If you have been approached to attend a 90 minute timeshare presentation in Mexico, then you’re going to want to read this article. We recently stayed at Casa Dorada in Cabo San Lucas and the experience at the resort was great. But, that’s not what we are here to talk about.
Like at many resorts in Mexico, Casa Dorada has a desk next to guest services with employees who try to get you to attend their timeshare presentation. They are a persistent bunch and usually approach guests when they first arrive knowing they are excited and will usually latch onto anything.
The company name the timeshare representatives were operating under during our stay was Vivenzia Travel Club. I was told by many guests I spoke to who own timeshares that they had never heard of the company. They mentioned the names for the “travel clubs” can rotate, so guests think there is a new offer to be had. Unfortunately, from what I was hearing, it’s always the same thing.
I am not a timeshare or travel club expert. I wanted to write this article because I could not find anything like it on the internet. In this article, I will lay out our experience from start to finish with our timeshare presentation so other people traveling to Mexico can be informed of the process.
Timeshares vs. Travel Clubs
Most of the companies selling timeshares today will refer to their organization as a vacation or travel club. This is because the term “timeshare” has received so much negative press in the United States and Canada. And you must be a U.S. or Canadian citizen to attend their presentation.
Much of this negative attention comes from law firm commercials offering to provide services that help individuals get out of their timeshare contract. Many timeshares in the past were sold as lifetime memberships that you could never get out of, and many times they were passed down automatically to your children as an “inherited timeshare”.
Our timeshare presentation was being presented under the Vivenzia Vacation Club name. From what we could tell, Vivenzia operates under a parent company that also includes Unlimited Vacation Club and Globalquest Travel Club. Even though many companies call their service a vacation or travel club, I am going to refer to these companies as “timeshares” in this article.
Being Approached When You First Arrive
When you first arrive at your hotel in Mexico, timeshare reps will approach you to sign up for their presentation. They will be waiting in the background while you finish checking in at the front desk. You probably won’t even know they are there.
Once you’re done checking in, they will approach you. The first few times we traveled to Cabo, we brushed them off immediately and didn’t think much about it. This last trip we had some downtime and decided to sit in on the timeshare presentation because they offered some gifts for your time.
Prices in Mexico have gone up, so we thought what would it hurt to get some room credits to help pay for some drinks on the beach? We were asked to put down a $20 deposit to hold our set for the presentation that would be refunded once we showed up. We did not put a deposit down because we didn’t have any cash on us.
Qualifications to Attend Timeshare Presentation
- Couples between 30 and 75 years of age and citizens and residents of the USA or Canada.
- Single women between 35 and 68 years of age.
- If married or common law, must attend with spouse.
- Both must speak fluent Spanish or English.
- No plans or activities scheduled on the same morning of the presentation.
- Have not toured Unlimited Vacation Club or Globalquest Travel Club or Vivenzia within 12 months.
- Must be full time employed or retired.
- Must present picture ID, passport or driver’s license, and one major credit card. Debit/Check cards not accepted.
You Must Have a Valid ID and Credit Card
You will be asked over and over if you have a valid ID and credit card with you before you travel to the presentation and right before they start the tour. The reason for this is the salesmen are good at their jobs and most likely have a high closure rate.
They want to know you can make the purchase today because they intend to be so convincing, you can’t resist. Like I mentioned before, you have to be a U.S. or Canadian citizen to attend for a couple of reasons. These are the two largest groups that travel to Mexico and they have money.
Second, these timeshare companies have offices in the U.S. and Canada, so they can take legal action or report to credit agencies if you don’t fulfill your contract.
Timeshare Presentation Gifts
The first gift offer we had was $300 in room credits to apply to our bill upon checkout. You need to be very specific with your timeshare rep to make sure the $300 in coupons will apply to food and drink on your room bill. There was another option that only applied to activities like excursions.
During our stay, I saw two different people arguing with the front desk about how their blue coupons were to be applied to their bill. Blue was the color of the paper coupon we received. Each coupon was $100 U.S. and we received three for completing the presentation.
I can only assume the reason a few guests were getting upset about their coupons was they applied to activities and not to food and drink. You need to specify this when you first sign up, so you’re getting the correct credit. We also received a bottle of cheap tequila the rep threw in at the last minute.
If you intend to sit in on a timeshare presentation, you can probably haggle with your rep to get more money in coupons to apply to your hotel bill. These reps really want you to attend, and they seem eager to make a deal. Keep in mind, if you have already paid for your room stay, these coupons won’t apply to that, and they can’t be redeemed for cash.
Presentation is Away From Your Hotel
The timeshare presentation we attended was at a resort called Zoetry, which was about twenty minutes away from Casa Dorada. Zoetry is located in between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose on the beach. The timeshare people will pay for your roundtrip cab ride to the presentation, so make sure you discuss this upfront, so there is no confusion.
