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Timeshare

So You're Thinking About Buying a Timeshare

How to survive the sales pitch

The Vacationeer
Couple with sales rep

If you're a frequent traveler and have never been asked to attend a timeshare sales pitch, give it time—chances are it's coming. Whether they offer you free tickets to a show or a heavily discounted hotel room, companies are anxious to get your attention, show you how timeshares work and get you interested in buying a timeshare.

And while you may not dread a timeshare sales presentation as much as a trip to the dentist, you can probably think of other ways you'd rather spend your vacation time.

Traveler Brian Bloom certainly could.

"Going into the sales pitch I was extremely skeptical," said Bloom, who attended a sales presentation put on by Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV). "The word timeshare just conjures up all sorts of negative feelings. I felt like we were going to be given the hard sell."

So say you're asked to sit through a timeshare sales presentation. What then? Here are four steps to get ready and make the choice that is right for you.

  1. Deal with a reputable company. Yes, timeshares have a certain reputation, but much of it is based on outdated stereotypes. There are a number of highly reputable timeshare companies, including ones associated with major hotel brands that have earned consumers' trust over decades. That said, just as in any industry, there are some unscrupulous operators. Before agreeing to sit through a timeshare sales pitch or accepting a discounted trip, make sure the company is on the up and up. Check for complaints at state Attorney General office websites or consumer protection bureaus. Be aware that if you accept a discounted trip, you need to attend the timeshare sales presentation. If you don't, you could be on the hook for the full cost of the trip.
  2. Go in with an open mind. You might be expecting the worst but keep an open mind. After all, the resort's goal is to get you interested in buying a timeshare. It's in their best interest to make the presentation a good experience for you. Good companies start by asking you lots of questions about how you like to travel, where you like to go and who usually travels with you, so they can customize the presentation to you. Think of it like you were house shopping (and you are, kind of). A good real estate agent won't show you a one-bedroom apartment in the city if you're looking for a farmhouse. A good timeshare salesperson will tailor the timeshare sales presentation to meet your specific interests.
  3. Do your homework – including the math. You wouldn't walk into a car dealership and buy a car after talking to the sales guy for a couple hours – it's too big of a purchase to do that. The same is true for a timeshare. The best time to do your research into how timeshares work is before the visit. Does it make sense financially and based on the vacation lifestyle you want. By the time you show up to the sales presentation – sticking with the car analogy here – it's more like the test drive. You already have a sense of the features and benefits; now you just want to see the paint color. Get answers to any lingering questions you have to ensure you feel good about whatever decision you make.
  4. Don't feel pressured. Just because you agreed to sit through a sales presentation to see if you might be interested in buying a timeshare, don't feel pressured. If you've already checked out the company's reputation, done your homework and done the math, and decided that a timeshare fits your lifestyle, you may be ready to buy. If you need more time, that's OK.
Timeshare sales rep   

"We want our guests to enjoy themselves and feel great about the experience," said Derek DeSalvia, senior vice president, Hilton Grand Vacations, a vacation ownership company that's been in business since 1992. "Of course, we want people who attend our presentations to become HGV owners, but only if it fits their lifestyle and is something they're excited about. We have more than 310,000 vacation owners around the world. The only way that happens is by having satisfied customers."

As for Brian Bloom's experience, he was pleasantly surprised.

"We actually ended up enjoying the experience – it was much better than we expected, and the property itself was gorgeous," Bloom said.

His advice for others considering a visit? "Do it," he said. "There's really nothing to lose, and if you like to travel as much as we do, it's good to know all the different options that are out there."

Vacationeer

The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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