Timeshare Invitations: Great Mini-vacations?

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Timeshare Invitations: Great Mini-vacations?

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Have you ever received an invitation to visit a timeshare vacation resort?  They usually include two nights and three days at a luxury destination you would probably never visit otherwise and the cost to take this "mini" vacation is close to "dirt cheap." 

Well, we receive timeshare invitations quite often either by mail or phone. 

I remember the first timeshare invitation phone call I answered; I felt everything being offered was just too good to be true.  I knew there just had to be a catch somewhere, and after listening to the sales pitch, I curtly said, "No, thank you," and hung up.  Later, I shared the details of the phone call and everything they offered with my husband.  He, on the other hand, looked at this invitation as a great way to take a mini-vacation for next to nothing.  Basically, the major expense would be getting there and the return trip home.  He could see no problem with this and felt we should say "yes" if we ever got one of these invitations again.

The thing that made me most uncomfortable was that, upon accepting the invitation, you were obligated to a 90-minute sales presentation. 

I had a mental image of the two of us sitting at a table under bright lights in a small room with a high-pressure salesman; finally, at the end of the 90-minute sales presentation, both my husband and I, with bloodshot eyes, suffering from severe fatigue, as well as feeling cornered, knew the only way out would be to say "YES, where do we sign?" 

My husband seemed to have the mini-vacation "itch" and told me not to worry about being pressured to buy a timeshare.  After all, if you think about it, the big names in timeshares are also the big names in hotels.

How smart would it be for the likes of Hyatt, Weston, Hilton, and Marriott to intimidate the same people who are their lucrative hotel customers?

Some time later, I accepted an invitation to a timeshare in Branson, Missouri.  Although the sales person on the other end of the telephone assured me there would be no pressure to buy during our 90-minute sales presentation, we were pressured.  First, we listened to 90 minutes from our "personal sales agent" and we told him absolutely "no" at the end.  He then got his supervisor who could make the offer even more inviting and that was another 30 minutes; again, at the end, we told him "no." 

So, just to be sure we knew exactly what we were turning down, we were given a 30-minute tour of one of the units and, again, we said "no."  So, they were finally convinced that we would not budge and we were driven back to the visitor center where we were given a certificate to pick up a special gift (my husband chose a watch) and we were then free to enjoy the rest of our time. 

I should mention that our lodging was not at the timeshare but at a very upscale hotel in Branson. 

They had already been given our names and information and knew we were guests of the timeshare, so there was no hassle for money, etc.  We did enjoy the hotel and the amenities.  It was very centrally located to downtown Branson and the many attractions. 

In addition to the free lodging, we received complimentary passes for two meals at a Steakhouse and two tickets to our choice of several Branson shows.  We thoroughly enjoyed our free steak dinner and loved the show we chose-Shoji Tabuchi.  (I learned adult tickets to this show were being sold for $46 to $49.) 

All in all, we loved our time in Branson. 

Not only did we enjoy the "freebies" from the timeshare invitation, we were able to take in three more shows (we paid for them) and did quite a bit of site-seeing.  One of those shows was a dinner show on the Branson Belle Paddle Boat.  What a great time! 

Both my husband and I tremendously enjoyed our timeshare invitation vacation; but, would we do it again?  After a lot of discussion, we concluded that if we received another invitation to some place we really wanted to visit, definitely YES!  Even though we now know in advance that there will be the 90-minute plus sales presentation and quite probably a high-pressure salesman, we know we can take the pressure and the rest of the trip would be well worth a half day of sitting in uncomfortable chairs at a table covered with papers filled with facts and figures to back up the sales pitch.

If you receive a timeshare invitation, here's what to expect: 

First, you sign in at a reception area; afterward, a sales agent takes you for a brief tour of the facility. Next, your sales agent leads you to a small table where you are seated and he proceeds to ask you a series of questions designed to gain information about your travel habits and vacation preferences. Your answers to the questions help the representative design a custom, best-case scenario, showing how timeshare ownership will exceed your vacation expectations.

