Posts Tagged ‘hilton honors’

Hilton timeshare presentation

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever attended a timeshare presentation? I had never heard of such a thing until after I was convinced to sign up for one with Hilton Grand Vacations. I mean, they offered a really cheap rate to stay at one of the Hilton hotels and I thought it’d be a nice little vacation for Panda and I. Afterward signing up and paying, I started to hear horror stories about experiences with timeshare presentations and read through some articles outlining how to “survive” one. I got concerned, but I figured since it’s Hilton and it’s in the US, it can’t be that bad, right? In fact, my experience was pretty painless! I’ll walk you through it in case you’re curious and perhaps even signed up for your own tour soon.

First, to orient you, the grand tour of the place, with some tidbits of info:

[skip straight to details about the presentation]

entrance sign for parc soleil hilton grand vacations club property timeshare in orlando florida

The presentation was at Parc Soleil in Orlando, which is one of three resorts that Hilton has in the area.

driveway of parc soleil hilton grand vacations club property in orlando florida

The driveway leading up to the property includes parking spaces on either side, perfect for guests like us who are visiting for the presentation.

lake and swamp region by parc soleil hilton grand vacations club property in orlando florida

There are tons of lakes in the area and the resort is off on its own, away from the crowded areas.

parc soleil hilton grand vacations club buildings

Right now there are two buildings up, with five more to come.

parc soleil hilton grand vacations sales center entrance doorway

As you head in towards the building, you’ll find the Sales Center on the left. All timeshare presentations are through there.

parc soleil hilton grand vacations sales center entrance foyer upstairs

Once inside, everyone is directed up to the 5th floor as far as I could tell (they also have a 4th floor but that might be for staff only). Here you’ll find the waiting area.

parc soleil hilton grand vacations las vegas mini model

In the waiting area, they had a large mini model of Las Vegas, showcasing their new Elara property.

parc soleil hilton grand vacations sales center welcome sign with message from founder conrad hilton

Representatives came to the waiting room to call you and lead you to the back, passing by this welcome sign. A kids area was available to keep the children entertained.

parc soleil hilton grand vacations sales center food area with hot dogs, drinks, and snacks

Free food and drink were offered to enjoy before your presentation. They had hot drinks, fountain drinks, juices, hot dogs, and chips.

parc soleil hilton grand vacations sales center presentation tables

In each segment of this long hallway were tables for each representative to sit down with their potential clients one-on-one (or two if you came with someone).

view of surrounding area at parc soleil hilton grand vacations sales center

From the tables, you could look out the windows for a serene view. I love all the lakes/swamps and gorgeous spotted clouds!

So the actual process went a little like this (note that details I give will likely go out of date so just take them as a general guideline):

Step 1: Getting to know you

This is where you sit and chat about your background, including what you do, where you’re from, what kind of travel preferences you have, and what kind of travel you’ve managed to do so far. Here they get a good idea of how to sell you later on, whether you’re already traveling in ways that fit owning a timeshare or you’re at just the stage to enjoy the benefits of it.

Step 2: Promoting themselves

With a baseline established, you are then escorted to the theater for a promotional video. It features tons of happy people enjoying vacations in beautiful resorts across the globe. Of course there are also glowing testimonials. Who wouldn’t want to be like them? Then it’s off to the gallery next door for some info and pics about Hilton Grand Vacations timeshares, including its history (established 1997 after observing the industry and designing a program based on features cherry-picked from other brands) and benefits (yes, vacationing is good for you! and so is owning, right?).

Step 3: See it for yourself

Armed with all this knowledge, it’s time to show you what these timeshares could look like. You’re taken through models of the studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom options up on the 12th floor, all beautifully furnished. The walk-throughs offer lovely immersion experiences so you can imagine yourself there in the lap of luxury, enjoying the fully furnished rooms.

Step 4: Reviewing the program

Then it’s back down to the table to discuss the property offerings and points system. A 7000-point per year option would cost about $48k and would allow you to book something like a week or two for a 1-bedroom, 3-4 weeks for a studio, and of course less for a 2- or 3-bedroom. The length of time you can book depends on the time of year – weeks are split into on- and off-season. Points are deposited in your account each January and you can roll them over but it costs $49 to do so. You can also borrow points from the upcoming year, which doesn’t cost anything. You can stay at the various Hilton Grand Vacations properties but also get the ability to convert with RCI (a third party company) to stay at properties with other brands. This conversion costs $199 for domestic locations, $209 for international ones, and of course your points may be worth less (aka get you fewer days or a smaller timeshare). Each year there’s a $1300 cost for maintenance, taxes, and dues on top of what you’re paying for your timeshare.

Purchasing a timeshare actually gets you a deed to a studio/1bed/2bed/3bed, depending on what you pay of course. We were offered space in the Elara that just opened up in Vegas because they’re doing some major promos at the moment and are giving better deals than other locations. That would be our “home” location but when it comes to booking a vacation to put those timeshare points to use, all the properties are pretty much the same and offer the same rates. You can start off getting a lower tier and then upgrade, at which point you basically sell your deed back to Hilton Grand Vacations and get a new deed to the larger space. Oh, and these points can be converted to Hilton Honors point at 1:25, so that 7000 points would get you 175,000 HHonors points that would never expire.

After all this, our representative asked if we were interested and we explained that our finances are being directed towards buying a home, holding a wedding, and relocating me out east in the next couple of years. Basically, we don’t have the budget for something like this. She was disappointed but didn’t press too hard, but she did bring in a financial manager to try to convince us. She also asked me about incentives I was promised and went to check on those.

Step 5: The hard sell

The financial manager came by to go into a bit more detail the financial situation and offer a much lower plan – 3500 points every other year. It boiled down to just over $2000 down today and payments of around $200/month. As part of the promotion for the Elara, we could also get a ton of bonus points – over 10k at first, but when we still didn’t jump at it, he offered 14k. I liked that he was upfront and said that they can offer that because they count on people enjoying their timeshares so much that they upgrade in the future. That 10k in points was well worth the $14k cost that 3500 points every other year would have cost, so it’s a pretty good deal. Still, we’re just not at a stage in our lives where we can spare money for this kind of thing, so when we rejected that final offer, we were thanked and asked to wait for the marketing manager.

Step 6: Giving feedback

The marketing manager stopped by with a survey for me to fill out, just giving some feedback and ensuring that everything had been handled well. They also asked for my annual income for their records I guess.

Step 7: Wrapping up and getting rewarded

The final step was to stop by a counter where my rewards would be processed and given to me. This included 15,000 HHonors points, a $100 Stay A Night On Us voucher, and a $200 reimbursement towards my plane ticket. They also offered tickets to the local theme parks so you could get that all taken care of if you wanted.

All told, we finished within the promised 2 hours and I never felt too pressured to say yes. My representative actually said three or four times that it was totally fine if we didn’t do it but they’d love to have us. My appointment was scheduled for 12:30 and apparently that’s one of the last time slots, since when I was leaving around 2:30 the representatives were heading out for the day as well. I learned quite a bit so I can ponder owning a timeshare perhaps when Panda and I retire. And I’m really enjoying my stay at the hotel we got, despite it not actually being a Hilton!

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