April 07, 2007

We Didn't Buy One

Well, we didn't buy a timeshare, despite the very best efforts of the nice people at Marriott to convince us that our lives could do nothing but be enhanced by making such a shrewd move.

T had a huge grin on her face for the entire sales portion of the "show and tell" tour of the Grande Vista village we had this morning, and she told me later that it was because it was fun to see them come up against someone who was strong enough to resist their pressure. (That would be me.)

We have several friends who own timeshare weeks and swear by them, and the very fact that Marriott has let its name be associated with the field tells you that the old "you can go on vacation during week 23 and that's it," style timeshares are going the way of the dinosaur.

Still, I find it frustrating that the sales method for timeshares seems to remain essentially unchanged and pretty much the same across the board; lure prospective customers to the property with an offer that sounds too good to be true, give them virtually no information in advance about timeshares or the property in question, and then sit them down with someone for a couple of hours and hope that you can put together a package of enticements and incentives that will be irresistable to them.

According to the guys we talked to today, 99% of people who buy timeshares do it in response to the structured "pitch" outlined above. Why am I not surprised to find myself outside the mainstream yet again?

IF we ever buy a timeshare week, it will be after 1) a complete review of our financial outlook and anticipated vacation expenses for the next several years 2) looking at some owner-generated information about how to get the most out of your plan and 3) checking out a home base in some town other than Orlando, which, although great for golf, exists primarily as an "attraction destination." I can't really see us getting all that worked up about Disneyworld, Sea World, etc. etc. Besides, we've seen the traffic, and if we ever DO come down here to "do Disney," I think Sassafrass Mama has the right idea... get a package that lets you stay right on the Disney property.

So, it was fun. And it was definitely worth it. The dudes at Marriott? They're a little disappointed, but they'll get over it.

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