Blogs...) from the top 2 pages on google search.

I would love to get some feedback.


For obvious reasons, I'm not disclosing the name of the timeshare resort this person works for.  So I went off to Yelp in search of reviews.  What I found was scary to say the least.  These are unedited (except for the name of the resort):

This place is manipulative and would not let me leave even after our spokesman told is he really had nothing that fit our lifestyle.

We had to leave for a Father's Day plan and they would not let us. At one point I said "f*ck it" and to keep my deposit. 

Annoyed, they signed off some form and allowed me to get my gifts that weren't at all worth my waste of time.

Don't sign up pleaseeee!

worst ever!  nothing but lies and manipulation!  don't even go.  waste of so much money and you don't get anything.  dont go for any reason.  they tell you that you will have 3 weeks of vacation a year, bs!!!!!  you're lucky if you get one week in a studio.  this is the biggest waste of time and life.  this will depress the hell out of you if you either use the day use or even get the timeshare.  stay away!!!!

I'm sorry  to say that I got suckered into the "_____" deal, and I'm having a tough time reaching someone to cancel.  Seems like every number I call is either disconnected or I get a recording without the option to leave a message.  Any suggestions on how to deal with my cancellation?  I've already faxed in the cancellation form, but I wouldn't put it past them to say they didn't receive it.  Help?

.Like many other yelpers out there, my girlfriend and I were suckered into attending a time share sales presentation after being told "there was no pressure at all, just a 90 minute presentation to spread the word of our company."  Yeah right!

4 Hours later, after being insulted by the salesperson because we would not commit that day (who doesn't take time to research a significant investment?) to a timeshare, we finally had to leave to avoid being late for work.  The gifts that we were promised (Temecula Wine Tasting and Flagship boat tour in San Diego) were non-existent (the man in charge of our gifts had "no record of these gifts" even though I have a copy of the original receipt that has these noted) but I didn't have time to argue as we were already late for work as the tour took over twice as long as expected.  The Hawaii tickets are really just a voucher that seems impossible to redeem as other yelpers have noted (see Holiday Travel) and my deposit has only been partially refunded and I no one will call or email me back.

It's a shame because I was actually interested in purchasing the time share as the grounds are beautiful,but after seeing how they deal with potential buyers like myself, I didn't want t to imagine having to deal with these people for the next 10 years of my life.  No thanks!

Now I will admit that there are some online reviews that are written by people who just want to make trouble.  These are three of many negative reviews I found in a matter of minutes.

Going back to my original statement of "I'm worried"---I fear that this company is going to hire one of these "reputation management" companies and POOF these negative reviews will either disappear or at the very least, become more difficult to find.  Mind you, I understand the need for "crisis control", but I see reputation management, i.e., making bad reviews harder to find scary.

Wouldn't it be easier, less costly and oh yes, the right thing to do to stop whatever is going on at the resort and simply adhere to good customer service?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Confused As To What RCI Does/Doesn't Do? Start Here!

Timeshare owners around the country continue to experience some confusion as to who RCI is and what RCI does…and doesn’t do.
In an attempt to clear up this confusion and save owners time, aggravation and in some cases, thousands of dollars, here is an essential primer.

First of all, RCI is an exchange company.  They facilitate the exchange or trade of one timeshare to another in a network of nearly 4,200 resorts worldwide.  Timeshare owners typically pay an annual membership fee to RCI as well as an exchange/trade/usage fee.  RCI does not sell timeshares.
Many timeshare owners have been swindled out of thousands of dollars by not fully understanding what RCI does and what they don’t do.

Here’s a quick guide to assist:

*  RCI does not sell timeshare

 *  RCI does not set or charge resorts’ annual maintenance fees

*  RCI does not set or charge resorts’ special assessments

*  RCI can not and does not arbitrarily change the number of points in your account

*  RCI does not cold call in an attempt to sell vacation packages

*  RCI does not cold call with invitations for “informative meetings” at a local restaurant, hotel, meeting room or any place else

*  RCI does not buy timeshare nor facilitate in the transfer of any timeshare

If you have questions or doubts when you are contacted by a company claiming to be RCI, don’t do anything at all before checking with your home resort and Timeshare Insights for verification.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Comes Though Action

Happy Independence Day!

Here are some questions you might want to take a look at in order to give you more independence as a timeshare owner.  Remember that consumers have the ultimate power, we just need to be reminded of it from time to time.

Why is the same timeshare that you just paid $20,000 for selling for less than $2,000 on the resale market?

Why are there no owners on your HOA?

Why are there no regular communications from the resort?

Why is a VP at a major timeshare developer allowed to call prospective owners 'moochers' yet suffer no consequences?

How do all of those scam timeshare "resale" companies obtain your name, phone number and ownership information?

Why is the resort levying a special assessment when you didn't receive notice of their intention nor the ability to vote on it?

Why can't you use your ownership at the resort that your purchased at when it was one of the main selling features?

If the resort(s) that you own at aren't taking part in International Timeshare Appreciation Day, why aren't they?

Independence comes through action.  Act with your calls. Act with your emails. Act with your social media channels. Act by demanding answers to your questions. And above all, vote with your wallet.
You have the power. You always have.