There are a few reasons why they take you to another resort for the timeshare presentation. One is to get you on premise of a beautiful resort you would normally not stay at. And Zoetry Casa Del Mar in Los Cabos was beautiful. From the moment you walk in, everything is picture-perfect.
The second reason I feel they take you somewhere else is to get you out of your comfort zone, which is in the salesman’s favor as they pressure you into making a purchase. Americans and Canadians traveling to Cabo are safe for the most part, but traveling to a foreign country can always raise some anxieties.
Presentation Starts with a Walk
The presentation starts with a walk into the resort, and it’s usually going to be their best view. Ours was walking into the hacienda style Zoetry resort through the courtyard with a beautiful ocean view in the background.
Zoetry is different from Casa Dorada in look and feel. The resort is much quieter since you don’t have the Mango Deck partying next door or loud music at the pool. The feeling was serene, quiet, and zen like as we walked through the pool area to see what it had to offer.
The view of the ocean is unobstructed, so all you see is sand, water, and the land point in the background. The beach is not swimmable, so there are no umbrellas and chairs on the sand. Overall, it has a very mature, adult—like feel, which can be nice if you’re looking for some quiet relaxation.
Best Friends at Breakfast
Next, we were taken to breakfast in their restaurant off the courtyard. Your timeshare salesman will sit down with you to eat, and everything is paid for by Vivenzia Travel Club. While eating, you are staring out the large, wooden framed windows overlooking the ocean.
I got the recommended egg enchiladas which were excellent while sipping some good black Mexican coffee. Cabo has great black coffee, which means they’re using good roasted beans. We also had the fresh squeezed orange juice with chilaquiles, which was great.
As we ate breakfast, we talked to the salesman as if we had known him for twenty years. It’s at this point the salesman will try to make a personal connection. We discussed everything from vacationing, family, and good tips about how to save money while in Cabo. The breakfast was good and next we moved to the presentation office.
The pressure was mounting…
Vivenzia Time Share presentation at Zoetry
To begin the actual presentation, you are brought to a room with several tables. At each table is a couple of tourist’s and their timeshare sales rep. The presentation starts off with questions about how often you travel, do you play golf, other areas you would like to visit, etc.?
Most of the presentation is done on a large iPad and a laminated sheet of paper the salesman can write on with an erasable marker. On this paper is information about their travel club and the different perks that are included if you sign up. Everything presented to you is done quickly, and it’s all about working the numbers.
On the iPad, you are shown prices for rooms with and without the Vivenzia Travel Club membership. It looks great at a glance, but like I said, it is presented briefly like there is a time deadline. No contracts or fine print is ever shown before they ask you to sign.
Regular Price of Vivenzia Travel Club Membership
Below are the regular prices that were presented to us for their timeshare packages. The first $50,000 package for ten years gets you one week of vacation, and the number of allotted weeks increases as you go up in the packages.
- $50,000 for 10 years
- $100,000 for 20 years
- $150,000 for 30 years
- $200,000 for 40 years
When you first see these prices, your jaw drops. Here you are on a great vacation visiting Cabo San Lucas, and the next thing you know you’re being presented vacation packages that cost as much as a new vehicle or home for that matter.
The salesman won’t get excited or make a big deal about your jaw hitting the floor. They will make it sound like people are cutting checks left and right, and you will be left out if you don’t take advantage of this wonderful promotion.
Custom Tailored Timeshare Package
Of course, this initial pricing is “regular” pricing and your timeshare salesman is going to custom tailor a package that fits your lifestyle and travel needs. We were offered to purchase a package for $17,000 for 14 years that allowed us one week of vacation time a year except on major holidays. The closing cost was $950 and our annual fee was $209.
We asked our salesman to see some paperwork of the deal in a contract form, and they persisted in telling us everyone signs up without seeing the fine print. We were told everyone from billionaires to gardeners have come through the door and gladly handed over thousands of dollars after sitting through the “laminated paper with marker” and “jumbo iPad presentation”.
Furthermore, we asked again to see a contract in paper form, so we can read the contract to know what we were signing, and they were unable to provide any such thing. We then asked how high the $209 annual fee can be raised every year, and we were not given a straight answer. We asked next about the details of “booking fees” when using their service, and the subject quickly changed to something else.
Because we were not interested in what they had to offer, the initial $17,000 dropped to $14,200, and then all the way down to $7,100. After watching the price drop $10,000 in a matter of minutes, I asked the salesman how they could drop the price so low if their service was so valuable? They had no answer.
Based on what I have read online, most people that do sign up for timeshares spend around $3,000-$4,500. I have no way of proving this, but that would make more sense because anyone traveling would easily have that much room on their credit card. If you can pull that amount of money from everyone attending a timeshare presentation, you’re doing good.
Financing Timeshare Down Payment
If you can’t write a check or don’t have enough room on your credit card, you will be offered financing. We were offered 60 months financing at a 9.1% interest rate. The first thing our salesman told us was they don’t report to credit agencies, so there was nothing to worry about.
