Orlando can be a great choice for a weekend getaway and, since it’s only a 3.5-hour flight away from Montreal, the city offers many opportunities to enjoy the Florida heat. To take a break from the snow in the middle of winter or to simply disconnect from everyday life, what better than a few days in Florida?
It’s also a time to have fun at amusement parks and water parks with the kids. However, Orlando accommodations can be expensive, but here’s a tip that can cut your budget considerably: attend a timeshare meeting.
What is timeshare?
Here is a bit of info about Timeshare. The idea is to buy the occupancy rights of a rental unit in a hotel. Generally, you can buy several weeks of occupancy.
The purpose here is not to convince you to start renting shares, on the contrary, but to show you how I was able to spend 3 nights in a 4 star hotel for only $167 USD.
3 nights in a 4 star hotel for $167 USD
While calling Hilton Honors for a complaint about a technical problem with a reservation, my call was unknowingly transferred to Timeshare’s service.
The agent on the phone then offered me a deal for 3 nights in a hotel for $167 and a bonus of 15,000 Hilton Honors points. I accepted, thinking it was a commercial gesture, but the agent on the phone seemed very insistent for an offer that expired the same day! (but you can book the same offer via this page)
Although I had no choice but to book the same day, I had 45 days to call them back and book the dates I had chosen. Of course, there was a condition to get this fee: you had to attend a Timeshare session at a Hilton property.
Once the reservation was made, I received an email summarizing all the details (written in very small letters):
You can travel within 6 months of purchasing the deal, but you must book your hotel within 45 days of purchase or your credit card will be charged $50.
You must attend the meeting and present your passport, otherwise you will have to pay the market price of the reservation during your stay.Hilton
I called 30 days later to book the dates and choose the hotel, the Hilton Grand Vacations at Seaworld. After the call, I received an email confirmation with the date and the name of the hotel where I was to attend the presentation.
The timeshare presentation
The presentation took place at Parc Soleil at 9:00 am. I was very lucky, as it was originally scheduled for 12:45, which would have cut short a great day at the water park! It is important to note that the presentation never takes place on the day you arrive, nor on the day you leave.
Once I arrived at Parc Soleil, an elevator took me to the sales floor. I felt like I had entered another world: there were flashy colours everywhere, loud and catchy music, “Happiness” messages everywhere; marketing was at its peak.
I was then taken to a counter where a hostess handed me an ID card and directed me to a kiosk that asked me questions about my dream destinations and travel preferences (tours, restaurants, theme parks, all inclusive). All this information will be used by the salesperson to build his or her sales pitch.
Once the questionnaire was completed, a buffet was available for breakfast. The salesman picked me up a few minutes later and led me into a huge room filled with small compartmentalized offices; this was the sales area. There must have been 50 sellers! Many people came as couples to attend the presentation.
The salesman started his presentation with a lot of questions to know more about my way of travelling, but also about my income, in order to make a calculation of the amount I would spend on holidays over the next 25 years. I immediately said that I was not interested, but that I had agreed to participate to get the 3 nights at the discounted rate. The salesman told me that he was still obliged to make the presentation.
After explaining to me how the Timeshare at Parc Soleil worked, the salesman took me upstairs to show me the brand new rooms. They didn’t look anything like the ones on the hotel’s website, which were much more faded. When I returned from the visit, the salesman left me alone and came back with a price proposal.
You should know that the offer he proposes corresponds to a number of points (they are ClubPoints, not Hilton Honors points) that you will pay each month and that you will be able to use to book nights at the Parc Soleil, but also in other hotels of the Hilton group around the world.
Interesting concept on paper, but the seller’s offer was not a bargain, as they were talking about a budget of $640USD per month for about 10 nights booked per year. Add to that the booking fee for each reservation made.
After obviously refusing the salesman’s offer, another person came to do a so-called satisfaction survey, but it was actually another salesman who again tried to present us with all the advantages of the program.
All in all, the presentation lasted about an hour.
Although participating in a timeshare presentation can be burdensome, it can really save you money on your accommodation costs. If you are not interested in timeshare, the watchword during your presentation is “no”, in every sentence and in every way.
3 nights in a large suite at Hilton Vacations at Seaworld for $167USD instead of $530USD and a bonus of 15,000 Hilton Honors points. It was a good deal. I haven’t tested any timeshare presentations with other hotel groups, but I’ll definitely keep an eye out now!