Key questions to ask at timeshare presentations
New customers who have bought timeshare based on interactions at a timeshare presentation, may have been influenced by the art of the sales pitch. While presenters are good at their job, you (as a prospective customer) would need detailed information on the project, the benefits of membership, and all related payments.
The more you know the better it is, before you sign on the dotted line.
Having said that, resorts these days also recognize a customer’s need for time and space before making a decision. They also see the need to clear all doubts and answer all questions well before they close a session.
This feature update is part of a series for new and prospective customers. Our objective here is to give you broad guidelines on how to handle, or survive a presentation - and come out better informed.
Here’s the first guideline from our list.
Listen carefully to the story outline of the presentation
You need to listen carefully as the presenter runs through his story - because it is important to know and understand key takeaways – especially in terms of product, features, cost and timelines.
Sometimes the presentation team draws you into certain aspects of the story that you might find interesting, and use these as hooks to clinch a deal. If they go this route there could be information gaps that you may need some clarity on.
So please do make a list of questions that you can ask, on any grey areas that you may come across. Some of these questions may sound unimportant, or inconsequential to you, but it’s better to clear all doubts before you take the next steps.
Understand in detail, all payments and charges linked to your membership
You need to understand the arithmetic of the offer in terms of initial payments, maintenance charges, and other billables that might be applicable to you as a member. Most new timeshare customers are not really aware of maintenance charges that come up for payment every year.
Annual maintenance charges go towards the upkeep of the property and other related expenditure. This is a valid and justifiable billable item. That’s why it makes sense to understand all related charges linked to your membership.
Understand your package or plan in terms of features, benefits and pricing
Resort developers usually have a range of packages that they offer depending on size of room / cottage /facility and other aspects such as vacation slots for peak and non-peak seasons. There is a clear price variance here, depending upon your choice and the features included under each package.
It is also useful to look at the fine print for inclusions, exclusions and other preconditions. We have come across customers who picked the cheapest package on offer and assumed that it included features from the more expensive packages.
Find out if your promoter allows access to other resort locations in the network
Some of the larger promoters have a network of resort locations under the same brand umbrella. And after you choose a home resort, you would need to know if you can use the same vacation week at another resort location. (Is this possible, easy to do, and does it come with additional charges?)
While you need to know if your home resort lets you use other resort locations within the country, an (additional membership) with exchange companies such as RCI and 7Across will help you access resorts on their network, all over the world.
Find out if you are allowed to carry over unused vacation days or weeks
If you miss out on that annual vacation at your home resort, promoters usually allow you to carry over unused days of your vacation week – some resorts allow a banking of days and vacation weeks for an outer limit of three years.
But you need to know the rules regarding banking unused days or weeks, and whether you can gift this to friends, and members of your extended family. You also need to know if F&B rates and incidental charges will be the same if a friend uses your vacation week at your home resort.
About transferring ownership to a family member, or friend
Sometimes, after a few years, customers may want to transfer their membership to a family member, or friend. This can also happen a few years before the end of the contract period. So you need to obtain information about transfer of membership, tenure validity, and other benefits listed in the original contract.
We have also come across customers who want to know if they can resell their membership after a few years, and if resort promoters will help them in this process. In India, promoters will not be open to the idea of resale, because the first sale is their primary focus area. There are a few reselling agents trying to do this but they may not understand the legality of such transfers, without consent from the primary promoters. So it is useful to get information on all these matters during your Q&A session at the presentation.
At the end of the day, the more you know, the more you understand. And the more you understand, the more informed you will be. And that is what we hope to achieve through these features.
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What does an AIRDA membership mean to resort owners and developers? AIRDA comes in as your industry partner, conscience keeper and business catalyst - with a wide portfolio of support services.
What does AIRDA mean to holiday seekers and prospective customers? AIRDA comes in to provide information and offer guidelines on making the right timeshare decisions.