If you’ve traveled to Mexico in the last few years, you’ve probably run into someone at the airport or in your hotel offering you a seemingly incredible deal on something if only you agree to sign up for a timeshare presentation. Would you sit through a 90-minute timeshare presentation to save $986 on a 5-night stay at an all-inclusive? How about for a free taxi ride?
The ‘gifts’ for attending a timeshare presentation can range from a minuscule free taxi ride to a free stay at an all-inclusive. Obviously, one is more appealing than the other! However, unsuspecting travelers may find themselves swept up into a timeshare presentation without ever knowing that’s what they signed up for.
Those in the timeshare industry are incredibly adept at getting people to sign up for presentations, hence why you will see so many right after landing at many major airports in Mexico.
@ileana____ All Beach Destinations and some major airports have timeshare agents #fyp #parati #cancun #canosanlucas #guadalajara #cdmx #mexicotravel #travelvlog ♬ Calma (Remix) – Pedro Capo X Farruko
Travel Off Path has put together a guide to considering timeshare presentations in Mexico, with particular emphasis on the Cancun area. Read on for the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of timeshare presentations in Mexico.
What Is A Timeshare?
A simple explanation for a timeshare would be a vacation property that is “owned” fractionally by many people. Essentially, you would pay to “own” a property to use for a week or two every year. Often presented as a way to save some money, there may be certain instances where owning a timeshare could be beneficial. However, in most cases, travelers probably wouldn’t be saving enough to make it a 100% beneficial decision for future travel.
Many popular hotel brands have their own versions of timeshares available, such as Disney Vacation Club, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, or Wyndham Destinations.
When most people hear the word ‘timeshare,’ they don’t think of the actual property itself. For many, hours-long presentations with high-pressure salespeople come to mind. Indeed, the most common way people come into timeshare ownership is a direct result of attending a timeshare presentation. Many go into the presentation absolutely sure they won’t fall into a timeshare purchase. But, if this were always the case, companies wouldn’t be offering benefits for attending the presentations in the first place.
Why Should (Or Shouldn’t) You Attend A Timeshare Presentation?
The biggest reason you may consider attending a timeshare presentation is for the presentation offer. As referenced earlier, timeshare offers can range widely, from small things like a free meal to significant things like free hotel stays. Depending on their impact on your travels, some offers may be worth considering attending a timeshare presentation. Some typical offers for attending a timeshare presentation include:
- Discounted or free hotel stays
- Meals or drinks
- “No cost” taxi rides
- Free tickets to events or parks (like Disney or Universal)
- Free spa treatments
This isn’t an extensive list by any means. Still, these are some of the more common offers for attending a timeshare presentation. Also, notice our use of the word free. This isn’t quite correct, as you will be giving up precious time you could enjoy during your vacation. This is one of the biggest reasons you shouldn’t consider attending a timeshare presentation on your next trip to Mexico.
Who Should Attend? Who Shouldn’t? Who’s Presenting?
Who Should Attend?
Travelers on an extremely tight budget may benefit from attending a timeshare presentation. If money is really tight, some of the offers for attending a timeshare presentation may be beneficial. Suppose you can secure a free stay in a hotel up to your standard. In that case, one of the highest travel costs can be reduced immensely, sometimes completely.
Who Shouldn’t Attend?
Suppose you have the money to go on vacation to an area in Mexico you know you will enjoy without worrying too much about breaking the bank. In that case, a timeshare presentation will just feel like a waste of time for you. Also, if you are a person who can be easily swayed, stay as far away from a timeshare presentation as you can.
There is a reason the process is so lengthy and tedious. There’s a reason they are giving you free lunch. They want you to feel invested in the experience, and they want you to feel bad about saying no. If you aren’t the type that can stick to your decision in the face of high-pressure sales, do not go to a timeshare presentation.
