Hilton Timeshare Torture….With Kids! How I Survived It & Would I Do It Again?

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Hilton Orlando

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando – Was It Worth It?

If you listen to our Podcast in episode 10 I discussed our recent Hilton timeshare presentation in Orlando.  I have also written about this deal in the past.  I discussed how to get more up front and even that you can even get more after the deal is paid for. Getting the offer is only half the battle and I wanted to share with you what the presentation was like as well. I also wanted to share what is what like doing one with kids and whether or not I would do it again.

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando DetailsHilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando

How Do You Get A Timeshare Offer?

First things first, how do you get one of these offers? The best way to be targeted for a timeshare offer is to be a member of all of the hotel loyalty clubs you can. These memberships are free and you can sign up without staying at any actual hotels.

Most hotel chains have a timeshare company as well and they pluck people from their loyalty account rosters for these presentations.  I received this one when I called into Hilton to correct something on a booking I had.  I have also received the offers via email and regular mail in the past.  Sometimes these companies are set up inside of stores trying to get people to sign up for them. That is how I got one for Vegas from Blue Green Resorts, they were inside Bass Pro Shops.  You can even try calling a timeshare company and simply asking for one.

Last of all, if you are paying to stay on a timeshare property (without an offer) they will usually offer you extra perks etc. to sit through a presentation.  These offers are usually the least lucrative though since you are already there.

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando

What Is Included With The Package?

Timeshare presentations are a way to get a discounted vacation.  The timeshare companies will give you reduced room rates to entice you to come and listen to their sales pitch. It is kind of like stores having sale items they lose money on to get you in the store to buy other things.

So they cover your accommodations for 2-5 nights, depending on the offer.  My offer was for 3 nights for an out of pocket cost of $149. I also worked my offer up from no points to 20,000 points and then all the way up to 50,000 points.

The room was going for around $250 a night and the points are worth $225 to me.  So that is $975 in value for an out of pocket cost of $149.

Balcony view

Where Is The Presentation – At Our Hotel Or Somewhere Else?

The presentation was at their Park Soleil Hilton Grand Vacations property.  It is a very nice looking property but it is unlikely you will be able to secure accommodations there for your stay unless you book way in advance.  Otherwise they will list off other Hilton Hotels properties where you can stay instead.  What is available will depend on how far out you book and also when you book for.

We ended up staying at the Hilton Orlando right off of International Drive.  It was a pretty nice property that had a lot to offer even though it is mainly a convention hotel.  The pool area was really nice and the onsite restaurants where pretty good too.  Nice plus is I earned points on the restaurant charges unlike with Hyatt.  Plus I was able to use my Hilton Aspire resort credit at the hotel too.

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando

Getting To The Presentation

Timeshare companies will cover your room but they won’t cover your flight or drive to the destination city. They will not cover transportation to the presentation either, at least most of the time.  That is unless you are already staying on the timeshare property which does happen. Some timeshare offers will include a car rental (like mine for Hyatt in Hawaii) that you could use to get there but most won’t.

We ended up taking an Uber to the location.  That was an additional cost of $20-$30 round trip. We gave ourselves some extra time so that we could find the proper area once arriving at the resort.

Grabbing Some Snacks Before “The Show”

Once you get upstairs you enter what feels kind of like a club atmosphere.  The place is modern and kind of chic with upbeat dance music blasting away.  Your first stop is at some touchscreen monitors to answer questions about your travels.  This is a way for your host to get a better feel for what to pitch you on I would assume.

That takes a few minutes and then you enter a waiting room/cafe of sorts.  They had hot dogs, chips and fountain drinks for us to snack on.  You could grab whatever you want which is nice if your presentation was right around lunch time like ours was.

What Did We Do With The Kids?

After you have some time to eat your Hilton Grand Vacations sales representative will come and meet you for a minute. This is also when they pried our kids away to take them to the kids room.  I am sure you can refuse and take them with you to the whole presentation if you choose. This is what people will do with infants or small toddlers.  And that could be a way to get out of the presentation in record time too. We decided to let them go to the kids area since they were 5 and 7 and pretty well self sufficient.  I kind of wanted to deep dive into the program as well which I will cover in another post next week.

