Photo of a timeshare resort in Tuscany Italy

Are Timeshare Presentations a Travel Hack?

What is a Timeshare Presentation? 

A timeshare presentation is a sales pitch for a timeshare. Big timeshare companies will offer you a highly discounted hotel stay in exchange for a one-hour presentation about buying a timeshare. The sales representatives can be quite pushy, but for the most part they are understanding if you tell them “Now isn’t the right time” or “This isn’t the program for me”. I remember my sales representative directly asked if we were actually interested in a timeshare or if we just did it for the discounted accommodations. 

What Happens at a Timeshare Presentation: 

Typically, when you arrive, you’ll have to check in at the reception desk and present your ID. They’ll have you wait in the lobby area and offer drinks and snacks until your presentation starts. You’ll be introduced to your sales representative, and they’ll try to get to know more about you such as your profession, interests, and ideal vacation destinations.

 They’ll give you a tour of a model room at their timeshare resort and they’ll tell all about the amenities their portfolio offers. You’ll then sit down with the sales representative and talk about how much they cost, financing options, and additional perks of the program. What happens after that depends on if you actually purchase or if you decline.

 It is important to note that you do not have to purchase anything at a timeshare presentation. However, it is best to be clear about your intentions up front so that way, it saves everyone time and energy. 

Pros to doing a timeshare presentation: 

The number one pro is the discounted accommodations. For a couple hundred dollars, you can book a 4-day/3-night stay just about anywhere. Typically, you’ll be able to book a one-bedroom suite. Usually, it includes a full kitchen and living room area. They can also offer other perks such as gift certificates for food, activities, or a spa. For my presentation, I received a $100 certificate to use at a Hilton hotel.

Cons to Timeshare Presentations:

I hate to say it, but there’s more cons than pros. Your room will likely not be in a favorable location or have a good view. So, if you’re hoping to get an ocean front suite in Hawaii, it probably won’t happen. When we did our timeshare presentation in Orlando, Florida we didn’t necessarily care about the view because we were going to be at Disney World most of the day. However, it was annoying that our room was far from where we had to park.

The timeshare presentation itself is a con (unless you enjoy talking to a salesman for one hour fun). They are obligated to keep you in the presentation for one hour so if you’re hoping to get out early, it’s likely not going to happen. The sales representatives themselves are known for being pushy. They are well trained in not taking no for an answer and can quickly turn your excuses into reasons why you should purchase a timeshare.

 It’s best to just be upfront about your intentions so you’re not stuck there for longer than you have to be. The trips themselves are not that long. Having to take time out of your trip to attend a timeshare presentation can throw off your itinerary (especially if you are like me and have a toddler that needs to nap)

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View of a timeshare resort soaking tub with the city skyline outside of the window at sunset

What Happens If You Don’t Go to Your Timeshare Presentation:

What happens if you decide you don’t want to go and skip? Well, you’ll get charged for the full price of what your room costs and they may tack on some extra cancellation fees as well. It will not work out in your favor if you decide to skip. 

At the end of the day, you need to evaluate if it’s worth it to you. If you’re looking for a quick getaway and don’t really care where you sleep, they’re a great option. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip to a bucket list destination and you’re looking for luxury and great views, I would steer clear.

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