A Free Vacation? Tips for Attending Timeshare Presentations

You’ve probably received the calls, seen the ads, and talked to sales people at various retailers and hotels about how you can get a free vacation just for attending a short presentation. While you might have some idea what you’re in for when it comes to these timeshare sales presentations, it may be difficult to truly know if it’s really a good idea or a trap. Here are some quick tips to consider before you book your “free” trip:

Research the company

Not all timeshare offers are created equal. Because of this you’ll want to do some Googling and see what others have to say about their experiences with certain companies. Although some brands that offer timeshare properties are household names (Marriot, Wyndham, Disney) other companies that might not have the same name recognition are still completely legitimate. Unfortunately there are also plenty of less reputable companies and flat-out scams in the industry as well.

One thing to keep in mind when doing your research is to be skeptical. This means both being skeptical of reviews that may be overly glowing (perhaps paid for by the company?) as well as ones with complaints that might seem nitpicky or perhaps even fabricated (plants by competitors?). Additionally be sure to look up both the company themselves and the specific property you are thinking of visiting to get a better idea of what to expect. This will also help prevent confusion that can arise from scammy companies using names similar to reputable ones in order to lure victims.

Pay attention to the rules

Even if a company is legitimate they will still have several rules about qualify for their offers. Knowing these qualifications and adhering to the rules is critical because failure to meet to them could result in you being ineligible to receive their gift or discount. These rules could involve the amount of money you make, your age, and even your relationship status — some may require that you and your spouse both attend the presentation in order to qualify.

If you are dealing with a trustworthy company all of these qualifications should be stipulated up front. However it’s up to you to be honest as well and not skirt the truth in an effort to qualify. Plus, even if everything is stated, be sure to read the fine print so you don’t get stuck paying full price for your “free” getaway.

Stand strong

The reason that timeshare companies are willing to comp vacations in exchange for guests attending their presentations is because they are successful tools for driving sales. That’s partially because salespeople are incredibly persuasive but, sadly, they may also be using questionable techniques. Hopefully by doing your research you’ll have avoided companies that engage in high-pressure sales but, if not, the important thing is that you stand your ground.

Of course after the presentation there is always the chance that you might actually want to purchase the timeshare being offered. However that doesn’t mean that you should immediately sign on the dotted line. Make sure you know all of the fees and terms associated with the property (including the ability to back out of the deal if you change your mind the next day) and read everything before signing. Even if you do want to buy, being pressured to pull the trigger without having your questions answered is a big red flag and it’s best to walk away.


If done correctly taking advantage of offers from timeshare companies can be a good opportunity to get a discounted getaway. However there are some risks involved with signing up for these offers. By doing your research, paying close attention to the rules, and standing firm on your decision not to buy (or to at least think it over) you can help prevent yourself from walking into a timeshare trap.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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