They have two areas in the kids room and both are on the smaller side.  The first one is the 10 year old plus room.  And they leave them here unattended which I thought was on the younger side to do that.  There are video games and TVs etc.  You walk through there to the second room that has one attendant inside. I didn’t grab a picture here since there were other kids in there.  They have some toys, a coloring table and a movie playing for the kids to stay active.  It was smaller than I thought it would be, especially for a kids heavy destination like Orlando.

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando

Getting Warmed Up In The Main Room

After the kids were squared away we were whisked off to the main sales pitch room.  This is where the most energetic and likable person gives you a 15-20 minute pitch on the program. There are no questions allowed during this presentation.  They will highlight the program and what you can do with it.

Be ready for lots of Hawaii, Maldives and Bora Bora pics.  They will also ask you questions over and over again that get you to say YES!  Sales 101, they want you to get used to saying yes.  That is the only purpose of this 15-20 minute presentation.

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando

Finally Sitting Down With Your Sales Team Member

After this concludes your sales team member will grab you and take you to a private cubicle.  Here you will get a brief overview of the program and what it can do for you.  They ask you how much money you spend on vacations each year and then calculate it over 30 years and show you a massive number.  And they show you how much cheaper it could be by “owning” instead of “renting”.

Specifics are not really discussed at this point but rather they show you places they have rentals in and how much it would cost to book a normal hotel there.  They also talk about the ways you can use their points and their partnerships.  I will discuss that more in my next article.

After that they will take you up to walk through the rooms.  They show you a one, two and three bedroom room.  All of the rooms are pretty nice and perfect for family travel.

Once the quick tour is completed you go back to your cubical and the numbers guy sits in on the meeting with your sales rep.

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando

The Hard Pitch Begins

You now are having a two on two conversation.  The sales guy who is likable and the numbers guy who is there “to make your travel dreams come true”.  They go back to that huge travel budget figure and say let’s see if we can save you money.

You then discuss your travel patterns, travel goals and how much money you would like to spend.  They will choose a package that fits best into those parameters.  The sales staff shows you the yearly dues and say, see this will save you money!  They leave out the fees and the upfront purchase price of course and try to get you to focus on that yearly fee.  To be fair the salesperson did tell me about all of the smaller fees but they never really add them up for you. They want it to seem like it is only $50 or $100 here or there but the $1,500 yearly fee is what we want to focus on. It is kind of like misdirection.

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando

Sticking Firm to No!

This is where you say thanks but no thanks.  They will ask you what the issue is and how do you not see this is a great deal.  At this point we asked for some time to talk it over.  I wanted to actually crunch the numbers.  The sales team wants an emotional decision but be sure to add everything up.  I added up the purchase price, the reservation fee, the yearly HOA fee and the yearly dues.  When all of those were put together over a 30 year period the numbers looked quite different.  And that is what I told them when they came back.

They said people have a want or a need when you come here.  The sales team knew I traveled with points and said I didn’t need the cheap trip.  I informed them that $900+ of travel for $149 is ALWAYS something I will be all for.  So he followed up that by asking me what was the want I had that had me show up.  I said I wanted to write about the process for the website.  That is when the pitch ended pretty quickly.  My ace in the hole I guess 😂.

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando

The Last Hurrah Sales Pitch

Before you can leave they have a superior come in for one last closing pitch.  They knew we had a trip upcoming to Hawaii and offered us a chance to try “owning” before making a purchase.  We could get a 5 night stay (maybe it was 6) for around $1700.  Which for Hawaii is not a bad deal if you are paying cash.  I told them our hotels were already booked for no cost though and she quickly left.  That pitch lasted all of 3 minutes.

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando

Finally Collecting The Kids

All in all we were in the building for two and half hours.  Probably right around two hours in the actual sales pitch.  I believe we were the last to leave and we were for sure the last to grab our kids.  Part of that is because I was very interested in learning about the program. We could have cut it much shorter if I had been firm with the no from the beginning and said I am here just for the freebies.

We said our awkward goodbyes and walked down to collect the kids.  Remember that you agree to a 90-120 minute presentation so once it hits 120 minutes you can leave without repercussions. Set a timer on your phone if you want as a reminder.

