Friday, June 17, 2016

Timeshare Trial Program...A Taste of What?

Think back to the last timeshare sales pitch you went to.  If you said no...well, after the third or fourth time you said no, chances are someone tried to sell you on a trial program.

These trial programs vary from resort to resort and each uses a different term; trial program, taste of so and such resort, exit program, etc.  And while they also vary in what they offer to the consumer, they have 2 things in common in my opinion:

1)  they are designed to get the consumer back to the resort within a 1 or 2 year time frame in an attempt to sell them a timeshare again

2)  they are not a good indication of what timeshare ownership is really all about...pros and cons

What should a trial program look like?  Glad you asked!

Why not offer all the benefits and responsibilities of one week of timeshare ownership---or the points equivalent---but for a 2 year period.  Assessment of fees and responsibility to pay them. Membership to exchange company and full use of exchange possibilities---or lack thereof.  All the perks of exchange company membership.  Notification by the board and/or management company of meetings and other information.  Ability to serve on the HOA.  In short, the whole ball of wax with the stipulation that at the end of the trial program, the owner can upgrade to standard ownership at the current cost giving them a 100% credit of the money they have already paid, OR be done with it and owe nothing more.

The cost of this trial membership?  Should be no more than $1,500.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Guest Blogger Steve Burton Reviews Hilton Grand Vacation Club in NYC

My partner and I visited this timeshare property in the first week of May and sadly we were unlucky with the weather as the daily highs were in the low fifties which was about fifteen degrees below the usual temperature at this time of year. It also rained on most of the days which stopped us from taking the open top bus tours which is our favourite way of seeing New York city.

I found all the staff to be helpful at all times. I was pleased that I was not bothered by anybody ringing me to attend a sales presentation this can spoil a timeshare vacation if you are contacted on a daily basis which can happen at some timeshare resorts that are in active sales.

We were staying in a studio unit which was effectively a good size hotel room it had a small refrigerator which was helpful for our needs. There are also one bedroom apartments available at this timeshare resort. We were located at the front of the building so we could see lots of typical New York activity. This timeshare development is located just a couple of blocks from Central Park. It is also just a couple of minutes walk away from Carnegie Hall, the nearest subway station and a well stocked but quite expensive grocery store. We visited a number of restaurants which included the famous Carnegie deli where there are numerous photos of celebrity diners on the walls of the restaurant. Such is the popularity of this restaurant that there are usually a long line of people waiting outside for a table. The portions are very large even by American standards. I would also recommend the Brooklyn Diner for good food at reasonable prices this restaurant is located just five minutes walk from the timeshare resort as is the Carnegie deli.

It is of course expensive in terms of the exchange trading points required to book timeshare accommodation in New York city. I needed thirty eight points to make this booking but compared to the Manhattan Club where between fifty eight and sixty points are required this is good value. When I visited the Manhattan Club there was also a thirty dollar a day charge for housekeeping having said that there is not a daily maid service at this development. I had some lap top problems while in New York due to me leaving my charger at Tampa airport so I made good use of their three computers in their computer room. Sadly I made no use of their gym though of course I should have done!!!!!! I found the internet to be fast and reliable which is very important for me as I find it very annoying to be at a location where the internet signal is very weak.

I don't believe I need to give a full list of everything you can do in New York city as so much is well known even to none residents of the city. Perhaps the highlights for us were walking in Central Park, taking the free ferry to and from Staten Island and attending a service at St Patrick's Cathedral. It is always interesting walking down to Time Square not least to see if the famous naked cowboy is performing there.

I hope to return again to New York city but next time I am hoping that the weather will be warmer on my next trip.

Thanks, Steve.  Want to share your thoughts on the timeshare blog?  E-mail me at

Friday, June 3, 2016

Why Did You Buy A Timeshare?

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) conducted a survey of 1,722 timeshare owners asking for "Reasons For Buying Timeshares".  The results surprised me:

[] Save money on future vacations 44%

[] Resort location 43%

[] Flexible locations, unit types, times of year 35%

[] Certainty of vacation 29%

[] Certainty of quality accommodations 28%

[] Ability to pass to heirs 27%

[] Exchange opportunities with other resorts 23%

[] Affordable price for vacation home 23%

[] Amenities at home resort 23%

[] Affordable financial terms 23%

Here's what I found surprising:

*   Unless you're buying on the secondary market or traditionally spend $300 a night on hotels, an average timeshare will not save money on future vacations...and there's nothing wrong with that

*  Only 23% noted exchange opportunities

*  While the average timeshare is in fact significantly less costly than a vacation home, you can't (and shouldn't) really compare the two

*  Financial terms of 15%, 16%, 17% or more for 7-10 years don't really sound "affordable" to me

What do you think?  Why did you buy a timeshare?