My husband, two boys and I made the 3 hour 15 minute trip south to Branson for Labor Day weekend this year. We have visited the town on several occasions and keep returning as there are lots of things to do, it’s a relatively short drive from our home in Kansas City, and we really enjoy being at an exceptional resort that is well maintained and has plenty of activities available to entertain all members of the family. We love that we own a timeshare with Wyndham and can experience a weekend getaway at a moment’s notice without worrying about a dirty room, poor service or an unsafe location. However, while we are owners and not required to attend sales presentations, they offer many incentives for us to listen to a speech for an “hour” during our vacation, and despite almost every single experience being negative, we continue to get sucked in time and time again.
This article about timeshare presentations is hilarious if you don’t mind a little bit of language. My favorite sentence:
“Will, our sales associate, came over and met with us. He was a gangly, mid-20’s asshat from Dallas who looked like he was cut out from a business casual ad with dork scissors.”
“I said hell yes I’d like to take just one hour of my time to hear about an exciting way I could save money on future vacations. I mean, it sounded pretty awesome to me,” Jones said.
The promised one hour presentation turned into a two and a half hour adventure once Jones arrived at the all inclusive Global Sun Grand Resort. Jones expressed gratitude that she would be privileged with more time in the company of such esteemed individuals.
On our first Wyndham vacation together, we went to Las Vegas and had an amazing time. The incentive to sit with a sales representative and listen to his schpeel was a meal at a nice restaurant, so we thought “Why not?” It was actually a great experience, the man did not try to sell us anything, simply educated us about new locations we could visit, as promised when we made the appointment. After that, our experiences have all gone downhill. Again and again, we check into our room and are offered something seemingly awesome – a one hour meeting in exchange for dinner certificates, Visa gift cards, sometimes with a meal included at the meeting, sometimes all of the above. Again and again we tell the person that no, we will not attend because the one hour meeting always ends up being two or more hours and we do not want to spend that much time of our vacation being sold to when we most certainly will not be buying anything. Which prompts them to say “Oh no! We promise it will only be ONE hour, and the purpose of this meeting is to teach you about something new and awesome that you don’t already know about! No selling involved!” Inevitably, we agree because their offer seems too good to pass up on. And inevitably, we leave feeling angry and saying “NEVER AGAIN! NEVER!” Labor Day was no different. As current timeshare owners, our experiences are not as bad as what was portrayed on the famous episode of South Park, where the characters are held at gunpoint during their presentation. However, sales people will be sales people, therefore we get to experience a little of the cliché pressure whenever we choose to attend.
We arrived at the meeting with the boys in tow (they wouldn’t allow just one spouse to attend this “educational” meeting about website reservations – that should have been our first red flag). The young man who sat us down at his desk was very new to the game. He was trying to play it cool, low pressure, just shooting the breeze until the required hour was up. I mentioned the website changes we were supposed to learn about and he had no idea what I was talking about (red flag number 2, ignored). We did learn a lot about his life, and he about ours. We shared laughs and told horror stories about our past sales meetings. As we were closing in on an hour, the boys were beginning to get restless, I was getting extremely warm and my husband was trying to wrap things up. Just as we thought we were about to be dismissed to collect our gifts, he mentioned something about a VIP package; upon seeing the blank looks on our faces he immediately realized he probably should have been doing his job the whole time. He left the table to get a senior representative and that is where things went sour. Our first guy bailed, and the new guy began the hard sell. When my husband pointed out we had been there an hour and were ready to go, without purchasing anything new, the man completely ignored him. When we pointed out our fussy children ready for naps, we were again ignored. Finally my husband got stern and told the man that we were leaving.
As we left, we discussed how little the operations and sales teams worked together. There is clearly no communication, and while they have different intermediate goals in mind, would it not suit them to work together on the ultimate goal, bringing people back to your place of business, and creating evangelists at the same time? Ironically, one of the things the salesman was “educating” us on was the four things that Wyndham owners have requested to change – one of those was the sales meetings. Yet there we were, in another sales meeting.
I did call to complain, and they did send us a fruit basket. Very nice, and much appreciated (#harryanddavid #yesplease). But when will enough be enough? When we will we wise up and stop attending the meetings? And when will Wyndham wise up and think about what their current customers want, as well as potential future customers?