We had to go downstairs and sign a sheet in order to get my points before we left.  I was told it could take 4-6 weeks and I still don’t have the points two weeks later. So don’t plan on using them right away if you do a presentation.

Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando

My Quick Hilton Grand Vacations Program Overview & Thoughts

I found the program to be one of the better timeshare programs out there.  There is extreme flexibility and a lot of options.  But unless you are staying at the best locations every single year you will not come out ahead.

If you wanted to buy it as a gift to your kids when you pass away (it is transferable) that could make sense.  They said all of the pricing is locked in on the payment side and the points redemption side.  Travel will only get more expensive in the long run so it is kind of like inflation proofing your travel.  But it came with too many risks for me to take it seriously.  I will talk more about that in the next piece.

Was The Hilton Timeshare Presentation Orlando Worth It?

For us it was easily worth it.  We received right around $750 in net value for 3 hours of our time including the round trip drive.  We even got a free lunch out of it!  For others who don’t do well in high pressure situations they may think otherwise. Although I will say that the Hilton people were very professional and the pressure was pretty low overall.

I will definitely do it again in the future.  I continue to get a ton of offers from all different timeshare companies so the opportunity is out there.  The way I look at it is that this a way to extend my points and still get reduced cost vacations.  And even if you have kids in tow there are multiple ways to make it work. Don’t let them stop you from taking advantage of these.

Share your thoughts on timeshare presentations and whether or not they are worth it below.

 

28 COMMENTS

  1. Mark-a related but slightly different question: have you (or others) done an on-site resort presentation in Mexico? Curious as to what that experience was like vs. the U.S. I’m doing my first one down there while staying at a place as part of a promo package/discount rate. Have only done them in the U.S. Do they take no as a no or is it more aggressive? Thanks for the intel.

    • I have received offers from Mexico but have never taken them up on it. From what I have heard it is pretty similar but hopefully someone else with first hand experience can chime in.

  2. I am just finishing up a 9 day trip in Egypt, and have one of these presentations to attend next month, Anyone who has been to Egypt can attest to the relentless nature of street hucksters, If I can fight them off I think I can handle these guys.

    • They start off in a big room and then break you down into 2 on 1 or 2 or 2 groups with the salespeople. For some it may not be worth it. The value is there but it depends on how much you value your time.

    • We did not have a group presentation. We had maybe 90 minutes with one lady. After we said no a manager type quickly offered some other package that we quickly turned down and they sent us on our way.

  3. Mark or anyone else whose done the Orlando timeshare could you share the actual numbers you crunched to arm those of us who are doing the presentation. I’m going in Dec or Jan just need to book. Thanks

  4. Two questions from your experience:
    1) have you ever done one and flat out told the initial sales rep flat out that you weren’t interested and that you were only there for the promotion offered to you? No crunching the numbers, explaining or justifying the costs/fees, just flat out told them that you were there just for the deal offered? Did that help move things along faster since they knew you weren’t considering a purchase?

    2) “remember that you agree to a 90-120 minute presentation so once it hits 120 minutes you can leave without repercussions.” “We had to go downstairs and sign a sheet in order to get my points before we left.” While it may technically be true that you can leave after the stated time is up, since they have to escort you down, turn in the paperwork to get you signed out before they can process your gift (e.g. gift card on site or points into your account), you can’t walk out by yourself…you still need them. So how have you handled that…the time is up and you want to go but they are still bringing in the closer/manager to sweeten the deal or send you to the final person to take the survey questionnaire and offer the final promotion ‘come back and see us to try it out’ package? Thanks.

    • Yes we have been more upfront in the past and it does cut down the time frame.

      They didn’t walk with me downstairs they simply said to go downstairs. They know the rules and if you say I have performed my agreed upon duties of coming here for a 2 hour presentation they will let you go.

  5. We did the Orlando HGV timeshare last week. It was worth it for my family! We stayed at Hilton Bonnet Creek, and had HGV arrange transportation to Parc Soleil for us in a suburban and then a white bus took us back to Bonnet Creek . We had our 2 kids (2,5) with us at the presentation and that seemed to speed it up for us. We were in and out in just under 2 hours. We enjoyed a couple Krispy Kreme donuts (haven’t had one in years) before the presentation and then the family had hot dogs on the way out. We paid $199 that was refunded after presentation and received the $200 night on us certificate, no points. We also added an additional night at a discounted rate. We said No, they didn’t push. They probably wanted our kids out of there. I noticed the couple next to us joined the HGV family.