Of course, this is not true, as all of these travel and vacation clubs have offices in the United States. This allows them to legally report late payments and enforce lifetime timeshare contracts that people are trying to get out of.
Why They Ask For Four Hours of Your Time
”No plans or activities scheduled on the same morning of the presentation.”
The timeshare presentation you attend will ask you not to have anything planned for the morning of the meeting. The reason for this is they intend to wear you out to the point you just give in and sign their contract. If the first salesman can’t close you, they will bring in their sales manager to close you with a whole new set of reply answers to your every objection.
Feedback From Timeshare Veterans
During our stay, we met a nice couple who had a lot of experience with timeshares. The wife’s family owned a timeshare, and she has been traveling to Cabo since she was a child. Her family normally stayed at Casa Dorada when they visited.
The first thing this couple said to us was not to sign up for a timeshare. They have been able to get better travel deals by booking directly with a resort. They went on to explain that with timeshares there are numerous hidden fees and the weeks they want to travel are seldom available.
When this couple would travel to Cabo San Lucas with their family, there would be about thirty people in their group. The last time they tried to book ten rooms for a week through their timeshare, they were told the party was too large. They were unable to book through their timeshare company, so instead they had to deal directly with the resort.
This couple had mentioned they had never heard of the name Vivenzia Travel Club. But like I mentioned earlier, the timeshare company goes by a few different names, including Unlimited Vacation Club and Globalquest Travel Club. I am assuming they book their rooms under one of those names.
Be Careful of Reviews Online
Doing a quick online search for timeshare reviews will most likely land you on the Tripadvisor website. The Tripadvisor forums are a great resource for information from travelers all over the world. With that being said, you need to make sure what you are reading is from an actual traveler and not a salesman posing as a traveler.
If you do a Google search for Vivenzia Vacation Club reviews, you are most likely going to find a community thread titled “Vivenzia vacation club reviews?” on the Tripadvisor.com website. Here you can read feedback from people who have attended or purchased timeshares.
In this thread, there is a person who claims to have spent $45,000 on a timeshare and says it’s a great deal if you love to play golf. Another person posted they spent a few thousand dollars, and they intend to purchase more because their trip was less expensive, and they can rent out the extra weeks. The problem is the person posting about spending $45,000 on a timeshare only had one post on Tripadvisor, and the other person only had three posts.
A person in the thread that goes by the name Travel Judy made an interesting observation about whom you can trust on the Tripadvisor website. Judy is a Level 6 contributor with over 16,970 posts in the Tripadvisor forums. Here is what she said verbatim:
See the new ONE post people….they are just advertising for the gimmick that you are being offered. The names change each day on offers in Mexico…BE AWARE…..and believe those of us who are old timers on this site. Always look at how many posts a person has….makes you then believe us???
Judy is replying to warn people on Tripadvisor that timeshare employees acting as normal citizens are posting on Tripadvisor to let everyone know how happy they are with their purchase. When reading comments on Tripadvisor.com or anywhere else, it’s important to know who they are coming from.
Your Risks for Participating in the Presentation
”If I do not complete the 90-minute tour or if I supplied inaccurate information, I agree to pay the resort the full value of the gifts to be received.”
It’s important to read the ticket from your timeshare rep when you sign up. On the back of the form, it states you agree to pay the resort the full value of the gifts to be received if you don’t fulfill your obligation.
This is why it’s important to make sure and verify with the salesman giving your presentation that you did fulfill your obligation by giving them 90 minutes of your time and attention while presenting their offer. If not, you may owe the resort some money.
Would I Do The Presentation Again?
No. Timeshare presentations are not for the faint of heart or someone who is easily swayed. Most people do a little research when making purchases under $1,000, yet timeshare salesman expect you to cut a check for several thousands of dollars after a 90-minute presentation without reading the contract.
No matter what you say to them, they will have a comeback. This is what they do all day long, day after day. They have perfected the sales pitch, so it convinces you that vacationing with their club will change your life. And, I can guarantee it will definitely do that, just not how you might think.
Your life will be changed by the fact you now have the pressure of owing a lot of money to a company you were never eager to do business with in the first place.
Helpful Links to Timeshare Articles
- Timeshares vs. Vacation Clubs vs. Travel Clubs on Dave Ramsey website
- How We Survived A Timeshare Presentation & Got A Free Cruise Vacation
- Unlimited Vacation Club on Better Business Bureau
- Vivenzia vacation club reviews? On Tripadvisor.com
While there are people who have survived timeshare presentations without making a purchase, it’s probably safe to say that most people don’t. The companies that do these presentations have refined their skills to the point they can reply any objection you have.
If the salesman can’t convince you that their club is a good investment, they will move to plan B, which is to wear you out. It’s at this point they will throw everything they have at you to the point you are exhausted and overwhelmed. If you plan on attending one, don’t say you weren’t forewarned.