In exchange for the opportunity to pitch their programs, the timeshare companies provide potential buyers with inexpensive getaways at superior resorts in highly-desirable locations. It's a win-win, with the big prize going to the operators who make a sale.

Through the sales interview and presentation, the timeshare organization hopes to demonstrate that buying today will save you many vacation dollars now, and especially in the years to come. You may find the math makes sense for your situation, as quite a few people do. We were told that about nine million folks have found timeshares to be right for their lifestyle. If the offering turns out not to be your cup of tea, you will have enjoyed two nights and three days of elegant living at a most reasonable price.  The Branson timeshare invitation was good for a full year so we were able to choose a date that was convenient for us, just as long as it was within a year of the date the invitation was accepted.  That is another plus, as well.

So, there you have it.  These timeshare invitation vacations could be great for some folks and absolutely horrible for others.  I'm glad we accepted the Branson invitation and feel that we did get a good deal even though we had to endure the 90-minute plus sales presentation.  Besides, had we not accepted, we probably would never have gone to Branson! 

If the telephone rings and you are offered a timeshare mini-vacation, I say give it a try!  I'm waiting for our next call, and when it comes, I hope it is an invitation to someplace in Tennessee

 Kimberly Johns, Debt Management Plan Customer with Leading Provider of Debt Relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Kimberly Johns

Kimberly is enrolled on the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Kimberly is very active in the Community Forums, some of you may recognize her Community user name; Tiquie. Recently retired, Kim shares how she and her husband manage the financial challenges of living on a fixed income in their home state of Illinois. The John's have found some really creative and fun ways to offset the limitations of a retirement income. Kimberly generously shares smart and tested tips in her My Journey out of Debt and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • My mom owns a time share and intends to pass it on to us. We have done time share pitches a couple times - knowing and announcing in advance that there was NO WAY we were buying. Our experience was similar to yours but took longer than 90 minutes. My advice would be to really plan how to say no. Even as clearly against the idea as we were going in the first time I came close to caving in. The second time our sales guy was creepy and I would not have bought from him even if I was dying to get in the time share. As someone who uses a timeshare and knows how they work I would advise people to really be aware of the maintenance fees that are usually due annually - those can be rough. Also - look for passing it down. We are thrilled that it is something my mom can eventually pass to us and we can pass to our children. We have had some wonderful trips through it. We spent a week in Disney, Florida and a week in Hawaii. We are working on Tahiti for next year. Don't get me wrong - air fair and other expenses still make these trips super pricey and if my mom was not covering a big chunk of those we would never be able to do them - time share or no. Another great post Kimberly :)

  • I kimmer5000 - we have friends who own a timeshare in Florida and we have spent a couple of Christmas' with them.  While it is very nice, I don't like the idea of having to use a particular block of time and plan ahead for 6 months to a year.  My husband is a planner but I'm more of a "let's pick up and go gal".  I agree with you that being able to pass your interest in the time share on to family members is a wonderful feature - we both liked that.  It's sort of like the "gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving".  However, I'm still waiting for the phone to ring with an invitation to Tennessee.  Thanks for reading my blog.

  • You know I have heard about timeshares that sell specific times. We make our reservations for whenever we want. If we trade for resorts outside of our time share we have to be a little more flexable but once we went to a resort in San Diego on the advice of a friend and after the first horrible night we picked up and went to our timeshare. San Diego - middle of summer - over a weekend - no advanced notice. We walked in and said "Do you have room for us?" They did not have our regular level of rooms so they bumped us up to SUPER nice rooms - no charge since we were owners. Just this morning in the mail I got a time share campground invite... I am thinking we may just go :)

  • I think a camp ground time share sounds neat!  Definately different.  If you go, let me know what it was like.  Also, if you go, they usually ask for names for referrals - okay to put mine in.

  • Will Do! :)

  • I would like a invitation to time share your

  • I work in mini vacation sales if truly interesed leave a name or nick name something you will remember and a phone number we will contact you must be over 25 combined income of 50000 or greater married and a major crdit card holder these are just qualifications i do not need to know specifics just yes to everything

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