  6. We bought into a timeshare in 2010. Before that we had gone to many of the “free lunches” and “giftcard” timeshares to get a feel of what to expect. At one of the presentations they would ring a bell, pop a bottle of champagne and give the lucky couple a gift basket for agreeing to a $40k upfront cost (financed at 16% APR) and a $1500 yearly maintenance fee. Yes, the sales people do quote “only $1000 per year for all this” ignoring the huge upfront cost, the annual $99 RCI membership, the $159-239 exchange fee per unit and the $50-200 resort fee per unit per week. For example, to book 3 units (8 bedrooms total) we paid about $480 for the exchange/booking fee and the resort charged another $450 for their resort fee. Add the annual maintenance fee and that gives you a more true idea of the costs.

    When we bought in, wife and I did the math right there. Adding all the fees we came up with 8 years before break even. And that was if we took 2 week long vacations every year (or 1 week with 2 units). We’ve been inviting friends and family almost every year since. We get to stay in nice resorts (we just came back from staying in 3 units [6 bedrooms, 3 living and 3 dining rooms] at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Orange Lake, and in summer we had another 3 units [8 bedrooms, 3 living and 3 dining rooms] in the Virginia mountains). These aren’t hotel rooms – they are fully furnished condos and villas where 3 units give you 3-4,000+ sq ft of living space.

    For people who like travel hacking, and are in it long term, I think it can be used as a tool for discounted rooms. I’m happy with my timeshare and I think I get great value from it. For the regular Joe Schmo out there who wants to go to Hawaii once in his lifetime, it’s probably NEVER a good value. If you’re not able to, or can’t afford, 2 weeks vacation every year for the next 10 years, you will most definitely regret the commitment of paying the mortgage, yearly maintenance fee, membership fee and other fees whether you use the timeshare or not.

    Last thing – Mark mentioned “The Last Hurrah” sales pitch. If you want to buy a timeshare, this is the one you go for. It’s usually one of their cheapest packages in the $5-10k range and wouldn’t allow too much vacationing, but you get it directly from the developer (for ours, buying directly from the developer gave us some valuable perks that the secondary market wouldn’t give) and the annual fee is usually a lot less. Again, have your calculator ready. And of course, if you’re sitting on a mountain of points, then all this is moot – just use your points for “free” nights.

    • Rishi, thats great input about all of the extra hidden fees. I knew there was an annual RCI fee plus a RCI booking fee each time you wanted to make a reservation but I did not know they still charged resort fees on top of all of that. If thats the case I’m sure some city locations may even charge parking as well.
      Fees aside I think the other big issue is the advance planning required if you wanted to travel to a popular place you may have to book the room many months in advance. I like to do lots of spontaneous travel last night I just booked a weekend in Molokai travel starts in 3 weeks. Also with a timeshare I would be pressured to use it and since timeshares are not offered everywhere I would have to plan to travel around the available timeshares instead of being free and deciding where to travel first then using unlimited booking sites to find a place around where I want to go. For example up coming Molokai trip you won’t find a timeshare there the only option is one hotel and AirBnB’s.
      I actually bought one of the try it before you buy it packages once and it ended up being a disaster. All of the places we wanted to go either did not have anything near that location or when I found a good location we would want to travel to I had to book it 6+ months out. The package was about to expire and I was super stressed about not losing what we paid for. In the end I just had to randomly check all of the offered locations I found a random state in a random location, I was able to book within a 60 day window just to use the package before it expired. We had to book a full week but after the first 3 nights were bored and ended up doing a road trip to exploring other places and stayed in hotels for the rest of the trip.
      But I can see the other side where some large families that plan a family holidays well in advance 1+ year out and/or like to routinely visit the same resort locations year after year and relax in the same spot for a week stay able to take advantage of the kitchen maybe able to get good value out of a timeshare if they use it as sort of a 2nd home, but I think if you do not have a large family, like to truly travel and explore timeshare is not the best option for the adventure traveler.

