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Timeshare Presentations: What to Expect, and What to Do

Attending a timeshare presentation? From tours to pitches, here’s what you need to know.

Laura Gohl - Jun 09, 2020

The world of timeshare ownership can seem mysterious and the idea of attending a timeshare presentation may seem downright…daunting. Historically, the dialogue surrounding timeshare presentations has often been fraught with skepticism, which may leave you wary of engaging.

If you’ve signed on for a free vacation, it’s understandable to feel that a presentation is just a stumbling block to getting back on to the beach. If you’re truly interested in pursuing vacation ownership (or simply curious, for that matter) attending a timeshare presentation can serve as a prime introductory first step.

A timeshare, also called vacation ownership, is an arrangement where owners secure the rights to a yearly resort stay, usually for one week. Various arrangements are available, offering opportunities to travel during different seasons and to destinations around the world.

We’ll walk you through what to expect from your presentation and how to prep in advance to gather helpful information and make the most out of your meeting.

What Is a Timeshare Presentation?

Also known as a discovery tour, a timeshare presentation is an opportunity to explore vacation ownership, and speak one-on-one with an industry representative. There’s definite benefits to attending a timeshare presentation, but it does require some planning. As any avid traveler knows, even setting aside a couple of hours can be a lot to juggle when you’re on vacation with family. 

Most likely your resort will want you and your spouse to attend the timeshare presentation together, while providing activities and snacks outside the presentation area for your little ones. And if your agent has spoken to you about vacation packages or promotions included in your presentation, you’ll need to stay for its entirety in order to secure those offers.

Why Would You Attend a Timeshare Presentation?

There are two major reasons why thousands of people attend timeshare presentations every year. There are certainly many owners, existing or interested, who either schedule a presentation or agree to attend one in order to learn more about the benefits of ownership – whether they’re looking to upgrade or own for the first time. The majority of potential owners, however, attend because the brand offers them incentives, ranging from a free dinner to a free weekend stay at the resort. 

No matter which of these scenarios describes you, your first timeshare presentation may make you feel apprehensive – stirring up expectations of shady sales pitches or presenters out to get your money. Online forums are replete with owners highlighting tactics that are aggressive or misleading. On the other hand, there are plenty of authentic agents out there who genuinely want to help you travel. Frankly, it’s hard to know ahead of time whether you’re in for a high-pressure pitch or an honest and informative conversation.

With that in mind, it’s best to attend your presentation with an open but cautious outlook. Arrive hoping to gain valuable insight from an industry expert. If there’s a tour, carefully evaluate the property. During the presentation, ask questions and express concerns. If you have a certain week in mind, ask clear and specific questions about your obligations for owning that week. If you’re discussing points, offer a few examples of vacations that you’d like to take and get specific numbers for the costs of taking such vacations. And remember, you don’t have to make a purchase if you don’t want to!

Prepare in Advance

Your session will likely open with a video or presentation highlighting the brand’s destinations and features, as well as testimonials from happy timeshare owners. A tour of the property may follow, where you’ll learn more about the villas and amenities.

As you sit down with your agent, it’s likely they’ll ask you a series of questions about your travel preferences and interests, in order to curate an offer that will most appeal to you. As you consider vacation ownership, realistically think about the following: 

  1. Your long term travel goals; how will plans change over the years?
  2. Your obligations; what are your expected maintenance fees? Would you save significantly over booking your preferred unit each year? What about when you factor in purchase price?
  3. What are the specific benefits to purchasing directly from the developer or brand? Would purchasing on the resale market save you money? If so, are there any downsides?

If there’s a tour, carefully evaluate the property. During the presentation, ask questions and express concerns

We’ve put together some helpful resources to help you break down the terminology of timeshares and get a grasp on if one of the various timeshare arrangements will work for you. Vacation ownership can be a great way to amplify your travel dreams, but it’s a financially significant purchase. It’s also one you don’t have to commit to in the moment! Carefully consider the above; it will go a long way to making sure you’re happy with your decision.

Stay on Schedule 

Typically, your timeshare presentation should last from 90-120 minutes. However, as the process rolls along, it’s not unheard of for these presentations to stretch out to several hours. Be aware of those details going in and also hold firm to your availability.

You’re on vacation. You have activities on the schedule. You may have kids waiting on you. As the end of the allotted time frame draws near, feel free to politely remind your sales representative that it’s time to start closing the meeting. A professional and empathetic agent should honor that request. 

Make an Informed Decision

As the session comes to a close, the final step, of course, is the pitch. And whether you’re considering timeshare ownership for the first time or upgrading, if you feel you need more time for this decision, that’s totally fine. You might be told this is a same-day-only offer. This is more than likely not the case. And your agent should understand why you deserve more time to consider a purchase like this one carefully. That said, if you’re really interested in making a purchase, there may be ways to leave a good faith deposit to hold the deal in place – don’t be afraid to ask!

A 2018 study found that 78% of recent timeshare purchasers attended at least one presentation at the resort where they now own, with 21% attending two or more.  So take the time to further explore the resort and do any necessary followup research. If vacation ownership is a lifestyle purchase you’re ready for, making a thoughtful and informed decision is key to starting your vacation ownership journey with confidence and peace of mind.

Not Ready to Own a Timeshare?

Love what timeshares offer, but not sure you’re ready to own one? Renting on KOALA gives you access to the space, amenities, and service of timeshare properties without the obligation of owning. Better still, renting on KOALA gives you access to direct-from-owner deals of up to 70% off.

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