All timeshare operators follow at least one of the following methods of marketing. I will advise you on pit-falls of each so you can be prepared when marketed. Remember that NOT all operaters are underhanded - there are geniune, as few as they are, operators in the timeshare industry - so we need to be fair in our approach.
METHOD ONE: THE TELEMARKER
How many times have you received a call informing you that you had won a prize or rather one of several prizes? The catch? Both you and your spouse have to attend a 60 minute presentation together. Firstly, the reason that they want you to be together is that they want you to make a financial commitment and make it one the day of the presentation. They will not allow you to go home to ponder the benefits but will lambast your emotions and reason - beating down all forms of intellectual resistance. The prize! You will NEVER be guaranteed a single prize but rather one of the selection of prizes on offer. If you are guaranteed the top of the range prize then it is unlikely that they will give that guarantee to you in writing without the small print. Their marketing is aimed at your greed which will lure you into their waiting hands. The bigger the prizes the greater the lure! Normally a holiday is offered - and this is the most likey prize that you will receive. The reason: the holiday is in one of the resorts that the operator has access to therefore it costs them nothing to give it to you. The catch is that the holiday time (when) and location (where) is at the discretion of the timeshare operator or marketer and is invariably only out of season and for a maximum of two adults (sorry the kids stay at home for this one!). Further, the catch is that you have to pay a registration fee (which you will forfeit if you don't accept their offer of WHEN and WHERE). This registration fee is a nominal fee of normally between R200 and R500 - which if you consider, is not a bad price to pay for a weekend (friday to monday) or a midweek (monday to friday). It is excellent value if you can get one of these holiday vouchers to work. Now back to the telemarketer. S/he earns commission only if you pitch to the presentation and you spend the nominated time there. So s/he is hell-bent on getting you there at any cost. Some operators don't mind the method that they use only that they get you there so their salespeople can work their magic on you. The telemarketer earn's on average of R2500 to R5000 per month and it has to be the worst job on earth. They have to deal with rejected EVERY minute of the day. But, work is hard to come by in the New South Africa so they perservere. You are reminded to bring either your cheque book or credit card with you. "Why?", you ask in horror. "To identify yourself", of "you stand a chance to win an additional prize if your numbers match our lucky numbers". This is hogwash. They need you to pay a deposit (on the night) so you need these little items handed. They won't let you go home to fetch them, because, alas, they no that you won't return after all the pressure that they have applied on you is finally released once you are safely back in the comfort of your own home. The telemarketer will tell you that there are NO catches and NO cons and furthermore that you are under NO OBLIGATION WATSOEVER! Try telling that to the persistent salesperson - you'll be humilated and taunted like you've never been before! So lets say you look past what I have said and you decide to go to the presentation (maybe you feel you may stand a chance to win because the telemarketer sounded so convincing and sincere or/ maybe you felt sorry for the telemarketer or/ maybe it may be educational) please move on to the next section called THE PRESENTATION.
METHOD TWO: THE OPC
This is the person that bumps into you at the local shopping centre of as you stroll along the Durban beachfront. They will ask you to complete a survey or to enter a competition. Once you stop and entertain this person it is unlikely that you will escape! They will proceed to tell you that you have in fact won a prize and that you have been entered into a larger competition to win a grander prize. The catch? Follow them to a quick show followed by your prizegiving or to tell you that someone will be in contact to invite you to collect your prize (then you become a 'lead' for the conventional method of telemarketing'. A word of warning - just as in the case of the telemarketer you are unlikely to win that top prize, infact, you'll probally be a couple of thousand poorer with an hour lsot left clutching a bottle of cheap sparkling wine.
METHOD THREE: TV Advert
A colourful animation in the morning invites you to phone in. Your number is then logged and you can expect a call from a telemarketer (once they get your name - they don't let go).
METHOD FOUR: The Maildrop
This is normally practised by the better off and higher calibre timeshare groups. They send you a colourful prospectus and brochure and invite you to make contact with them to come and have a complimentary weekend or midweek stay with them. The catch is you pay a minimal fee and that you allow a sales consultant to give you a presentation during your stay. It is a good method - one that I prefer. Normally, one of your friends, family or associates has joined and they have referred your name. This is sometime worth a look because you get all the details (including the fine print) in your hands even before you commit even a minute of your time to these people. This is a much more honest way of marketing - it gives you much more choice even before you attend.
A word of caution: South African legislation has been amended to make cold calling and telemarketing illegal this year. The route these companies are planning to go is to stop you outside shopping centre's and have you complete a competition or questionaire. BY COMPLETING A COMPETITION OR QUESTIONAIRE YOU ARE GIVING THEM PERMISSION TO TELEMARK YOU IN THE FUTURE! The fineprint is misleading - it speaks about further communication regarding notifying you of your prize. Once you have completed any type of application/questionaire/competition you cannot stop them from telemarketing and harrassing you in the future.