  7. That same thing happened to us and it was a $6,000 assessment for a property in Hawaii that we had never even visited! The property that we bought into in Arizona was somehow tied into that Hawaii property and the special assessment was a horrible surprise! They were very aggressive in collecting it, too. If you can’t buy a Timeshare on the secondary market for pennies, you are so much better off putting your $35,000 into a mutual fund and you will pay for your vacations off the investment. A real investment and not a timeshare!!

    • Wow Bill that is terrible – thanks for sharing. Were you able to get out of the timeshare after that?

  8. I think the timeshare briefings are for sure worth it. Where else cam you make $200-400 an hr but as you said you just have to have an out abd be strong to the high pressure sales. I set my calendar to do them every year I always have an out and for me its so easy to crunch the # and show them how the yearly HOA fees alone don’t make sense and having to deal with far advance bookings, limited flexibly and the fact I don’t like to stay in any single location for a week at a time (best value) always gives me a logical out thats hard for the sales rep to counter. I also always tell them I want to travel to places they never have timeshares such as Cuba, Vanuatu, Bolivia Salt Flats etc.. These are all actual places I traveled and enjoy to travel. Most timeshares are only in popular location.

    For beginners timeshare brief attenders I suggest start with Disney they are by far the lowest pressure. I did them once in Hawaii scored $100 gift card, 4 months later I took advantage of Delta Vacations double mile promo booked a savannah view room at Disney we arrived a little early room was not ready yet and next to check in desk was a timeshare table I said hello and signed up for another $100 gift card briefing. I was in and out of the briefing in less then 35 mins said it was my first disney trip, we just arrived and have jet lag and for sure need to experience Disney first they said ok and then offered to drop us at Disney shopping village since it was still to early for check in we ate lunch, shopped for a few hours charged everything back to the room with the Disney arm band took full advantage of the $200 worth of Disney Gift cards during our stay for 2 x of the easiest timeshare briefing you will ever experience.

  9. Absolutely worth both the presentations & the purchases for my family! But buying in only makes sense if you can enjoy for 20+ years and/or will to family along with an annuity to foot the HOA nobody (incl yourself!) likes paying for. It’s s long-term prop & only by the consumer ending the program early does the ts company “win.”

    Lots more guaranteed space in a unit (than hotels) for a growing family, Mark, along with w/d; kitchen; common areas with other kids your kids can play with. Certainly not a concept for every family, but for those it is the numbers can work when extrapolated. Problem is most folks have to actually own for decades before it’s clear & meaningful!

    • Yeah that is my biggest problem with it is that the payoff is really in the next generation. Would be a great gift for my kid’s family but it really isn’t in the cards for us. I do laugh when they try to tell me it will save me money in year one though 🙂

  10. If you are really interested in owning a timeshare just buy on the secondary market. You can literally get one for free or for less than 10% of the original cost from an unhappy owner.

    • I haven’t gone into it much but I think that is happening less with the points systems they do now. I am pretty sure HGV buys back most of the time shares now since they have right of first refusal to keep the prices high.

      They were actually looking through their buyback portal when quoting me prices for my package…from people upgrading etc. My feeling is those deals are more for the set timeshares where you own a block of a room or property etc.

  11. I have done timeshare presentations in Hawaii. While I don’t love taking the time to do them I find very good value. Getting several hundred dollars value from a couple hours is worth it to me. Mark, have you ever asked about Special Assessments, like those resulting from devastating hurricanes? We were told by a couple in Kauai that they were assessed a $6000 special assessment after Hurricane Iniki because the insurance wasn’t enough to rebuild. Since most of the timeshare companies now work on a point basis it may not apply, but it might be worth asking if any costs are “spread out” amongst owners. Or, if there are any other ways for charges other than those listed.

    • Interesting Kijo I had not heard of that. I would imagine that is from the old days where you bought shares in a specific property/room but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they could/would spread the cost across all members. I will have to ask about that the next time.

    • SAs can certainly occur (even with point ownership), but a $6k fee means they owned a LOT of ts to begin with since the expense is allocated by percentage of units owned.

      Think of ts SAs as anything that could be assessed within any HO covenant. You own a condo for instance & expect it to be well maintained, pretty, & ready to enjoy? Same concept with ts…

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