@jadynfinance Replying to @butlerjimmy #timeshare #hacks #freevacations #resort #summer #timesharetok ♬ original sound – Harvard Finance Gal
An Author’s Anecdote
My wife and I got married when we were young and penniless. However, I didn’t let that deter us from going on a honeymoon. We saved as much as possible and searched for all sorts of ways to reduce costs. During a wedding show, we found out we could get four nights free at a decent hotel in Orlando as long as we attended a presentation about cookware. Being young a naïve, we happily signed up.
After four grueling hours of hearing about how amazing this cookware was, we had to fight to contain our laughter as we said no to the hilariously overpriced $1400 set of pots and pans. We got our free stay in Orlando, and I wasn’t too annoyed about the lost time.
I wish that’s where the story ended.
After arriving in Orlando, we found out that we had to attend a timeshare presentation for the hotel stay to be free. Without writing a novel about how much I wish we had just paid for a hotel, I’ll summarize the experience.
- We went to lunch with our timeshare salesperson, their treat, of course.
- Watched a 2-hour long video presentation about how fantastic the timeshare was.
- Toured the timeshares
- Finally, we sat down to hear the final pitch (or so we thought). For the small price of $13,000, we could visit our timeshare property in Orlando once a year.
This was the easiest no thanks we’ve ever uttered. Mainly because we barely had $1,000 to our name. However, we said no an additional six times before we were finally able to leave. With each no, we would hear about some new deal that would lower the price by a few thousand dollars. The final time they asked, they offered that same $13,000 timeshare for $2,400. We said no every time, and with each no, they made us feel worse and worse. They will really try to make you feel bad for saying no.
I wish we hadn’t fallen into not one but two presentation traps. For what we received, it wasn’t worth the time. However, had the final payout been a weeklong stay at an all-inclusive resort? I would probably feel differently, especially because of how little money we had at the time.
Now, however, the presentation offer would have to be mind-blowing to get us to attend another one.
When And Where Should You Expect “Timeshare Sharks”?
The most common place you will see timeshare salespeople will be after landing at the airport in Mexico. Cancun is notorious for this, but many other airports also have them. According to Rene Gaudreau, while taking a video of Cancun airport, “All these people here are trying to sell you timeshares, they’re lined up on both sides… they’re going to try and stop you, they’ll lie to you, they’ll tell you anything, they’re going to tell you they are your transportation company… just ignore them, your transportation company is outside.”
If you have zero interest in seeing what timeshare salespeople have to say, just ignore them and head to your transportation outside the airport. As stated in the video, many timeshare reps inside the airport will claim to be your transportation to trick you into attending a timeshare presentation. Don’t fall for it! Your transport will always be outside the airport waiting and will never meet you inside.
@jennifervalentinephoto Let’s talk about timeshares on your vacation, there is no way to get out of the hotel asking you about this whike on vacation- they will usually give you some type of perk to come to their presentation that they say is an hour long.. Fun fact it usually is way over an hour long intense sales pitch lol ( I know from personal experience when I was a young traveler) – tell them no thank you and enjoy your vacation! Don’t be locked into a rate for the next 30 years 😌 #travelagent #mexicotrip #traveltiktok ♬ Oh No – Kreepa
Another place you could see timeshare salespeople would be right on your resort’s property. It’s not uncommon to get a call from the front desk letting you know you could attend a “breakfast presentation” for a percentage off your stay or other perks. Similarly, watch out for the ‘activities manager’ or the ‘concierge.’ Sometimes these roles are just a timeshare rep in disguise, as Rosamarie T details in a Tripadvisor review. However, this isn’t always the case. If you feel you are being pulled into a timeshare sales attempt and aren’t interested, simply walk away.
Whether or not you should attend a timeshare presentation on your next trip is ultimately a decision left to you. Hopefully, some of this information can help you decide whether it is in your best interest. However, be extremely careful if you choose to go to a presentation. Timeshares are notoriously difficult to get out of and can be a serious financial commitment. If you can’t trust yourself to say no (assuming you don’t want a timeshare), don’t risk it!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com